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April 15, 2019

Is This the End? 5 Signs Your Relationship Is Over

Neil Sedaka was right, breaking up is hard to do. But there is something even harder than breaking up. That is knowing when to break up.

It is understandably difficult to admit to yourself when it is over. This is someone with whom you have spent a significant chunk of your life.

There is not just the relationship itself. There is all of the effort and time the relationship represents. All of these things give more motivation to stick in something that is not working than to end it.

How can you approach this decision with clear eyes? What are the signs your relationship is over? You do not want to do this lightly, so the signs better have weight.

We have found five signs we believe are among the best indicators of a dying relationship. Read on, and see if you can use them to diagnose your own relationship troubles as temporary or terminal.

5 Clear Signs Your Relationship Is Over

Before we begin, a couple disclaimers.

You will not see “a lack of communication” on this list. Communication underlies almost every aspect of a romantic relationship, and we all know this. We do not think it is necessary to waste your time telling you something you already know.

You will see communication difficulties on this list, but we have made them as specific and identifiable as possible.

Also, please know this about a failing relationship. Just because it has soured does not mean it is spoiled.

You still have the benefits of all the time and energy you put into your relationship. We do not just mean the memories. You have grown from this relationship, no matter how bad it feels now, and it is important that you honor your own experience and growth.

If, after seeing these signs, you decide to end your relationship, do not consider it a failure. Just because something expires does not make it worthless.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, see below the signs for yourself. It is time to answer your questions about unhealthy relationships.

1. You Have Stopped Making Plans for the Future

There is a lot of talk about how much work it takes to be in a relationship. There is truth to this, but it is also overblown.

Your relationship should be a joy. You should take interest in your partner’s interests and see them as the infinitely complex person they are. There is always more to discover about another person with whom you are intimate, and you should jump at the chance to discover all you can about them.

Shared experiences are one of the ways couples get to know each other more deeply. These experiences do not have to be epic. They can be as simple as exploring new areas of your city together.

If you and your partner have stopped planning these kinds of experiences, that is a big red flag. It is likely that one or both of you find it difficult or uncomfortable spending too much time together.

If you do not work through that difficulty and discomfort, it only grows. If you avoid future plans, it is time to take a look at what is wrong in the present.

2. You No Longer Argue

Fighting all the time is awful. Never fighting might be even worse.

There is a kind of passivity that can settle into a relationship, especially in cohabitation. When you live with someone, it is important to pick the issues that are most important to you. Dishes, for example, are rarely the hill to die on.

That said, neither of you should be so agreeable as to erase your personality. This breeds unfamiliarity, and unfamiliarity breeds contempt.

When you spend all of your time pretending everything is fine, you lose the authenticity that feeds a healthy relationship.

3. Death by a Thousand Cuts

This is another bad model for disagreements. Big fights can be healthy for a relationship. They help partners clarify their values and express their love for each other, if they argue productively.

Unproductive arguments are those that occur over tiny infractions. When pet peeves start to pile up, it is easy to look for any excuse to get into an argument. You may not even recognize you are doing it.

If this is happening constantly, you may want to evaluate the underlying issues. Are the socks on the floor the real problem, or do you feel disrespected? If the latter, why do you feel uncomfortable addressing that?

4. Boredom Has Set in

The opposite of love is not hate. It is boredom. At least love and hate are strong feelings.

Boredom, on the other hand, means you do not even care enough to think about the other person. This ties into making future plans. If you do not have the interest even to schedule dates, why are you two dating?

5. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Touched

The loss of physical affection is one of the clearest outward signs that something is wrong in a relationship.

This does not just mean sex, although a dip in the amount of sex you are having is certainly not a good thing. But it can be simpler and subtler than that.

A relationship should be full of small physical gestures. Kisses, holding hands, gentle touches on the arm, leg, and back are all signs of care. If these start to go, it’s a sign something deeper has faded as well.

What to Do When the Damage Isn’t Done

Ending a relationship can be a traumatic experience, but it can be a productive trauma from which it is possible to rebuild. If it needs to be done, it is best to start that rebuilding process as soon as possible. Hopefully, reading these signs your relationship is over have helped you assess your own situation.

On the other hand, just because a relationship is dying does not mean it can’t be revived. If you decide your relationship is worth saving, consider taking advantage of the online support for your relationship that we offer.

Grant Funding

Funding for these programs was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant Number 90FM0063

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