How to Know When to Break Up

Lies, Fingers Crossed, Broken Relationship, Break Up
Photo Credit: Katie Tegtmeyer
Whether you have been with your partner for a month or a decade, knowing when to break up is always difficult.

How could a breakup impact you? Your partner? Is it really what you want? Could you live to regret it?

At Clarity Road, we are the first to admit that every situation is different. There is no survey you can fill out to know definitively when to break up. However, if you do see a few of the below warning signs emerging, it could be time to take a look inwards and think seriously about where your relationship is at.

Something big happens, and the first person you call is not your partner

When you first started dating, you and your significant other wanted to know everything about each other’s day. If a colleague set fire to a rubbish bin and pinned their resignation letter to every wall in the office before riding out on a motorcycle, your partner would have been the first to know about it.

But something has changed recently where you don’t want to call them first. Instead, you swing a message to your best friend, give your mum a quick call on your lunch break, and by the time you get home to your partner it almost feels like too much effort to bring the story up again. Besides, you know they won’t appreciate the satisfaction it gave you and will ask all the wrong questions anyway.

If your significant other has slipped down your list of go-to people, it could be because you are feeling disconnected from them – that you are drifting apart. Consider whether this disconnection is an isolated incident, or a sign of something deeper. If you are reading this article, chances are the you already have questions about when to break up.

You are rarely physically intimate

While the physical side of a relationship isn’t everything, being intimate is nonetheless important for many couples to maintain a strong bond. Kids, work and life in general can mean that you are too time-poor – or too exhausted – do get down to it often. But moments where you show each other your love physically should still be stolen – even in a meaningful kiss or an extended hug.

If you and your partner rarely show your affection physically, or if you no longer find your partner physically attractive, it may mean that your emotional connection is also deteriorating.

You often wonder if the grass is greener on the other side

If you are wondering when to break up, you may start to make comparisons, and view a friend or family member’s relationship as preferable to your own. Maybe you are envious of another couple’s open attraction to each other, the time they spend together or simply the looks they exchange when the other enters the room. All the while, you question why your own partner doesn’t have the same fire for you. This envy inevitably pop ups from time to time, but becomes a problem when it is constant, and may reflect a loss of excitement in your own relationship that you are struggling to retain.

Your relationship is a rollercoaster

When a relationship is beginning to crack, it usually shows in periods of ups and downs. While you will be relatively happy (or at least content) for three weeks of the month, there will be one week where you want to throttle your significant other and feel pushed to the brink of ending it altogether.

If you feel like you have whiplash from the constant highs and lows with your partner, it is worth looking at when and why they pop up – and if they signify a bigger problem in your life. Sometimes the bad weeks will become more frequent and more sustained, and may even start to outweigh the good. And other times you will stay stuck in a cycle of good and bad. The question is whether or not this level of instability is sustainable: is worth it.

You don’t fight fair

Most couples have the odd tiff here and there. In fact, many experts view occasional fighting as an integral part of a healthy relationship. But there is a difference between resolving a disagreement and consciously seeking to hurt each other.

When your relationship is on the rocks, you are likely to fight more often – and to do so unfairly. Rather than sticking to the issue at hand, you will each bring up past hurts, resort to name-calling and refuse to apologise for what feels like an eternity.

This type of fighting often reveals some major faults in your connection, indicating a disregard for each other’s feelings in favour of a self-satisfying need to come out on top. This is a strong indication of when to break up.

If the above signs hit too close to home, consider talking to your partner or seeking counselling.

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