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33 Signs of a Failing Relationship & Lessons You Learn When It Ends

Not all relationships are built to last. It’s hard but sometimes it’s better to move on. Learn the signs of a failing relationship and know when to go. 

A failed relationship isn’t always a failure. Sure, you didn’t end up together, but it doesn’t mean you didn’t get a lot out of it. There are always things you can learn from every relationship. But, when your relationship is on the rocks, it’s important to know the signs of a failing relationship, so you can either stage an intervention or prepare yourself to move on.

When you go through a breakup, it can feel like the entire relationship was a waste. It can feel like you wasted your time on something that was worthless.

But, when the initial pain wears off you realize the old adage is true – “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.

[Read: How self-respect affects you and your relationship]

A failing relationship can feel like everything or nothing

Not everyone feels the same when they realize that their relationship is on the final leg. Some people feel panic, worry, upset, hurt. Other people feel numb. They feel nothing because they’ve realized that it’s over and they’ve had enough. It’s almost like a relief.

If you’re not ready for the relationship to end, you’ll no doubt be feeling all kinds of extreme emotions. You might desperately try to cling to your partner and fix things. In some cases that does work. But, if a relationship is meant to end, then ultimately, it will.

By understanding the signs of a failing relationship, you’ll be able to work out the best course of action. Should you accept fate and part ways amicably or should you fight for your relationship and try to make things better?

Only you can answer that, but it’s true that this part of any relationship is difficult regardless of the circumstances.

If you do see many of these signs and decide to give up on a relationship with no future, you need to know that there are always very important lessons you can learn from a failed relationship as well. Let’s start by recognizing the signs of a failing relationship, and then read about all the most important lessons a failed romance can teach you. [Read: 36 life lessons to instantly transform your life and draw in happiness]

How to recognize the signs of a failing relationship

Accepting your relationship is over isn’t as easy as you think. You make up excuses to yourself, bury your head in the sand, and fear the chance you’ll end up alone. Once you pass those thoughts, everything looks brighter and is brighter.

If you’re feeling that your relationship is coming to an end, you’re probably right.

That being said, you may need an extra helping hand in taking the next step to being single. Knowing that your relationship is failing is the first step to accepting the situation.

So, let’s get started and figure out what’s really going on in your love life by understanding the signs of a failing relationship. [Read: Why relationships fail – 25 reasons why happy love can fall apart completely]

1. You argue about everything, for the sake of it

One of the signs of a failing relationship is a constant need to fight. Of course, occasional fights can be a good thing because it means you can actually resolve a problem.

But, if you’re fighting constantly, over every small thing, and you never resolve anything, that’s a major red flag that something is very wrong. You’re likely to be exhausted and probably want to avoid your partner to try and avoid the subsequent argument.

2. There’s no more arguing

It could also be the opposite of constant arguing. If you stopped arguing with your partner, it shows that you’re no longer interested in fighting for them or speaking your mind. 

You have problems and you’re annoyed with them but you don’t see the point of arguing because you know it won’t lead anywhere positive, and it won’t resolve anything. [Read: The reasons behind why you’re slowly falling out of love]

3. Your partner isn’t available

You shouldn’t do everything together, but as a couple, you do spend a lot of time with each other. However, if you and your partner hardly have time to see each other anymore, that’s a sign you aren’t as connected as you once were.

If you are hanging out separately with friends and making plans without each other, that’s not a good sign.

4. They don’t listen to you

When you speak, whether about the weather or a story about your day at work, they don’t listen to you. Your partner may nod their head, but they’re no longer actively listening or engaging with you in conversation.

In other words, they’re creating distance and emotional separation. [Read: 25 topics all couples need to talk about in a happy relationship]

5. You let them do whatever they want

When you were in love, watching your partner check out other people drove you nuts with jealousy. But now, they could walk up to someone and ask for their number, you wouldn’t even flinch.

One of the clearest signs of a failing relationship is when you stop caring what they do; instead, you’re tolerating them until the relationship is over.

6. There’s a lack of intimacy

We don’t want to say that sex is the most important part of a relationship because it’s not. But it is what divides friendships from romantic relationships.

If you aren’t intimate anymore, that’s a huge sign something is going on. If you’re feeling ignored or not interested in having sex with your partner anymore, examine that closely. It’s one of the signs of a failing relationship if it goes on for too long.

7. There are no more future plans

When you talk about the future, your plans don’t include your partner. This is a big sign that you don’t see them in your life anymore.

When you’re with someone you love, your future plans include them. But if you’re only thinking about yourself, it shows they’re not going to be there. It might also be the opposite; that they’re making plans and not including you. It all adds up to the same thing. [Read: 20 signs it’s time to recognize the end of your relationship]

8. You or your partner have become extremely jealous

Before, neither of you was that jealous. But recently, ever since you started to have issues, jealousy has become a key element of your relationship. This is because you know the relationship is struggling and insecurities are now popping out.

9. Everything is about sex only

This can also show a sign of a failing relationship. We know, right? Who thought too much sex would be a problem. Couples who are in failing relationships will each stop having sex or do the complete opposite and go into sex overdrive.

Why? Because that’s the only emotional connection you have left. All they do s have sex because they can’t communicate with one another anymore. [Read: 25 signs he’s just using you for sex and reasons why he just wants fun]

10. You’re just not that close anymore

Before, you would tell each other everything. This is what best friends do, and your partner was your best friend.

But now, you don’t share personal information with them anymore. Everything feels a little distant and fake to you, and that’s because it is. [Read: 21 secret and subtle signs your relationship is starting to go bad]

11. There’s contempt

If there’s the feeling of contempt in your relationship, the odds of you two surviving are low. Feeling hatred towards your partner isn’t something you spring back from. If you’re angry at the way they chew or breathe, you have a problem.

12. Your partner disrespects you

Or vice versa. The point is, someone isn’t being respectful to their partner. Instead, resentment and anger have become common emotions when you are together. One of you is angry and upset with what’s happening. This is how it’s showing itself. [Read: 17 signs of disrespect in a relationship that shows a lack of love]

13. Obsession with porn

What happens when there’s no more intimacy in a relationship? You’re going to look elsewhere to get what you’re missing.

If you are watching it together for sexual arousal, that’s different. If you or your partner is watching a lot of porn and prefer it over sexual intimacy, it’s a sign that you’re unsatisfied in your own relationship. 

14. You’re not able to resolve conflicts

It’s normal for couples to argue and bicker with each other, but eventually, those arguments are resolved. However, your arguments aren’t coming to a conclusion. Instead, you both shrug it off as a “whatever” and continue with your day. One of the clear signs of a failing relationship is when neither person is investing in the relationship at that point.

15. Unhealthy attachments

You are in a failing relationship, so you turn to other people for support. Whether it’s an ex-partner, one-night-stand, or ex-spouse, you’re seeking other intimate relationships to cling onto instead of dealing with your own. [Read: 24 sad signs you’re in an unhealthy relationship that ruin love forever]

16. Physical violence

Regardless of the reason, physical violence is never acceptable in a relationship.

It doesn’t matter where the feelings are coming from, the moment a hand is laid on another person, the relationship is done. This isn’t just one of the signs of a failing relationship, it’s a sign of a toxic relationship that you need to get out of. [Read: How to break up when your partner doesn’t want to]

The most important lessons you can learn from a failed relationship

While learning about the signs of a failing relationship may be upsetting, especially if you see your own relationship in there, all is not lost. You can choose to fight for it or you can understand that it’s over and look for the lessons.

The things you can learn from a failed relationship aren’t usually abrupt. They don’t hit you in the face. They come with time and experience. And they come with a journey.

And those things you learn from a failed relationship aren’t just about that person. They are about you and what you want and what you need. They are about what you deserve.

Failed relationships teach you so much about the past, but also lead you in the right direction in the future with more wisdom.

So, what things can you learn from a failed relationship? The answer is endless, but here are some common ones you may experience.

1. This was necessary

A relationship is a two-way street. Both people need to be committed for it to work. Whether you initiated the breakup or not, once the shock wears off, you realize this was for the best.

A one-sided relationship is an unhappy relationship. A failed relationship with lessons learned is better than a forced relationship. [Read: What makes a good relationship and 30 signs of a really great one]

2. You deserve more

More can mean someone who makes you a priority or just someone you click with more. Once you’ve been in a relationship, no matter how great, when it ends you realize what wasn’t there. 

From the breakup itself, you learn to love yourself instead of depending on love from someone else. This helps you realize that you don’t have to settle, you deserve the best relationship, not just any relationship. [Read: How to be emotionally independent and stop using others for your happiness]

3. Love takes work

Love may be this magical thing, but that doesn’t mean it just comes easily. You need to put effort into your friendships and relationships with family, so it makes sense you’d need to do the same for a romantic relationship.

When you walk away from a relationship of your own doing or not, you realize there is some work that isn’t being put in and that is okay sometimes.

4. You weren’t happy

While in a relationship, we tend to see things with rose-colored glasses. You glaze over some issues because you’ve put so much effort in and don’t want it to go to waste. But once you’ve actually broken up, you look back and realize that you weren’t as happy in the failing relationship as you thought you were.

Sure, you had good times, but once you’ve said goodbye you can see that you haven’t lost as much as you thought. [Read: How to feel better after a breakup – 22 steps to find your happiness]

5. Timing matters

Yes, it does. we know it sucks to hear, but even when someone seems perfect, the timing can be off. Long-distance, busy jobs, and more get in the way. It isn’t always because you didn’t love each other enough but that that time wasn’t your time. [Read: Right person, wrong time? How to time things right in love]

6. You can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change

This is huge. This is something we want to say the majority of people learn from a failed relationship. We so often love our partners except for this or that. Maybe they smoke, maybe they’re unsure about wanting kids, or anything else.

When you love someone and these things come up, instead of facing them for their gravity, you tend to hope they’ll go away in the future or you can change their mind or them. Unless they want to change for you and for themselves, it won’t happen. It doesn’t matter how hard you try. [Read: 18 bad habits that’ll make any partner want to leave you]

7. You need balance

When you leave a relationship and feel completely alone, it could be because you let them absorb your life. You ditched your friends and hobbies to focus on this person. But now they’re gone and you don’t have the support system. 

That moment teaches you that relationships need independence. You need to have your own friends, hobbies, and time. Without that, the relationship begins defining you and makes the idea of a breakup terrifying to you. [Read: How to stop being codependent and have a healthy relationship]

8. This wasn’t your only option

We have heard so many people ask, “What am I going to do now?”, when a relationship fails as if that was their only chance at finding love. In the moment, it feels life-crushing, but you can soon realize that wasn’t all there is for you.

There are other people and options. You can travel, move for work, or date someone new. Just because you’re a certain age or spent so much time in a relationship doesn’t mean there isn’t something else out there for you.

9. Time heals

We know this is cliche, but it is so often repeated because it is true.

Over time the pain of a failed relationship lessens. You get back into a routine. You find things that make you happy and feel fulfilled. And you think about that relationship less and less. It just takes time. [Read: How to get over your ex in a healthy way and look to your future]

10. Dealbreakers and red flags

When someone gets into a relationship, it’s easy to overlook things that may become an issue down the line. Whether you weren’t planning on something serious or you just gave someone the benefit of the doubt, you learn what your dealbreakers are at the end of a failed relationship.

Are you willing to date someone who works in nightlife? Will you date someone that has cheated in their past or isn’t close with their family?

These things may seem small in the beginning, but once the relationship ends, you see them from a new angle. [Read: The 25 most common dealbreakers all women must follow]

11. It’s better to feel lonely and be alone than to feel lonely in a relationship

Being single is okay. Feeling lonely is okay. When a relationship fails, it can feel like you’re at your lowest, but feeling lonely while being alone is normal.

Feeling lonely while you’re in a relationship feels so much more painful. [Read: 28 truths about feeling alone in a relationship and how to fix it ASAP]

12. Love isn’t always enough

Love is a powerful thing, but it isn’t always enough to sustain a relationship. It isn’t the most romantic fact, but it’s true. You can love each other but not be willing to sacrifice something you want in your future for the other person. And that is okay.

13. Trust yourself

A failed relationship may make you question your own judgment at first, but in time it teaches you that your initial reactions and gut feelings are usually right.

Let your gut steer you in the right direction. If something feels off it usually is. [Read: How to listen to your gut and give strength to your inner voice]

14. Talk about it sooner rather than later

If you had a big fight when your relationship ended, it was probably a long time coming. Why? When an issue arises, we put off bringing it up to avoid a fight or to avoid awkwardness. But, the longer we put these hard conversations off, the worse they are.

We build up resentment and nerves and then it all bubbles over when it does come out. The mistakes made in your failed relationship are learning opportunities for your next one. 

15. You will move on

When you’re fresh off a breakup, it seems like the pain will never go away, but you learn that it will. You will move on one way or the other. Your body won’t let you be in that state for too long because you want to survive this and become stronger. [Read: Self-recovery after a breakup and how to happily move on]

16. Don’t ignore issues

Whether it is something small or something big, don’t avoid it to seem cool or easygoing. If something is bothering you, bringing it up calmly will always work out better. When these little issues arise and are dealt with maturely, it brings you closer together.

But when you ignore these things hoping they’ll go away, they only snowball leading to the end of the relationship. [Read: How to talk about your feelings in a relationship and grow closer]

17. Everything happens for a reason

This relationship failed for a reason just like it happened for a reason. It wasn’t a waste of time. That person came into your life when they did to offer you something, whether it was brief happiness or lessons for the future.

[Read: How to take a break from dating and imagine a better future]

Deep down, you probably know it’s over. But who wants to admit that to themselves? At least now you know the signs of a failing relationship and can do something about it.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...