21 Signs to Know When to Leave a Relationship

Vasantha Priya

27 March 2024

10 Mins

Dr. Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher says, happiness happens before success, and the relationships you have will have the deepest impact on your emotional wellbeing.

A core component of your wellbeing, deep, meaningful relationships are what make us human. If the most important relationship you have with your partner isn’t healthy, or is slowly dying, it can exact a huge toll on your mental health, and eventually start affecting your overall health.

You may have invested all your love, hope, and trust in this person, and planned your entire future with them. But, if the relationship is beyond recovery, there’s no point in hoping and praying for a miracle. It’s time for you to pick yourself up, decide when to leave a relationship and head out the door. This blog will tell you how you can see warning signs you need to quit, and how you can do it while taking care of yourself.

21 Signs You Should Leave a Relationship For Good

Whether you've been together for a few months or several years, recognizing when to leave the relationship can be a challenging and emotional process. If you're unsure about whether to stay or go, here are 21 signs that it might be time to end your relationship for good.

1. Waning Trust Between You and Your Partner

Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. If you find yourself constantly questioning your partner's honesty or loyalty, it may be a sign that the trust has been broken beyond repair. There’s either unresolved conflict, or one of you may not be able to forgive the other for mistakes they did in the past. You need a solid ground of trust to build your relationship. Without it, you won’t be able to give yourself to your partner generously, be it emotionally or physically, or you might be questioning their every move. This won’t play it out well in the long run.

2. You’re Tired of Having Constant Arguments

While disagreements are normal in any relationship, constant arguing can be a sign of deeper issues. If you find that you're always fighting with your partner and unable to resolve conflicts, decide when is time to leave the relationship, or reevaluate it. If you can’t seem to bring up any issue, or topic or hold a normal conversation without it turning into an argument, it’s a glaring sign that something is fundamentally wrong and needs to be fixed.

3. You’re Unappreciated

A lack of appreciation can leave you feeling unfulfilled and undervalued in your relationship. If your partner consistently fails to acknowledge your efforts or show gratitude for your loving gestures and contributions to the relationship, it may be a sign that they don't value you as they should. In a healthy relationship, you won’t have to keep auditioning to portray yourself as a loving partner, to earn a compliment or an appreciative gesture.

4. You Face Emotional or Physical Abuse

Abuse in any form is never acceptable. If you are experiencing emotional or physical abuse in your relationship, it is crucial to prioritize your safety and well-being and seek help immediately. Be it a one-time occurrence, or a frequent pattern, you have to take it as a serious sign and decide when to leave the relationship as soon as you get your emotions, finances and social support in check.

5. You Have a Lack of Communication

Two people sharing everything they want to, being understood and celebrating each other and holding each other through life is what a relationship is about. If you and your partner struggle to communicate openly and honestly with each other, it can lead to misunderstandings and built-up resentment over time, which tarnishes your relationship. When this happens, and you try resolving the issue multiple times but it doesn’t work, it’s time you consider ending the relationship.

6. You Have Different Goals and Values

It's natural for individuals to have different goals and values, but if these differences are causing significant conflicts in your relationship, it may be a sign that you're not compatible in the long run.

7. You Feel Stuck

Relationships should be a source of growth and personal development. If you feel like you're stuck in a rut and not growing as a person in your relationship, it may be a sign that it's time to move on. Both of you need not be the same type, or have the same goals for you to be in a successful relationship. But what makes even radically different couples successful is how they understand what each other is capable of, what they aspire to be, and inspire them to become better versions of themselves. If that isn’t happening, you may not be the right fit for each other.

8. You’re Hardly Ever Intimate Anymore – Both Emotional and Physical

Kimberly Beam Holmes, and Dr. Joe Beam, Marriage and Relationship Experts say, “Good sex reduces the likelihood of getting a heart attack. Sex, and intimacy as a whole is connected to mental, spiritual and physical health. Oxytocin, the hormone that gets released during intimate moments is a bonding chemical, and brings partners together.”

Intimacy is an important aspect of any romantic relationship. Holding a safe space for you to be vulnerable to each other, showing your true self to each other and accepting the other for it, confiding in each other about your feelings, thoughts, life events, and celebrating love for one another is the crux of intimacy. This safe, secure, trustworthy and loving zone is the breeding ground for sexual intimacy as well. If you shrug at the thought of being intimate with your partner, in any way, it’s a serious sign you should reevaluate your relationship.

9. You’re Consistently Disrespected

Respect is fundamental in a healthy relationship. If your partner consistently disrespects you, your boundaries, or your feelings, it may be a sign that the relationship is no longer healthy for you. You may find that your partner may show signs of disrespect disguised as a joke, and may be unapologetic later on. If these continue for a long while, it’s a good sign you need to leave.

10. You Feel Controlled

Mutual respect and autonomy are what make good partners great. Feel like you can’t make simple decisions on your own, using your own will and intellect without consulting your partner? That’s not a sign of a healthy relationship. If you ever take such a decision and it backfires on you with yelling, manipulation, abuse, or shutting down, it may be a sign of a toxic dynamic. If you feel you’re manipulated, this is a solid reason you’re with the wrong person and it’s time to figure out when should you leave the relationship.

11. Unresolved Issues Keep Your Guard Up

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but if you and your partner have unresolved issues that continue to cause tension and resentment, it may be a sign that the relationship is no longer sustainable, and it’s up to you to chalk out when is it time to leave the relationship.

12. You’re Emotionally Drained

Relationships should be a source of support and positivity in your life. Being with a healthy partner isn’t all sunshine and rainbows all the time. But, if being with your partner leaves you feeling emotionally drained or exhausted, it may be a sign that the relationship is taking a toll on your well-being. It may be because you are the only giver in the relationship, or because of how your partner makes you feel. Feeling drained isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship and needs to be addressed on priority.

13. You See a Clear Lack of Effort

If you find that you're the only one putting in the work to make the relationship succeed, it may be a sign that your partner is not as invested as you are. Even if both of you have full-time jobs, have familial responsibilities to take care of, and are occupied emotionally and physically most days of the week, taking time out to tend to the relationship is extremely important to keep it alive. If you’re the one doing all the heavy lifting, it’s going to burn you out.

14. You’re Constantly Disappointed

If you find yourself constantly disappointed by your partner's actions or behavior, it may be a sign that your expectations are not being met in the relationship. This may be a double-edged sword. You may not like what your partner brings to the table, or your expectations have changed over time. Either way, if you’re constantly exasperated by your partner and can’t seem to find fulfillment in what they do for you, do yourself and your partner a favor, and have an important conversation with them, and decide when to leave the relationship.

15. You Feel Lonely Most of the Time

Being in a healthy relationship should not make you feel lonely. If you find that you're often lonely or isolated even when you're with your partner, it may be a sign that the emotional connection between you is lacking. Two healthy and responsible adults in a relationship know how to take care of themselves when their partner is occupied. But, if you feel lonely even after interacting with your partner and having them near you, it’s a loud and clear sign something’s seriously concerning your relationship.

16. You Don’t Feel Supported

Your partner should be your biggest supporter and cheerleader. If you find that your partner is not there for you when you need them or fails to support your goals and aspirations, or worse, belittles every move you make in your life and career, it may be a sign that they may not be the right person for you.

17. You Keep Excusing Their Undesirable Behavior

It's important to pay attention to red flags in a relationship. If you find yourself ignoring warning signs or justifying your partner's behavior, it may be a sign that you're not being honest with yourself about the state of the relationship.

18. Feeling Like You're Settling

You deserve to be in a relationship that makes you happy and fulfilled. If you feel like you're settling for less than you deserve in your current relationship, it may be a sign that it's time to move on.

19. You Don’t Respect Your Partner Anymore

Being irritated by your partner is one thing. But, feeling disgusted, and thinking low of your partner constantly means you don’t hold them in high regard anymore, and it’ll be difficult for you to be kind or loving to them. No one deserves to be treated less than others. So, if you feel you don’t have a shred of respect for your partner, it’s time for you to make the painful decision.

20. Seeking Validation Elsewhere

If you find yourself seeking validation or [emotional connection outside](emotional connection outside), you look forward to the time of day when you call or text someone else than your partner, and if they bring out qualities in you that your partner used to, or you are developing an increasing fondness for someone outside the relationship, it’s not fair to your partner, and you should find out how and when to end the relationship.

21. Intuition

Trust your gut. If you have a lingering feeling that something is not right in your relationship, it's important to listen to your intuition and explore those feelings further.

How to Know When to Leave a Relationship?

  • You've fallen out of love
  • You're growing apart
  • You've tried everything
  • You feel relief at the thought of ending the relationship
  • Your friends and family are concerned
  • You feel unhappy more often than not
  • You're constantly making excuses
  • You're only together for comfort

How To Find the Courage to Leave a Bad Relationship?

The first step in finding the courage and deciding when should you leave a bad relationship is to acknowledge your feelings. It's normal to feel scared, sad, angry, or confused. Allow yourself to feel these emotions without judgment. Recognizing and accepting your feelings is the first step toward making a change.

Evaluate the Relationship

Take a step back and objectively evaluate your relationship. Is it making you happy and fulfilled, or is it causing you stress, anxiety, and unhappiness? Identify the reasons why and when to leave the relationship. Make a list of the pros and cons of staying versus leaving. This exercise can help clarify your thoughts and feelings and provide you with the clarity you need to make a decision.

Seek Support

Leaving a bad relationship can be incredibly challenging, so it's essential to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Surround yourself with people who love and support you and who will help you through this difficult time. Having dinner with them alternate days of the week, to vent what’s going on in your mind can be liberating, because you’ll feel you’re not alone.

Set Boundaries

If you decide to leave the relationship, it's essential to set boundaries with the other person. Clearly communicate your decision and what you expect moving forward. Be firm but respectful in your communication. Setting boundaries will help you protect yourself and ensure that the other person respects your decision. If you feel stressed about the process of splitting up, regardless of whether you’ve had a difficult talk with your partner or not, you may not be able to give yourself to your partner emotionally and physically, and it may hurt them. So, set boundaries and tell them you need a break to think things through until you figure out when to leave the relationship.

Focus on Yourself

Knowing when to leave a relationship, and planning to do it are the first phases, but actually doing it will bring out different emotions out of you, depending on how much you value and love your partner. It can be emotionally draining, so it's important to take care of yourself during this time. Practice self-care activities that make you feel good, such as exercising, meditating, or spending time in nature. Focus on your hobbies and interests and spend time with people who uplift and inspire you.

How Now&Me Can Help

Talking to a therapist can be of immense help when you’re navigating through a tough time like this. You need qualified people, and a warm community process your emotions, understand what to do, how to take care of yourself, and heal yourself in the short and long run. The act of breaking up can take a huge toll on your mental health if left untreated. Make sure you have a seasoned therapist hold you through this phase, and experience your pain ease with time and effort. Access relationship counseling sessions anytime starting at INR 30/-, and download the Now&Me app now.

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