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How to Know If You Should Break Up: 22 Signs that Can Guide You

Relationships don’t always work out – they can also be filled with pain and sadness. If you want to know how to know if you should break up, keep reading.

How to Know If You Should Break Up

The feeling of love can make us do crazy things, which includes staying in an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes you may believe you’re in a perfectly happy relationship *because everyone’s relationship is a bit screwed up anyway, right?* And at other times, you may wonder how to know if you should break up, because you’re just not happy anymore.

Even if you try to fight for your relationship, there comes a point when it’s really over and there’s nothing you can do.

The more you try to fix things, the worse it’ll get. Relationships can be confusing. But… that’s only if you’re unsure of yourself and your wants in the first place.

Of course, breaking up with someone isn’t easy, but sometimes, it needs to be done to receive the love you deserve. You may not be sure if you should break up with your partner, and that’s where we can guide you.

Don’t rush into the decision until you really think things over and come to a decision you feel good about.

[Read: 15 signs of a toxic relationship that’ll go from bad to worse]

Why do we break up with someone?

You only break up with someone when the bad outweighs the good, and you can’t find the silver lining in your relationship anymore. You’ve lost hope that things will get better and that’s how you know you need to break up with them. There are a lot of factors that contribute to a breakup, but none of this happens overnight.

A lot of minor issues accumulate into one big problem that causes a breakup to happen.

It doesn’t always have to be as bad as cheating, but it can be something that seems trivial, like not having the same values or lack of chemistry. These reasons might seem mundane compared to cheating, but they’re just as valid for a breakup to occur.

We break up with someone when we no longer see ourselves being with that person over the foreseeable future. Even if you try your hardest to fight for the relationship or them, you know you can’t be the only one fighting for things to work out.

So if you’re wondering how to know if you should break up, it’s not often just because of one reason alone. Unless the reason is cheating, breaking up with someone is often a combination of just how and why the bad outweighs the good. [Read: 20 very telling signs it’s time for you to give up on your relationship]

How to know if you should break up – The sad but true signs that can guide you

Not all relationships are forever. Even as we want things to work out for a lifetime, life can have different plans for us. Here are some signs on how to know if you should break up.

1. Your needs aren’t being met

When it comes to people’s needs, everyone is different. Some people need more emotional support, while others need physical intimacy. In a healthy relationship, both people help to fulfill each other’s needs and balance everything out.

Compromise and meeting one another halfway is vital in making a relationship work. The effort isn’t everything, but it certainly is a pretty big foundation. If the relationship is rather one-sided, then there’s your clear answer on how to know if you should break up. [Read: 15 signs of a taker in a relationship – Are you a giver or a taker?]

2. You’re scared to talk to your partner

Your needs aren’t being met by your partner, but you’re also too scared to ask more from them. What that does is hide your true feelings from your partner and create further issues. Also, you need to ask yourself why you feel uncomfortable asking your partner for more when you’re already giving them what they need from you.

If you’re wondering how to know if you should break up, remember that a relationship is not held together by fear and silence, but by love and communication.

You shouldn’t be walking on eggshells around your partner, and that’s now how it should work. Even if you don’t break up now, your relationship will eventually end because of the lack of communication and openness. [Read: The 13 big foundations of a relationship that separate the good and bad ones]

3. You’re going to other people to get your needs met

Since your needs aren’t being met in your relationship, you’re going elsewhere for support. Maybe you confide to your friend or a colleague from work. But the point is you’re looking outside of your relationship when you should be getting your needs met within your relationship.

It’s not necessarily cheating *yet*, but you’re looking outside the relationship for love or emotional support.

You may be confiding in a friend because they understand you better than your partner. Or maybe you just like spending time with someone else because your partner behaves like they don’t want to hang out with you. Whatever the reasons, if your partner isn’t your first point of interest for anything, that’s a dead-end in the making. [Read: 18 emotional affair signs you probably didn’t notice]

4. You feel you have to stay with your partner

Maybe you and your partner went through a traumatic experience together or have dated for five years. And now, even though you feel you want to break up with them, you also feel that you can’t break up with them.

Just because you two shared an experience or have been together for a long time, doesn’t mean you both are bound together for the rest of your life. You aren’t and will never be obligated to stay in your relationship – not if you don’t want to.

You should stay because you love them and can’t imagine being with anyone else, not because you’re forced to do so. If you feel obligated to stay, this is one of the ways how to know if you should break up.

5. Your gut instinct is telling you to break up

You know already what you need to do, even without really wondering about how to know if you should break up. Right now, you’re just finding the support and the reasons you need to bring the idea to light. But your gut instinct has already told you what your next step needs to be.

If your gut instinct is telling you that you need to break up, listen to it. Don’t ignore what your gut tells you assuming your relationship will magically get better overnight. Your gut is your subconscious mind and it picks and reads cues and signs even before you can understand it in the rational part of your brain. [Read: How to listen to your gut and give strength to your inner voice]

6. Your partner is abusive

Well, if your partner is exhibiting emotional, mental, or physical signs of abuse towards you, you know it’s time to break up. It can be hard to end an abusive relationship, as your partner will also show affection to manipulate you. But, any hint of violence will only progress with time.

If anything, this should be one of the blatant signs on this list on how to know if you should break up. Abuse should never be tolerated, no matter what. Whether it’s emotional, mental, or physical abuse, just break it off. [Read: 21 sneaky signs of emotional abuse you may be overlooking]

7. Your friends and family are unsupportive of the relationship

It’s normal for close people to feel skeptical about someone’s partner initially, but if time has passed and your friends and family are against your partner even now, there’s a reason why. This is a huge red flag and one you need to investigate.

Why does no one in your close inner circle like your partner? Perhaps it’s because they see something you clearly don’t. After all, they say love is blind, and that’s often for a reason.

8. You don’t like your partner as a person

You’re in love with your partner, but over time, you’ve realized that you don’t actually like your partner!

This may sound strange, but it happens as two people drift and have different priorities and interests in life. Now, you realize that you wouldn’t even want your partner to be your friend if you two weren’t in a romantic relationship. There’s nothing about them you like.

This should be obvious by now, but you need to like your partner! If not, why are you even still in a relationship with them? If you’re wondering how to know if you should break up, it’s whether you still like being around them or not. [Read: The most important reasons why couples drift apart over time]

9. You two have been working on improving the relationship for over a year

If you’ve been working on fixing your relationship for over a year with your partner and nothing has changed, it’s time to call it quits. You’re wasting your time. If they can’t meet your needs or you theirs, and it’s been a year, then you need to move on because it’s clear nothing will change.

They’ve been saying they’re going to change for a year now, and have they? You need to stop fixing or changing them and find someone who is compatible with you. Stop wasting your time on the wrong person, and you’ll find precisely what you’ve been looking for. [Read: How to stop being taken for granted in a relationship]

10. You don’t want to have sex with your partner

Now, in relationships, there are phases when we’re more sexual and less sexual. A lot of things can affect your desire to have sex like stress or children. But in this case, you simply don’t want to have sex.

Physical intimacy in relationships is essential as it helps you connect with your partner intimately.

You don’t need to do it every day, but it should be at least regular in your relationship. It helps you both to bare your souls and hearts to one another in a way that words can’t. If you’re wondering how to know if you should break up, ask yourself if you’ve mentally checked out of the relationship with your partner already.

11. You carry the relationship on your back

Not only are your needs not being met, but you’re single-handedly carrying the relationship on your back. You’re not a mule, are you? But seriously, you make the date night plans, you cook dinner, you clean the house, and your partner doesn’t need to do much. They just need to show up. That’s not a relationship.

You need to stop carrying the relationship on your own and just let go. A relationship takes two and if they aren’t willing to do their part, it’s better to call it quits. [Read: How to fix a one-sided relationship before it ends in failure]

12. You hold onto the “good time”

And that’s all you have from your relationship. The past memories of good moments you two share is what keep you sticking around. But in recent months, there haven’t been any positive moments you two shared. In other words, you’re living in the past of your relationship, not the present.

You should still be having somewhat of a good time right now. If you’re holding on to your past good moments, that’s how to know if you should break up. Maybe you’re no longer as happy as you initially thought.

13. You don’t really care anymore

You don’t feel empathy towards your partner anymore or the need to surprise them with something they like. You feel empty and don’t really care about them or your relationship. This is a serious sign that you two are no longer in a loving partnership.

Indifference isn’t supposed to be something you should ever feel for someone you love.

If you don’t care any longer, that’s how to know if you should break up. It’s better to find someone who deserves who makes you care than feeling empty and void in your current relationship. [Read: How to know if you’ve started becoming emotionally detached in a relationship]

14. You’re emotionally drained when you’re around them

When you’re with your partner, you should feel content. Of course, there will be some days where you’re not feeling your best, but you shouldn’t feel this constant emotional heaviness when you’re with your partner. This feeling of being emotionally drained is when you know something needs to change.

A relationship is supposed to fill you with energy, and not deplete it. The fact you’re constantly emotionally drained around them speaks volumes about the inevitable doom of your relationship.

15. You’re just unhappy

We can’t put this as simpler. You’re just not happy being with your partner. You don’t laugh anymore; you don’t see your friends or do things that make you feel good. You’ve withdrawn from the world and no longer enjoy the hobbies you used to do.

Now, if this appears with other signs on this list, your relationship may be the problem. If your relationship no longer makes you happy, it’s time to cut the cord and leave. They just don’t make you happy anymore. [Read: 15 signs of a bad relationship you should never ever tolerate]

16. You don’t see yourself with them in the long run

When you get into a relationship, it should be with someone you see yourself with, in the long run. We never know how the future unfolds, but you need to see a strong potential with them at least.

If your vision for the future changes or you no longer see yourself with them, that’s when the problems start to arise. [Read: 12 life questions to help you visualize your future]

17. You’re just not compatible

If you’re not compatible, there’s no longer a question of whether you should stay or not. Compatibility is pretty hard to force if you don’t have it from the beginning. Similar to chemistry, if you don’t have compatibility, it’s hard to work on having it.

Of course, it’s another story if you had compatibility initially and you just lost it because life happened. It’s easier to work on this if you just lost it compared to not having compatibility altogether. [Read: 50 relationship questions to test your compatibility instantly!]

18. You feel like you’d be happier single

Have you been looking at couples on social media and realizing you’ll be better off single? Or, maybe your partner just doesn’t make you happy the same way they used to? This is another one of the ways on how to know if you should break up.

If you feel like the grass really is greener on the other side and that being single will give you the happiness you can’t have with being in a relationship, it might be time to break up. After all, you might just be happier single. [Confession: I just can’t wait to be single again and am tired of being in a relationship!]

19. You have different values and goals

We’re not saying you should have 100% aligned goals with your partner; that’s not at all what we’re implying. Instead, we’re saying that if you have different significant values such as marriage and kids, that’s definitely a big problem.

If you want marriage and they don’t, you’re eventually going to break up, or one will end up compromising for the other. Honestly, you should never change your core values for someone else, even if it is your partner. [Read: 15 real relationship goals most couples have no idea about]

20. The relationship feels stagnant

When the relationship feels stagnant and you’re both not progressing, that’s how to know if you should break up. A relationship is all about growth and progress so if it’s been years and you feel like you’re not going anywhere, it’s time to cut the cord.

Even as relationships can get dull and boring sometimes, you both should still be progressing somewhere. If not, you should reflect on your next steps for the relationship or at least talk about it with your partner. [Read: Stagnant relationship: Has your relationship come to a standstill?]

21. You force yourself to love them

Love should never feel like an obligation, no matter what. Even if love is more of a choice than a feeling, it should never feel like a choice you’re forced to make.

Love is the most beautiful and extraordinary thing you can ever feel, so feeling coerced or forced into staying with them is already a strong indicator you should break up. If you wake up every day and you feel dragged or obligated to love them or show acts of love, realize something is wrong with your relationship. [Read: 20 valid reasons to break up with someone]

22. You’re tempted to cheat

This is the nail in the coffin when it comes to knowing if you should break up. If you’re constantly looking for opportunities to cheat or flirt with others, it’s clear that you don’t care about the relationship anymore. This could be as subtle as Instagram flirting with a random person, or as brazen as paying for sex, or anything in between.

If you’re mentally prepared to cheat at the drop of a hat *or your pants*, you don’t care about the relationship at all. So instead of wondering if you should break up, go right ahead. You literally have no reason to stay in a relationship when all you’re doing is hoping to get caught so your partner can end it for you.

So, how to know if you should break up?

Knowing when to break up with your partner is easier said than done.

Even with all these reasons, you may realize you’re not happy, but it isn’t easy to find the courage to break up with them. Your relationship is a big part of who you are. And no one likes change, when comfort feels so… well, comfortable!

But if you’re not happy anymore and you can see that the future will only get more frustrating, and painful, it’s time to rip the bandaid once and for all. As hard as the decision may seem like right this moment, you’ll thank yourself a year from now when you’re way happier with your life.

[Read: The rules of life – 22 secrets to never be unhappy ever again]

Understanding how to know if you should break up isn’t a decision you should make quickly. But all said and done, if they no longer make you happy, along with other reasons in this list, then there’s your answer.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...