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59 Signs It’s Time to Break Up & Give Up Instead of Trying to Fix a Relationship

It’s not easy to know the signs you should break up, or even the signs you should give up on a relationship. It hurts but sometimes it has to happen. 

signs you should break up

In all relationships, there comes a point when the honeymoon period is replaced by a decidedly less pleasant state of affairs. Arguments spring up more readily, less free time is spent together, and other people suddenly seem a whole lot more attractive.

At this point, you might start wondering about the signs you should break up. The big question, though, is whether things have broken down so much that there’s no turning back.

We’ve compiled the following list of signs that indicate termination territory, and it shouldn’t just be one of them that justifies you to separate, but rather, a combination of them. [Read: How to face relationship challenges and overcome them as a couple]

Is it normal to give up on relationships?

We want to say that love lasts forever, but that’s not the reality of life. No matter how much we fight for things to work, it’s pointless if you’re fighting alone. People give up for all kinds of reasons, and it’s not always because of cheating, betrayal, or something equally as severe. 

Some relationships end because there’s an imbalance of effort or lack of trust, respect, and compatibility. In some cases, both people just grow apart. Relationships are hard work, and we’re not always lucky enough to find someone to spend the rest of our days with.

When someone chooses to give up, it’s often because the bad outweighs the good, and they start to lose hope in the relationship. Maybe they’ve been tolerating the relationship for so long, and, one day, they eventually woke up and lost patience.

In the end, if you see many signs you should break up, you need to take notice. [Read: 20 valid reasons to break up with someone]

Should you try to make things work before breaking up?

It’s never easy to recognize a wrong lover or realize if it is time to break up, especially if you’ve been in love for a while.

But if you’re in a relationship that’s causing you more pain and sleepless nights than love and happy hours, then perhaps it’s time you watch out for these silent signals that every bad lover gives away.

There’s something about love that all of us should remember, when your gut tries to tell you something, you have to follow it. [Read: How to listen to your gut and give strength to your inner voice]

But if you’re not really sure if you’re stuck in a losing battle, here are a few telltale signs that confirm the fact that it’s time to break up and walk on, without your lover by your side. See if these traits describe your relationship, and if they do, you’d be better off going your separate ways.

However, before you do that, make sure you have tried everything possible to make it work. That way, you’ll never wonder “what if.” [Read: How to take a break in a relationship and decide on the way forward]

Things that commonly lead to a breakup

There are many things that can lead to wondering about the signs you should break up. But generally, these things happen over time.

We can often classify them into the following groups.

1. A lack of happiness

When you’re happy, it shows. Likewise, when you’re sad, that shows too. You need to face the issues and make up your mind. Let’s face it, if you’re not happy in the relationship, big chances are, your partner isn’t happy either.

2. A lack of communication

Everyone has different communication styles, and you may just not be able to help each other communicate better.

If the both of you don’t feel happy talking about your problems with each other but prefer talking it out with someone else, nothing can help you. In that case, it’s one of the big signs you should break up. [Read: Communication exercises for couples – easy games to be a better lover]

3. A lack of together time

You may still have a sizzling time in bed, but you don’t talk to your partner. You prefer to spend time with other people to avoid being alone together.

4. A lack of perfection

When you’re in love, your partner is pretty much is the finest person there is on the planet. People who are in love overlook minor annoyances and see the bigger picture, but if you’re not able to do that, there is obviously something wrong.

5. A lack of “feel good” factor

Think about how it felt when you first fell in love with your partner. If this feeling is lacking, you may want to take a deeper look at your relationship.

It’s never easy to leave someone who meant so much to you. But if you’ve tried everything you possibly could and yet, suffer and find the relationship draining you, then there is no doubt that you should walk out as fast as you can. [Read: Healthy relationship – 27 signs, qualities, and what it looks like in real life]

And the breakup will hurt. It will hurt a lot, but that is just something you can’t skip from.

Questions to ask yourself if you feel like giving up on a relationship

Before you read the signs you should break up and walk away, ask yourself these questions first.

1. Why did you get into this relationship to begin with?

2. How does this person make you feel?

3. How did they make you feel in the past?

4. What’s changed to even make you question if the relationship is worth saving? [Read: Relationship stages – phases couples go through by months and years]

5. What are your deal breakers?

These questions will help you explore whether giving up is the right route for you. But it’s also time to take very hard notice of the major signs you should break up too.

The signs you should break up and walk away for good

The number of signs that need to have occurred to convince you that you need to part ways is a purely personal matter, but if you reach double figures, then you’re certainly getting close to a breakup.

1. You argue all the time

Constant bickering and arguing is a sign that the relationship is almost certainly breaking down. Whether or not it is a truly relevant reason to separate depends upon the frequency and intensity of the arguments.

Needless to say, violence during these arguments means you should get out as soon as possible. [Read: Signs you’ve trapped yourself in a bad relationship]

2. The sex has gone

Sex isn’t the be-all and end-all of a relationship, but it is a hugely important part. If sex disappears, then shared levels of intimacy suffer immeasurably, and the deprived partner is unlikely to want to continue. It could be the case that the partner who is refusing sex has already come to that decision.

For many, this is one of the signs you should break up.

3. Home isn’t where the heart is anymore

Home is an environment that everyone should want to go back to at the end of the day – it is your security and nurtures your strength.

However, if the thought fills you with trepidation purely because it means having to deal with your partner, then it is a strong sign that things aren’t as they should be.

4. No ties formed

When people have been together for a while and are still in love, they develop ties together. House, children, marriage, engagement – whatever. If you’ve managed to go years without any of these, then it could be a sign that things aren’t going to progress any further and that it’s time to look elsewhere.

Not aligning with your life aspirations is definitely one of the signs you should give up on a relationship. [Read: Obvious signs your partner’s got big commitment issues]

5. Your tastes don’t match

Sometimes, major differences in tastes can be quite charming, but eventually, they start to grate on your nerves. This is a sign that it’s time to weigh your options. [Read: Do opposites actually attract or do they just push each other away?]

6. You agree to disagree because it’s easier

You don’t argue, but you don’t seem to agree on anything either. Whatever you want to do, whatever you think, whatever plans you have, there’s never any consensus of opinion.

These are clear signs that you’re not meant for each other and one of the signs you should break up.

7. You’ve lost your identity

If you feel that you’ve compromised too much to keep your partner happy and you wake up one day wondering who the hell you are, this could be another sign you should give up on a relationship – for your own sanity if nothing else. [Read: 16 discreet signs your partner takes you for granted]

8. Different family aspirations

In a relationship where one half wants children but the other doesn’t, this can be a real deal breaker. Sometimes, it’s worth hanging on for a change of heart, but just as often, it’s time to call it a day and move on.

9. Friend issues

Not getting on with your partner’s friends isn’t unusual, nor is it necessarily a sign that it’s time to split up, but it may indicate differences in attitude that could later lead to separation. Only time will tell whether this is one of the signs you should break up.

10. Roving eyes

Are you or your partner’s eyes starting to follow other members of the opposite sex when out in public? This is a definite sign of relationship boredom and a significant reason to part ways.

While it’s normal to admire people, it’s not normal to want them. And if that’s the case, it’s one of the signs you should give up on a relationship. [Read: 15 reasons why you may be getting bored with your relationship]

11. You don’t listen anymore

If you’ve stopped listening to your partner, or they have closed their ears to you, then serious relationship issues have crept into your particular situation.

Time to reckon things up, and count whether the blessings outweigh the chores. Maybe it’s one of the signs you should give up on a relationship.

12. The love has gone

Some couples can get on fine without love, treasuring the companionship and mutual care they have. For most, however, without love, there’s just no point carrying on.

13. A source of irritation

Are you constantly irritated by your partner’s presence for no particular reason, even if they try to do something nice for you?

Well, there’s a good reason for that. Your heart is probably no longer in the relationship and you’re desperate to be elsewhere. [Read: 20 signs that reveal your relationship is clearly over already]

14. You’re not keeping the parents happy

Just because your other half’s parents don’t like you isn’t a reason to give up on things, but some people really do value their parent’s opinions.

If you feel that you’re fighting a losing battle against their negative opinion, and there isn’t enough else to keep you interested, then it could be in your best interests to throw in the towel.

15. The career fork

Sometimes, a fantastic career opportunity comes along that means moving away from your home. If this is the case, and your partner is unwilling to move with you, then you may decide that your dream job is worth more to you than he or she is. [Read: Love or career – the guide to making the right choice]

16. Personal issues you can’t stand

Does your partner have disgusting personal habits that they are unwilling to change? If so, then you might decide that it’s time to let someone else deal with them. While not a major deal breaker for some, it could be one of the signs to give up on a relationship for you.

17. Following your dreams

Sometimes, we have a chance to pursue our dreams, whatever they may be, and there’s no room in them for anyone else.

If you’re even considering following them at your partner’s expense, then chances are, your partner doesn’t actually mean as much to you as you thought. [Read: Real reasons why couples drift apart over time]

18. You’re always looking back

A good sign of a healthy relationship is your ability to live in the present with no regrets from the past or fear of the future. However, if you feel so bogged down by your past that you can’t move on, then that’s a red flag. 

One of the clear signs you should give up on a relationship is when you’re looking backward at an old argument or a mistake either of you made instead of eagerly looking forward. [Read: 25 must-follow relationship rules for happy love]

19. It’s more pain than bliss

A relationship isn’t perfect, and none ever will be. But one of the signs you should give up on a relationship is when the pain outweighs the bliss.

No matter how hard you try to be happy or bring happiness to the relationship, the pain is still more significant. [Read: Why does love hurt when it goes bad? The truth you need to hear]

20. There’s always a condition

Love should be free and unconditional. If you find yourself working hard just to get your partner’s approval, affection, love, and loyalty, it’s the wrong relationship to be in. Love is the purest and most wholesome thing because it comes without conditions. [Read: How to recognize and end toxic relationships]

21. You have to convince yourself

When you wake up every day trying to plaster a smile on your face and convince yourself you’re in an incredible relationship, that’s a problem. You’re only fooling yourself. 

You shouldn’t have to remind yourself that you’re in love, this is the part of love that should come naturally. So if you have to prove to yourself that you love them, this is one of the signs it’s time to give up on a relationship. [Read: 20 relationship problems that push a couple apart or bring them closer]

22. There’s unresolved conflict and resentment

Maybe you are not fighting correctly, communicating effectively, or dealing with things in your relationship constructively and maturely. As a result, conflict often ensues. Or worse, you don’t resolve conflict at all. 

But just as repressed emotions will break you, unresolved issues will destroy your relationship. [Read: Are you happy? Spotting the signs of resentment in a relationship]

23. You’re going nowhere

A healthy, positive relationship allows you both to grow in many ways as individuals. However, consider your role in the relationship.

Do you feel stifled, like you’re stuck with the short end of the stick? If you’re not growing or changing positively, then you need to rethink whether your relationship is worth fighting for. [Read: How to fall out of love when you see no future]

24. You’re not on the same page emotionally

Maybe you are more committed to the relationship than your partner is. Or maybe it’s the other way around. If you’re never on the same page emotionally, this means your relationship might have reached the end of the line.

Staying with your partner just because you hope that things will get better or your partner will finally want to move to the next level won’t work. You’ll end up disappointed. [Read: Emotional connection – 15 reasons and signs why it’s so important]

25. You couldn’t care less

The opposite of love isn’t hate, the opposite of love is indifference. If you’ve been with your partner for quite a while and you find yourself apathetic to them, then there’s really no point in being together.

This is one of the heartbreaking signs you should give up on a relationship, but it happens. [Read: Clear signs you’re growing apart and don’t realize it]

26. You’re losing your self-respect

A relationship needs a foundation of not only love but also respect. Aside from respecting each other, both of you should also have a healthy amount of self-respect. 

If your partner somehow brings out your worst side and makes you lose respect for yourself entirely, this isn’t a relationship you should stay in any longer. Not when the ultimate sacrifice is yourself. [Read: How to respect yourself – the secrets of self-worth and self-belief]

27. Your future doesn’t have your partner in it

It’s so heartbreaking to come to the point where you no longer see your partner in your future, for whatever reason. People change, and sometimes, the things you want change too. 

If either of you isn’t including the other in your long-term *or even short-term* plans, you have to ask what kind of relationship you’re in. [Read: Time to let go? Reasons why good relationships end]

28. You feel obligated to stay

Another heartbreaking reason, but love should never come with obligations. The very point of love is that it’s not forced, and you stay purely because you want to. If you feel like you can’t leave, that’s when to give up on a relationship. 

Under no circumstance are you obligated to stay in the relationship, no matter how much you feel stuck or forced to. [Read: Relationship boredom – why it happens and 23 zesty quick fixes to beat it]

29. You feel afraid to ask more from them

Communication is vital in a relationship. If you’re afraid to open up that you need more emotionally from them, it’s one of the signs it’s time to give up on a relationship. Maybe they invalidated your feelings before, or they continue to dismiss your needs and wants.

The fact that you feel unable to express your needs means something is already wrong, and maybe it’s been like that for a long time – you just haven’t noticed until now. [Read: How to show respect in a relationship and love each other better]

30. Your relationship is either toxic or manipulative

This should be an easy sign that your relationship isn’t worth holding on to. If your relationship is toxic or manipulative in any way, it’s no longer your responsibility to fix or change them. 

The fact that the relationship is toxic means that the bad already outweighs the good to the point where you can’t turn things around. This is one of the very solid signs you should give up on a relationship. [Read: 15 signs of a toxic relationship that’ll go from bad to worse]

31. You enjoy being alone more than when you’re with them

We all need our alone time, and we can’t always be lovey-dovey with our partners. But if you’d rather be anywhere but by your partner’s side and you never miss them, even after spending significant time apart, then you have your answer on when to give up on a relationship – now.

You don’t have to miss your partner all the time, but if you no longer like spending time with them, you might just be falling out of love with them. [Read: Letting go of someone you love – Minus the bitterness]

32. You’ve been thinking about breaking up

If it even crosses your mind, that’s a huge sign that something is really wrong. If everything is going well, this thought should never ever cross your mind. Nobody wants to end a relationship that makes them feel good. [Read: Letting go of someone you love without the bitterness]

33. You’re miserable

You’re simply not happy. You’re always down in the dumps, you’re moody, snappy—even your friends notice your behavior. Why are you not happy? But really, why? It’s time to sit down and really reflect on your emotions.

If you’re always down, maybe it’s one of the signs you should give up on a relationship and find happiness within. [Read: How to know if you’re settling in an unhappy relationship]

34. They don’t meet you halfway

You do it all. The arranging of date night, the cooking, the cleaning, initiating sex—you’re a one-person show. You could probably do this even better if you were single, you’d get even more done. If they put in minimal effort, what are you doing?

35. You don’t trust your partner anymore

You don’t believe a word they say. You constantly check up on them and always think about how they could screw you over.

This sounds more like an enemy than someone you want to build your life with. If you’re doing the whole “keep your friends close, your enemies closer,” this is the wrong context. [Read: The big emotional needs in a relationship that hold it together]

36. Conversations often turn into conflicts

You once loved being able to spend time with your partner to talk about anything under the sun. But now it feels like everything they say annoys you. And when you call them out on it, they get defensive, and you start to argue.

It may be because you’ve become markedly different in the span of your relationship, and you’re no longer on the same page.

37. You think negatively of your partner when you’re not together

Instead of missing them and wanting to be around them, you instead think of all the annoying things they do.

There’s a popular quote that says, “If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders.” And if it only wanders to the shortcomings of your partner, then your heart is showing you that the love is no longer there. [Read: Ways to get through a rough patch in a relationship]

38. You’re always thinking of the “what if”

What if you were single, would you be focusing more on your career? Would you be able to have time to pursue other hobbies? What if you were with someone else? Would you be happier?

It’s okay to think of these things from time to time, but when it happens too often *to the point that you come up with elaborate fantasies about all these what-ifs*, you might end up resenting your partner for keeping you from living the life you want to live.

39. You keep track of previous wrongdoings to use as ammunition in fights

This is horrible relationship behavior, but even the best of us succumb to this sometimes. Some would say that they do this to gain the upper hand in any argument, but is winning an argument really worth reopening past issues to hurt your partner? [Read: Signs you’re trapped in a troubled relationship]

40. You can’t get over a past wrongdoing

There are many different types of relationship wrongdoings ranging from forgetting to take the trash out to outright infidelity.

But if you’ve been deeply hurt by something your partner has done and you can’t forgive them, do you want to carry that burden with you for the duration of your relationship? [Read: Sure things you need to do before forgiving a cheater]

Things to try before giving up on love and your relationship

If you’re seeing the signs you should break up, you might be wondering whether you should just get it over with already. Well, if that’s what you really want, then follow your heart.

However, you might want to try to solve things one last time. In that case, try these few things before you give up. That way, you can say you did everything you could.

1. Try healthy conflict strategies

This means talking, listening, and letting the other person speak without interrupting. Try to solve your conflicts healthily rather than with passive-aggressive behavior, silent treatment, and screaming. By doing this, you can avoid the signs you should give up on a relationship.

2. Walk down memory lane

Sometimes remembering all the good times is enough to trigger the will to make things work. [Read: Old love letters and memories – keep or throw them?]

3. Brutal honesty is necessary

If you want to make things work, you have to be honest. Brutally so. But you also have to be prepared for your partner to do the same.

4. Imagine your future

Really imagine it. Do you see your partner in it? Talk about where you both want to go in your future and see if you really do align or not.

5. Determine your level of commitment

Are you committed to this relationship or could you try harder? If you find that you’re really not in it and you don’t want to be, that’s your answer. [Read: What is commitment in a relationship and how to know if you have it]

6. Get to the root cause

Really dig down deep. What is causing these problems? Is it something you can work out?

Sometimes we focus on the results of a problem and not the actual cause of it. While you might see signs you should give up on a relationship, what is the reason for all the negativity?

7. Identify intimacy issues

Intimacy isn’t just about sex, although that’s very important. Have you stopped talking? Stopped holding hands and touching one another? Work out where the problem is and maybe you can put things back on track. [Read: Stages of physical intimacy as you go from strangers to lovers]

8. Unilaterally disarm

Both of you put down your fighting and step back. Talk things through without screaming. What do you want? What can you do?

9. Work on your communication skills

Do you shout rather than talk? Do you listen? What type of language do you use?

Sometimes, it’s not about not communicating but how we do it. Make sure you’re not using blame language and instead, talk about how you feel.

10. Follow your gut feelings

Your gut is rarely wrong in life. If it’s telling you it’s time to let go, listen. But, if you’re getting a nagging sense to keep going, listen to that too. [Read: Gut instinct – how it works, and 30 tips to follow and listen to your gut]

11. Consult a therapist

Maybe you two can work things out with a little outside help. If you’re both committed to making it work, speak to a therapist and commit to the process.

12. Let some time pass

The idea of going on a break might be terrifying, but a little time apart might be all you need to remember why you fell in love in the first place.

13. Change your environment/routine

Get away from it all and go somewhere different. Being away from your regular routines might help you to open up and refresh your love once more. [Read: Reasons traveling is a great test of compatibility]

14. Introspect on your past

Is there anything in your past that might be causing your behavior now? Of course, it might not be that the blame sits with you, but perhaps some of your habits come from something deeper.

15. Accept change

Relationships ebb and flow and they go through stages. You can’t expect the honeymoon phase to last forever! Accept that your relationship is going to change, but make sure that you’re both happy with where it is now.

16. Avoid comparisons

Comparing your relationship to someone else’s is pointless. Every couple is different and you’ll probably come up short in some ways and win in others. Just avoid comparisons.

17. Patience is key

When you have relationship issues, they’re not going to resolve themselves overnight. You both need to put in the work and know that it will take a little time for things to change. [Read: Love is patient, love is kind]

18. Go technology-free

Are you spending all your time on social media or stuck to your phone? Or, does your partner? Maybe you both just need to reconnect, and putting down your technology is one way to do that.

19. Focus on the positives

If all you do is look at what you’re lacking as a couple, you’ll always see signs you should break up. But if you focus on the positives and build on them, things will become a whole lot better.

Break up or stay together?

At the end of the day, only you can decide whether you should call time on the relationship or not. If you’re seeing signs you should break up, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over. It might mean that you simply need to fight harder to make it work.

However, after a period of time, if nothing changes, you have to admit defeat. Life is too short to be unhappy and love should never make you miserable.

[Read: How to break up with someone you love – 18 steps and the things to say]

Now that you know the signs you should break up, it’s up to you to decide how bad the rot actually is, and which route you want to take – the one back into your partner’s heart, or the one that leads to the hills!

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...