Breakups are notoriously one of the worst experiences you can go through. The pain is enough to make it seem easier to avoid splitting up altogether. But sometimes, separation is necessary and must be dealt with. Delaying the inevitable can lead to unnecessary pain and wasted time.
The signs might be hard to see at first, but over time they become almost impossible to deny. You will likely have to move through the stages of grief, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s helpful to remember that the sooner you face the truth, the sooner you can start your next chapter. Here are five signs that indicate a breakup is inevitable plus some tips to help you move on.
Your Sex Life Isn’t What It Used to Be
While it’s normal for your sex life to ebb and flow, problems in the bedroom could be a symptom of more significant issues. You might first notice less of a desire toward your partner that slowly evolves into a total lack of interest. Sex is a crucial way to connect, and the absence of intimacy can take a huge toll on your relationship.
You might eventually feel like the partnership isn’t meeting your needs and generally become unattracted to your significant other. Maybe even taking your birth control every day feels like a painful reminder of how you’ve lost the sexual spark. However, acceptance is an essential first step in moving on and finding other partners better suited to meet your needs.
You Argue All the Time – or Not at All
Frequent arguments are one of the most common indicators your relationship is headed toward its finale. Bickering over small things and repeatedly fighting about big issues significantly erodes the foundation of a relationship. You might start feeling like you and your partner aren’t even on the same team anymore. In addition, constant fighting is exhausting and can significantly negatively affect your mental health.
On the other hand, not arguing at all could be a sign that you or your partner have given up. It is a huge warning sign when you lack the energy to fight for the relationship. Remember that it is normal to feel anger at yourself and the other person while grieving your potential separation. However, these feelings will eventually fade after surrendering your sword and giving up the losing battle.
You’ve Stopped Putting in Effort
It is normal to become comfortable in a relationship and to stop trying as hard to impress your mate. However, it is still crucial to put in the effort and make your partner feel important. Lack of action usually shows itself in small ways that gradually increase over time. For example, it could start with forgetting to plan dates and slowly lead to hardly going out at all.
If only one partner tries, they could begin to feel alone, leading to resentment and abandonment. A partnership needs continued commitment and effort to survive and thrive. You don’t need to stay in a situation where you’re not valued and leave your tank empty. If you part ways, remember that you can channel your valuable energy into something or someone new.
The Four Horsemen are Upon You
Relationship experts at the Gottman Institute have identified “the four horsemen” that signify the end is near. These signs are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. The new testament metaphor is backed by research that forecasts a partnership ending based on communication styles.
For example, criticism can leave a partner feeling hurt and rejected. Contempt can include mocking, ridiculing, or disrespecting the other person in a way that feels like an attack. Defensiveness can make a partner feel dismissed when the other refuses to take responsibility for their actions. Finally, stonewalling happens when one partner shuts down and withdraws from the other person.
The Gottmans suggest replacing criticism with a gentle start-up, contempt with appreciation, defensiveness with responsibility, and stonewalling with self-soothing. If you hope to save the relationship, these actions have to be addressed. However, if you’re ready to end the relationship, these are often the last straw.
You’ve Become Secretive
Being secretive doesn’t have to mean you’re keeping anything significant or shameful from your partner. It could indicate that you’re holding back how you’re feeling to avoid upsetting the other person. All healthy relationships require honest communication, so take secrecy as a warning sign for danger ahead.
You also need to reevaluate your situation if you’re engaging in behaviors you keep from your partner. Trust can significantly erode over time if secrets become a regular part of your relationship. If you’re still hopeful there’s a connection worth saving, try discussing your feelings with your significant other
If they dismiss you, take that as a sign to say goodbye. You deserve to exist in spaces where you don’t have to hide any part of yourself. And that includes how you feel and what you think.
The End of an Era
Knowing when to say goodbye to a relationship is a hard skill to master. Sometimes it is a gut feeling you can’t exactly explain. Other times it becomes undeniable as the evidence accumulates that you’re not a good match anymore. Either way, it takes courage to do what is necessary, even if it is hard.
Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the different stages of your breakup. Grieving the loss of a relationship is no easy feat, and the feelings usually come in waves. Allow yourself time and space to move on to what’s next, and trust in your ability to heal.