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.
In 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?
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
I 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.