When To Leave A Relationship: 15 Major Signs That It’s Time To Move On

Are you in a relationship where you feel it might be over but are too scared to leave? It can often be difficult to know when to leave a relationship because we are so emotionally invested. Just the thought of living without the other person, can feel completely devastating, even though you know that a breakup makes sense. 

Today we’ll look at 15 major signs to look for that will tell you when it’s time to leave a partner. 

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Leave A Relationship?

1. When You Live In Past Memories More Than The Present 

If you find yourself spending most of your time replaying the past, then it’s a sign that the relationship is not where you want it to be. Some people use past memories to justify staying with the person, for example, we used to go out a lot and that was fun, we used to call each other often, they were there for me when I was down and in a difficult season of life etc.

Yet, the more we live in the past and/or a fantasize about the future, the more we end up existing in a self created sense of reality. When in fact, it’s the opposite of the actual state of the relationship. 

Take some time to focus on what the partnership is like now instead of simply dwelling on the past. Don’t use past memories as the reason to stay together.

Your decision to stay together should be based on your current feelings for your partner, the current state of the relationship, and the future you see with that person. 

2. When the Relationship Brings More Pain Than Joy 

When we don’t want to leave a relationship, we tend to linger on the past happy moments of the relationship. We set our minds on past memories to the extent that we forget the unhappiness that we experience. 

Does your relationship bring you more tears than joy? Does it leave you frustrated, unhappy, upset or feeling like you have to walk on egg shells around your partner? If you find that there’s no joy in your partnership now, then something’s wrong. 

Although there is no perfect relationship and there will be moments within a partnership when you aren’t always both happy, your relationship should overall be a source of joy. 

Related: What To Do When Someone Lies To You In A Relationship: Practical Tips

When To leave a partner

3. You’re Not Genuinely Happy to See Your Partner

You know that it may be time to end a relationship if you are not genuinely happy to see your partner. Be honest with yourself; how do you feel when you see your partner? Do you light up with joy? Are you excited to come home and share with them about your day? Do they make your day brighter, or do you feel a pleasant sense of familiarity when they are near?

Conversely, do you feel like you’d rather be somewhere else? Do you dread the thought of coming home to them? Do you get stressed or a little bit irritated?

We all experience rough moments in a relationship. But if you consistently feel some sadness or strong disconnect when you see your partner, then something is terribly wrong. You may be clinging to the idea that you’re in a a great partnership even though it no longer exists. 

Related: How To Be Happy Again: 22 Ways To Shake Off Sadness And Find Happiness

4. When Your Partner Expects You To Change 

Another indictor that it may be time to leave a relationship is when your partners expects you to change. Love in its purest form should be unconditional. Yes, there are times when your partner may want you to change, especially if you are stuck in habits that are harmful to your health or future, for example, smoking or binge drinking.

However, if it is not related to your health and your partner is constantly criticizing you, puts you down and puts pressure on you to change. Such as, making comments about how you dress, the fact that you need to lose weight (even though you were the same weight when you met them), criticizing the things that you say or constantly making you feel inferior.

These comments are red flags that your partner does not value and love you for who you are and will make you feel that unless you change, they will not love you completely. This is unhealthy behavior.

5. Your Partner’s Actions Are Toxic To Your Life In Some Way 

The fifth indicator of that it might be time to leave a relationship is when your partner is toxic or abusive towards you. It is important to understand that there is no situation where an abusive relationship is acceptable. If you find yourself stuck this type of situation, then ask a friend, family member or professional to help you get out of the relationship as quickly as you can. 

Sometimes the abuse isn’t as overt. Perhaps you’re trying to save to make ends meet, but your partner keeps spending all the money or continually gambles it away. This type of behavior is damaging to both of your financial future and needs to be addressed with your partner.

If they are not willing to change then it may be time for you to leave. It is also important to note that, any kind of addiction can lead to serious issues within a relationship, whether it be financial, drug or alcoholic addictions.

They are all red flags unless someone is willing to get the help they need to move forward with the relationship in a healthy way.

However, if your partner refuses to change and their actions negatively affect your life, it may be time to end the relationship. 

Related: How to Fix a Toxic Relationship

6. You Realize That The Only Reason You’re With That Person Is Because You’re Afraid Of Being Alone 

Another indicator is if you are with someone simply because you are petrified to be alone. Some people even go to the extent of tolerating an abusive relationship because they don’t want to be alone and can’t imagine that they would be able to find a better partner or even that they deserve better. 

If this is your only reason for staying, then that relationship is already over. The only reason you’re with that person is because you don’t believe you can do better and it has nothing to do with love. 

The truth is that you can do better, you deserve to be with someone that will love you for who you are and treat you well.

Related: How To Let Go Of Emotional Baggage From Relationships And Moving On

7. When You’re Staying Because You Hope That The Other Person Will Change 

The seventh indicator that it may be time to leave a relationship, is when you are with someone in the hopes that they will change. If you are staying in a relationship hoping that the other person will change, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.

You are trying to change your partner to fit your expectations rather than accepting them as they are. 

Even if the person changes for you, you will soon identify other areas that they need to improve. You will never be content with who they are.

The end result is that it becomes a loveless relationship, as the other person may feel that they are not appreciated for who they are. This is not healthy for you or them.

8. The Relationship Is Disrupting A Major Life Goal 

Another indicator that it may be time for you to leave is when major life goals become disrupted. Perhaps you have always wanted to be a music teacher, but your partner refuses to support you because they don’t believe you could succeed at it.

Are you holding each other back from pursuing your dreams/goals? 

This is no one’s fault, and at times the issue can be resolved by taking time to talk about it. You and your partner can agree to make a compromise or set up plans that help each of you achieve your goals.

The problem arises when you leave your goals on the back burner because of your partner’s needs. In the end, resentment always creeps in. 

9. Your Partner Seems To No Longer Be Interested 

If you’ve noticed that your partner is ignoring you or appears bored with you, it may signal that it’s time to end a relationship. A partner who is interested in the relationship would not blow you off, keep insisting that they are busy, or make other excuses not to see you. 

Maybe your partner is no longer interested in the relationship, but they’re too scared to tell you. If you suspect that this might be the case, talk to your partner and get them to open up about where they stand in the relationship. 

Related: Signs You Should Stay Away From Someone: What To Do About Toxic People

When To leave a partner

10. You Argue Frequently About Stupid Things

Frequent arguments are one of the common signs that the relationship is over. You find yourself fighting over little things like household chores, what to have for dinner, or whose turn it is to mow the lawn. 

If you have been arguing over petty things, picking at each other regularly, then the underlying respect and love may be fading.

It’s normal to have disagreements in a relationship, but usually, we’re much more willing to forgive the other person and move on if we have deep feelings for them. 

11. You Keep Coming Up With Excuses To Stay Together 

Most people don’t understand this, but there’s a difference between having reasons to stay together and excuses to stay together. Reasons are usually obvious; for instance, you love your partner and you feel that you’re connected as a couple. 

On the other hand, excuses are mostly stories you make up to justify why you are still together. 

“I feel that he/she is my soulmate. Things may not be working out, but they soon will,”

“Our stars are a perfect match, so we belong together.”

“We have kids, it’s complicated.”

Naturally, all relationships experience conflicts; coming up with an excuse or two to help you weather the storm is okay. But if you find yourself continually making excuses, year after year, maybe it’s time to end the relationship. 

Related: How To Deal With An Emotional Manipulator: 5 Ways To Protect Yourself

12. You Keep Justifying Their Actions 

When you constantly feel the need to justify your partner’s actions, it means you’re uncomfortable with their actions and want to explain away the discomfort.

The issue here is that the explanations are self-created, and most of the time, they may not even be true.

If you’re repeatedly justifying their actions, the relationship becomes one that’s built on excuses instead of reality. Chances are that you’re trapped in a world of false assurances instead of the truth. 

As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If you constantly feel the need to justify your partner’s actions because they are careless or hurtful then maybe it’s time to walk away. 

13. When Your Partner Puts In Little Effort In The Relationship 

Relationships are built when both of you work together. The same applies to friendships, family, mentors, and romantic relationships.

Both of you have to work on the relationship together. If you are constantly putting more effort in than your partner, eventually, you’ll feel drained and left with a feeling that the relationship is one sided.

You find yourself giving more and more to keep the relationship alive. Unless this issue is addressed, it will get worse over time. Soon you’ll be unhappy and in so deep that you’ll lose your own identity. 

14. When You & Your Partner Have Different Fundamental Values & Beliefs 

For any relationship to thrive, there has to be similarity in certain fundamental values. The similarity in these values is the glue that holds the relationship together.

Of Course, other things may be different, for example, your partner may be an early bird, whereas you struggle to get out of bed.

However, the fundamental values that you share will enable you to weather the storms ahead. 

Conversely, if your values are different, the journey to keep the relationship together will be difficult. Your relationship will lack a strong foundation making it difficult to sustain. 

Related: How To Stay Away From Negative People And Their Toxic Behavior

15. When Neither of You Feels The Same Way About Each Other 

The sad truth is that people change, and things change. If you two no longer feel the same way, it may be time to walk away from a relationship. Some people linger in a relationship even though the feelings are gone.

Perhaps you’ve already normalized the relationship and can’t imagine life without the other person. Alternatively, you may continue in the relationship because it provides you with companionship. 

Yet if the feeling is not mutual in the relationship, you are simply postponing ending a relationship. You’re also preventing yourself from being free to meet other people. 

When To leave a partner

Should You Give Up On The Relationship When You Notice These Signs?

By now, you may be a bit alarmed because your relationship has some of these signs. Maybe it’s a long-term relationship, and you prefer to stick it out. There’s no problem with giving the relationship a chance. You can still work with your partner and work on your relationship’s issues. 

However, it is important to ask yourself, “how long have you had these problems for?” For example, if you’ve been constantly fighting, your partner no longer makes you happy, it feels as if you are simply living separate lives and your partner isn’t willing to work on the issues then perhaps it’s time to rethink the relationship. 

When two people have deep compatibility, the issues that have been mentioned can really hurt each other, which can result in resentment building up and sticking around for a long time. This is not healthy within a relationship.

On the other hand, if you know that your relationship can get better and most of the time you’ve had a deep, fulfilling connection, then you might be going through a rough patch. Take a moment to talk to your partner about what’s been going on.

Be honest and bring the issues to the surface, so that the two of you can work on solving them. Ensure that you are listening to your partners feelings rather than just expressing your self. This process is essential to take the relationship forward.

It’s Hard To Leave 

It is not often that someone feels like leaving a relationship, especially if you originally had a connection with that person.

Even when the relationship is full of conflict, emotional pain, and little support, we cling to the good moments that we had with that person and convince ourselves to stay.

There may be obvious signs that it’s time to let go, but the attachment and emotional investment impede us from looking at the relationship objectively. 

In the end, it comes down to this:

You have to let go of any relationships that are hurting you. If you have experienced physical or emotional abuse from a person, then it’s not worth it to stay with them.

If that relationship is not adding to your life, it’s time to walk away, as difficult as it may be. 

Be objective when making the decision. This can be hard, but you need to realize that there are billions of people out there. There’s still a chance that you’ll meet someone who is perfect for you.

If you stay true to who you are as a person, you’ll find other people who are also true to themselves, and you’ll have a great chance of developing a successful relationship with someone that shares the same values as you. 

Should you decide to let go, follow through with your decision. At this point, it should be clear to you what’s not working. Do you need to move on? Is there a way to make the relationship healthy? Be honest with yourself and communicate your intentions to leave the relationship.

No doubt the other person will feel hurt and angry when they hear that you want to leave. However, You can reassure them that you’ve had good times with them, but it’s no longer working and time to move on. 

When you do decide to leave, avoid being cruel towards the other person. They may not have been good to you but don’t make the situation worse by saying or behaving in a cruel or nasty manner.

Simply explain to them why you want to leave. You don’t have to share everything with your soon-to-be-ex. Tell them how you feel, but do so kindly while thinking about the positive aspects of the other person. After all, you did want to be with this person at one stage, so they still deserve your respect. 

Make sure that you have a good support system around you when you decide that it’s time to leave. We often fear being alone, and we fear the unknown. Yet, if you’ve decided to leave, a good support system will help you get through the process of a breakup. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends who can help you through the process.

Related: How To End A Relationship Respectfully And In The Right Way

The Bottom Line

It isn’t right to stay in a relationship simply because you’re afraid or nervous of being single. If you’ve noticed most of these signs, take some time to decided whether or not you need to let go of the other person. Remember to choose what’s right for you. 

Instead of pursuing an unhappy relationship, consider whether it may be time to move on. Approach the future with a positive mindset and hope that you will find someone who would love to build a healthy, long-term relationship with you. 

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