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How to Know When to End a Relationship

You know there aren’t any easy answers, but you have to make a decision. These suggestions for how to know when to end a relationship might bring insight to a difficult dilemma.

knowing when to leave a relationshipIn How to Be an Adult in Love: Letting Love in Safely and Showing It Recklessly, David Richo provides tools to learn how to love in mature ways – beginning with getting past the barriers that keep us from loving ourselves, then showing how we can open up to love others. The first challenge is that we have a hard time letting love in. We don’t easily recognize or accept love from our partners. We’re afraid of love and of getting hurt. Richo addresses this problem, and teaches us how to love in healthy, safe, and wholesome ways.

In When to End a Relationship, I describe practical ways to know it’s over. You may find the comments section particularly helpful because readers share what helped them know when their relationships were ending. In this article, I focus more on emotional and spiritual ways to discern if you should move on without your partner.

How to Know When to End a Relationship

You are not alone.

There are so many individuals and couples who are scared, uncertain, and worried about their relationships. It’s not easy to build and maintain a life with someone, no matter how much you love them. Know that you are not alone, and that you can trust yourself to reach the right decision. You will figure out how to know when to end a relationship…but it may take time.

Here are several questions to help you decide what to do.

I can’t tell you if your relationship is over or if you need to work harder at reconnecting. Only you can decide when to end a relationship. I can’t give advice, but I welcome your thoughts on how to know when to end a relationship below.

What is your contribution to the relationship problems?

You’re having problems with your partner, which is why you’re searching for tips on how to know when to end a relationship. One of the healthiest things you can do is consider what you’re contributing. It’s highly unlikely that the relationship problems are all your partner’s fault – or nobody’s fault! Usually, problems are caused by two people who love each other, but who are weak, broken, and imperfect.

We all cause problems in our relationships because we’re human. The healthiest people can identify what weaknesses and imperfections they bring, and they don’t allow those frailties to destroy their relationships.

It’s possible that your relationship problems are mostly caused by your partner’s weaknesses or bad choices. Maybe he’s abusive, alcoholic, or addicted. Maybe he’s in prison, or in front of his computer all the time.

If you are aware of your weaknesses and you know you have to leave him, read 8 Tips for Starting Over After a Relationship Ends.

Are you waiting for him to change?

Do you want different things in life – kids, marriage, career? Are you secretly hoping that his beliefs and wants will change if you stay long enough? If he has different goals in life, then it’s better for you to end the relationship as soon as possible. That’s how to know when you should end a relationship: you’re hoping he’ll change.

If he’s dealing with drug, alcohol, or anger problems, then he won’t change overnight. You need to be willing to wait for him to work through his issues..which could take a long, long time.

How have you tried to fix your relationship?

The truth is that you can’t fix your partner or your relationship. You can’t even “fix” yourself. All you can do is be aware of your weaknesses and focus on becoming healthier. If your partner is also self-aware and interested in working through your relationship problems, then you’re halfway there! You can stop wondering how to know when to end a relationship and start reconnecting with your partner.

One of the best ways to know when to end a relationship is by looking at what you’ve tried as a couple. Are you both willing to work on your issues, both personally and as a couple? Have you gone to counseling, read relationship books, attended marriage retreat weekends, visited support groups?

If you haven’t tried anything to solve your relationship problems, then maybe it’s too soon to wonder how to know when to end a relationship.

Who will be affected by the end of your relationship?

I don’t believe couples should stay in bad marriages for the kids’ sake, but it’s important to consider the impact your breakup will have on your children.

Is it worth the pain your children will feel if you end this relationship? Divorce is devastating not only to kids, but to the entire family: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, even cousins and distant relatives. When you’re thinking about all the factors that help you decide how to know when to end a relationship, consider who will be affected.

The pain of working through your relationship may be much less severe than the pain of breaking up.

What do you know is true?

How to Know When to End a Relationship

How to Know When to End a Relationship

Get a notebook and pen. Find a quiet place. Take a deep breath. Start writing everything you know is true about your relationship, your partner, your self, and your life together. Take your time. If you’d rather share your thoughts in the comments section below, feel free.

Writing down what you know is true will help you see what to do. You will see your relationship more clearly, and you will reach some conclusions about yourself and your partner. Don’t just do this once, and don’t limit yourself to 5 or 10 minutes! Take your time, and write about your relationship every day for the next week. See what comes up. Listen to your heart and soul.

Is your partner willing to communicate?

Here’s what Kevin says on 5 Tips for Finding Balance in a One Sided Relationship:

“If you have a communication problem, it can be fixed. But what can’t be fixed is your partner’s decision not to communicate or try to work through the problems. Is there something that you really want to talk about but your partner is not even willing to consider discussing it? If he doesn’t care enough to talk about it, then you know it’s time to leave the relationship.”

Honestly, you can read all the “how to know when to leave” articles online and take all the relationship quizzes in the world…but the bottom line is your heart.

What is your heart telling you to do? What do you know deep down, but you’re too afraid to admit?

When you’re deciding if you should end your relationship…

May you find peace as you make this decision. I pray for faith to sustain you, peace to enfold you, love to support you, and wisdom to guide you. May you know God’s love and joy, and may you trust Him with your life. I pray that you turn to Jesus for guidance and healing. Lift your soul to Him, so He can minister to you and show you the right path to take.

May you be filled with faith, hope, peace, joy, and love as you think about what to do in your relationship. May you see your partner with fresh eyes, and may your love be strong enough to conquer all.

Help letting go

how to let go of someone you loveI wrote How to Let Go of Someone You Love to help people who are struggling to deal with the end of a relationship. If you’re struggling with how to know when to end a relationship, you might find this ebook helpful. When you start thinking about letting go of your partner, you’ll feel a mixture of peace and pain. If you feel more pain than peace, then perhaps it’s not time to end the relationship. This isn’t true all the time, but this idea may help you decide if it’s time to say good-bye.

I welcome your thoughts on how to know when to end a relationship. I can’t give advice, but you might find that writing is helpful. By putting your relationship into words, you may figure out what to do.

“Truth is, everyone’s going to hurt you. You’ve just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley.

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5 thoughts on “How to Know When to End a Relationship”

  1. I, too, am feeling very emotionally drained. Is it time to break up with my boyfriend and end a relationship I’ve worked so hard to establish? I’ve been with him for almost five years, living together for three. I’ve put up with his mild emotional abuse because he always apologizes and promises he’ll change. He says it’s not my fault, it’s his. He won’t talk about his feelings except to say he loves me occasionally. Mostly he’s quiet but I feel so unhappy and alone.

    I also feel depressed at the thought of another five years with my boyfriend, I can’t imagine 10 or 20. But I don’t know if it’s time to break up with him because I don’t want to just walk away from everything we invested in. House, relationships, family, friends, even some financial investments together. I don’t want to lose everything.

    How do you know when it’s time to end your relationship??

  2. Dear Elizabeth,

    Thank you for writing about your experience – it takes courage to share what you’re going through! Many times we hide what we’re dealing with, so I really admire your strength.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. I wish I had good advice to give you about how to know when to end a relationship – or that I had a magic wand that could turn back time and make everything good again! But I don’t know you, your relationship, or your life. I don’t know your heart, your personality, your strengths or weaknesses.

    All I know is that there is a source of power, strength and healing — and it’s that still, small voice inside of you. You need to get quiet and listen to it, for that voice will tell you what you need to know. That voice will tell you what the next step is.

    Do you already know what you need to do? I suspect you do, but you’re finding it difficult to take the next step.

    It doesn’t matter if you think of that still, small voice as your intuition or God or the Universe or your Higher Power (or a combination of it all!)……you must learn how to listen to it. You must learn how to connect with that flow of life, light, and power that is available to all of us. You must learn how to take a deep breath and put one foot forward.

    Here’s one of my favorite blog posts, which may help you:

    How to Make a Decision That Will Change Your Life

    I will keep you in my prayers, for strength and healing and comfort. May you reach out and find support and love in your friends and family.

    You might be encouraged by my free weekly newsletter, called SheBlossoms. I help women look upwards to grow healthy and strong, emotionally and spiritually. You may find it helpful, and you can sign up above.

    Take care of yourself. Listen for that still small voice.


  3. I’m feeling very emotional drained, I have been with my husband 33 years and married nearly 25 years I have put up with his domestic abuse for 32 years and emotional abuse I fell poorly 4years ago and confined to a wheelchair I know he as been having an affair or affairs since I became ill I had two heart attacks last year and I know he was seeing someone behind my back I found a phone number in his phone and he denied he had phoned that number and didn’t now how it got there when I pull him about things he gets very aggressive telling me he doesn’t know what I’m talking about and decides to give me the silent treatment this can go on for a week then he will gradually start bits of talking I have ebeen suffering with bad depression since last year as well he knows exactly what I’ve been going through and he obviously mustn’t care although he tells me how much he loves me and couldn’t live without me in one breath then when I approach him he becomes very nasty so I’ve never got any answers from him .all my children are grown up and me and my husband live on our own although I see my grand children a lot I’m feel I’m going mad I don’t know what to do .he as a very bad habit at looking at other women and I feel so uncomfortable because it’s happening before my eyes but he does it if I’m sat with my back to them I’ve got very black hair but it always seems to be blondes he looks at I hate him for it , he makes my skin crawl can you please give me some sort of guidance, how do I know when to end a relationship?

  4. Dear God, I lift Helen up to you. May Your wisdom and peace fill her mind, body and soul. May You give her courage to take the next step, and clarity of mind to know what that next step might be. Help her to see clearly, help her know if she should end this relationship or keep moving forward. Give her strength and power, and help her know that You are with her every step of the way. Amen.

  5. Came accross this while looking for help in deciding what to do. My boyfriend has become emotionally distant and is suffering from a number of circumstantial challenges involving his outter property repairs (he lives in a flat) selling (mortgage lenders that will accept disabled benefits) and buying. Also he says he will lose his income support aswell if he were to live with me. After being open to having at least one more child, if things work out well between us, he informed me doesn’t have the energy to raise another anymore, destroying my hopes, and this hurt me quite alot. I feel his ex has stolen all his best years, obtained a child bond from him leaving no more room for anymore , after a painful divorce and needing support due to her learning disabilities. I feel his has been expended due to these issues and hasn’t any ability to feel love and hope and happiness anymore, thus feel its destroying what little happiness we had. if I get upset, he closes up, he says he feels drained, when I try and talk to him. I hope that when he finally sells he will get his “soul back” and see clearly again. But there are times when I feel he is wasting this relationship away and my own hopes and desires. I am seeking God to help me know what to do. My friends hate what this is doing to me and feel I should walk away, but I don’t want to be hasty. He cannot understand why I feel resentment towards his ex! I don’t want to, but this behaviour of his is making me feel that way.

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