Sometimes letting go is easier than hanging on to someone that no longer serves you.
I’m a relationship person through and through. I will always root for relationships because I know I am much happier when I am sharing my life with someone, but that doesn’t always mean the person you’re with is the right person for you or that it works.
Letting go of a relationship and a life with someone is an extremely challenging thing to do but staying in that relationship when you’re more often than not having thoughts of doubt about it can be equally as challenging. The decision and thought process of knowing when it’s time to let go of your relationship is different for everyone, but here are some signs it might be time to let go.
- You keep trying to go back to the way things were. You more often than not find yourself looking back at the beginning of the relationship instead of looking forward to the future together. You find yourself talking about the way things used to be and you fear you can never get back to that. You avoid questions about engagements, weddings and kids like they’re the plague.
- One of you is always trying to change the other. I’ve struggled with this with nearly every partner I’ve had, I go for people who I think I can fix or change, and I can’t. One partner even called me out for it and said, “why can’t you just accept me for who I am? Maybe I have something to offer you.” He was right. Trying to change someone or project your point of views onto them isn’t fair. Having the urge to constantly change someone will leave you with disappointment and them with resentment toward you. You have to accept your partner for who they are and if you can’t you have to let them go. You can’t change people, it’s as simple as that.
- The fighting has become constant. You feel like you’re arguing more than you’re talking. You’re always super cautious and filter your thoughts and feelings because you don’t want to set them off. You’re essentially walking on eggshells around your partner, and that’s not healthy. Filtering your thoughts and emotions to keep them from exploding it not ok.
- You feel your needs aren’t being met. You no longer feel fulfilled in your relationship and you’ve tried explaining to your partner what you need but it doesn’t seem to affect anything, at least not for more than a few days or weeks at a time. Then things go back to the way they were and you’re finding yourself bringing it up again. Some people aren’t capable of loving you the way you need and it’s not their fault. We all have different needs and love languages, and sometimes you fall in love with someone who can’t meet those needs. It sucks but you have to accept that they can’t give you what you need, and that has to be ok.
- You don’t listen to each other. I’ve dated a couple of people where all we do is circle the drain. We have the same conversations which lead to the same fights and the same feelings of disappointment because we can’t get on the same page. We each have different expectations and wants of the relationship, and we simply can’t communicate effectively enough to come to an understanding. It’s like, you hear what each other is saying but you’re not actively listening or at least understanding the information your partner is explaining. You feel like you’re constantly repeating yourself and explaining the same things to them but it just doesn’t get through. This builds more frustration in the relationship which often leads to more fighting or built up resentment.
- You make excuses for their behavior. This is always a red flag. I dated a guy once who I realized had a drinking problem. Every time we did anything we drank, even at the dog park he would bring beer, and I’d make excuses for him in front of my friends. I dated another guy who would get angry and make a scene, I’d find myself always making excuses for his behavior, too. If you’re finding yourself constantly trying to make your partner out to be better than they are to your friends and family then it’s a good idea to sit down and reflect on why you’re doing this. If everyone in your life has cautioned you about the relationship then you should reflect on what’s really going on and consider if they’re seeing something you’re pretending isn’t there.
- You feel embarrassed by them. You feel like you can’t bring them to work events or family dinners because you’re excessively worried about what they might do. Whether that be to say something wildly inappropriate or get too drunk, you feel like you have to babysit them instead of just knowing things will be ok and that’s not a good feeling to have.
- You keep them around because you feel like having someone is better than having no one. I dated someone years ago and the relationship should have ended a few months in. Even though I knew it should have ended I kept it going for another year and a half because the thought of going through the breakup process and being alone again terrified me. Was I happy? No, absolutely not. But I kept him around for the rare good moments and because I thought having someone was better than having no one, which is a terrible reason to stay with someone.
- You feel there’s something more for you out there. You keep thinking there’s someone better for you than the person you’re currently with whether it’s because they don’t challenge you or fulfill you the way you need. You’re scared this is all it’s ever going to be with them, and you’re probably right. People get comfortable and the romance can die out, if you’re not feeling hopeful that you can spark it again or you’re constantly wondering if there’s something better for you, that’s a chance you might have to take.
- The trust is gone. One of you did something to affect the trust in your relationship and it doesn’t feel like you can do anything to mend it back together. The other person keeps bringing it up and holding it over the other’s head. If you feel there’s no coming back from the broken trust then all you can do is leave, instead of constantly begging and trying to prove yourself time and time again.
- You’re not being respected. The foundation of a relationship should be mutual respect because without respect you have nothing. If you’re feeling like your partner doesn’t respect you, or they belittle you, or don’t think you work as hard as them, or don’t appreciate when you do things for them than chances are they don’t respect you and they’re never going to start.
- You’re not able to depend on them. You should be able to rely and depend on your partner when they say something to you. If they promise you they’ll be somewhere or do something at a certain time and they never follow through you can’t depend on them. You can have conversation after conversation about how it hurts your feelings but if they don’t respect you then they won’t make it a priority to be there when you need them. It’s as simple as their actions don’t match their words, and as much as they apologize they keep leaving you with the same lousy feeling over and over.
If you see your relationship in a lot of these bullets then it’s probably time to really consider letting go. Ending a relationship with someone you love, despite these points, will still be painful and heartbreaking, but if your gut is telling you it’s the right thing to do, it’s time to listen.