A woman who knows it's time to move on, driving in her car at sunset and thinking about her relationship.

Ending a relationship is never easy. Not for the person who’s getting broken up with and not for the person doing the breaking up. Sometimes we stay in relationships longer than we want to, because we’re afraid of the pain of splitting up. We make excuses for staying. We chalk it up to a rough patch. But excuses are excuses, and sometimes you all you can do is move on. So when is it time to call it quits?

1. When you’re not happy and you haven’t been for a while.
It’s impossible to be happy in every moment. There will be rough patches in any relationship. Sometimes we carry too much of the stress of our daily lives into our relationships. Sometimes we get angry and take it out on our partner. It’s not right but it happens, which is why it’s important to talk things out. If you’re making an effort to patch things up, but things still don’t work, it might be time to say goodbye.

2. You don’t who you are when you’re with your partner.
It’s a cliché to say that relationships should bring out the best in us, but often clichés come from truth. Your relationship should bring out your A-game. If you’re looking in the mirror and don’t like what you see, take a step back and ask yourself when and how that started. If your relationship is the culprit, you need to talk to your partner. Maybe you’re mirroring the poor behavior or they’re encouraging it. Either way, if you feel your partner is not good for you, moving on may be the best option.

3. You’ve become codependent.
You can’t remember the last time you saw or spoke to your best friend. You never go out with anyone except your partner. You’ve forgotten about your hobbies. All your time is spent with your partner, and they still want more. These are all signs of a codependent relationship. As always, talk to your partner first. Figure out if they even realize they’re suffocating you and give them a chance to work on the behavior. Sometimes, taking a break from the relationship is appropriate. But if after talking about it, your partner is blind to the problem or angered by the conversation, you’d better consider breaking up.

4. Your partner has been emotionally or physically abusive.
Abuse comes in so many different forms. No matter the case, you should get out of there. Don’t give them a second chance. Don’t try to talk it out. If someone lays hands on you, leave and never come back. If they show signs of gaslighting or stop you from seeing friends and family, leave and never come back. Abusers don’t change. It’s a harsh thing to hear but they know what they’re doing and they want to control you. Stand up for yourself and leave. Take your things, get to a safe place, and don’t look back.

5. Your partner is not receptive when you ask for a change.
If you ask your partner for change but they refuse to listen, it’s time to go. Relationships have to change to stay healthy. That’s because our needs change over time. What you needed when you were 23 is different from what you need when you’re 45. Our lives change and our needs change, therefore what we need from our partners change too. 

Sometimes, you need to move on, even if the path isn’t clear. Sometimes, you have to move on, because the path isn’t clear. Because a relationship lasted for a long time doesn’t make it right. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, talk with your partner first and see if change is possible. If not, it’s time to let go and move onto what’s next, even if you’re not sure what that is.

Jacqueline Gualtieri

Freelance Writer

Jacqueline Gualtieri is a writer and blogger whose best friend once told her to quit her job and become a couples and sex therapist. Since she’d miss writing too much, she figured writing for The Date Mix would be the next best thing.