Relationships require a lot of give and take, and they require a great deal of work. Even the best relationships are going to involve arguments and disagreements at times. That’s the sign that your relationship is being carried out by two real people with their own thoughts, feelings, needs, desires, and interests. But sometimes you come to realize that the arguments are happening more than anything else or that you and that other person don’t really have anything in common anymore. Then what do you do?
Maybe you’ve asked yourself this question already, but you’re not really sure you have an answer—or you have an answer and that answer frightens you. Maybe you haven’t asked the question yet, but you find it hovering there in the back of your mind. Or maybe you’ve just started noticing some of the changes in your relationship, and you aren’t quite sure what they mean for you and your partner. No matter where in the process you find yourself, you’re likely still questioning just what’s happening and whether this is really signaling the end for you and your partner.
You Don’t Feel the Same Way You Once Did
Maybe you don’t feel the same about your partner as you did when the relationship started. Now, that’s not an absolute cause for concern. Your relationship will grow and change over time, and you may find yourself feeling a little differently but still more than happy to stay in the relationship. That’s great! But if you don’t feel the same and the feelings aren’t changing for the better, it can be a sign that it may be time for you to move on from the relationship to preserve the mental health of both your partner and yourself.
Your Partner Is Giving Off Mixed Signals
You might be getting misleading signals or mixed signals or even just plain strange signals from your partner. These mixed signals could indicate that they are telling you they may not be as invested in this relationship as they used to be or as invested as you are. Mixed signals can also occur when someone is going through a hardship, however, or experiencing a change in their lives or their mental health. In conjunction with other signs, this may indicate that it may be time to move on, but is usually not enough to suggest leaving is the best option on its own.
You’re Living Off the Past
If you feel like most of your relationship is built on the past, and all you’re thinking about and considering is the past, you’re not actually building a future with this other person. You’re not setting yourself up for success within the relationship if you’re only really thinking about the past. This unhealthy habit can be minimized or overcome, but without addressing dwelling in the past, many couples find their relationships quickly going downhill.
The Relationship Hurts
Your relationship shouldn’t be hurting you. Sure, you’re going to have moments where you feel hurt. But overwhelmingly, thinking about your relationship and being in your relationship should make you happy. If that’s not the case, it means that things aren’t going well.
Someone Has to Change
If you feel like they should change or they feel like you should change, that’s a sign that the relationship may not be a healthy space for either of you. If you’re not happy with the other person the way they are, or your partner is not satisfied with you the way that you are, it could lead to a buildup of resentment and anger between both of you. If one or both of you believes that the other has to make substantial changes in order for the relationship to work, this may be a strong warning sign that the relationship has reached its end.
Everything Needs to be Justified
If your partner is continuously doing things that don’t show they care or that seem to be deliberately hurtful to you, it could indicate that they do not have strong interpersonal or communication skills, or it could mean that they are no longer invested in the relationship. If you find yourself justifying their actions or trying to make excuses, it may be time to take a step back and evaluate why. If they aren’t able to take responsibility for their own actions, or you aren’t willing to do the same, your relationship quality will likely experience a free fall.
They’re Causing You Pain
If your partner is hurting you emotionally, physically, or mentally, you must look for help and a way to get out of the situation. You deserve to be healthy and happy, and intimate partner violence is never justified or acceptable. You do not deserve to be in an abusive relationship, no matter what type of abuse you’re experiencing. Instead, you should be looking for a way to get out as safely as possible.
Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence, reach out for help from the National Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-799-7233.
They’re Not Trying (or You Aren’t)
If your partner isn’t even trying to make the relationship work, they may not be interested in pursuing the relationship further. A relationship is about give and take, which means that you and your partner should both be working at making your relationship a strong and healthy endeavor. If one or both of you seems to have thrown in the metaphorical towel, that can be a clear indication that it is time to move on.
They Consistently Refuse to Address Relationship Concerns
If one or both parties in a relationship refuses to address relationship concerns that have been brought up by their partner, it can indicate that the relationship is winding down. Although partners do not have carte blanche to make demands of their partners and insist upon certain changes being made, if one or both partners have something they are concerned about and the other refuses to consider or address that concern, the relationship may not be a priority and it may be time to move on.
They’re Holding You Back From Your Potential
If you want to be better or want something more in your life, but they’re constantly holding you back either by telling you that you can’t or forcing you to stay the same, they may not interested in growing the relationship, or may be exhibiting problematic, controlling tendencies.
You Don’t Have the Same Fundamental Beliefs or Values
You and your partner can disagree on some things and still have a healthy and happy relationship. Some things are just so foundational to your being that you can’t compromise or be with someone who feels differently. If you and your partner disagree on numerous fundamental values, it may be time to close the door.
You’re Hoping Things Will Change
Change is possible in a relationship if both you and your partner are willing to make it happen, but if you’re not both working toward change, it’s unlikely the relationship will progress. So don’t stick around, hoping something is going to materialize without doing the work.
Accepting That You Need to Move On
Before you decide to talk with your partner about the situation, you must come to terms with it yourself. Sit down and think about all of the good and all of the not-so-good about your relationship. What of the above qualifications does your relationship fall into? What are the signs that you and your partner really do need to call it quits and go your separate ways?
If you do not see a lot of signs or you’re still not sure that all is lost, take a little time to talk with your partner. Find out more about their thoughts and opinions on some of the problems that you see. It’s possible that they didn’t see the problems, but they are willing to make some changes once you point it out. If that’s the case, then it may be time for the two of you to start talking about what those changes will be and how you’re going to improve.
Going through the process of recognizing the truth about your relationship is complicated. Realizing that things are never going to be the same as they once were is difficult. Even if you’ve been unhappy in the relationship for a long time, it can be hard to actually walk away.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have someone you can talk to in the process. Have a friend that you can discuss things with and who will help you come to terms with the truth about your relationship and why it’s a good idea to walk away.
You may also want to reach out to a mental health professional who can help you see what’s really going on in your relationship and what you deserve moving forward. Working with a mental health professional can help you become a stronger and happier person on your own, which means you’re going to have a much better chance of a successful relationship in the future. You need to make sure you find the right professional to help you.
Working with ReGain
ReGain is an online mental health service that will connect you with mental health professionals from all over the country. The mental health professionals here can help you recognize any mental health conditions you might be experiencing and what you should be doing to improve your life situation. Whether you’re looking for a way to get out of a toxic relationship or someone to help you become a better person overall, the mental health professionals working on ReGain may be able to help.