When the idea of breaking up with your girlfriend first enters your mind, it’s usually in small, subtle ways. She invites you to do something and you feel bad because you don’t want to go. You’re not excited to see her and get this nagging thought that you should be. Or maybe when you set up a date it feels more like work, or something you have to do, instead of something fun that you want to do. But how do you know when all these small, subtle thoughts mean something more?
Every relationship is different, and different couples interact with each other in different ways. Breakups work the same way. No two breakups are exactly the same, and something that’s a huge warning sign in one relationship may not mean all that much in another. However, there are a few things that happen at the end of a relationship, to look out for.
Here are a few things that tell you it’s time to break up:
You’re attracted to other people.
It’s natural to be attracted to other people, or even to think about being with another person. However, if you find yourself with a crush on someone who isn’t your girlfriend, it’s still worth exploring why you feel this way. Often when you have significant feelings for someone outside your relationship, it’s a sign that you aren’t getting the connection you want from within your relationship. If the idea of starting something new makes you more excited than the idea of building on the relationship you have, don’t dismiss those feelings. They’re telling you something.
We live in a constantly changing world. When you and your girlfriend first met, dated, and fell in love with one another, chances are you were both in a different place in your life than where you are now. Since then, issues may have come up that were unforeseeable in the beginning of your relationship. Whether you disagree on political issues that never came up before (gun control, gender equality, or equal pay), personal issues you didn’t know about (you don’t know why she lets her mom rule her life or she divulges too much personal information to her girlfriends), or life issues you can’t ignore anymore (you want to move closer to your family or she wants to pursue a career in a big city) it can be really hard to overcome a major difference.
Morals and values are huge. If you find your personal morals and values being sacrificed, or it has gotten to a point where you don’t feel comfortable pushing back on your girlfriend’s personal choices, you may need to move on.
You don’t make plans together.
In the beginning, it’s completely natural to be a bit obsessive and want to spend all of your time with your girlfriend. Constant texting, lovey-dovey dates, not being able to keep your hands off one another when you’re together—it’s all part of the fun of a new relationship. You shouldn’t expect to feel that way forever, but finding ways to spend time together should still be at the front of your mind.
If you find yourself rarely spending time together, ask yourself why that is. Where are you both on Friday or Saturday nights? Is she with her best friends and you’re with yours? Is she attending work or family events without you? Are you taking a weekend trip and it didn’t even cross your mind to invite her? If you two are naturally and effortlessly not spending time together anymore, it’s probably a sign that you aren’t on each other’s mind. Which is a problem.
You don’t miss her.
If you’re spending a lot of time apart and it’s completely fine with you, that tells you something. It’s easy to get caught up in life, and sometimes conflicting schedules mean you don’t get to see your girlfriend as much as you used to. That’s normal. But if you’re seeing less of each other and you don’t miss her when she’s gone and you’re not making an effort to see more of her, chances are you’re losing interest. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about her, but it does mean she’s not as important to your day-to-day life and happiness as she once was.
It’s hard to break up with someone. Even if you don’t have the feelings you once had for them, walking away from someone who was once very important to you is still a huge loss. You’re losing a partner and, most times, a friend.
If you’re thinking about breaking up with your girlfriend, it’s important to think it over, speak with your girlfriend about how you’re feeling, and be honest with her. Chances are if you aren’t happy, she isn’t either. Maybe it’s something you can work out, and maybe it isn’t. But staying with someone you’re not interested in anymore, isn’t fair to either of you.