For all the good a breakup can bring, that doesn’t mean pulling the trigger on an otherwise happy or salvageable relationship with a few flaws is always the best course of action.
Below, you’ll find five signs as ones that you might find more happiness by ending things than by trying to stick it out.
1. If It’s an Abusive Relationship
Caraballo notes that you should move on “if you are unsafe or if there is abuse in the relationship.”
While that doesn’t just indicate physical violence, that’s certainly one way a relationship can be abusive. Rather, abuse is when one partner has some form of power over the other and uses it in order to hurt and control them.
If your partner’s engaging in gaslighting or other forms of psychological manipulation and you feel completely overwhelmed, broken down or isolated by your partner’s behavior, that’s a sign that you should get out immediately.
2. If Your Partner Doesn’t Respect Your Wants and Needs
Although not as serious as an abusive partner, “if you continuously feel like your partner minimizes or dismisses your needs,” as Caraballo puts it, you’re in a relationship that is unlikely to make you genuinely happy.
Whatever else this person is bringing to the table, relationships are about communication and care, and someone who doesn’t care about what you want or need is seriously failing to meet the standards of what a good and healthy relationship should be.
3. If You Don’t Care About the Relationship/Your Partner
On the flip side, it’s possible that the partner who’s tapped out or not willing to give an effort is you. If so, that’s probably a good sign that it’s time to end things.
“If you care about the quality and longevity of a relationship, you need to work on issues and attempt to resolve conflicts,” says O’Reilly. “Though you can’t solve every problem and some people are less inclined to engage in emotional and/or vulnerable conversations, a decline in willingness to discuss relationship issues may be a sign that you’re considering a breakup.”
Though it may make you and/or your partner sadder in the short term, if you’re genuinely not invested, sticking around will only delay the inevitable.
“Do you notice that you’re having more fun when your significant other isn’t around?” asks King. “Do you feel relieved at the thought of being away with them even if it’s for a short period of time? If so, then you aren’t mentally invested in the relationship anymore, which is an ideal reason to cut ties.”
4. If Your Values and Priorities Don’t Align
“Another sign that a breakup might be a good thing to do is when you notice that your values and priorities don’t align anymore,” says King. “Everyone has a set of values and priorities that they hold dear to them — whether it be freedom, a specific political ideology, religion, relationship style, etc.”
If you find yourselves regularly getting into disagreements or simply unable to agree on big things like what you want out of life, where the relationship is headed, where you want to live in five years, which political party to vote for and so on, that might be a sign that you’re not meant to be.
“Though every relationship requires it’s fair share of compromise, sometimes there are aspects of your life that are too substantial to differ on, and too many major compromises in these areas can cause resentment and bitterness in the future,” she adds.
5. If You Don’t Like “Relationship You”
Some people, when faced with a partner who’s not right for them, rather than breaking up or asserting their desires, simply capitulate to their partner’s desires in order to reduce conflict. This may work in the short term, but over time, it can leave you feeling like you’re faking things and acting out a version of yourself that isn’t genuine in order to please your partner.
“If you don’t feel good about yourself within the context of the relationship, you may want to consider whether or not it is worth preserving,” says O’Reilly. “For example, do you feel excited, happy, at ease and confidence when you’re at work, with friends, with family, but not with your partner? Have you thought about why this might be the case? Have you talked to them about your needs, desires and boundaries?”
“There are no sure fire signs that you should break up,” she notes, but you shouldn’t “allow the longevity of a relationship to be your only reason for staying.”
Breakups often hit hard, and the negative feelings that stem from them are valid. Recognizing the positive aspects of breakups isn’t an attempt to shame you for experiencing them; rather, it’s an attempt to gently remind you that it’s not all bleak and that beauty, healing and growth can come from difficult moments.