10 Signs Your Relationship Is Over And Here’s How To Deal With The Next Phase

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How do you know when your relationship is really over? Nine times out of ten, the warning signs are present but we live in denial and refuse to accept the reality. Ending a relationship is hard, and getting over it is even harder. When you part ways with the person with whom you shared your life, things are bound to get emotionally messy. But at some point, you have to acknowledge the obvious and begin the process of healing.

Kimber T. Barber astutely said, “The loss of love is not nearly as painful as our resistance to accepting it is.” Keep this in mind as you read about the signs your relationship is over. At this moment, everything might seem bleak as you will go through the ‘why me’ phase but trust me, every next person has felt the same at least once in their lifetime. You just need to make space for a few life-altering epiphanies to fathom the depth of your situation.

Have you deeply pondered what harm this emotional distance from your partner is causing to your mental health? How much are you sacrificing to stay in this relationship? Once you do, you may feel differently and try to break the news to your partner. To guide you there, we have with us ​counseling psychologist and researcher Megha Gurnani (MS Clinical Psychology, UK), who’s currently pursuing her second masters in organizational psychology in the USA, and specializes in relationships, parenting, and mental health issues.

How Do You Know When Your Relationship is Really Over?

Every couple goes through relationship rough patches that are hard to navigate. Things can’t be sunshine and rainbows all the time. But when the differences become irreconcilable when the partners can’t see the relationship going anywhere, and when they are drifting apart like two icebergs – it is normal to wonder, “Are these signs it’s over?”

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The instinctive response of a partner is holding on to the relationship even tighter. How can we as consenting adults who chose to be in a romantic relationship accept that it is about to end? The aftermath is terrifying to consider, especially in the case of a serious relationship. So, what are the signs your long-term relationship is over? And no matter how heartbreaking it seems, when do you really know that you need to call it quits?

  • Both physical intimacy and emotional connection take a serious hit
  • You’re constantly fighting about even the smallest things
  • They are not your friend anymore and you don’t feel the same excitement in sharing your happiness with them like before
  • You begin to find your partner clingy and look for excuses to not spend time with them
  • It seems like the trust factor in the relationship is gone and there’s nothing you can do about it
  • The spark in the relationship is over. Your time spent together isn’t as fun or romantic as it used to be

If you resonate with one or more of these, it cannot be a harbinger of good news for your relationship. According to Megha, the most important sign your relationship is not working out anymore is when you stop trusting the other person and stop thinking about them altogether.

She says, “It may sound very simple but if you really look for these two factors, a bunch of other relationship challenges will become apparent to you. A lot of times when people start dissociating from each other, this is how the journey begins. They don’t understand each other and refuse to put each other in the other person’s shoes. So if you want to do a litmus test, trust and empathy are what you need to sustain a relationship.”

Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips To Cope With Depression After Breakup

10 Signs Your Relationship Is Probably Ending Soon

Each relationship is unique and has its own trajectory – with all the ups and downs, it’s a roller-coaster ride itself. But there are a few common indicators of fading emotional connection that each bond exhibits when it has reached a dead-end. Calibrating when to end a relationship? Go through the upcoming points with a clear mind and objectively evaluate if your relationship is exhibiting any of the signs that it’s almost over. You will have your answer:

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1. You have a gut feeling

A reader from Milwaukee wrote, “I was uneasy for the longest time before my relationship actually ended. And there was no way to put a finger on it. I didn’t even do much about my discomfort but accepted that the end was inevitable. That mental agitation was my first clue to eventually figure out that things would not last.”

Breakups, like fingerprints, are individual, unique, and different. However, people usually feel an upcoming breakup in their bones. This feeling could be prompted by the specific actions of your partner (like cheating, lying, abuse), but in most cases, there is no tangible proof. Then how to know if your relationship is over? Your intuition tells you that this partnership is going downhill and you relate to Dean Koontz when he says, “Intuition is seeing with the soul.”

2. You’re lying to each other

This is one of the most important signs your relationship is over. When either one of you begins to lie in the relationship for whatever reason, the relationship stinks of toxicity. After sharing an intimate space, lying or withholding information is a way of creating distance. This distance, though not created deliberately, is a crack in the pavement that will grow over time. These lies can be of two kinds. Trivial details about your whereabouts and major life incidents like losing a job or having an affair.

In either case, they corrode the foundations of trust in the relationship and cause pain to both partners. Our relationship expert says, “More often than not people lie when they are afraid of the other person’s reaction to the truth and they want to avoid another conflict/confrontation. So it’s just easier to hide or modify the truth. Lying indicates so many things. It signals to a third person that things are going off between this couple. And it definitely points at the slow drifting of two partners.”

Signs that you relationship is over
Listen to your body for the signs it’s over

3. Your partner tries to isolate you

It could be from your family, your close friends, or your colleague. One way or another, they might try to detach you from the people who happen to be your strongest support system and it’s one of the signs your long-term relationship is over. If your partner is outright ordering you to cut off all contacts with your best friend or asking you to quit your job, it sure spells doom for your relationship.

People with a streak of manipulation may go to the extent to convince you that your family is against you when in actuality, it’s them who are the root of the problem. Megha agrees with us on this, “When your partner is pulling you away from your circle of people, it clearly says that they can’t be good for you. Sometimes, with partners who are abusive in a very manipulative way, it can be hard to identify how toxic they are. But this one is a major sign that this relationship will die a tragic death.”

4. When do you know a relationship is over? There is an unavoidable space between you two

A surefire way of knowing you need to wrap things up is when your partner is not your go-to person anymore. They are not your safe space and you don’t feel the need to discuss your problems with them. Maybe both of you still share your achievements and accomplishments. You call each other and give basic updates. But it is quite evident that the priorities in the relationship have shifted from companionship to personal space.

We asked Megha whether it’s possible that the relationship is failing when two partners enjoy their me-time more than being together and she says, “Yes and no. It depends from person to person, their personality, and their relationship dynamics.” She shares an observation:

“I have seen couples who are pretty comfortable spending time on their own for almost 80% of the day and they might just need their partner when they come together to sleep at night. Perhaps one person is an introvert and the other person understands they need more time and space for themselves to feel energetic. So it might really work out for them not being in each other’s company all the time.”

“Granted, everyone needs their own space even in a relationship or a marriage. But if your partner tries to reach out to you during that time (perhaps they call you or come to see you) and you find it irritating, that’s a matter of concern. A partner entering your time and space shouldn’t throw you so much or give you such a negative reaction and if it does that’s how you know your relationship is over,” adds Megha.

Related Reading: 21 Signs You Should Break Up For Good

5. The end of rituals is a sign that your relationship is over

In the New York Times’ Modern Love column, there was an essay by a man whose wife used to cut his hair until he came out as gay and their marriage ended. The essay recounts the last haircut she gave after their breakup. They both decided then, that parting ways were the wise thing to do.

Having that morning tea, kissing when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s, going to the hill station every year; relationships are made of rituals and feel-good traditions. When such rituals end, though not always so amicably, it does confirm the end of a relationship. They portray that the shared blocks of life are being taken apart step by step.

6. Your relationship has become a fighting and shouting show

The clear sign of a relationship ending is when you’re miserable together instead of cherishing your ‘happily ever after’. When the fights and showdowns start to weigh more than the kisses and conversations, it’s a sign of trouble in your paradise. And don’t get me wrong, having arguments is normal. It is healthy up to an extent too.

But bickering constantly, nagging each other and being disrespectful just goes to show that you should call it quits. When do you know a relationship is over, you ask? Megha says, “Any good psychologist will tell you that it’s when you find it more enjoyable or comforting to confide in and speak to other people and with your partner, every conversation turns into a fight. It’s an indicator that you either didn’t pick the right partner from the beginning or maybe it’s a recent development. But it still is a sign.”

More on breakup and loss

7. Talking about a breakup more frequently

When you or your partner talk about breaking up, and not in a dark humor kind of way, it might be a premonition. If thoughts of ending the relationship have been frequenting your mind, then that’s one of the clearest signs your relationship is over. This becomes all the more true if your knee-jerk reaction to fights is breaking up with each other. When leaving each other is a topic that comes up more often than it should, perhaps it’s time to do just that.

Related Reading: Men vs Women – 5 Differences In How They Handle A Breakup

8. How do you know when a relationship is over? By introspecting

If you haven’t already broken up and are confused, ask yourself, “Why am I in this relationship? What would I be without it?” The answers to these can be a big help. If you’re afraid to initiate the breakup, then understand that not wanting to be alone isn’t a good enough reason to be with someone. Your relationship is unhealthy if this is its foundation.

My aunt used to say something I’ve followed like a touchstone, “I will not end up being married to someone I barely tolerate, just because I don’t want to be lonely for two hours every evening.” Radical as she may sound, it is worth noting that marrying someone just because you need them to keep you company for a while is selfish, and unfair to both of you.

9. When kindness has left the building

Being kind to each other is fundamental in a relationship. When you cease to be empathetic, compassionate, and kind toward your partner, you just know the relationship is heading south. You used to share your hearts, your bodies, and your souls with each other. And now that nasty language and behavior have taken the place of the love notes, it sure indicates that this bond is broken.

We asked Megha to share her insights on how partners treat each other toward the end of a relationship and how it should ideally be. She says, “The amount of respect and courteousness depends on the level of maturity they have. Even when you know that this is not working out but the fact that you have shared so much history should make you more polite.

When a relationship ends and two people are dividing the assets and the things that they shared, how judiciously they manage that process depends on how emotionally mature they are. It’s fairly common for people to bicker, to call each other names, to suddenly paint the other person as the villain in their life. But if you were to ask me what we should be aiming for, I would say an emotionally mature response with just as much attention, effort, and respect paid as required.”

10. If you’re happy and you know it, it’s a sign your relationship is over

Knowing it is over may not always be a sad thing. Sometimes some old, broken relationships drag people down. Knowing that you both are not carrying that load anymore can be a liberating feeling. Being happy without each other, without ill feelings, are signs it’s over. Yet how wonderful it was while it lasted! Cherish the memories and honor the relationships, but rejoice in the possibilities open before you.

signs your long term relationship is over
Sometimes breakups can be liberating and bring you peace

How to break it to your partner that The relationship is not working

Now, that you have undeniable proof that your relationship is not exactly going on the track that you wanted, it’s time to have ‘the talk’. Yes, nobody is thrilled about this part, especially if you were in a long, committed relationship, but here’s an obligation that you can’t avoid. And to make sure you have the conversation the right way, we have a few quick tips:

DosDon’ts
Rip off the bandaid and tell your partner is overDon’t keep procrastinating the talk because you are afraid of breaking their heart or dreading the loneliness after the breakup
Always do it in person unless you feel unsafe around them or you think they don’t deserve any more of your time Don’t break up over a text or phone call
Tell them why you want a breakup although maybe not so explicitly that can affect their self-esteemDon’t leave them hanging without a proper closure
Finish it once and for allDon’t offer false hopes that can make them think that there’s still a chance for you two to patch up

How To Cope With A Relationship Coming To End?

Everything said and done, there’s only one matter of discussion left for us – to give you a roadmap to navigate the ending of a relationship. Megha happens to think, “When people are separating, they should consider having one last conversation that gives them closure. People often use it as an excuse to meet their ex again and again to prolong the breakup. I am not suggesting that.

“What I mean is that when you have that conversation, you actually go over the relationship and talk about the good and the bad and the ugly. And you do that in a way so it doesn’t make you feel emotionally reactive.” On that note, we believe, the following pointers are worth keeping in mind. And if you need a little push to move on, help is just a click away.

Counseling on breakup issues on bonobology.com
  • Grieve the way you want. You want to cry an ocean or take off from work for a few days, whatever works for you
  • Be gentle with yourself and don’t feel weak for giving in to the pain
  • Don’t prolong the grieving phase after a breakup, otherwise, it will be difficult to get back to normal life
  • Locking yourself in is probably not a good idea. Meet your friends and family and vent about your suppressed feelings
  • Slowly take charge of your life again, one step at a time
  • Remember it’s not the end of the world

Key Pointers

  • When trust and empathy take off from a relationship, it’s probably over
  • You don’t feel any physical intimacy or emotional connection with your partner anymore
  • There are frequent fights and you express your wish to break up repeatedly
  • You don’t turn to your partner with your problems or share any happy thoughts and other people take that place
  • If you feel happy with the prospect of not being in this relationship, it’s time to end things for good

Hopefully, we could offer you some clarity on ‘how do you know when your relationship is really over’ and the stages coming after. If you’re contemplating ending things with your partner, don’t stall, and just do it. You know how you feel, and you can identify the indications of a wrecked relationship. Just because you’re not with someone, doesn’t mean you are alone. There’s plenty of fish in the sea!

The article was originally published in 2018 and has now been updated.

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Readers Comments On “10 Signs Your Relationship Is Over And Here’s How To Deal With The Next Phase”

  1. Manjari Thakur

    In any relationship we invest our heart in, we do receive the signs of its success or failure. Deep inside our heart is capable of reading these signs. But we chose to deny them. And when we ignore the subtle signs , they keep getting bigger and more concrete. And the day comes we are in a situation where it is no longer to ignore them, because in the course of ignoring them, we keep on adding damage to our own being. That’s why it is important to be aware of such signs, and even more important is to pay attention to what they are trying to convey. It is a very important and insightful article. Thank you for penning this. 🙂

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