No one enters a new relationship thinking one day it’ll all be over. Yet, it is commonplace for partners to part ways. If you’re wondering how to know when a relationship is over, a little introspection will make the answer crystal clear. Long before you actually pull the plug, you struggle with a seething uneasiness, an urge to break free, and the dilemma of whether to stay or leave.
Relationships can reach a point where uncertainty grows, signaling a potential end. When it finally does end, relief often outweighs the sadness. But how do you know if it’s just a rough patch or the end? Actually, there are clear and subtle signs that a relationship might be over, even if you’re still holding onto hope. With expert inputs from Dhriti Bhavsar, a psychologist with a master’s degree in psychology and a specialization in counseling, let’s take a look at how you can do just that.
How To Know When A Relationship Is Over?
Relationships don’t end overnight. A degeneration sets in, driving partners apart. As relationships decline, signs start showing, but forgetting an anniversary might not be a deal-breaker. Yet, if your partner consistently ignores your feelings or avoids meaningful conversations, it’s a red flag. Dhriti says, “When genuine feelings are ignored and communication stalls, it might signal the end. Rather than prolonging the pain, she advises having an honest conversation to prevent further hurt.”
To avoid a hollow relationship, spotting warning signs is crucial. Dhriti suggests these 25 signs that might indicate a failing relationship.
1. Lack of communication
Communicating with your partner is the backbone of a healthy relationship. From sharing the minutest details to your darkest, deepest thoughts – that’s how you build a strong bond. Dhriti says, “The most common way a lack of communication manifests itself in a relationship is when the intent of communication seems to be lost. If one or both partners avoid having difficult conversations the relationship loses its depth and all that is left is the surface-level facade of it.”
2. You constantly feel a need to escape
Looking forward to spending time with your partner at the end of a long day is a sign of a healthy relationship. Even if being together means snuggling up and watching Netflix. Dhriti says, “The urge to escape usually stems out of two main reasons. One, if you don’t feel comfortable with intimacy or vulnerability with your partner; and two, if you feel that being with your partner has become unsafe for your physical and mental well-being.” Either way, this need to flee should be an alarming sign to see your relationship in a darker light.
3. All you see are flaws in each other
How do you know when a relationship isn’t working? If you both find flaws with everything that the other person does or says, you can be sure things will go south soon. Where you used to see nothing but beauty and charm, you may now see a reason to be annoyed. Once this starts happening, it’s one of the good signs your long-term relationship is over.
According to Dhriti, this tendency to find faults is often a result of resentment in the relationship. She says, “Fault finding is a direct result of some unresolved issues that have permanently scarred your relationship. So much so that you’re not able to forgive and forget and the issues have overshadowed all the brighter aspects of the relationship.”
4. Lack of intimacy
A lot of times partners struggle to make sense of what’s going on in the other person’s mind. I was in a 2 year long relationship and everything was okay. Suddenly one day I realized that I just felt distant from my partner as if there was no intimacy. In retrospect, it was not a sudden change but a gradual process that we both chose to ignore. As per Dhriti lack of intimacy rears its head in many different ways. It could be a lack of physical intimacy, a lack of emotional intimacy, or both. But what needs to be noted is where is this coming from.
She says, “If the lack of intimacy is coming from a place of disinterest or lack of enthusiasm, it could very well mean that you are dragging the corpse of a relationship. But, on the contrary, if it is coming from past traumas leading to issues like performance anxiety or fear of intimacy; it could mean a completely different thing for the relationship.” It is critical that you assess the source of this intimacy deficit before choosing the future path for the relationship.
5. When communication equals fights
Remember those easy conversations you used to have? Now, it feels like every little talk turns into a big fight. You’re both on edge, afraid that anything you say might lead to an argument. It’s like walking on eggshells. Sure, disagreements happen, but if every chat ends in a fight, there’s a problem. Look deeper—unresolved issues might be causing this tension. If you’ve tried to fix things and the fights keep coming, it might signal the end of your relationship.
6. You have thought about breaking up several times over
If you have been contemplating breaking up with your partner for some time now, you have your answer. It may be the case because your subconscious already knows that your relationship is dying but you might not have accepted it yet. Here are a few reasons that we say so:
- Constantly considering breaking up suggests dissatisfaction and a lack of hope for improvement
- It indicates a loss of emotional investment and a focus on negatives
- The frequent thought of ending things means trust or connection might be eroded
- It shows a mindset fixed on the end rather than solutions or working through issues
- When breaking up dominates thoughts, the relationship might have lost its joy or fulfillment
7. You don’t feel safe in the relationship anymore
Feeling unsafe or threatened in the presence of a romantic partner is an alarming red flag that something is seriously wrong with your relationship, and one of the major signs of a failing relationship. Dhriti says, “You don’t feel safe in a relationship usually because either your simple expressions of discomfort are responded with explosive reactions, or your partner gaslights you into situations that leave you feeling unsafe and insecure quite often.”
As this Reddit user rightly wrote, “I knew it was over when one morning he blew up at me because I accidentally left his sweater at work. I could’ve easily swung by to pick it up or grabbed it on my next shift. It’s not like it was gone forever. Even if it was, it’s a sweater! nothing fancy. He yelled at me and made me feel unsafe.”
Related Reading: 8 Ways To Fix A Broken Relationship With Your Boyfriend
8. When they’re not your go-to person anymore
Something unbelievably good or awful happens to you. Let’s take my friend, Abraham’s experience for example. He had been dating Julia for the past three years and these two were inseparable, they did literally everything together. One day he called me saying he’s gonna quit his job and move to LA. When I inquired about what Julia had to say about it, he said, “I haven’t run it by her yet, but I think she wouldn’t really care.” At that moment I knew they were done. They officially ended it the next week over a text. If your partner is not the first person you call for celebration or support, the inevitability of the end seems to have become quite apparent.
9. You have cheated on your partner or at least entertained the thought
Feeling a fleeting attraction toward someone else even when you’re in a committed, long-term relationship is not unusual. However, if you’ve acted on those feelings or entertained the idea of cheating on your partner, you might be done with your relationship. A reddit user rightly rights, “It doesn’t really matter if your SO is cheating on you. If you’re unable to trust your partner with an acquaintance of the opposite gender, or if you think he/she is about to cheat – your relationship is already over.”
10. Thinking of exes is an indicator
Have you been thinking of an ex a lot lately? Perhaps, the one that got away. Do you find yourself comparing your current relationship to your past ones? And do you actually think that you were better off with one of your exes? Dhriti says, “If you find yourself thinking about or fantasizing about your life with an ex, it simply means that your current relationship is not fulfilling enough for you. And if after multiple attempts of communication around this you’re still left with thoughts about your ex being better, it might be time to go your separate ways.”
11. Being angry or upset has become your default mood-setting
Don’t remember the last time you felt happy, relaxed, and in love? Is your face covered in a frown more often than not? Do you always feel anger bubbling up inside of you? Has a tense vibe become a prevailing presence in your relationship? Then it’s likely that things have already fizzled out between you both. You either feel hurt and upset, or angry around your partner. This is a sign your long-term relationship is over.
- Persistent negative emotions can signal deep-seated problems
- It creates an environment of discomfort and tension
- Frequent arguments without resolution strain the relationship
- When these emotions dominate, it becomes hard to find joy together
- It indicates a breakdown in communication and understanding
- Seemingly perpetual unhappiness often points to the end of a relationship
12. You’re on the verge of an emotional breakdown
All that fighting, stress, and unpleasantness is beginning to affect your mental health. You constantly feel like you’re on the brink of an emotional breakdown and talking to your partner is the last thing you want to do. Dhriti says, “Emotional breakdowns are a result of the overwhelming stress that comes if someone has tried everything in their power to achieve something and has failed. A fulfilling and stable relationship in this case. So, if your relationship has become a constant source of stress instead of a being a source of comfort, fulfillment, and love; it is time for you to walk away from it.”
13. Trust issues are on an all-time high
Imagine a relationship as a sturdy bridge built on trust. But when cheating or continuous lies become part of the landscape, it’s like discovering cracks in the bridge’s foundation. My friend Emma was with Mark and over the years I had seen their relationship journey. Emma who was once an independent person filled with life, had now become dull and controlling. One evening she and I met for a coffee while Mark was out with his friends.
Emma was distracted and restless. She kept checking her phone and texting him to find out about his whereabouts. When I asked her about it, she said, “It’s not the same anymore. Small lies have now turned to bigger ones and I just can’t trust him. Everything he says seems to be a lie to me. I don’t know what to do.” Trust issues slowly took center stage, signaling that their relationship might be nearing its end. It was heartbreaking to witness the erosion of something so vital to their bond.
14. When the spark fizzles out
Every couple has its ups and downs. Rough patches, fights, bickering – these are all part of the package. In a healthy relationship, couples find a way to navigate these stormy spells because the spark between them is still very much alive. Dhriti says, “The butterflies and the nervousness will eventually fizzle out with familiarity and comfort, but what matters is the intent. If the intent to make each other feel happy and loved fizzles out, that’s when you need to rethink your relationship.
15. When you don’t see a future together
Do you see your partner in your future plans? If not, it might mean you’ve mentally moved on. When you don’t share dreams or goals anymore, it’s a clear sign things might be over in the relationship. Here are a few reasons why:
- The dreams and goals you once shared are fading away, which signals a shift in the relationship dynamics
- If conversations about the future feel forced or are avoided altogether, it might indicate a lack of enthusiasm or commitment
- Goals and plans that once aligned have diverged, which has led to conflicting paths forward
16. Others take precedence in your life
Be it family, friends, colleagues, or pets – every other person takes precedence over your partner. You’d much rather have a night out with your friends, attend that retreat with co-workers, or go to brunch with your mom than do anything at all with your partner. Dhriti says, “This isn’t necessarily an alarming issue unless this is a recent development in your actions toward your partner. If you have lately been avoiding being with your partner, it calls for a serious reflection on why.” If you’ve lost all the excitement and willingness to be with them and work through the issues, maybe then it is time to part ways.
17. You feel it in your gut
Sometimes, the start of trouble in a relationship isn’t obvious; it’s a gut feeling. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something feels off. There’s this nagging sense that things aren’t right, that something has changed. It’s like a slow slide downhill, where you just know deep down that your relationship isn’t what it used to be. According to Dhriti, it is not necessary to be able to pinpoint the problem, the fact that you feel hollow when you think about the relationship is reason enough to pause and think. Your subconscious often picks up cues that your conscious mind hasn’t processed yet.
18. If you’re bored in a relationship
Yes, the initial excitement and romantic high fade away after a while in every relationship. You become more settled, more at ease with each other. However, if this sense of a settled rhythmic pace has been replaced by boredom, it’s a sign that things are not working out between you and your partner. Driti says, “Boredom in relationships comes from emotional distance and disinterest. The opposite of love is not hate but its disinterest. If you have been unable to find that sense of interest in each others’s life, the relationship might well be dead.”
Related Reading: 7 Things No One Tells You About A Breakup
19. You’re not ready to work on your problems
How to know when a relationship has run its course? Well, if either one or both partners are not willing to do the work to resolve their issues, the writing is pretty much on the wall. You, your partner, or both of you have checked out of the relationship already. You are not willing to put in the effort to fix a broken relationship. Maybe somewhere you know that there is nothing left to fix anymore.
20. You feel alone even when you’re together
Despite your efforts to hold on, there’s a loneliness lingering even when you’re together. The person beside you feels like a stranger, and the connection you once cherished seems distant. When the yearning for the past connection is strong, but the reality of it slipping away is evident, it could be a sign that your relationship is on its last legs.
21. Neither of you is ready to make compromises
When you and your partner reach a point where every discussion ends in a deadlock, and neither wants to give in, it’s a big sign that the relationship is in trouble. You might find yourselves living separate lives, having different goals and dreams. It feels like you’re speaking different languages and can’t see eye-to-eye anymore.
22. You have hit a wall
You might still be having feelings for your partner and have tried to convey as much to them, but every time you have hit a wall. Sometimes, despite your efforts to express your feelings, your partner seems distant. Here’s why it might signal the end of your relationship:
- Your partner doesn’t reciprocate your emotions or share their feelings
- They console you but never open up about their own feelings
- Despite attempts, there’s a persistent emotional barrier between you both
23. There is someone else
Dhriti says, “When someone looks for the fulfillment that they once found in their relationship elsewhere, it is quite evident that their relationship is under deep distress. This is probably the most absolute sign that your relationship is over if you or your partner have someone else that you see a romantic future with. I would advise you to walk down your separate paths before things like cheating and guilt complicate things further.”
24. You have drifted apart
In relationships, it’s okay to have some space now and then. Sometimes, people drift apart a bit, but they find their way back. But when that distance feels huge and coming back together seems impossible, it could mean the relationship has reached its end. Under such circumstances, it is better to pour your energy somewhere else rather than making futile half-hearted attempts at salvaging something that’s already gone.
25. Therapy seems futile
Sure, couples often turn to therapy to mend their relationship by seeking guidance and tools to navigate their differences. It’s like getting a roadmap to understand each other better and work through problems. If you prefer not to go to therapy, because you don’t want to flog a dead horse anymore, there is little room for debate that the relationship is over.
What To Do When You See The Signs A Relationship Is Over
Spotting signs that a relationship might be reaching its end is a pivotal moment in any romantic journey. However, it’s not just about identifying these signals; it’s equally crucial to handle this delicate phase with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. How you navigate this critical juncture can significantly impact not just the closure of the relationship but also your personal growth and emotional well-being.
Here are five essential steps to take when these signs become clear:
- Self-reflection: Take time to evaluate your feelings and thoughts about the relationship, understanding what you truly want and need
- Open communication: Have an honest, open conversation with your partner about your concerns and feelings to gain clarity and potentially find a resolution
- Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for guidance and emotional support during this challenging time
- Focus on self-care: Prioritize your mental and emotional well-being by engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation
- Plan for closure: Prepare for the end of the relationship by organizing logistics and considering practical steps for separation or moving forward independently
- When you’re not talking much, always fighting, or feeling distant, that’s your relationship waving a red flag
- If you’re feeling unsafe, mad all the time, or daydreaming about past relationships, something’s up
- ITrust issues, no future plans, that gut feeling, or just plain bored? Yup, those are signs too
- When these signs hit home, talk it out, seek support, and prep for a graceful exit. Your well-being matters most
If you’re trying to figure out the answer to “how to know when a relationship is over”, ask yourself, do you relate to a majority of these signs? Then you know your relationship is already over. It’s best to pull the plug now so that both you and your partner have the chance to turn over a new leaf in your lives. Better to be happy alone than being miserable together! If you need help salvaging your relationship or moving on, our expert counselors are only a click away.
The signs of a relationship ending are when there is a communication gap, lack of physical intimacy and you do not have common future goals.
You know your relationship is really over when your partner builds a wall around them that you cannot penetrate despite your constant efforts. You do not work on your problems together, but focus on the flaws, have constant fights and there is a sense of boredom and a need to escape. You keep thinking of your exes a lot, you are attracted to other people and you feel the relationship is a burden.
When you know your relationship is coming to an end, you have to know if you want to put in the effort to try and save the relationship or if you want to let go.
You know your partner is over you when you feel emotionally and physically distant from them. They have no inclination to share their life with you and there is a complete breakdown of communication.
Ask Our Expert
You must be logged in to post a comment.