We all wish our lives were like our favourite movies: the perfect romantic comedy with just the right mix of tension and passion, leading to the promised happy ending. But things always seem more simple in theory than they do in real life. The love between partners is necessary, of course, but just love is not enough. Relationships, though magical at the start, need the art of constant work and communication to keep things going.
But what happens when it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere? How do you know when to stop putting in efforts and instead, prepare to say goodbye? It is never pleasant to break-up with someone you love. But sometimes, it is necessary, for the good of all people involved.
If you’re wondering whether it is finally the right time to break-up, here are some things that should always be considered.
Signs that it is time to break-up with someone you love
It can be scary to think about breaking up. Every relationship goes through occasional rough patches. It is normal to contemplate about ending things. Not all couples end up going through it. Sometimes, it may become an incentive to discuss problems that you have ignored and come out of it even stronger.
However, there are several solid reasons to break-up with someone you love. These are signs that you shouldn’t ignore for the sake of keeping things comfortable. We tend to popularize the notion of fixing a relationship over and over. Breaking up does not mean you didn’t try hard enough.
So, why would you break-up with someone you love? Here are nine signs that it is time to break-up.
1. Broken trust
Trust is the thread that exists between two people, not to keep them bound, but to give them room to grow together. It is as important as love in a relationship. So, if your partner has cheated on you, it may be time to seriously consider ending things. Some couples work through this in therapy, but for many, this is the final straw. Knowing that your partner has lied to you in such a way can be mentally traumatizing.
If you are the one who has cheated on your partner, you should come clean and reflect on what has made you stray. A relationship with shattered trust cannot last long.
2. Difference in views
We all have heard the famous “opposites attract”. But real relationships are not a cliche. While your opposing views might have built room for passionate bantering initially, over time it can lead to exhaustion. Having different political or cultural views can lead to a lack of acceptance on both sides. This is especially true if your partner has harmful views that are racist, homophobic, etc. in nature.
While fighting is common in relationships, continuous fights indicate a lack of communication. If your first instinct is to argue with your partner rather than calmly discuss things, there is a problem, this is one of the signs that it is time to break-up with someone you love.
3. Lack of support
This is one of the significant reasons to break-up with someone you love. If you or your partner (s) are unable to be happy for each other’s success and cannot support the other’s ventures, things have gone wrong somewhere.
If you find yourself hesitating to share your achievements because you fear that they might mock you, it is time to reconsider.
4. Being overly possessive
The occasional jealousy could initiate some steamy times, but being constantly possessive is a sign of control issues. If your partner tries to control the way you dress or stop you from hanging out with your friends, they aren’t seeing you as a person, but as an object. If they keep checking your phone and questioning you, start questioning whether you are being respected as you deserve.
An abusive partner is never acceptable, no matter how lovingly they might treat you otherwise. This is one of the most serious reasons to break-up with someone you love. Abuse comes in several forms, not just limited to being physical. It is difficult to leave an abusive relationship, so reach out to a trusted individual to support you through it.
6. Friends and family
You friends and family don’t like them. This is a double-edged sword because often these views are out of prejudice than an actual concern. But there are times when your loved ones spot the red flags that may take years for you to spot. Talk to them and understand their side of things.
7. Extreme dependency
Depending on each other is natural but becoming extremely reliant on your partner to the point that you both stop being your person is a sign that you need space. Why would you break-up with someone you love even now? Well, co-dependency leads to loss of identity which becomes a ground for unhealthy relationships.
8. Self work
You may only be with your partner because you don’t want to be single. If you are unhappy with yourself and use a relationship as a way to get happiness, it is unfair to both of you. You can only achieve true content once you make peace with yourself. Using another person is never a solution.
9. It becomes an obligation
Bottom line, if you are still in a relationship only because it is a routine and habit, even in the absence of feelings, either try rekindling the spark or ending it for good.
How to break-up with someone you love?
Now that you have your reasons to break-up with someone you love, remember to not jump into it right away. Breaking up should be done delicately.
Here are some things to remember:
- Carefully think over your reasons and write them down if you need to. Don’t be impulsive. You cannot take it back once you have said it out loud.
- Inform your family and friends. They will support you through the entire process and hold your hand as you cope with breaking up with someone you love.
- Choose an appropriate location. If you feel safe enough, meet with your partner alone in a personal space, as vulnerabilities might be exposed. If you do not feel safe, as a friend or parent to accompany you to a public location.
- Try not to be harsh. It is important to tell your side of things, but remember to consider your partner’s feelings. Explain it carefully so they are not left with what-ifs.
- It takes two people to start and dismantle a relationship. Your partner may be hurt, confused or angry. Give them a chance to express their emotions to you, so they can seek their closure too.
- Be gentle with your partner, but don’t accidentally give them false hope of getting back together. Seeing your partner cry might feel upsetting and you may want to comfort them through physical gesture, but be sure to not lead them on.
- If you have been living together, discuss the arrangements and financial divisions only when you both feel calm enough.
- Get ready to give your partner space. They might have not had the same time as you to come to terms with this decision. Accept that they might not want to see you for some time.
In the end, do not let your feelings towards your break-up change the way you treat your partner. Both you and they deserve respect and care at the end, possibly even more than you did before.
How Do I Cope?
The days after breaking up are always the hardest. Feelings are still fresh and the bruises have not begun to heal. Thus, it important to know how to cope with breaking up with someone you love. There are things you should keep in mind so that you don’t spiral or end up making decisions based purely on emotions.
- Give yourself time to accept things. It is difficult to get used to being single, even if you are the one who initiated the break-up. You may experience second thoughts or regrets, so try to give them time to pass. Trust your reasons.
- Do activities with your family and friends, even if it is something as simple as a movie night. This stops you from turning to unhealthy coping measures such as excessive drinking.
- Treat yourself with care. Spoil yourself with gifts and love.
- Discuss the emotions you are experiencing with your therapist. Acknowledging any hurt or guilt that you may be feeling is extremely important.
- Provided your break-up was in non-abusive circumstances, don’t villainize your ex or yourself. Remember that both of you are people with feelings. Sometimes, getting hurt is unavoidable.
- Give your ex space. Understand that they may not heal as quickly as you. They may also not want to be as close as you were once.
- Don’t immediately find a rebound just to stop feeling sad.
Know that healing is a journey. It may take months or years before you can visit the same places you would visit with them. Things in your apartment might still remind you of them. Some days will feel easy, and others will take you three steps back and that’s okay.
Progress is not linear. Progress is learning to live with yourself and your decision day after day, as you stumble and fall. Somewhere along the way, love yourself too, hurt and fears and all.
You tried and it didn’t work out. What matters is that you still have you.