How to know when to leave a relationship? (complete guide with 25 signs and questions to help you decide)

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By: Naveen B

Does your relationship run its course? Are you unhappy with your romantic partner? Should you end it? Can you save the relationship? If not, when is it time to leave a long-term relationship? And exactly how to know when to leave a relationship?

Some experts believe that relationships are akin to business partnerships and that it’s dangerous to “burn bridges” at the end of a relationship. 

Others argue that ending a relationship is therapeutic and that it’s important to make a conscious decision to sever ties. 

And still others believe that “love is blind,” and that if two people truly love one another, they should stay together through thick and thin.

From a broader perspective, I believe it’s best to leave a relationship only when it’s clearly no longer working. If you’ve tried everything and your partner refuses to cooperate, then it’s time to move on. 

But if you’re unhappy and things could be better, but your partner won’t cooperate, then it might be time to reassess the relationship and ask yourself whether it’s worth saving.

Here in this guide, let’s dig deep dive into various situations and consider multiple viewpoints.

Also, review what the research says about when to leave a relationship. A few questions to help you decide whether your relationship is worth your time, energy, and love:

Recommended reading for you: How to get the strength to leave someone you love? (15 steps to break up with someone without hurting them)

How to know when to leave a relationship?

When to leave a relationship? There are actually no clear-cut rules when it comes to how to know when to end a relationship.

However, the common signs include: Infidelity, physical abuse, verbal abuse, abandonment, and trust issues are some big red flags.

Other factors can involve a lack of intimacy, no mutual affection (love), or feeling trapped. If you’ve tried everything you can think of to make the relationship work, and you haven’t had success, then it’s time to leave a relationship.

When to leave a relationship?

how to know when to leave a relationship How to know when to leave a relationship? (complete guide with 25 signs and questions to help you decide)

The best time to leave a relationship is when it’s necessary. Sometimes, though, relationships or circumstances change and it’s necessary to leave. 

If you’re single again, have kids or are dealing with other issues that force you to leave the relationship, the time is right. But if you’re staying in the relationship because you have to, then it isn’t right.

A long-term relationship should involve compromise, understanding and commitment.

Neither of the partners should feel the need to prove your worth to the other, and both couples should feel secure in the relationship. 

If things start to go beyond your control and if either one of you is physically, emotionally, and psychologically exhausted and feels completely toxic being with each other then it’s a sign you should seriously work on your core problems or consider taking expert help. 

Even after you put all your efforts to bridge the broken pieces and still not working out, then you should be thoughtful about leaving the relationship at least to save your soul.

It’s not always easy to see, though. If someone tells you that they’re miserable in the relationship, they may be lying or they may be telling you what they want to hear.

If they’re acting differently around you, or if their personality has been changed, the relationship needs to be looked at in a different way.

It could be that the issues the two of you are facing are irreconcilable differences. If that’s the case, though, you shouldn’t stay in the relationship.

Leaving a long-term relationship isn’t easy. It’s not easy to break the news to your significant other, and it’s even more difficult for them to accept it.

It also takes time to adjust, and during that time, it’s easy to look back and think, “What if I’d stayed?”

The important thing to remember is that this is your choice. You can end a relationship whenever you want, and it’s important to remember that.

If the problem is that the relationship isn’t fulfilling your needs, you have choices. 

You have a responsibility to yourself and your own happiness, and you can’t martyr yourself just because you’re unhappy in the relationship.

So, when to leave a relationship?

As per a research conducted 994 men and women about when to leave a relationship and when to stay in a relationship, their study reveals that, the stronger reasons to leave a relationship are Lack of satisfaction, lack of commitment, love compatibility issues, and need for personal fulfillment.

On the other hand, the weaker reasons to end a relationship are: Looking for an alternative or new relationship, investments, being alone, and being without support from family and friends.

How to decide whether or not you want to be with someone?

You can’t have a healthy relationship if you’re miserable. If you and your partner are miserable, it’s time to have a serious conversation.

A bad relationship could be toxic.

If you and your partner can’t talk, or you’re both too stubborn to admit you’re wrong, you’re doomed. But if both of you are willing to listen, it’s possible to save your long-term relationship.

Not everyone is cut out to be in a relationship, though. If you have trouble being alone, or you’re afraid of being alone, a relationship is probably a bad idea.

When you look back on it, every relationship you’ve been in was good for you in some way. Those relationships were what taught you how to love, or how to be alone.

They’re what help you decide to stay or leave your relationship.

Though you might not realize it at first, everyone’s path in life is different. Everyone experiences different challenges, and everyone has different strengths.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before leaving a relationship. They would help you decide whether you want to be with someone or not.

Questions to ask yourself before ending a relationship.

Questions to ask yourself before break up How to know when to leave a relationship? (complete guide with 25 signs and questions to help you decide)

1. Are you happy?

This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself before ending a relationship. Is it making you happy? If not, fix it or it’s time to say good-bye.

2. Are you healthy?

Staying in a bad relationship can take a toll on your health. (See “Is Your Relationship Ruining Your Health?”)

3. Have your expectations changed?

Sometimes it’s perfectly acceptable to let down your guard and realize that the relationship isn’t what you thought it would be. Sometimes the expectations were too high in the first place, and you just needed time to find out what was true.

4. Are you finally ready to commit?

Sometimes someone in a long-term relationship realizes that he or she isn’t ready to commit to monogamy just yet. A mature person recognizes his or her limits and is ready to change relationship status.

5. Are you growing apart or having the same relationship problems?

If you and your spouse are having the same relationship problems you had in your 20s, you’re probably wasting your time. It’s time for you to leave.

6. Are you being manipulated by your partner and you sense there is something wrong?

Your intuition knows everything that you may not pay attention to. Listen to your guts. You will exactly know that your partner is up to something. Once you feel it, then make a long observation on the actions of your partner before coming to conclusions. 

When your intuition aligns with your observations then decide whether to leave a relationship or to fix it.

Signs to leave a relationship

Relationships take work, and work sometimes requires leaving. The impulse to stay in a bad relationship is great, but it takes a lot of effort — and time — to get over someone.

What should you do when you find yourself in a long-term relationship that just isn’t working out? There’s a lot of signs are there to realize the relationship is not working. However, things might be different for each relationship.

Here are some signs you need to consider to leave a relationship:

1. Trust issues.

Pay attention to how often and how easily your partner lies to you. Are they telling you something that makes sense, or something that doesn’t fit with the facts?

Do you trust their judgment? Or do you always worry that they’re hiding something from you?

2. Physical and emotional abuse. 

This is another serious sign your relationship is in trouble. Physical and emotional abuse goes beyond name-calling and arguing. It includes any behaviors that cause you fear or self-doubt.

Some examples of abuse include verbal or physical violence, controlling behavior, intimidation, isolation, sexual harassment, stalking or manipulation of your finances.

3. Guilt or resentment.

The distance between you and your ex can be filled with resentment and guilt. “It’s not fair” or “I deserve better” are two of the common thoughts.

But guilt and resentment are toxic emotions that poison the well. People, and especially children, will pick up on them, and they won’t be good for either of you.

4. You can’t see a future together.

Relationships end for many reasons. Sometimes, it’s just time to move on. You can’t see a future together.

You and the other person don’t share the same goals or plans for the future. You continue to fight, and you can’t stop arguing.

5. He/she can’t commit.

You love this person, but he or she can’t commit to the relationship. The relationship has its ups and downs, and he or she isn’t willing to put the work into making it work.

Sometimes, when a relationship has run its course, neither of you wants to put effort into trying to make it work.

The relationship is painful and embarrassing, and you both know that it isn’t going to get any better.

6. The relationship is toxic and unhealthy.

This isn’t about fighting or arguing, but about a sense that the other person is gradually, gradually driving you apart. Feelings of “not enough” or “not good enough” are signs that the relationship has stagnated.

7. You’re no longer excited about being together.

The connection, attachment, and loving bond don’t exist between you anymore. The moment you know it’s over, you should leave. Relationships aren’t always easy. They can take a lot of hard work, and they can be complicated by outside factors. 

But regardless of the obstacles your relationships might face, you need to know when it’s time to go.

When to leave a relationship isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to realize that when both of you are no longer exited about staying together and having fun, then it’s definitely time to leave the relationship.

8. You don’t feel respected or valued.

Do you feel like your partner doesn’t care what you have to say? Do you feel like your partner doesn’t listen? Or, do you feel like your partner doesn’t respect your ideas or opinions?

You can’t be yourself. Do you feel like you can’t express your opinions without offending your partner? Or, do you feel like you don’t share the same interests or values as your partner?

If you are always being disrespected by your partner and you respect your partner but you are the only person who is ready to compromise on everything.

If you feel that you are not being heard, counted or seen then the relationship is completely toxic. It’s a clear sign that your partner is no longer interested in you and gives you respect or loves you. So, it’s time to end that relationship.

9. You’re miserable and unsatisfied with the relationship.

You’re the only one who’s unhappy. This isn’t about fighting or blaming, but about the sense that the other person is happy and you’re the only one who isn’t. You aren’t being true to yourself or your needs.

This means you’re not being your true self in the relationship and that you’re compromising your own needs.

You don’t have to be miserable all the time, but you shouldn’t be looking forward to the weekend or dreading Monday morning. If you’re not happy, it’s a serious problem.

10. You fight all the time.

If you can’t disagree without being disagreeable, you’re headed for trouble. If you can’t stop fighting, you’re headed for divorce.

When to end a relationship completely?

Sometimes, life gives us a choice. Should we stay or should we go? Should we stay and build up our resentment or should we get up and leave?

If you’ve been thinking long and hard about when to leave a relationship, though, you might be waiting too long. Sometimes, it’s a matter of getting the courage to listen to your heart — and your gut — and make a move.

Sometimes, you know when it’s time to leave. You know when something isn’t right. You’ve tried everything, and you just know. But you don’t always know why, so you try to rationalize it.

Maybe the person just wasn’t right for you. Maybe they’re the one. Maybe there’s something wrong with you. Maybe you’re the problem.

Sometimes, there is. But if you knew why, you’d already be out. But sometimes you don’t know. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut. 

At times, situations can cause you to give up on your relationship. When your partner shows signs that they don’t want to stay together.

Or when you feel that you don’t want to work on your broken relationship, it is normal to feel confused, sad, and even heartbroken. Sometimes, a breakup is inevitable and you have to be prepared for that.

Here are signs that you should prepare yourself for a breakup and guide you when to end a relationship:

1. You no longer feel passionate.

2. You start feeling lonely even when you are with your partner.

3. You find yourself fantasizing about your ex and want to rekindle with them.

4. You didn’t have physical intimacy for so long.

5. Your mood changes to negativity the moment you see or talk to your partner.

6. You become bitter by your partner’s actions.

7. You stop enjoying yourself around you partner.

7. You feel depressed because you feel he/she is not the right person for you.

8. You begin to make plans for your future without him.

9. You feel unfulfilled.

10. You begin to evaluate what life would be like without him/her.

11. you are just missing your true self.

12. You begin to feel like a burden to your partner as they are mistreating you.

13. You are being s#xually abused when your partner is forcing you, threatening you, or forcing you to do something s#xual or inappropriate.

14. You don’t feel love or or connection affection anymore.

15. You know your relationship is over.

Final thoughts:

Leaving a relationship can be healthy, but the idea of making a major life change often triggers strong emotions. It’s natural to feel excitement, fear, and regret.

But it’s important to consider both your own reasons for wanting to leave and your partner’s feelings about it.

Once, if you both have had clear communication about the process of breaking up and the later consequences of your actions. Then you can come to a decision about when to leave a relationship on your terms. Good luck.

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Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry. His expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in medium and substack to name a few. To be updated with his latest work, connect with him by following his social media accounts.

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