15 Key Signs You Should End Your Relationship

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signs you should break up

Breaking up isn’t hard, it is brutal. That’s why so many couples stay together in a bad relationship, settling for less than they deserve, and clinging to the hope that things will get better someday. If that’s where you’re at, it is time to start acknowledging the signs you should break up and move on. The unpleasant truth is that once a relationship becomes infested with issues, it is really over and things seldom work out well in the long run.

Yes, it is hard to go back to the single life again. No one wants to end a relationship and no one wants to start over again. No matter how intimidating new beginnings may seem, you can’t stick with what’s familiar and comfortable if it’s making you miserable. Let’s help you ascertain the potential signs that you and your partner should break up so that you can both take a step toward reclaiming your happiness.

So how do you know when it’s time to split up? Today, we have psychologist Akanksha Varghese (MSc Counseling Psychology) with us, to help you understand the signs you need to break up and choose your path. 

15 Key Signs You Should End Your Relationship

The fact that you’re searching the internet for signs you should break up indicates that all is not well in your romantic paradise. But then again, every relationship is flawed in its own way, every couple has its share of problems and relationship issues. In that case, how do you decide if your issues and differences warrant a separation? What are the signs you should break up with your partner?

This dilemma can weigh on the mind of anyone who has been contemplating whether to stay or move on. If you’re wondering “Why do I keep thinking about breaking up with my boyfriend/girlfriend?”, it’s time to find out. To put an end to your confusion, and to know why you should break up for good, we have a list of 21 clear signs that you need to take seriously:

Related Reading: 11 Practical Tips To Get Over Someone Fast

1. You’re holding onto the past

Every relationship has its honeymoon period when all is perfectly rosy. The real test of how good two people are together begins after this tide of romantic rush has receded. If you are feeling stuck in the past, clinging to the memories of how good your partner made you feel in those initial days, it means there isn’t much to hold onto in the present or a path forward into the future.

This kind of hollowness may be a sign that it’s time to break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend. You deserve to be with someone with whom every moment is worth seizing.

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2. You’re walking on eggshells

Often, you need to look within rather than at your partner or your relationship. Does everything make you afraid, like you’re making a wrong decision every day? If you have been trying to make a relationship work by being someone you’re not, you’re doing a disservice to yourself as well as your partner. These fears on your end are the signs you should break up with your partner. It’s best to let go and build a life where your true persona can thrive instead of giving yourself a hard time.

Here are a few questions to consider before ending things:

  • Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner because you’re not sure what will trigger them or bring on an angry outburst?
  • Do you always suppress your thoughts and rein in your instinctive reactions?
  • Is there a fear that by being yourself, you may alienate your partner?

Related Reading: How To Stop Feeling Empty And Fill The Void

3. It is really over if you resent each other

Sometimes, one partner or both do things that hurt the other person deeply. Instead of working through these issues, you’ve suppressed the hurt and anger, which has now metamorphosed into resentment. This indicates that you’re trapped inside the walls of resentment and it could be one of the signs to break up with them. 

Tasha, a 30-year-old stop motion artist, asks our expert, “I want to break up with my boyfriend but I’m scared I’ll regret it. I realized recently that my answer to every attempt at conflict resolution is: ‘Why should I do THIS, when my partner can’t even do THAT?’ I’m worried. Are we going to break up?” 

Akanksha answers, “I can’t answer that for you. But think about this: Have you been looking for signs to break up with him? Resentment is a very unpleasant emotion because you’re ruminating about the past and the emotional baggage that you carry. In relationships, dwelling on the past can lead to an emotional buildup, further causing resentment. This can lead to passive-aggressive behaviors as if you want to mentally punish your partner. Picking flaws, focusing on the shortcomings of the relationship, and keeping scores of each other’s faults are all consequences of resentment. That’s not a healthy relationship.”

More often than not, it also means that healthy communication has completely broken down between two partners. If you’re looking for signs you should break up, this is one thing to take note of before it becomes an abusive relationship.

4. You’ve been doing the on-again-off-again dance

One of the classic signs you should break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend is that you keep breaking up and getting back together. Or you keep taking a break from the relationship. While it’s understandable that a couple may need some distance when they’re working through rough patches, it should not become a pattern or a routine.

If you’ve been on a break more than once and have been caught in the toxic on-again-off-again dynamics, then there are some underlying issues at play for sure. It is also one of the major signs the breakup is for good. Perhaps you don’t even know what the deeper issue is, which can be even scarier. It could be complacency in a relationship, plain boredom, or something else. When you can’t find a way to sort these issues, parting ways is the best decision.

Related Reading: 13 Signs A Relationship Is Ending

5. You’ve been doing all the work in the relationship

Yes, relationships require constant and consistent effort from both partners. However, if you feel as if the onus of keeping the relationship afloat squarely falls on you, then it is definitely one of the signs a breakup is near. Maybe you are always the one double texting them or calling them after a long day to check up on them. Perhaps you feel stuck and neglected by them, and the least they can do is show up to a date on time. You might even be afraid of being alone. But there is never a good time to break up.

Such an unhealthy relationship dynamic is bound to leave you exhausted and at your wit’s end at some point. When that happens, you’ll snap. It won’t be pretty thereon. Why not stop stretching yourself thin now rather than wait to hit that breaking point? A relationship ending when it needs to is the best possible solution at times.

6. It’s time to break up if you’ve cheated or been cheated upon

Cheating in a relationship extends beyond physical betrayal, encompassing emotional abuse and financial breaches. After that point, for many people, it is really over. Akanksha emphasizes the difficulty of rebuilding the bond post-cheating, citing trust as a pivotal need. She says, “The aftermath breeds fear and anxiety, hindering reconciliation. In my view, parting ways might outweigh the gamble of healing.”

A study backs Akanksha’s statement. It says, “Infidelity was found to be associated with depression, anxiety, PTSD in some cases, decreased self-esteem, attachment issues, and more.”

Unhealthy behaviors like infidelity, chronic deceit, and secrecy corrode trust which is vital for relationship solidity. Without trust, peace and harmony vanish, dooming the relationship with deeper issues. Akanksha advocates prioritizing personal happiness over prolonged agony. Trust serves as a cornerstone; its absence dismantles relationships, making it crucial for you to heed the red flags.

Related Reading: How To End A Long-Term Relationship? 7 Helpful Tips

7. Your friends and family have been telling you so

How do you know it’s time to break up with your partner? Well, consider turning to loved ones. They have probably been documenting all the signs you should break up with your partner. If your family and friends love you dearly and have your best interests at heart, and if they don’t have a good feeling about your relationship or don’t like your partner, it’s possible that they can see something that you’ve not been able to.

A third-person perspective is not such a bad thing, especially if they spend time with you two regularly. Perhaps you’re too in love or fixated on the idea of making it work. Pay heed to their advice and take a dispassionate view of the reality of your relationship. You may see that they’ve been right all along.

signs the breakup is for good

8. You’re settling and your outlook on life is compromised

You might find yourself in a cycle of disappointing relationships, dreading another round of heartbreak and another rough patch. The fear of loneliness at a certain life stage or the long history with your partner might make the idea of ending things daunting. But settling for less than you deserve also signals a need for a breakup. You should consider going your separate ways.

Everyone deserves a partner who values, loves, and cherishes them. While compromise is normal, sacrificing your values shouldn’t be part of it. Maintaining your core values matters; don’t surrender them just to stay together with someone who doesn’t feel the same way. A Reddit user rightly wrote, “A big problem is that some things basically can’t be compromised on. Things like whether to have children, changing religions, or wanting an open relationship are often simply irreconcilable differences, and you have to simply move on.”

Related Reading: How To Get Through A Breakup Alone?

9. Being belittled and insulted are signs you need to break up

To end a relationship with someone you love without hurting them can be hard. But in such a case, you must stand up for yourself and then walk out of this relationship. If your partner makes you feel like you’re good for nothing all the time, it’s not a relationship worth being in. It is one of the major signs a breakup is near. Here are a few examples of a lack of respect in the relationship:

  • Constantly brushing off your boundaries or personal space — it’s like saying your comfort doesn’t matter
  • Dismissing your feelings or not making you feel secure enough to express your emotions
  • Throwing insults or making mean comments — it’s disrespect packaged in hurtful words
  • Constantly giving the silent treatment or avoiding talks during fights. They basically shut you out when you’re trying to sort things out
  • Ignoring your core values and efforts or acting like your contributions don’t matter

This kind of attitude and treatment signals a lack of respect and is a form of emotional abuse. If there are other indicators such as verbal abuse or gaslighting phrases that they pepper conversations with, do not take them lightly. There is no reason for you to put up with it. This is one of the unmistakable signs you should break up with him or her.

10. You feel emotionally starved in the relationship

You may crave an affectionate touch, a reassuring word, or a loving gesture. Not only does your partner not fulfill these needs but you also see no way of communicating your expectations and desires to them in a way that’d get through to them. Any attempts at making yourself heard are either met with gaslighting or derision. The neglect might make you think “I want to break up with my boyfriend but I’m scared I’ll regret it” — just in case he starts treating you well again. 

Akanksha tells us, “Healthy communication is like oxygen in a relationship. If you are constantly feeling emotionally neglected, try to talk to them face to face. Try not to choose critical language, try not to use the word ‘you’ too much, and take responsibility for your emotions. If they are unable to hear you out and the conversation does not go well, it may be one of the signs to break up or bring in a counselor.”

Feeling unheard is not an option when you are dating somebody. This is one of the signs the breakup is for good. If despite being in a relationship you feel emotionally starved, there is no doubt that you need to end things.

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11. You’ve stopped caring and are avoiding intimacy

The absence of caring, not the presence of hatred, spells the demise of love in a relationship. Indifference signals the end of trying. When actions like flirting or late-night outings no longer stir jealousy or concern, it reveals a disinterest in the relationship’s course. It is reason enough for why you should break up. While intimacy isn’t everything, its significance in binding partners is undeniable. 

A study states, “Our results showed that those who perceived lower levels of reward during the relationship were more likely to experience a breakup.” It also says, “Although many couple therapies and interventions have focused on reducing threat perceptions and insecurities in a relationship, our findings make it clear that a key determinant of staying with a partner is the degree of reward that the relationship offers.”

Here, the lack of reward and intimacy has led to indifference. If the thought of intimacy repels you, and you’re actively working to avoid it, it’s a telltale sign it’s time to break up. Particularly if desires linger but sharing them with your partner feels unappealing. Also, indifference for each other’s well-being often speaks louder than hatred.

Akanksha advises:

  • Physical intimacy is not just sex. It includes endearing things like holding hands, hugging, or giving each other pecks
  • These are symbols of reassurance and show how much one is invested in a relationship
  • If there is a lack of intimacy or touch, there could indeed be trouble in paradise

Related Reading: 10 Noticeable Signs You Need To Let Go Of A Long-Distance Relationship

12. You should break up if you feel drawn to others, and not your partner

Have you developed feelings for a coworker? Are you leaning on an old friend for support more than your partner? Is “Are we going to break up?” a constant thought nowadays? If you’ve been feeling drawn to others and making plans to have your emotional or physical needs met from other spaces, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. You’re in big trouble, mister.

The important part is to realize your relationship is already over in essence. You’re just dragging it along until it comes apart. Recognize the signs you and your partner should not stay together anymore and give yourself a shot at promising new beginnings — the thoughts of which you have been entertaining for some time now already.

stories about breakup and loss

13. You fight and bicker all the time and you feel happier on your own

While disagreements are normal in relationships, a healthy pattern involves resolution and moving forward. Akanksha highlights, “Resentment and frustration fuel persistent arguments, creating a toxic cycle. If fights dominate your relationship without resolution, it’s a good sign for you to consider a breakup.”

A Reddit user shares, “The last 2 months of the relationship, I moved out to see if my mental health changed, and it got better. I could finally trust my thoughts, feelings, and intuition. Finally, we had a huge fight that lasted 4 hours and on my drive home, I called a friend. I asked her what I should do and she said ‘You already know what you need to do.’ So I broke up with him the next day.”

If your partner’s absence brings relief rather than longing, it may be a sign to do the right thing and end the relationship. Recognizing the difference between healthy spats and persistent discord is crucial in determining the state of your relationship.

Related Reading: How To End A Relationship On Good Terms

14. You don’t have any fun together

Consider the following questions before planning activities with your partner:

  • Do you often genuinely enjoy spending quality time with your partner?
  • Do you feel a sense of joy, laughter, and fulfillment during shared activities or conversations with your significant other?
  • When was the last time you engaged in an activity with your partner that made you feel happy, excited, and thoroughly entertained?
  • Do you frequently experience moments of genuine fun and lightheartedness in your relationship, or does it feel more strained and serious most of the time?

This absence of enjoyable moments could signal a fading connection, a worrying sign for the relationship’s future. It may be time to break up as holding onto memories from the honeymoon phase doesn’t sustain a bond.

Initially, having opposite personalities might not have looked like a significant fact amidst passion and attraction. However, as time passes, priorities shift. Longevity becomes uncertain if life goals, values, or fundamental needs clash. Recognizing these signs early on is crucial to prevent a deeper heartbreak. It’s vital to heed these red flags and consider a breakup rather than prolonging an incompatible relationship.

Related Reading: 7 Things No One Tells You About A Breakup

15. You’ve been thinking about breaking up

Do you find yourself wondering “Why do I keep thinking about breaking up with my boyfriend/girlfriend” more and more often? If you have been entertaining the thought of breaking up with your partner, there isn’t any room left for ambiguity and deliberations. Just rip the band-aid off. You will be doing yourself and your partner a huge favor. It is difficult to break up with someone you love without hurting them, which is probably why you have been putting it off. But the more you delay it, the more difficult it will become.

What Are The Good Reasons To Break Up With Someone You Love

You don’t have to make a pro and con list for this, but there are some things to ponder. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you love and care deeply for your partner, but something feels amiss? It’s often understood when love dwindles. But what about when love persists? Are there valid reasons to end a relationship even when that love remains strong? 

Even if you love someone and aren’t in any imminent danger from them, a relationship not working is as good as ended. In such circumstances, despite the presence of love, the missing elements can either validate the choice of working on the relationship or the difficult choice of parting ways for the sake of personal happiness and well-being.

Here are some of the reasons that might prove to you that it is time to let the relationship go despite being in love with your partner:

  • Diverging life goals: When your long-term aspirations and life directions significantly diverge, it can create an irreconcilable gap in the relationship’s future. Despite love, these differences may hinder a fulfilling journey together
  • Unhealthy dynamics: If the relationship turns toxic, involving patterns of abuse, manipulation, or continual disrespect, prioritizing your mental and emotional well-being becomes crucial. Love doesn’t justify enduring toxicity
  • Lack of mutual growth: A healthy relationship often fosters personal growth and support for individual aspirations. If the partnership stifles personal progress or fails to encourage mutual development, it might hinder your overall fulfillment and self-improvement
  • Core incompatibility: Sometimes, despite love, fundamental differences in values, beliefs, or lifestyle choices can make it challenging to sustain a harmonious and fulfilling relationship. These differences may strain the relationship, causing ongoing dissatisfaction
  • Emotional mismatch: Even with affection, emotional compatibility plays a crucial role. If there are unfulfilled needs or a significant disconnect in the expression/validation of feelings, emotional dissatisfaction may persist. This will impact the relationship’s overall health and satisfaction

Related Reading: How To Deal With Ending A Relationship While Pregnant

Key Pointers

  • Love alone isn’t always enough to sustain a relationship. Recognize when long-term goals diverge, toxicity arises, growth stalls, values clash, or the emotional connection fades. If most of these things happen, it’s time to break up
  • Love alone isn’t always enough to sustain a relationship. Recognize when long-term goals diverge, toxicity arises, growth stalls, values clash, or the emotional connection fades. If most of these things happen, it’s time to break up
  • Red flags include doing all the relationship work alone, treating your partner with disrespect, or feeling emotionally starved — these signs warrant a serious evaluation of your bond
  • Listen to your intuition and the perspectives of loved ones. If thoughts of breakup linger, it might signal the need for personal happiness and a healthier relationship path

There are a million reasons that many couples come together to form relationships. And a million reasons that people stay in relationships and make it work. No matter the circumstances, the fear of being alone or starting over from scratch shouldn’t be one of them. There is never a good time to break up but if you can relate to a majority of these signs, it’s best to act now and make the right decision. Your relationship will inevitably come to an end one way or the other.

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