Maybe you’ve been together for a few years — or perhaps it’s been several decades.
Whichever the case, things have changed, and you’re toying with the idea of breaking up.
But you’re unsure.
What if the relationship is just going through a phase?
What if the partnership is just moving into the more mature, less lusty stage (which is perfectly normal)?
What are the signs your long-term relationship is over?
Pull up a seat because we’re unpacking it all below.
When To Call It Quits in a Relationship
In some ways, a sudden, dramatic split is a lot easier to handle.
In those instances, an inexcusable act is typically responsible for irrevocably tearing people apart.
And while it may hurt initially, there’s a certain comfort knowing it’s over and why.
When things slowly erode, it can be difficult how to tell a relationship is over. What are the signs that a relationship no longer serves you?
Everyone’s situation is different; the relationship’s length, location, and details shape a partnership’s rhythms. What might be fine and normal for a long-haul truck driver varies from a streaming influencer’s norms and lifestyle.
The former may be away for weeks at a time, while the latter usually stick close to home due to their intense recording schedules.
That said, there are several red-flag, universal signs that a relationship is over, including:
- Instinct: It’s undeniable. You feel it coming. Sometimes, listening to your gut is the correct thing to do.
- Glacial Disintegration: Has your relationship been deteriorating for months or years? It may be time to cut it loose.
- Intense Loneliness: Do you feel lonely even in your partner’s company? It’s a terrible sign that should trigger an analysis of your partnership and whether it’s got staying power.
- No Longer Share Interests: There were times when you had similar interests and participated in things together. Those days are very long gone.
- Inauthenticity: Authentic has become a foreign concept in your relationship. You can no longer be yourselves around each other. As such, it may be time to reevaluate the situation.
11 Hard-to-Ignore Signs Your Relationship is Over
Now, let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of how to know your relationship is over. Every single one doesn’t apply to all relationships. Instead, they’re a compilation of common signs.
So take what applies to your situation and discard the rest.
1. Empathy Has Exited the Relationship
Have you lost all empathy when it comes to your partner? Do they vent to you about work and, at best, all you can muster is a disinterested “oh, that sucks” while you scroll through your Instagram or TikTok feed?
Or maybe you have even less empathy and can’t help but think something like: Get over it, you moaning, clay-brained clodpole!
No matter how hard you try, you can no longer see things from their perspective. You are tapped out of concern or care for their everyday issues.
2. You Spend Less Time Together
These days, where are you on the average Friday night? What about Sunday evenings?
If your answer is “with friends or family,” you may want to consider why. Has this always been your pattern? If so, then there’s probably nothing to look at.
However, if you were once inseparable on weekends but now barely see each other between Friday at 5:00 p.m. and Monday at 5:00 p.m., think about why.
Is there an understandable reason? Maybe one of you must work weekends now, or perhaps you’ve been together for a while, and you have a more balanced life (which is completely normal and healthy for long-term lovers)?
Or does it signal something else?
3. You Have Epic Fights
Sure, all couples disagree and argue at times. In truth, never arguing may be more of a red flag than having the occasional fight.
What’s not healthy, however, is when you’re CONSTANTLY at each other’s throats. It’s not a sign of passion; it signals incompatibility.
You may have once worked well together, but things have changed.
Has the tension between you two reached critical mass? Can you barely be civil with each other in public? Can you no longer agree to resolutions and compromises?
Are both of you clinging to anger like much-needed money?
None of these are super signs, and if you said yes to all four, it might be time to start reconsidering your relationship.
4. You Don’t Miss Them
Once upon a time, you missed your partner by lunchtime. These days, they’re lucky if you miss them after not seeing each other for a month.
Exceptionally few relationships remain in the blissful early state when you cannot STAND being away from one another.
But, when you reach a point where you don’t care if you see each other — or you actually look forward to them leaving for months at a time — don’t cling to what was.
Not every relationship stands the test of time — and that’s fine. Sometimes, people are in our lives for a season and a reason. And when that time ends, splitting up is probably the best for you both.
5. You Tried To Work Through Your Problems But Can’t
You’ve given everything a try. You went to couples counseling. You spent nights talking, trying to work through problems.
You both have sacrificed your wants and needs to reestablish a workable union but found the experience dreadful and life-draining.
You give it the old college try, but nothing works, and neither of you has the patience or desire to budge on their behaviors, outlooks, or opinions.
In these instances, it may be time to pack it in. You tried. You really did. But the partnership continues to deteriorate. Why beat your head against a brick wall?
6. Communication Breaks Down Irrevocably
Has your communication become a simulacrum of polite banter? Behind every “how was your day,” “goodnight,” and fake “oh, really” is seething disgust.
Your partner will ask how you’re doing, and you’ll snap back aggressively.
When you brush everything under the rug instead of dealing with it head-on, the relationship will metastasize into something unmanageable and unfixable.
So if your communication style has turned into a seesaw of passive- and hyper-aggression, it may be time to reevaluate the situation.
7. You’re Always Talking $#!+ Behind Their Back
Also, if you find yourself talking “mad $#!+” about your partner anytime they’re out of earshot, it may be time to call it quits.
Sure, people occasionally complain and commiserate with friends about their partners’ quirks, habits, or moods. But if it’s turned into a constant refrain, moving on to greener pastures may be the best option.
8. You’ve Lost Trust
Just as humans need air and water to survive, relationships need compassion and trust. They’re the glues that keep things together.
Now, trusting doesn’t mean you must know everything about your partner, always and forever. It’s not criminal to keep a couple of secrets for yourself.
To be clear, we’re not excusing infidelity. It’s not OK to have secret lovers, kids, or families!
But taking a class just for yourself or having opinions you choose to keep private is acceptable under most circumstances.
However, if you stop trusting your partner and vice versa, it will be tough to repair the partnership.
9. Future Dreams Don’t Include Them
In the past, your visions of the future included your partner, but lately, they don’t.
When you think about ten years in the future, you have considerable trouble seeing them by your side. There was a time when they did, but no longer.
Maybe you have changed; perhaps they have. Whichever the case, you’re no longer clicking.
When this happens, don’t drag it out. Remember that familiarity isn’t the same thing as compatibility.
Make a clean break, soothe yourself with the thought that everyone isn’t for everyone, and then move on with your life.
10. You’re Constantly Breaking Up
Yes, some couples go through a period of breaking up and getting back together.
However! Please let sleeping dogs lie if your breakup count is in the double digits. You two may be “in lust” with one another, but for whatever reason, you’re not compatible in any responsible or serious way.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course. But nine times out of 10, a make-up-break-up cycle on a loop is not a good sign.
11. Friends and Family Are Worried
Whenever you meet with friends and family, they express concern for your well-being. Maybe they ask if you’re OK with a very concerned look on their face. Or perhaps you catch them expressing concern to each other about you.
Sometimes, people know us better than we know ourselves. And when those people express concern about you and your relationship, it may be best to listen.
Love is wonderful, but it can also be blinding.
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How to Tell Someone the Relationship is Over
We’ve discussed signs that your relationship may be wrapping up. Now, let’s dive into how. Or, more precisely, how do you tell someone the relationship is over?
Think Long and Hard About Pulling the Plug
Before breaking hearts, make sure you genuinely want to break up.
Consider if you’re being overly dramatic. Then be honest with yourself and explore the possibility that you’re equally to blame for your current relationship hiccup.
Make a pro-con list. Game it out in a journal or with a trusted friend.
Ultimately, don’t be spontaneous now and regretful later.
Be Kind and Reassuring
The most brutal breakups are ones that aren’t punctuated with a deal-breaker. Nobody cheated or became abusive. All in all, you enjoyed the relationship. But now, you’re moving in different directions, and the logistics no longer work.
If this is your situation, be as kind and reassuring as possible. Let them know you still think they’re stupendous, but you can’t always ignore practicalities.
Don’t Censor Their Reaction
Violence is never acceptable — either physical or verbal. Otherwise, let your ex react.
Yes, they may yell and scream; yes, they may say you’re making a colossal mistake; and yes, they’ll probably declare that you’ll come to regret your decision.
All of that is perfectly fine. Give people the time they need to process the breakup how they need to.
Be Mindful of the Time and Place
There are breakup rules, and among them are blackout dates. For example, you should never, never, ever break up with someone:
- New Year’s Eve / Day
- February 1st through 18th (Valentine’s Season)
- Winter Solstice
Birthdays, anniversaries, and right after a funeral are also off-limits!
Is My Relationship Over? How to Accept the End of a Relationship
Are you the person who’s being “let go”? Or maybe you’re the one breaking up but aren’t thrilled about it. Either way, you’re in the market for watts to accept the end of a relationship.
Let Yourself Grieve
Give yourself time to grieve the relationship’s end. In many ways, it is similar to death. You once cared a great deal for each other — and maybe you still do — but you’re just not in each other’s cards for the long haul.
Talk to Someone You Trust
Maybe it’s a parent, best friend, therapist, or hairdresser. Whatever the case, you trust them. So if they have no problems with venting, have at it! It’s healthy to get things off your chest.
Journal venting is also effective. Simply “scream” onto the page.
People who keep themselves busy after a breakup usually get through it quicker.
We’re not suggesting you bury your head in tasks to the detriment of your mental health. To wit, you should address any issues or considerations arising from the relationship or breakup.
But don’t sit around wallowing for months on end. That’s not healthy, either.
Indulge in Self-Care
If there is ever a time to pamper yourself, it’s in the wake of a relationship. So get that 2-hour long massage, facial, or injection if that’s the thing that makes you feel better.
It’s a challenging time, and you deserve to be treated special.
Do a Closure Ritual
Are you a fan of rituals? Do you believe energy plays a role in our well-being, fate, or luck? If so, do a closure ritual. Options abound. Pick something that resonates with you.
The end of a relationship can be excruciating — especially when you still have respect and admiration for the other person. But sometimes, the only answer is splitting up.
Take some time to evaluate your situation objectively as possible, then weigh it against what’s best for your body, mind, and soul.