15 Signs Your Relationship Is Beyond Repair

signs your relationship is beyond repair

Relationships can be complicated. Nobody tells you what a good one feels like, nobody tells you when it’s a good idea to end it. You’re left to wing it, based on how you feel. But when you successfully fool yourself into thinking that the signs your relationship is beyond repair don’t mean much, you’re on the cusp of permanent emotional harm.

And it’s easy to see why you’re holding on. You’ve probably spent too much time on this person, and to accept that it’s over would be like accepting your judgment about them was wrong. But even so, you find yourself here, reading this article. 

When a relationship is beyond repair, you’re probably going to feel it in your bones. But since your stubborn self won’t let you accept it, we brought along psychologist Anita Eliza, (MSc in Applied Psychology), who specializes in issues like anxiety, depression, relationships, and self-esteem, to help point out the signs your relationship is beyond repair.

An Expert Tells Us 15 Signs Your Relationship Is Beyond Repair

No, it’s not just a “rough patch” if you two have been fighting about every single thing for months on end. No, taking a “break” won’t magically fix all your problems. No, trying to stop a nasty fight mid-way by saying “I love you” and kissing each other like in the movies isn’t going to work.

We’re sorry to break it to you, but sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. “The day I gave up on my marriage was when I realized my partner could not process a single emotion I put in front of him. It felt like we were roommates, emotionally dead and physically present as though the law required us to be,” says Euleen, talking about her decade-long marriage that slowly decayed. 

When a relationship is beyond saving, a lack of empathy and consideration replaces feelings of love and care, as Euleen found out. Though she dragged her emotionally exhaustive relationship longer than she should have, it eventually came to a bitter end. 

“When you’re looking for signs your relationship is beyond repair, how you talk to each other is the most obvious indicator. The words, the tone, and how you speak can tell you all you need to know,” says Eliza.

So, are your words and tone indicating something? How do you know when your relationship is beyond repair? To make sure you don’t end up turning a blind eye to the most obvious signals, let’s take a look at the 15 most common ones:

Related Reading: Has Your Husband Checked Out Emotionally? 12 Signs Of a Failing Marriage

1. The on-again-off-again never stops 

When two people break up, it’s often because an issue led them to believe that being together was just not feasible anymore. But when three weeks pass and the “I just want to hug her again” feeling sets back in, you forget all about the problems you had. 

But just like that pack of cigarettes you thought your mom would never find, the problems you swept under the rug come back, with an agenda to mess things up. 

Regardless of whether it’s incapability or an unwillingness to work on the issues, you probably know that the problems you have are always going to cause a rift. When someone hurts you beyond repair, it’s vital to stand up for yourself and invest in self-preservation. A bit of self-respect will do you some good in the long run. 

2. There’s contempt in the relationship 

“In my experience with clients who go through marital issues and my reading and understanding of what I have learned, I can say that one of the major signs your relationship is beyond repair is when there is contempt in the relationship. 

“Partners will disregard and disrespect the feelings and thoughts of others. They will put the person down constantly to prove themselves,” says Eliza. 

A lingering sense of hostility in the air is bound to turn into a toxic smell sooner or later. When you despise someone you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with, it’s time to reconsider things. 

3. “Effort” is a distant concept 

Sure, love is what’s needed to help you people establish a strong bond. But just the way no plant in the world can survive on you promising it all the water in the world, a relationship too needs “effort” to survive.

The effort that you put into yourself, the effort that you put into your relationship, the effort that you put in with your partner, all help sustain and nurture your bond. When you’ve stopped working on yourself, a sense of over-familiarity and complacency will ensue. 

4. Signs your relationship is beyond repair: you’re walking on eggshells

“When someone has to walk on eggshells around their partner all the time, continuing the relationship can be very frustrating. One or both of the partners may not feel comfortable being themselves.

“When you have to constantly be someone else so that the peace is maintained in your relationship, it’s going to create conflicts internally too. You will always be at war with yourself since you’re essentially a version of yourself that you do not want to be,” says Eliza.

When you feel as though you need to maneuver your way around topics so you don’t incite a fight, it’s bound to get the better of you sooner or later. So, how do you know when your relationship is beyond repair? When you have to be someone else to sustain it, that’s a pretty good indicator. 

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5. The fights are far from civil 

It’s when you’re fighting with your partner that you realize what they’re really like. S/he may seem like the nicest person in the world, who writes you poems and sends surprise doughnuts to your house, but when the fights show you a nasty side of them that you cannot work with, it can be a huge problem. 

Conflict resolution, for any sort of relationship, is vital. When your fights make you fear for your physical or mental safety, it can be one of the signs your marriage is beyond repair. Abusive tendencies may stem from a lack of respect, which signals that the very foundation of your relationship is a shambles. 

6. There’s indifference and neglect 

“Another unmissable sign your relationship is beyond repair is when there’s a tangible sense of neglect among the partner,” says Eliza, adding, “It may make you feel your partner does care for you anymore, or they cannot be bothered about what’s going on in your life.

“When a relationship is beyond saving, this usually isn’t the case only during conflicts. Facing neglect becomes a way of life. When two partners are indifferent, they’re indirectly telling the other that they don’t matter to them.”

Think about it, when it seems like your partner doesn’t care much about what you do, can you expect them to support you when you may need it? Moreover, when someone hurts you beyond repair, you may just end up in a state of indifference yourself. 

Related Reading: 11 Things You Can Do If You Are Not Happy In A Marriage

7. There’s a severe lack of empathy 

A lack of empathy in your relationship can take many forms. Perhaps all you face is criticism, or you never feel like your feelings are validated. Disrespect, lack of appreciation, lack of accountability are all symptoms that point toward the larger problem. 

Speaking on the subject, psychologist Jaseena Backer previously told Bonobology, “Empathy in relationships is understanding the feelings of the other person. In my opinion, it is the single most important factor in a relationship. It can literally amount to seeing things from your partner’s point of view and understanding the feelings they have about things.”

When a relationship is beyond repair, you’ll often see all the signs of a lack of empathy. They may not be immediately visible, but when they do spring up, you’ll see just how damaging they can be. 

8. There’s a lack of trust

“When you can’t trust your partner, you’re constantly going to be on alert mode. You’re constantly going to be worried about what your partner or spouse is doing, and your anxious mind will drive you crazy.

“The anxiety can distort your perception about the other person. If it’s not addressed in time, it will eventually create a wall between you two that will be either too hard to climb over or too hard to break down,” says Eliza.

Of course, a lack of trust can be worked upon. But as Eliza points out, it needs to be addressed early on. And if it’s you who has damaged the relationship, figuring out how to fix a relationship you ruined may seem impossible, but when done earnestly enough, it might just be worth a shot. 

9. A toxic relationship is an instant no-go 

If you’re convinced that your relationship is affecting your physical or mental health for the worse, there’s really no need to look for more signs your relationship is beyond repair. 

A toxic relationship can end up causing lasting harm to your mental or even physical well-being, and getting out of one as soon as you spot the signs can literally save you from years of trauma.

unhealthy relationship

10. A lack of communication

Sure, a lack of communication can be worked on, but in some cases, the way you talk to each other can clearly define what’s working and what’s not. Eliza explains, “A lack of communication can create distance among partners who have been together for years. You might end up feeling like you don’t “know” your spouse.

“Communication doesn’t just mean words, it means talking about your thoughts, your feelings, opinions, emotions to your partner and letting them know what’s going on. And it’s not just the issues that need to be talked about, words of affirmation are just as important.

“I’ve come across many couples who never tell their partner they love them. They end up living like roommates and getting out of the relationship isn’t a big deal for them,” she concludes. 

11. Your future goals couldn’t be further apart

One of the signs your marriage is beyond repair that you may well have ignored in the past is when your future goals are polar opposite. Perhaps he wants to live the Ibiza life and buy a penthouse, and all you care for is a quiet suburban neighborhood. 

Perhaps she wants to retire early, and you can’t live without traveling the entire world while working. It may not seem like a huge deal when you’re just getting together, but it might just make you look back and say, “when we realized our version of the future didn’t align was the day I gave up on my marriage”.

Related Reading: How To Get Over A Long-Term Relationship Breakup

12. You don’t feel joy anymore 

Spending a lazy afternoon with your partner, not really doing anything with them is supposed to make you feel at ease, and perhaps a bit grateful about what you have. But when it feels like a chore instead, you may need to figure a few things out.

One of the signs your relationship is beyond repair is when the joy has been sucked out of it. Perhaps you’re panicking about a fight, or you’re just not happy to see your partner. Either way, there’s some thinking to be done. 

13. Either of you is thinking of having an affair 

The psychological facts about cheating tell us that affairs can often be sought out when partners are not happy in their relationship. If yours has reached a stage where the temptation to find a third seems more convincing by the day, perhaps an evaluation is necessary. 

Instead of cheating, you should definitely end things with your current partner before trying to find another. If you don’t, you might just be left looking for answers to questions like how to fix a relationship you ruined.

14. There’s no intimacy

Emotional and physical intimacy is what most relationships thrive on. Only when you feel emotionally connected with your partner do you feel comfortable confiding in them. In the lack of a shared safe space, you may find it hard to connect.

Though it may not signal imminent doom, it’ll definitely result in a dynamic that’s not too fulfilling. Besides, when someone hurts you beyond repair, re-establishing physical or emotional intimacy is often harder than it seems.

15. You don’t want to try anymore 

When you can see yourself drifting apart from your partner but still choose to not try to save it, you basically have your answer. There’s no bigger sign that your relationship is beyond repair than when fighting for it seems like a chore instead of something non-negotiable.

It may be hard to accept the signs we have listed out, but ripping the band-aid off is the only thing that’s going to help you. The first step toward recovery is acceptance, and being strong enough to accept these signs and ending what you have will eventually set you free. 


1. Can a relationship be too damaged to fix?

es, a relationship can be too damaged to fix. If your relationship has turned toxic or has turned abusive, it’s often almost impossible—and inadvisable—to continue. What makes a relationship beyond repair really depends on how much disrespect is the limit for the people in it. 

2. Does space help a broken relationship?

Sure, taking a break can help a broken relationship, but it won’t magically fix all your problems. The only thing the space is going to do is put you in a better state of mind to tackle your problems, not fix them for you. 

3. How do you tell if a relationship has run its course?

The signs your relationship is beyond repair include when there’s contempt in the relationship when it turns toxic or abusive when there is indifference or disrespect, or a severe lack of empathy. 

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