How do you know it’s time to leave the relationship, especially when your heart is telling you one thing, but your common sense is telling you another?
You’ve been in a relationship for years—decades even—and you’re only just noticing a gnawing feeling in your gut, telling you to leave. Perhaps you’ve had this feeling for a long time, perhaps it’s something you’re finally brave enough to pay attention to now. Either way, it’s never a good sign when your inner voice tells you to call it quits.
You may have your reasons for wanting to leave, some of which are personal and some of which you’re willing to share with your closest allies. No matter what, deciding whether to stay and fight or give up and go is a decision that only you can make. Don’t let anyone else influence your decision and certainly don’t let this article be your sole guide when doing so.
Leaving is never easy
Be sure to exhaust all options and turn over every rock before making your decision. Everything from couples counseling, to taking a solo vacation to clear your head should be attempted. Every relationship is worth fighting for—especially one that was, or still is, filled with love. [Read: 12 real reasons why so many couples drift apart over time]
When making this decision, you need to push your emotions aside and attack this situation methodically. If you’re stuck and don’t know what to do next, here are 16 signs that maybe it’s time to call it quits.
#1 You’ve been unfaithful. A clear sign that it’s time for you to leave the relationship is when you’ve been unfaithful, and don’t feel particularly guilty about it. The same can be said about your partner. If they have cheated before—whether once or on multiple occasions—it’s time to pack up and bounce. [Confession: I cheated on my boyfriend and feel so much better!]
#2 You yearn for someone else. If you have a “backup” in place, whether it’s a fling whom you bang every so often, or simply someone with whom you share a strong emotional connection, you need to get out of your relationship right now. Once you seek love and companionship elsewhere, and prefer spending time with them, there’s no reason to stay with your current partner.
#3 You’re actively seeking out “new friends.” The saying, “Don’t leave your old job before finding a new one,” applies to this situation. Do you find yourself trolling bars to meet new people? Facebook stalking hot singles? Adding acquaintances of the opposite sex on social media or to your phonebook so that you can “keep in touch”? Justifying your actions by saying, “I’m just being social”? Well, you are probably trying to fill a void and are unconsciously *or consciously* looking for a new partner.
#4 The sex has dwindled. It’s normal for couples in long-term relationships to have less sex than brand-new couples. However, it’s not normal for you to only have sex occasionally and, when you do, not enjoy it because you’re envisioning someone else banging you, or feeling nothing because the spark is gone.
#5 You’re bored. Being in a relationship should be fun and passionate. You should want to do everything with your partner. However, if you feel bored out of your mind and keep doing the same things day in and day out, you may need to get out before it’s too late. This is especially true if you have tried many times to get your partner to do something fresh and interesting, but they’re too set in their ways to bother. [Read: 15 reasons why you’re getting bored with your relationship]
#6 You’re jealous of other couples. It’s normal to feel a little jealous of other couples who have it made, but if this feeling intensifies and you start comparing every aspect of your relationship to what everyone else has, it’s very unhealthy and is a clear sign that you need to end your relationship. If you truly love your partner, you should be feeling grateful, and not resentful.
#7 You miss your single days. If you prefer late nights out, sleeping around, flirting with everything that moves, the freedom to come and go as you please, and the luxury to design your life without anyone else in your way, you should get out of your relationship and go back to being single and ready to mingle.
#8 You have forgotten who you are. The biggest danger of being in a relationship *especially a long-term one* is forgetting who you really are. Many people simply become an extension of their partners and end up embracing their beliefs, personalities, and so on. If you don’t recognize what you see in the mirror, it’s time for you to rediscover yourself. You can start doing so by leaving your relationship. [Read: How to fall out of love when you don’t see a future in your romance]
#9 You’re no longer afraid of being alone. No one wants to end up alone, but if you think you’d be happier being alone than with your partner, you know it’s definitely time to leave.
#10 You’re unhappy more often than you’re happy. All relationships have ups and downs, but if you can’t remember the last time you were truly happy and satisfied, it’s a red flag that your relationship is unhealthy. Work on it or start packing your bags now.
#11 You fight on a daily basis. Fights, arguments, disagreements, and pettiness are normal. Every couple has to deal with them. However, if it happens on a daily basis and over every little thing, it’s really best to part ways. Trust me when I say that you’re bound to find happiness, peace, and calm elsewhere. [Read: 16 signs you’re settling in an unhappy relationship]
#12 There’s no communication. The whole point of committing yourself to another person is so that you have someone there with you through thick and thin—someone with whom you can share all of your problems, and someone with whom you can share all of your joy. If you find yourself bottling everything in, or if you’d rather share your feelings with others besides your partner, it’s a clear sign that you need to exit the relationship.
#13 You’re taken advantage of. You should never let anyone walk all over you—most of all, the person who has pledged to love you, no matter what. You should be appreciated every day, and loved and cared for despite all the hardships that life throws your way. If your partner takes advantage of you in any way whatsoever, or manipulates you and lies, you need to wake up and realize that you can do better. [Read: Am I being taken for granted? 16 discreet signs to know for sure]
#14 You’ve both stopped trying. If you’ve both stopped making an effort in everything, from trying to make conversation, to seriously letting yourselves go, then there’s truly no point in being together.
#15 You look to the past more than the present. “We’ve been together for 13 years, it’d be a shame to leave now!” Sound familiar? You use the happy moments that you’ve shared in the past as reasons to stay with your partner. You need to be honest with yourself and accept the fact that it shouldn’t be about what happened way back then. It should be about what’s happening now.
#16 You’re being abused. This should go without saying, but some of you need to be prodded in the right direction. If you’re being mentally or physically abused, you need to walk out today. Your partner should not get a second chance, because they lost every right to it the moment they hurt you. [Read: 16 abusive relationship signs of a devious lover]
Leaving the person you love is one of the hardest things to do. Remember to work on it first before walking away, and don’t do it unless you’re absolutely sure it’s the right thing to do. At the end of the day, you need to make yourself happy, and if leaving your partner will help you get there, then do it and don’t look back.
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Born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia to multi-racial parents, Lianne is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the wor...