Breaking up isn’t merely hard to do, it’s downright brutal … that’s why so many of us avoid the inevitable!
A breakup can feel almost like a death. It’s the death of the potential of what could have been. You went into it with such high hopes of where it all would lead … and now you have to accept that maybe this is the end of the road.
Also, who really wants to start all over again? Who wants to jump back into the dating waters, get to know someone new, open up, figure out this other person and how well you mesh, meet his family and friends, have him meet your family and friends, and so on. It just seems so much easier to stay where you are, with someone you already know, notwithstanding how miserable you make one another.
This way of thinking causes far too many of us to stay in relationships that aren’t working for far too long. And there is a big price to pay for this. You can never recycle wasted time. When it’s gone, it’s gone. How many of your years are you willing to squander? There is also a big cost to your self-esteem.
Being in a bad relationship can wear away at you and turn you into someone you barely recognize. You know you’re unhappy, but you try to convince yourself otherwise because it just seems easier.
One of the most important relationship skills is knowing when to walk away. Knowing when it’s not right. It isn’t always the easy thing to do, but it is really your only option and you’re only delaying the inevitable and cheating yourself out of happiness by not facing the truth.
So let’s look at some of the biggest signs the relationship is done and you should break up.
1. You’re holding onto the good memories.
You’re not living in the present. You’re living in the past and holding onto the memories of how great things used to be. Nevermind the fact that things haven’t been good in a very long time. Once upon a time you got along, you were madly in love, you laughed and enjoyed each other.
You know things could be good because they were good. But how long will you hang onto these memories? When do you accept that the shiny past no longer exists and all you have is a gloomy present?
2. You don’t like yourself.
This is one of the biggest signs that this relationship isn’t working. Bad relationships have a way of turning us into bad versions of ourselves, into the worst versions of ourselves. Whereas we started off confident, happy, and full of light, now we’re insecure, angry, and full of darkness. You can’t remember the last time you smiled genuinely or felt genuinely happy.
You know this isn’t you. This unhappy, uninspired, miserable person is a shadow of your former self. So why do you stay? Because of how much you like him. Or how much you think you like him.
A good relationship usually brings out our best. In the process, we are sometimes forced to confront our worst traits, but overall, we feel seen and heard. We feel loved for who we are and this is invigorating and encourages our true selves to shine. Bad relationships do exactly the opposite. So forget about your feelings for him, ask yourself how you feel about you.
3. He isn’t trying to make it work.
In order for a relationship to work, two people need to be committed to making it work. One person can’t carry the team.
If he doesn’t seem to care about fixing things or he tells you everything is fine as it is and if you have a problem then it’s your problem or he won’t work with you to make things better, then there isn’t much you can do.
Relationships take work. They’re like plants. They need love, attention, and nourishment or they’ll wither and die. If he isn’t willing to put anything in, then there isn’t much to hold onto.
4. You feel drained.
Being around your partner doesn’t feel good anymore and it hasn’t for a long time. You don’t feel uplifted, excited, or inspired. You feel like you’ve been through an emotional war. You feel drained and exhausted like you have nothing left to give.
You know the feeling. That’s that feeling of utter hopelessness and despair because no amount of trying seems to get you anywhere.
5. You are both full of resentment.
Resentment is absolute poison for a relationship. It may creep in slowly over time, but will rapidly multiply and take you both over if left unchecked.
A buildup of a resentment is a strong sign that communication has fully broken down. You can’t express your needs to him in a healthy way because he doesn’t hear it, and vice versa. What stops you from hearing it is a wall of resentment that has built up over time. Instead of hearing each other out, you think, “Well why should I do anything for him when he can’t even XYZ for me?”
When arguments arise, which they do with increasing frequency, you fight dirty. Fights are a chance to let all your aggression and resentment run wild and it all comes out. Instead of trying to reach a resolution, an argument causes further dissolution. As a result, you may keep having the same fights over and over, spinning round and round in this toxic circle.
6. Your friends and family think you should break up.
Your close friends and family usually know the truth. Now the question is how willing are you to listen to what they have to say?
I was in a horribly toxic relationship years ago and not one person in my life approved of him. They didn’t care that I was in love and that I claimed he made me happy. They saw how bad he was for me because they had something I didn’t: objectivity.
I basically ended up isolating myself from everyone closest to me and clinging tighter to my toxic partner, deluding myself into thinking he was amazing and everyone else was crazy and didn’t know what they were talking about. Fortunately, everyone I shunned was sympathetic when the relationship inevitably imploded and they didn’t hit me too hard with the “I told you so” comments.
You may find you don’t tell the truth about your relationship to anyone. When you talk about the relationship, you leave out key details because you know how bad it will sound, and you know what the other person is going to say and you just don’t want to hear it. And if anyone says something even slightly negative about your relationship, you get disproportionately defensive. That’s because the truth hits us harder than any misconception.
7. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells.
You can’t just relax and just be. You’re always anxious and on edge. Your relationship feels like a minefield. A step in the wrong direction and here comes the explosion. So you tiptoe around the house trying not to make a sound. You’re afraid to do or say almost anything because everything turns into a fight.
You feel physically ill most of the time. There’s a perpetual lump in your throat and knot in your stomach and you are in a hyper-vigilant state, waiting for the next explosion.
8. You’re settling for what you don’t want.
This is one of the most common scenarios. You’re in a situation that isn’t what you want and you stay … hoping at some point in time it will transform into the magical, loving relationship you’ve always dreamed of. For example, maybe you want a certain level of commitment and he plainly tells you he can’t give it to you … but you stay, hoping he’ll change his mind.
We can keep ourselves shackled to all sorts of horrible situations while clinging to the hope of what could be and this is always, always a huge waste of time.
9. You cling tightly to “as soon as…”
This ties into the previous point. You aren’t living in the present, you are living in some idyllic future.
The only thing really keeping you in the relationship is the phrase “As soon as.” Everything will be fine as soon as he gets his depression under control … as soon as he isn’t so stressed at work… as soon as his family drama resolves … as soon as he’s ready to commit. You need to look at the situation as is, not what it will be as soon as…
10. You are totally incompatible.
Chemistry cannot override incompatibility, and yet so many people think a lusty sex life is all you need to survive as a couple! I don’t care how good the sex is, if you are incompatible, it will not work. If you have different values, different life goals, and are unable to fulfill each other’s fundamental needs, this relationship will not last.
Love doesn’t conquer all and it definitely doesn’t conquer incompatibility, despite what romantic comedies would have you believe. You need to identify what it is you want and need in life. What are your goals and values? What is your vision for the future? If he isn’t on the same page and his vision vastly differs from yours then you need to accept that this just isn’t a match and no amount of hammering away is going to make it fit.