Like anything worth participating in, relationships—no matter how perfect they may seem—have their fair share of ups and downs. We’ve all experienced tough times with those we love, and in healthy relationships, occasional arguments are usually nothing to worry about. At some point, however, you may be faced with a feeling of doubt that’s hard to ignore. You feel like you’ve lost your connection, or a difficult event has damaged your trust. So how do you know if the relationship is over?
Remember: reaching the end of a relationship isn’t always a bad thing. Like ripping off a Band-Aid, it’s often better to just get the breakup over with, rather than delaying the inevitable. If you notice more than a few of these signs in your own relationship, it might be time to do some serious reflecting on why you’re actually with your partner.
- Conflict is constant.
When fighting is unrelenting, to the point where there are very few minutes of calm, take it seriously. Fighting about fighting, or not fighting fair, are both signs that the battles have grown big enough that they need to be addressed.
- Or, you’ve stopped even bothering to fight.
Some couples become so exhausted by fighting that they simply stop, but that doesn’t mean that all is well—far from it. In these cases, they often stop sharing things with each other altogether, and have zero ability to bring up any sort of disagreement because they know that it will just spiral out of control.
- There’s no emotional connection.
When the spark is gone, it’s hard to tell if a relationship is worth saving. One of the key signs your relationship is ending is that you are no longer vulnerable and open with your partner. A cornerstone of happy, healthy relationships is that both partners feel comfortable being truly open to sharing thoughts and opinions with one another.
- You notice their flaws more often than their strengths.
When you’re in love with someone, you tend to see the good in them more readily than the bad. If you lose sight of all of the positive qualities that made you interested in your partner in the first place, it could be a sign that things are heading south. If you’re struggling to say anything positive about your partner and find yourself speaking poorly or bad mouthing them to others, it’s likely time to end the relationship.
- You always feel like you need a break.
Relationships ought to feel fulfilling, supportive, and at the very least, enjoyable! Romantic relationships are like friendships in this way; spending time together may not always be fulfilling, but it shouldn’t be consistently draining over long periods of time. A relationship that’s likely ending will be one in which one or both partners feel the need to take a break or get away from each other on a regular basis.
- You daydream about being single.
Along with wanting a break, you may fantasize about being single if your relationship isn’t what you want it to be. While it’s normal to miss some of the benefits of being single from time to time, if you’re constantly daydreaming about a life without your partner, that’s a sign the relationship is not fulfilling to you.
- You make up excuses to not spend time together.
Many couples may need more day-to-day space with each other than they are getting, as they are perhaps spending more time together. That can be normal. But more generally, if you dread spending time with your partner to the point where you’d rather do most other things, that should raise questions.
- There’s resentment.
As the issues within the relationship begin to build, and even if there’s communication around the issues, resentment can still grow. Holding contempt for each other is never a good sign, especially if it’s consistent. That might look like feeling consistently bitter, angry, or even hateful toward your partner.
- The trust is gone.
Trust is the foundation of a committed relationship, and a lack of it hollows out a relationship from the inside. If you feel like you can’t trust the person in your corner, it’s a roadblock that prevents any meaningful connection. In order to regain it, both partners need to focus not only on trust itself but on the root of problems which led to a breakdown in the first place.
- Your gut is telling you something is up.
Your body can register that something is off long before your brain acknowledges it. You can sense it in the other person’s mood or body language, even though nothing has occurred and they haven’t said anything. Yet, you pick up on something and have a hunch or a gut instinct that something is going on between the two of you. In the long run, it’s probably better to listen to that voice and do something about it rather than tamping it down.