Breaking up isn’t hard, it is brutal. That’s why so many of us hold on to bad relationships, settling for less than we deserve, clinging on 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, things seldom work out well in the long run.
Yes, it is hard to go back to the single life again and you are probably avoiding all the signs you need to break up because you don’t want to start over again. Getting back into the dating scene, going on 10 first dates or 50, finding someone new, figuring them out, doing the whole see-where-it-goes dance, and then, falling in love all over again. Just the thought of it can be exhausting. But if that’s why you’re staying in a relationship, you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.
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 what are the signs you and your partner should break up so that you can both take a step toward reclaiming your happiness.
And to take that step toward realization, 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. How do you know when it’s time to split up? We can tell you.
21 Signs You Should Break Up For Good
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 issues. In that case, how do you decide if your issues and differences warrant a parting of ways? What are the signs you should break up?
This dilemma can weigh on the mind of anyone who has been contemplating whether to stay or move on. To put an end to your confusion, here are 21 clear signs you should break up for good:
Related Reading: 11 Practical Tips To Get Over Someone Fast
1. You’re holding on to 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 living in the past, holding on 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 looking forward to in the future.
This kind of hollowness is among the first signs you should break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend. You deserve to be with someone with whom every moment is worth seizing and holding on it.
2. You’re walking on eggshells
Often, to find the signs you should break up with him or her, you need to look within rather than at your partner or your relationship. 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?
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. It’s best to let go and build a life where your true persona can thrive.
3. You resent each other
Perhaps, you or your partner or the both of you have done 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. If your relationship is marked by ‘why should I do this, when they can’t even do that’ it indicates that you’re trapped inside the walls of resentment and it could be one of the signs to break up with him.
Akanksha tells us, “Resentment is a very unpleasant emotion because of ruminating about the past and emotional baggage that you are holding onto. In relationships, dwelling on the past can lead to an emotional buildup further causing resentment. This can lead to passive-aggressive behaviors and as if you want to mentally punish your partner. Picking flaws, focussing on the shortcomings of the relationship, keeping scores of each other’s faults are all consequences of resentment.”
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 a long-term relationship, this is one thing to take note of.
4. You’ve been doing the on-again-off-again dance
Another of the classic signs you should break up with your boyfriend is that you keep breaking up and getting back together. Or simply taking a break from the relationship. While it’s understandable that a couple may need some distance when they’re working through a difficult situation, 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. Perhaps you don’t even know what the issue exactly 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 out, parting ways is the next best thing to do.
Related Reading: 13 Signs A Relationship Is Ending
5. You’ve been doing all the work in the relationship
Yes, relationships require a constant and consistent effort from both partners. However, if you feel as if the onus of making an effort to keep the relationship afloat falls on your squarely, then it is definitely not a healthy sign. Maybe you are always the one double texting them or calling them after a long day to check up on them. Perhaps you feel neglected by them because the least they can do is show up to a date on time.
Such a relationship dynamic is bound to leave you exhausted and at your wit’s end at some point. When that happens, you’ll snap. And it won’t be pretty from thereon. Why not stop stretching yourself thin now rather than wait to hit that breaking point?
6. You’ve cheated or been cheated upon
Cheating in a relationship isn’t limited to one of the partners sleeping around with someone else. From emotional to financial infidelity, there are so many ways romantic partners can breach each other’s trust. It can be hard to rebuild a relationship after a transgression of this nature.
Akanksha sheds light on how infidelity can indeed destroy a relationship. She says, “It is difficult to rebuild a relationship after an episode of cheating because trust is a key component in relationships. Once broken, it becomes very challenging to rebuild trust. Taking that gamble is always really scary for a person and this uncertainty can lead to fear and heightened anxiety.
“This is why in such a case, it may be better to just part ways and is one of the signs you need to break up. Fear can be important but it should not have such a stronghold over you.” Some cracks almost always remain. If that has caused you to drift apart, it’s best to get on with your respective lives than to keep trying hard and be miserable together.
7. You don’t trust each other
Cheating is just one of the reasons behind a lack of trust in a relationship. Chronic lying and hiding things from each other can also instill mistrust between partners. Trust is one of the most important pillars on which a healthy relationship is built.
In its absence, you possibly cannot find peace and harmony with each other. Any relationship that’s devoid of these elements is bound to come crumbling down like a house of cards. Been looking for signs you should break up with your girlfriend? Then take note of this as one of the signs you and your partner should break up and don’t prolong your misery.
8. Your friends and family have been telling you so
How do you know when it’s time to split up with your partner? Well, consider turning to those you love. For anyone wondering what are signs you should break up with your partner, this is a tell-tale indicator to pay attention to. Your family and friends love you dearly and have your best interests at heart. 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. Perhaps because 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 well see that they’ve been right all along.
Related Reading: How To Get Through A Breakup Alone?
9. How do you know when it’s time to split up? You’re settling
Maybe you’ve had a string of bad relationships and don’t want to go through yet another episode of having to deal with heartbreak. Perhaps, you’re reaching a certain age milestone, and the idea of being alone at this stage of life freaks you out. Or you’ve been together so long that you don’t see a life without your partner.
Whatever be the reason, if you’re settling for less than you think you deserve, it’s one of the signs you should break up. You deserve to be with someone who makes you feel loved, valued and cherished. There is no room for consolation prizes in relationships.
10. Your outlook on life is compromised
While every relationship requires some compromise and adjustment, a line must be drawn on how far you’re willing to bend over backward to make it work. Making a relationship work at the cost of your values and beliefs toward life is undoubtedly crossing that line.
Maybe your partner casually makes sexist jokes that make your skin crawl. Or they handle their money with such imprudence that it drives you to the wall. These core differences in your outlooks toward life are bound to take a toll on your relationship. Even more so, if your partner expects you to shun your beliefs and align with theirs. Don’t lose yourself to love another person. Find an out.
11. Being belittled and insulted are signs you need to break up
To break up 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. Let’s say you’ve spent a Sunday afternoon cooking dinner for your friends and when you all sit down to eat, your partner starts picking on your cooking skills. Finding faults with whatever you’ve prepared and making jokes at your expense.
This kind of attitude and treatment signals a lack of respect. If there are other indicators such as verbal abuse or gaslighting phrases that they pepper constantly, 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.
12. You feel emotionally starved
You may crave an affectionate touch, a reassuring word, a loving gesture. Not only does your partner not fulfill these needs but also you 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.
Akanksha tells us, “Communication is like oxygen in a relationship. If you are 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 with him or bring in a counselor.”
Feeling unheard is not an option when you are dating somebody. If despite being in a relationship you feel emotionally starved, there is no doubt that you need to walk away.
13. You’ve stopped caring
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference in a relationship. Nothing kills a relationship quicker than an indifferent attitude on the part of one or both partners. It’s a sign that you have tried and are close to giving up on your love.
Let’s say your partner is flirting with someone and it doesn’t make your insides turn with jealousy and insecurity. Or your partner is out drinking with their buddies till dawn and you don’t even bother to call and check on them. It’s a clear sign that you no longer care what becomes of your relationship but are too bogged down to take a step toward breaking free.
14. Avoiding intimacy is one of the signs you need to break up
Intimacy isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of a relationship but it is an important thread that binds two partners together and keeps them close. If the thought of making love to your partner puts you off and you do everything in your power to avoid being intimate with them, it’s one of the most obvious signs you should break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
Even more so if it’s not your libido that’s to blame. You may still experience desires and fantasies, but you just don’t want to fulfill them with your partner.
Akanksha advises, “Physical intimacy is also not just sex but even includes endearing things like holding hands, hugging or giving each other pecks. These are symbols of reassurance and how much one is invested in a relationship. But if there is a lack of intimacy or touch, there could indeed be trouble in paradise.”
15. You feel drawn to others
Have you developed feelings for a coworker? Are you leaning on an old friend for support more than your partner? When you start feeling drawn to others to have your emotional or physical needs met, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. You’re in big trouble, mister.
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 break up and give yourself a shot at promising new beginnings. The thoughts of which you have been entertaining for some time now already.
16. Feeling happier on your own is one of the signs to break up with him
Say your partner texts to tell you that they’re going to be late again or inform you that they’re going out of town for work. If instead of disappointment over how much you’d miss them, you feel awash with a sense of relief at how having to deal with them, your relationship is pretty much done for. Might as well make it official.
17. You’re forcing your emotions
Do you struggle to say ‘I love you’ to your partner? Have you ever told them ‘I missed you’ without meaning it? Does speaking to or spending time with your partner feel like a chore? If you found yourself nodding to these questions, your relationship has become an obligation rather than a sought-after part of your life.
How long can you go about forcing and faking emotions? And why should you? Isn’t being happy the whole point of being with someone? If that aspect has become redundant in your relationship, consider it your answer to ‘what are signs you should break up’.
18. Signs you should break up with your girlfriend? You fight and bicker all the time
But don’t all couples fight, you ask? Yes, all couples do, and arguments in relationships can be healthy too. But a key difference between healthy and toxic fighting patterns is that in the former arguing and bickering isn’t all that couples do. They fight, they make up, they bury the hatchet and move on.
Akanksha suggests, “Resentment, negative thoughts and frustration play a big role in starting arguments. These can lead to major triggers that can be very difficult to deal with.” If you and your partner have been caught in an incessant loop of fights, consider it among the signs you should break up a long-term relationship.
Related Reading: How To End A Relationship On Good Terms
19. You don’t have any fun together
When was the last time you and your SO enjoyed a peaceful evening, chilling together, just talking, laughing, making out, and then talking and laughing some more? Can’t seem to recall? Does this take you back to those days from the honeymoon phase that you’re holding on to for dear life?
The inability to enjoy each other’s company is a worrying sign that your connection is either lost or withering away. Staying together doesn’t make much sense in such circumstances.
20. How do you know when it’s time to split up? You’re incompatible
Perhaps, you’ve always known that you and your partner have completely opposite personalities. However, in those initial days driven by lust, passion and attraction, it didn’t seem to matter much. So, you got together and started a relationship anyway.
As time passes by, passion and lust take a back seat. If your life goals, values, fundamental needs aren’t aligned, you cannot make your relationship last in the long haul. Pay attention to the signs you should break up now to avoid a much more severe heartbreak later.
Related Reading: 7 Things No One Tells You About A Breakup
21. You’ve been thinking about breaking up
If you have been entertaining the thoughts 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. To break up with someone you love without hurting them is difficult which is probably why you have been putting it off. But the more you delay it, the more difficult it will become.
There are a million different reasons why people come together to form relationships. And a million different reasons why people stay in relationships and make it work, no matter what the circumstances. The fear of being alone or starting over from scratch isn’t one of them. If you can relate to a majority of these signs you should break up, it’s best to act now. Your relationship will inevitably come to an end one way or the other.