When You Need To Walk Away From A Relationship? 11 Signs That Indicate It’s Time

when to walk away from a relationship

A lot has been said and written about falling in love but seldom do we know about how to unlove someone. It can get very confusing to understand when to walk away from a relationship. All couples have their conflicts but how does one know if those problems are worth giving up on your partner?

It is not easy to call it quits on someone who means the world to you. Falling in love can make you blind to the red flags and you may be in denial about how your relationship is doing you more harm than good. This is why walking away from someone you love becomes an act that you may not necessarily want but something that you definitely need.

11 Signs To Know When To Walk Away From A Relationship

As human beings, we resist change because uncertainty makes us feel uncomfortable. This is the reason we stay in relationships even when we have fallen out of love because we don’t want to face the grief that comes attached with the act of letting go. Or, we mistake love to be something that has to be painful, and even if the relationship causes trauma, we don’t quit it in the name of love. 

So it becomes important to draw the line between what is love and what is not. Believe it or not, walking away from a relationship can sometimes be as cathartic as quitting a bad habit like smoking. So, here are some clear signs that can aid in knowing when to walk away.

Related Reading: 12 Tips To End A Toxic Relationship With Dignity

1. Walking away from someone you love who is abusive

Physical, mental, sexual, verbal or/and emotional abuse are all signs you should stay away from someone. If you are not treated well, it can hamper your relationship with your own self in multiple ways.

You may not just lose your sense of self-esteem but also end up damaging your mental health. If there is a lack of mutual respect in your relationship, and you both don’t make each other feel good about yourselves, it is a clear sign that your bond is unhealthy.

knowing when to walk away
Any form of physical, verbal or emotional abuse is a major red flag

2. Feeling of suffocation

If the idea of commitment feels like a burden to you and you feel stifled by an over-possessive partner, it is better to walk away from him/her. 

A little jealousy and possessiveness are natural but if your partner tries to control every aspect of your life, then it is extremely unhealthy. If they keep asking for your passwords and are constantly jealous when you hang out with people other than them, you are in a dominating relationship.

3. When to walk away from a relationship? Look for the red flag of Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where a person makes you question your own reality. If your partner manipulates you into believing that you are oversensitive or overreacting every time you try to show them your true feelings, they are gaslighting you. 

Gaslighting can affect you in several ways, from anxiety to you not being able to trust yourself anymore. It will lead to trust issues with not just your partner but with your own self too. 

Related Reading: Gaslighting In Relationships – 7 Expert Tips To Identify And 5 Ways To End It

4. You feel lost and numb often

A toxic relationship can make you lose touch with your original self. If you constantly have this feeling that you don’t recognize yourself anymore, then that is a huge red flag.

The purpose of love is to uplift you and change you into a better version of yourself. If constant fights degrade your performance in your career and you regularly feel disheartened and sad, it’s a sign that this relationship is not serving your growth. Walking away from a relationship becomes a must when you are not evolving in it.

signs you should stay away from someone

5. Walk away from someone you love who is obsessive and addictive

Codependence is very different from depending on your partner for your happiness. In obsessive relationships, there is no concept of personal space and partners cling to each other for happiness.

Psychologists often compare love to drug addiction because both lead to euphoria since hormones like oxytocin, adrenaline and dopamine are released. If even the thought of staying away from your partner feels like a withdrawal that a crack addict gets at the thought of quitting drugs, you are mistaking the concept of attachment for love.

Related Reading: 13 Warning Signs Of Being Obsessed With Someone

6. You are the only one trying to make it work

Relationships can only work if there is a two-sided effort. If only one partner is always taking initiative and making plans, it is like watering a dead plant. One-sided relationships will leave you feeling drained and frustrated.

When to walk away from a relationship? When you are being taken for granted and not being valued by your partner, even when you have pointed this out a couple of times to them. 

7. The bad moments exceed the good ones

You might not even realize but maybe you have just become subconsciously addicted to the highs and lows of a relationship. If you both are always fighting but you still find yourself waiting for the rare good moments, you are doing injustice to yourself.

No relationship is all rosy but you deserve to be in one that makes you happy, at least most of the time. Psychologists say that if we have been brought up with emotionally unavailable parents, we subconsciously attract emotionally unavailable partners in our lives. So, it becomes important that you become aware of the role that your childhood trauma plays in your choice of partner.

8. Their actions don’t match their words

They constantly say that they love you but you don’t see it in their actions. Expressing love is no good when they act otherwise. If they are constantly trying to change you into someone else and don’t love you for who you are, then know that it is a sign you should stay away from someone. 

9. When to walk away? When you both use sex to fix everything

Physical intimacy plays a key role in every relationship but using physical intimacy as a substitute for emotional intimacy is not a sign of a healthy relationship. If you are using lust to fix love, the time has come when you need to walk away from your relationship.

You must be able to communicate with your partner effectively. If your fights constantly turn into rough sex instead of having uncomfortable conversations about what is bothering you, then, maybe, you are doing it all wrong.

10. You can’t be vulnerable with them

You must be able to show your flaws and your true self to your partner. Your partner should be the solid rock on whom you can depend on your worst days and vice versa. If you are asking yourself when to walk away from a relationship, it’s when your partner seems inaccessible and unreliable to you.

If you pretend to be someone else when it comes to your partner and you constantly find yourself hiding your true nature, then maybe, you are with the wrong person. 

11. Difference in core values

Last but not the least, if you feel that you are fundamentally different people who want really different things from life, then you should know that it’s better to walk away. Being compatible with your partner requires more depth and understanding than the initial “honeymoon phase”.

Compromise can be achieved in the smaller things but the bigger things like approach toward life, values and goals have to be in sync. If you cannot imagine a future with them, and your friends and family also think that they are not the right fit for you, you should consider the possibility of walking away.

Related Reading: 13 Signs A Relationship Is Ending

Knowing when to stay and fight for your togetherness and when to walk away from a relationship isn’t always easy. After all, emotions have a way of coloring your judgment. Even more so, when you’re in a relationship that’s not healthy and wholesome. If you have not been able to shake off the ‘something is amiss’ feeling, it is the first telling indicator to scratch beneath the surface and explore what your issues are. 

Chances are you’ll know that walking away from someone you love is in your best interest, and perhaps, theirs too. In case you find yourself struggling to make sense of your relationship patterns, counseling can be immensely beneficial for gaining perspective. Licensed and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel have helped so many people in similar situations. You too could benefit from their expertise and find the answers you’ve been looking for. 


1. Why can’t I walk away?

People often tend to overstay in relationships because they are afraid of the guilt that comes with giving up. Know that it is okay to give up on someone and that is also an option. You invest a lot of time and energy in a person, so it becomes difficult to trade all that away. Also, since you are habituated to your partner, it might be one reason you are not able to walk away.  A low sense of self-worth, an overly forgiving nature or hopes that your partner will change someday may be keeping you in a relationship, even when you know it’s toxic.

2.  Why is walking away so powerful?

It is important to know when to walk away from a relationship because dragging a relationship can sometimes be more painful than the breakup itself. Walking away from someone you love seems extremely difficult at first but once you take that call, it might be your best gift to yourself. It can begin a never-ending journey of self-discovery and self-love. Choosing yourself and your peace, happiness and mental health isn’t always easy but it is liberating. To choose your growth and liberation is powerful, and freedom lies in knowing when to walk away.

3. Will he come back if I move on?

It is your responsibility to set boundaries and not let him come back. There is a reason why it ended. If it was healthy enough, it wouldn’t have left you so confused and miserable. If you are waiting around for him to come back, have you truly moved on? Your sense of self-worth must come from inside you and not be dependent on anything external. A relationship should merely serve as a cherry on the top of the cake of an already fulfilling life and not anything more. If it’s not serving that purpose, know that these are signs you should stay away from someone.

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