This Is How You Know It’s Time To Leave Your Relationship

A couple holding hands, standing on a sidewalk. Both are wearing bracelets.
Elizabeth Tsung / Unsplash

There are always signs, some subtle, some blaring, that tell us when a relationship should be coming to an end. Maybe you’re spending less time together, talking less and less. Or perhaps those little quirks you ignored at first are starting to really grate your nerves. Then, of course, it can reach the stage where the “I love you,” that used to mean everything comes to mean absolutely nothing with each passing murmur. Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain. Your relationship is heading nowhere good.

It’s time to go.

Now, I am the queen of staying in relationships once they’ve run their course. It’s a bad habit that once started is really hard to kick. I’ve had two that stretched out over years, one of which included an engagement! So trust me, I can imagine how horrifying the idea of ending a relationship that long and involved was. Fear can play a huge role in why we find ourselves prolonging something that deep down we know is already decaying, allowing it to become toxic. What happens when one ingests toxins? They become sick.

Think for a moment. As soon as you feel that first sign a cold might be coming, what do you do? Often times we run straight to the drugstore and grab the essential vitamins and medicine needed to help our immune system kick the illness and recover. So why is it that when a relationship makes us “sick,” it’s so hard for us to take the necessary steps towards recovery?

Recognize the symptoms.

It can start with something small. Maybe you find yourself starting to feel bored. A common problem seen is once you’ve been with a person for so long and things seem to be going well, people “get comfortable,” or “stop trying.” Relationships, while amazing, need some good ol’ TLC every now and then just like anything else. They cannot thrive without being properly nurtured and tended to. Perhaps you start noticing a shift in priorities and find yourself putting things on hold. Or maybe, just maybe it’s simple. The feeling just isn’t there anymore.

The problem comes with how you respond. Deep down, it’s easy to know what you should do. Freedom is right on the other side of the metaphorical door and all you have to do is grab the doorknob, twist, push, and step out into the unknown.

If only it were that easy.

We noted earlier how fear can have a huge influence on us when it comes to ending things. Fear of the other person’s reaction. Fear of hurting them. Fear of the unknown. There’s a whole lot of fear to go around. Think, however, of the alternative.

With each passing day, the excitement that once came when that special someone’s number popped up on your phone turns to dread. You find yourself sacrificing things that you once wanted just to try and keep things alive. You start to hide your feelings just to keep up appearances that things are still flourishing when really that light is diminishing with each passing moment.

Let self-preservation kick in.

That voice screaming in the back of your mind that it’s time to go? Listen to it! Follow your gut. The list of reasons you should stay, try to make it work, etc., can be endless. If there’s anything I’ve found people to be good at, it is trying to rationalize the irrational. My closest friend knows I can be amazing at it. So I speak from experience when I say this; don’t let the fear of what will come deter you. Remember, you are not responsible for other people’s’ feelings and reactions. It may be uncomfortable. It may be messy. Hell, there may even be tears. Just remember that at the end of the day, you’ll start to see all those negative symptoms fade away. The heaviness you’ve been carrying around trying to pretend things are great will start to feel lighter. Take the time to allow yourself to flourish once again. TC mark

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