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When to Leave a Relationship: 15 Clues That Shouldn’t Be Ignored

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Sometimes we stay in a relationship even though we shouldn’t. But life becomes routine, and it can be hard to know exactly when to leave a relationship. 

My first serious relationship was full of passion and drama. It was equivalent to a really bad reality TV show you can’t stop watching. And I’m not the only one who’s had a relationship like this. Needless to say, it was a toxic relationship where two people really shouldn’t be together. Were there signs of when to leave a relationship? Of course, there were. In fact, they were so obvious, a blind man could see them. 

But when you’re in the relationship, it can be hard to accept those signs. Because let’s face it, deep down, we all know what the signs are, it’s whether or not we accept them and take action that makes all the difference. 

How to know when to leave a relationship 

We hold on to relationships for various reasons. Back in my early twenties, I was deeply insecure and genuinely thought no one else would want to be with me other than him. It’s a crazy thought now that I look back. But, I’m not the only one who’s had those thoughts. Other people stay in bad relationships because of comfort or because they’re deeply invested, whether it’s emotionally or financially.

[Read: How to deal with breakup anxiety and overcome your biggest fears]

But if a relationship isn’t doing you good, then it may be time to call it quits. Of course, every relationship has its ups and downs, but going through a rough patch is completely different than feeling unfulfilled in your relationship. 

Not all relationships are forever. Learn the signs of when to leave a relationship, and do what’s best for you.

#1 You don’t feel like yourself. You’ve been in the relationship for a while, but you don’t feel good about yourself. You haven’t grown into a better person; instead, you’ve become someone you don’t recognize anymore. Maybe you’re more reserved, confrontational, or timid.

The right partner should be making you feel like a better person, helping you to find your light. But, in your relationship, it’s the opposite. [Read: A lack of affection in a relationship: Is it time to walk away?]

#2 They’ve cheated on you. Some couples decide to work through a cheating scandal and make the relationship better. And listen, if you choose to do that, that’s fine. But it’s a two-way street. If your partner is still cheating on you and keeping you in the dark on certain things, then it’s time to leave. What? Are you just going to be in a dishonest relationship for the rest of your life? Just leave your relationship because you’re better off alone. 

#3 They dismiss you. Whether you are going out with friends or having an argument, your partner is always dismissing you. They don’t consider your opinion or feelings. Instead, you feel like you’re just someone who’s there. How you feel doesn’t matter to them, and when it comes to feeling connected and loved, that’s not there. [Read: Never ignore these 15 signs of a lack of respect in a relationship]

#4 You don’t love your partner anymore. No one said once you enter a loving relationship, it’ll continue to be a loving relationship until the end. People change; nothing is linear. And if it’s been months since you’ve felt genuine love towards your partner, this is something serious you need to consider. Do you love your partner anymore? If you don’t, this could be when to leave a relationship.

#5 The cons outweigh the pros. Every relationship has its good and bad — some small crappy things you let slide, but only to a point. If you’re feeling there are more cons in your relationship than positive things, you’ve got yourself a problem. If your relationship is slowly dying, put it out of its misery. 

#6 You aren’t in the same place anymore. In the beginning, you were on the same page and felt connected. But it’s been a long time since you’ve felt that. And that’s okay; it’s normal for people to grow apart and choose different paths. But if that’s the case, be honest with yourself and understand that the relationship isn’t what it once was. 

#7 They lie to you. You just want to have a decent relationship with your partner, so you let their lies and dishonesty slide by. If you’re catching them in lie after lie, then it’s time you started to get real with them. If your partner isn’t honest with you, then you know when to leave the relationship. [Read: What to do when there’s lying in your relationship: Can it survive?]

#8 You don’t feel they love you. Sure, they’re your partner, but you don’t feel that they love you anymore. The connection isn’t there, and neither is physical affection. Things have flatlined without hope in sight of revival. In a healthy relationship, you should feel loved by your partner, and if that’s not happening, it’s time to move on. 

#9 It’s all on your shoulders. The entire relationship is on your shoulders. If it wasn’t for you and your hard work, it would have been over months ago. But, you’re single-handedly keeping things alive.

Aren’t you exhausted? Don’t you want to be with someone who wants to carry some responsibility for the relationship on their shoulders as well? [Read: The hidden signs of a one-sided relationship we all choose to ignore]

#10 They abuse you. Listen, whether it’s emotional, physical, or mental abuse, there’s really no excuse. Sure, they may have had a rough childhood, but that doesn’t give them a pass to abuse you.

If, by any means, you’re being abused by your partner, it’s time to leave the relationship. Things will not get better, even though you may think they will. They will not get better. [Read: How to spot an emotional abuser with these emotional abuse signs]

#11 You feel your life is on pause. It’s normal for couples to make personal sacrifices, but they make those sacrifices for the sake of their loving relationship. But, if your partner is making you feel like you’re putting your life on pause for them, and they’re not returning the favor, well, this isn’t fair.

If you’re feeling held back by your partner, no matter how much you love them, you should do what’s right for you.

#12 Prolonged unhappiness. Knowing when to leave a relationship is sometimes very simple: you’re not happy. You haven’t been happy in a while.

Maybe you thought after your partner’s raise or having a child, things would get better, but they won’t. If you’re feeling prolonged unhappiness, this is a sign you need to move on. A relationship shouldn’t make you feel sadness; it’s supposed to inspire you and help you grow. [Read: How to know if you’re settling in an unhappy relationship that’s dragging you down]

#13 Your partner demands too much from you. You feel like you’re a clown juggling all of your partner’s needs and demands. Your partner places high standards on you, but they don’t give you much in return. Instead, the onus is all on you to make this a better relationship. Screw that! Find someone who actually wants a partner, not a servant.

#14 You fear to be alone. Are you sticking it through this relationship because you’re scared to be alone? If that’s the case, then you really need to leave the relationship.

You’re not in it for the right reasons; instead, you’re in it because of fear. Being with someone out of fear will never work, and eventually, you will end up alone. [Read: How to let go of your fear of being alone and find peace]

#15 You’re stuck in the past. In your head, your relationship is heavily based on the past. You reminisce about things you did with your partner two years ago, but that’s the only thing that’s keeping the relationship alive. What happened in the past isn’t happening now, and that’s not a good sign of a happy relationship.

[Read: When is it time to break up? The signs to know for sure it’s time]

Now you know when it’s time to leave a relationship. Knowing these signs can help you figure out your relationship and future steps you need to take.

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Natasha_Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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