In a long-term relationship, people tend to get comfortable with each other. You deal with each other’s annoying nuances, and you might have even learned to overlook their toxic habits that you couldn’t wish away. However, it’s because of that comfort that it gets difficult to spot the signs a relationship is over.
When the spark dies down, you blame it on the length of the relationship. When the conversations die down, you probably assume it’s a byproduct of knowing everything about your partner. Even when a sense of indifference takes over, accepting that your relationship is ending isn’t easy.
When the signs your relationship is over stare right back at you, you’ll be forced to look them dead in the eye. Before you do that, you need to know what’s normal and what isn’t. With the help of the signs we list out, you’ll be able to answer the question: “How to tell if a long-term relationship is over?”
18 Subtle Signs A Relationship Is Over
The first sign your relationship is over could be these words: We are not the same people anymore. Or it’s not you, it’s me. We don’t want to pay attention to the telltale signs but they are always there.
Relationships can get complicated. What’s normal for one couple probably isn’t normal for you (Mathew and Jasmine share their toothbrush, you can’t even fathom sharing the bathroom). What becomes a problem for one isn’t a problem for the other, and where one says they can “fight through it”, the other clearly sees the toxicity.
In most cases, the signs a relationship is over are right there for you to see. It can be as simple as the fact that you stop sharing things with each other. But when the comfort takes hold, you dismiss his anger issues by telling yourself, “That’s just what he’s like.” Or, you may dismiss her trust issues by thinking you’ve got to “deal with it”. These are some brutally honest truths about long-term relationships.
When it all piles up, the relationship burnout you feel can cause significant harm to your mental (or physical) health. So, can you feel when a relationship is over? With the help of the following signs, you’ll pretty much be forced to. Let’s take a look at what they are:
1. When communication feels like a chore, it’s a sign your long-term relationship is over
If you are wondering, “Is my long-term relationship over?”, this is one of the first telltale signs. You’re probably not staying up the entire night anymore, talking about why his Uncle Jerry never takes his overalls off or why the family problems she has never seem to go away. After a few years, pulling all-nighters just to talk isn’t expected anyway.
However, when communicating with your partner starts to feel like a chore, when you can’t be bothered to indulge in a fight because it seems so useless, you probably need to accept that your relationship is ending.
Related Reading: 25 Most Common Relationship Problems
2. There’s a lack of emotional intimacy
“I can see he doesn’t feel like having engaging conversations with me anymore,” Leah told us, talking about how her 9-year long relationship seems to be falling off the rails. She adds, “I noticed the signs the relationship is over for him when he couldn’t find anything to talk about with me on our first “date” after 3 years.
“All he talked about was what needed fixing around the house, what he did to the lawn, and how the basement needed a fix-up. By this point, I can’t remember the last time I had a heart-to-heart conversation with him.”
One of the biggest signs a relationship is over is when you can’t seem to share your feelings and desires with each other, and the emotional intimacy suffers as a result.
3. You feel burned out
Burnout is caused by a prolonged period of stress that harms a person’s mental state. It instills a sense of emotional exhaustion, when you feel hopelessly trapped, unmotivated about the future, and may get sick of your partner even if they’re not clingy or needy.
It’s one of those situations that you think will be fixed by a few weeks away from your partner, but the sense of feeling “trapped” or always being drained because of your partner will find its way back. You are feeling relationship drained. And this is one of the warning signs that your relationship might be over.
4. You’re always fighting
If you’ve turned into the couple that fights in the middle of the mall every time you two go out and can’t seem to come to a common ground, it’s not something you can overlook. Every conversation turns into a fight, every difference in opinion is a relationship deal-breaker, and every attempt at banter is an attack.
If after a few hours of not arguing, you’re worried about conversing with your partner lest you incite a fight, it’s one of the biggest signs a relationship is over.
5. Your partner isn’t the first person you call in an emergency or celebration
When it starts to feel like your personal achievements have become irrelevant to your relationship, it signifies a lack of emotional intimacy. When something unfortunate happens and your partner isn’t your go-to person to call in the event of an emergency, it indicates that you think you can’t rely on them.
It’s okay to share some news with another friend first if that friend is more invested or knows more about the situation. However, when every piece of good news seems like it’s not worth sharing, you’ve basically answered the question: “How to tell if a long-term relationship is over?”
6. You’re thinking about someone else
Having a crush on someone while you’re in a relationship is normal. You might feel guilty for it but as long as it doesn’t take over your life or negatively impacts your primary relationship, it isn’t a problem.
However, when the grass looks green enough for you to want to jump the fence, it’s a problem. If you can’t stop thinking about a new crush or someone you’re interested in, you may need to reassess your feelings. Always wanting to talk to someone else over your partner more often than not signals that your heart isn’t in the relationship anymore.
7. Trust issues have cropped up
Whether your relationship has always been plagued by insecurities and trust issues, or if they were brought on by an episode of infidelity or betrayal, trust issues can wreak havoc. The constant questioning and insecurities can chip away at the foundation of your bond. The tough times that never seem to end can be one of the warning signs.
Can you feel that the relationship is close to being over? Yes, you can, especially when it feels like your partner is always hiding something from you, it piles up and eventually leads to extreme distrust. In such situations, you’re only going to feel a growing sense of hostility, not love.
8. You don’t know what the problem is
You both know you’re fighting every single day. You both see how you’re drifting apart. But when it comes to a diagnosis, you’re firing blanks. You are feeling confused. If one person thinks the biggest problem is the lack of communication and the other believes it’s the jealousy that’s ruining the relationship, you’re never going to be able to work on it together.
Related Reading: 9 Signs Of Complacency In A Relationship
9. You’re in it because you don’t want to be single
Or for any other external reason. “We can’t do that to the kids” or “There’s a lot of financial stability” are things you might tell yourself. When external factors such as these become the primary reasons that you’re choosing to stay in a relationship, it’s one of the biggest signs a relationship is over.
Of course, nobody wants a major disruption in their comfortable life. But if you know if you’ll be happier without your partner than you are with them, you need to reconsider how important those external factors are.
10. Your partner feels like a roommate
Much as you would conduct yourself around a roommate, you’ve become superficially polite with your partner. You aren’t emotionally intimate with each other, you don’t share your true feelings, and you don’t check in on each other. Is my long-term relationship over if my partner seems more like a friend? Yes, it definitely is!
If you’re looking for signs the relationship is over for her, it’s when she’d much rather share her feelings with anyone but you. As for him, it’s the same: when he’d rather bottle all his emotions up than be vulnerable with you.
11. You’ve lost yourself
In an attempt to mold yourself to become the person your partner wanted you to be, you might have lost a sense of self. It may start to feel like your partner expects you to be a different person than you actually are, which can very quickly start to get exhausting.
As one of the major signs a relationship is over, it is going to manifest through dissatisfaction with the person you have become and may lead to a state of relationship burnout as well.
12. You find reasons to not be with each other
After a stressful day at work, coming home to an argumentative partner is the last thing you’d ever want. Before you know it, you’re taking all your grocery store trips alone, spending all your weekends with your friends, and you’re always inviting family over so you don’t have to be alone with your partner.
When the thought of having to spend time with your partner seems draining, it’s one of the signs the relationship is over for him/her.
13. You don’t want to grow with your partner anymore
At the beginning of a blossoming new relationship, you’re dreaming up a future together with your partner, complete with your own suburban house and the ability to overcome obstacles you face together.
However, when a sense of dread takes over, “growing” or “changing” with your partner doesn’t seem appealing anymore. You’d much rather grow in your own direction since you already know you’re not that invested in this connection anymore.
14. Resentment is one of the biggest signs a relationship is over
With a lack of emotional intimacy and communication comes a sense of lingering resentment. Resentment in a marriage can accumulate due to your needs or wants not being met, incompatibility, or taking each other for granted.
Once the animosity wavers in the air, it’s going to feel like you’re both always on edge. It won’t be an exaggeration to claim that you’ll probably take a sort of pleasure in hurting each other, since you’ve convinced yourself you’re taking “revenge”.
15. Your goals couldn’t be further apart
What once started out with a common goal can change trajectories when you both navigate life together. It is normal because people change. If one of you changes their mind about having kids or if you find yourself consumed by work, the difference in opinions can lead to the relationship faltering.
What’s heartbreaking is that of all the signs a relationship is over (or getting there), this one can also signify the weakening of an otherwise healthy bond. On paper, love, trust, and mutual respect may be in abundance, but the difference in future goals and opinions will make it extremely hard to be with each other.
Related Reading: 18 Long-Distance Relationship Problems You Should Know
16. You never laugh together
A relationship is more than compassion and support. Unless you have fun with your partner like you used to, you’re not going to want to engage in many conversations with them. One of the major signs a relationship is over is when you can’t remember the last time you shared a genuine laugh with your partner or made a memory that brings a smile to your face.
17. You’re constantly apologizing
For things that are not your fault, for the way you are, or for the external things that go wrong, “Every time I spoke in a friendly manner with a male friend, he’d go berserk. I knew he had insecurity issues right from the beginning, but I never expected him to lash out at me in such a manner,” Jessica told us.
When she was constantly belittled for the way she’d talk, dress, or behaved with people, Jessica knew this relationship had turned toxic for her mental health. It was one of the clear signs the relationship is over for her, and she had already mentally clocked out.
18. You don’t respect each other anymore
Perhaps your values have changed, or you’ve realized that your partner isn’t as generous as you thought they were. When a lack of respect takes hold in the relationship, it’s never going to feel like a union of two equals.
There will be power struggles, unequal reciprocity, and a few (or a few dozen) harsh words thrown around.
- Long-term relationships can also come to an end due to many issues
- With time, intimacy fades away, which can cause a relationship to end
- Unable to communicate and understand each other can be a sign your relationship is nearing an end
- Losing respect and trust in each other is also a sign
Now that you know that the signs a relationship is over don’t necessarily look like what you thought they did, it’s possible you’ve got a big decision to make. If it feels like this information is overwhelming and is negatively affecting your mental health, perhaps a mental health therapist can help.
If it’s the help you’re looking for, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can come to your aid. Whatever decision you come to, it’s pertinent to remember that accepting your relationship is ending doesn’t mean your life is as well. You’re more than your significant other’s partner, and you’ve got to put yourself first. Good luck!
This article was updated in November 2022
Resentment, dishonesty, jealousy, and lack of communication are some signs of a broken relationship. If you and your partner have started becoming toxic to each other, you should know that this is a relationship with cracks in it.
When two people belong with each other, they have a certain level of mutual respect, trust, and agreement on future plans. If you and your partner do not have that, you are probably not meant for each other.
When you stop feeling intimate toward them, when you don’t feel like spending time with them, or simply dislike their personality and presence, it is time to realize that you are not in love anymore.