How to tell when a relationship is over

8 Signs Your Relationship Is Over or Beyond Repair

All relationships have their ups and downs, and being in a couple takes work from time to time. But what happens when the relationship is more work than play? We look at the potential signs your relationship is over or beyond repair.

We’ve all experienced degrees of difficulty with someone we love. Occasional arguments are perfectly healthy, as is having different interests, and independent lives.

There are certain myths about relationships and how they work that are rather glibly tossed around. For example, couples shouldn’t fight; that opposites attract; that it is critical to have common interests; that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Some couples believe that getting help for your relationship must mean you’re in deep trouble, as sex and love should ‘happen naturally’ and you shouldn’t have to work at it. 

However, when disagreements chip away at a couple’s underlying respect, it often results in a slow decline in the motivation to patch things up.

While a sudden break up can feel a lot more shocking, it’s also much clearer — a defined moment of separation. A long disintegration, on the other hand, can leave a person feeling reeling, wondering at what point the ‘we’ became an ‘I’.

Every relationship is different

In recent years, there has been very credible and reliable research about what makes relationships fail. Perhaps surprisingly, the amount you argue, the differences you hold, and the commonalities between you actually don’t bear much relation to your relationship’s success.

Couples can have differences that they manage very effectively when they’re not under stress. One might be quieter and more withdrawn, and the other more outgoing and social. They might have good ways to negotiate this, even if it is a bit tiresome at times, and even if they occasionally wish the other was more like them.

Other couples can also have very poor fighting behaviour, which can make them seem like they’re in greater trouble than they really are. The issues that they are battling over might be quite small, and to another couple, perhaps quite manageable. 

However, for some, it might get nasty and personal when they argue, or one runs away and refuses to engage, or the other cries and sulks, and the argument ends up lasting for days.

What does real trouble look like?

The most destructive relationship behaviours are those the Gottmann Institute has deemed the ‘Four Horsemen’ – criticism, defensiveness, contempt (eye-rolling, disgust, dismissal or ridiculing), stonewalling, and the silent treatment. Of these, contempt has been shown to be the greatest predictor of divorce.

There are also other warning signs, and if one or more of them are present in your relationship, it may be time to take action.

1. There’s no emotional connection

One of the key signs that your relationship is over is that the spark has gone. A foundation of a healthy relationship is that both partners feel comfortable being truly open with each other in sharing thoughts and opinions. If you are no longer vulnerable and open with your partner, it’s hard to tell if the relationship is worth saving.

If you’re not sharing what’s really on your mind, it might be a sign that you no longer want a deep connection. Similarly, if you’ve found that the usual fun banter between you is gone, or it’s difficult to have engaging conversations, your bond could be getting weaker.

2. Communication breakdown

You may notice that you and your partner rarely discuss things anymore – neither positive or negative. Rather than solving issues when they arise, you may both sweep them under the rug, but hold on to the frustration you feel under the surface. It’s like an “elephant in the room” taking over the relationship. Allowing your partner to walk all over you – or your partner allowing you to do the same – is a sign that the balance of power is off.

It may feel at this stage like there’s no point trying to work things out, and you’d rather opt to say nothing at all. While being agreeable and non-confrontational can sometimes be an asset to a relationship, simply ‘keeping the peace’ with your partner can be a sign a relationship has tipped over the edge.

3. Aggressive or confrontational communication

The flip side to a lack of communication is aggressive communication. You and your partner may be arguing a lot, constantly picking fights with each other, and unwilling to patch things up. When you’re dealing with constant disagreements, it can lead to anger on both sides. You may try and raise concerns with your partner, but they are dismissed, minimised, denied, or ridiculed. You may not be confident you can change your own negative behaviour, let alone influence your partner to change.

When people are feeling relationship frustrations, it can be extremely tempting to release energy through aggressive or confrontational behaviour. Like a pressure cooker, the rush of anger can provide a temporary feeling of satisfaction. But in the long-term, this type of behaviour erodes trust and respect, and kills communication between partners.

4. There’s no appeal to physical intimacy

Sexual desire and intimacy can ebb and flow through the course of a relationship. If you’re in a sexual ‘ebb-phase’, it doesn’t mean there’s no hope for you. Physical intimacy in all loving forms is critical for a relationship’s sustenance. Touching releases hormones, namely oxytocin, that support the emotions of love and connection. If you can still have close physical intimacy without sex, and you still find your partner attractive, chances are your relationship just needs a little nudge forward.

If, however, you are not interested in your partner at all, that can indicate issues. If the thought of being intimate with your partner is off-putting, it can suggest that your relationship needs some work – or that a breakup is potentially near.

5. You don’t trust them

Mistrust can spread through a relationship like wildfire, and it can happen in stages. First it might be doubting your partner and feeling uncertain about their trustworthiness and dependability. Doubt, if unresolved, grows into suspicion. Suspicion is belief without proof. This causes anxiety and feelings of apprehension or uneasiness which can often manifest. And when you’re anxious you become fearful, which stops you from being open and vulnerable. Finally, when you feel fearful, you withdraw.

Trust is the foundation of a committed relationship, and lack of it eats away at the relationship from the inside. If you feel like you can’t trust the person in your corner, it’s a roadblock that prevents any meaningful connection. In order to regain it, both partners need to focus not only on trust itself, but on the root of the problems that led to a breakdown in the first place.

6. Fantasising about others

This sign can be a bit misleading. Most experts will tell you that fantasising about others is perfectly normal, and that almost everyone does it. The determining factor here is how much your fantasising infiltrates your peace. Does it feel natural and positive, or are you riddled with guilt? Does it distract you from your partner? Are you fantasising about just sex, or about an entire relationship with someone else? Is it about someone you know?

These are questions you should ask yourself to help you ascertain whether your fantasy is healthy or undermining your real relationship.

7. You’re not supporting each other and have different goals

When you’re feeling down or celebrating something exciting, having a partner there to support, encourage, and celebrate with you is one of the joys of relationships. Not having your key person there during important times shows disconnection.

One of the hardest disconnects to accept in a relationship is when partners want different things and can’t or won’t support the other person. No matter how deeply you care for each other, if you’re not planning for the same goals in life, it’s difficult to realign your hopes. If you’re not making time for each other to be happy as a couple, the warning signs are hard to ignore.

8. You can’t imagine a future together

One huge component of lasting relationships is envisioning your shared future together, as you co-create your lives and partnership. If the view of the future doesn’t align, or if you’ve stopped talking about future plans altogether, it may indicate a relationship is coming to an end.

Where to from here?

Although these are very negative experiences and worrying signs, in themselves they are not necessarily signs your relationship is over – unless they don’t change. By looking at issues in new ways and bridging the divide created by poor communication and conflict, you can take the heat out. You can rebuild enough of a bridge to see what really is between you.

If you are stuck in negative cycles, seeing a professional counsellor can be an excellent circuit breaker. Even agreeing to make an appointment and attending together is the start of a common platform and a new approach.

Ultimately you have to ask yourself: if the trouble between us could change, do I still love, trust and respect my partner? Is there still something important between us? You need to have a reason to do the work, because it won’t always be comfortable or easy.

Relationships Australia NSW offers couples counselling to help you work through problems and difficulties and find ways to move forward.

6 Expert-Approved Signs a Relationship Is Over

Like anything worth participating in, relationships—no matter how perfect they may seem—have their fair share of ups and downs. We've all experienced tough times with those we love, but occasional arguments are usually nothing to worry about in healthy relationships. At some point, however, you may be faced with a feeling of doubt that's hard to ignore. You feel like you've lost your connection or a difficult event has damaged your trust. So, how do you know if the relationship is over? You'll want to take a closer look at your connection with your partner.

Analyzing the good and bad moments can help determine whether your problems are worth working through, or in some cases, if it's time to part ways. Even when you still care about each other, staying together might not be the best choice for either of you. When we're emotionally invested for a long period of time, it can be easier to turn a blind eye to disagreements (even if they happen more often than they used to). It's never simple to consider breaking up with someone you love. But by learning how to recognize when a relationship is over, and preparing yourself to cope afterward, you can determine what's best to move forward.

If you're unsure about what to do, look out for these six key signs that a relationship is over.

There's No Emotional Connection

When the spark is gone, it's hard to tell if a relationship is worth saving. One of the key signs your relationship is ending is that you are no longer vulnerable and open with your partner. A cornerstone of happy, healthy ​relationships is that both partners feel comfortable being truly open to sharing thoughts and opinions with one another.

"We 'hide' deeper feelings (from ourselves and from others)…When we find ourselves behaving in ways that aren’t typical, we might need to do a little soul-searching to get a clearer picture of where our attitude is coming from," says licensed counselor Suzanne Degges-White, Ph. D. If you're not sharing what's really on your mind, it might be a sign that you no longer want a deep connection. Similarly, if you've found that the usual fun banter between you is gone—or it's difficult to have engaging conversations—your bond could be getting weaker.

Physical Intimacy Doesn't Appeal to You Anymore

Sexual desire can sway up and down over the course of a relationship. If you're in a lull and can't seem to get your sex life back on track, that's not necessarily a sign that the relationship is over. Degges-White suggests imagining the first time you were intimate with your partner and understanding how the memory makes you feel. "If you can get back there in your head—and you like where your mind takes you—then you are probably still sexually attracted to your partner," she says.

On the contrary, if your passion has deflated and you're no longer interested in your partner at all, that could be a problem. A lack of sexual interest is often a reflection of the health and potential longevity of relationships. "When just the thought of your partner being close or touching you intimately is off-putting, [it could] signal that the relationship is in need of an overhaul, or that a breakup is potentially near."

In some relationships that are on the verge of ending, sex can be the first of many connections that start to fade.

It's Hard to Agree on Anything

Another telltale sign you're heading toward a breakup is that you don't see eye-to-eye anymore. When you're dealing with constant disagreements, it can lead to anger on both sides.

"When fighting is unrelenting, to the point where there are very few minutes of calm, take it seriously," says licensed clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, Ph.D. Even if it seems strange, not arguing enough can also be a bad sign: "Some couples become so exhausted by fighting that they simply stop…They often stop sharing things with each other altogether, and have zero ability to bring up any sort of disagreement." When all you can agree on is that you can't agree on anything, it's an unfortunate indicator of the relationship's future.

Someone Else Seems More Appealing

While it's normal to fantasize about other people, desires can be harmful when they minimize the importance of sex with your partner. Whether you're fixated on your ex, crushing on someone from work, or longing for strangers, it's time to reconsider your feelings.

"When your fantasies are taking time and energy away from [what] you should be spending with your partner, you’re probably crossing a line that you shouldn’t," says Degges-White. "Sexual fantasies about others can be fine if they add to your relationship, but if they create a world in which your partner’s role is shrinking, it’s time to either put someone else in your fantasies or begin a conversation." If your partner is no longer your priority in bed, it's time for a talk.

The Trust Is Gone

Whether your partner had an affair or they just simply don't keep promises, trust is hard to rebuild. If you feel like you can't trust the person in your corner, it's a roadblock that prevents any meaningful connection. "Trust is the foundation of a committed relationship, and a lack of it hollows out a relationship from the inside," says Bonior. In order to regain it, both partners need to focus not only on trust itself but on the root of problems which led to a breakdown in the first place.

Your Goals Don't Align

One of the hardest disconnects to accept in a relationship is when partners want different things. No matter how deeply you care for each other, if you're not planning for the same goals in life, it's difficult to realign your hopes. "Sometimes even relationships [with] a great deal of love can be stymied by goals that are totally different," says Bonior. Desires for children, professional dreams, or where you'd like to live are common aspirations that couples struggle with. "There can be hope with compromise, but without that, the warning signs are hard to ignore," she notes.

Regardless of what's causing a disconnect in your relationship, it's never an easy situation to find yourself in. If you're still in love and want your bond to last, you might seek counseling to better communicate and understand each other. All relationships have their obstacles—so if you're certain your partner is "the one," try finding new ways to get past conflicts in a healthy way for you both.

18 Top Deal Breakers In a Relationship to Consider

20 signs that it's time to end a relationship


Relationship crisis Man and woman

When we fall in love, we often lose ourselves, dissolving in a partner. It should be remembered that it is possible and necessary to show love for another without giving up oneself. Check if any of these signs are in your relationship. If yes, then it means only one thing - it's time to pack your things and leave.

1. You began to doubt your own worth. This feeling should not be, because a loving partner will keep you feeling that you are the best.

2. Your partner often blames you for something. If he considers you the root cause of any problems in relationships and in his life in general, this only says one thing - he is not able to admit and take responsibility for his own mistakes. You do not have to forever play the role of the guilty and correct them for him.

3. You constantly quarrel. Of course, conflicts can also arise in happy relationships. But if the fighting doesn't stop even for a day, think what are the chances that you will actually be happy in the future. And in no case do not confuse scandals with passion.

4. You can't be yourself. You should not forbid yourself something so that your partner loves you. If he can't accept you for who you are, he probably doesn't deserve you.

5. You have to apologize for your partner. Protecting loved ones is natural and normal, but constantly coming up with excuses for their bad deeds is not.

6. You often wonder if your partner is angry with you. Anxiety about relationships is not good for anyone. If you are wondering, “Is he angry with me?”, “Well, what did I do wrong again?”, The relationship is far from healthy.

7. Relationships are bad for work. It is normal to maintain contact during the working day. It is not normal if the partner continues to write and call, knowing that you are busy or sitting in an important meeting.

8. Relatives think that you have become unlike yourself. Relatives and friends notice changes in us faster than we ourselves. And if everyone says that you are not changing for the better, you need to think about it. Perhaps the reason for the change is in your partner.

9. There is no trust in relationships. And it doesn't matter which of you doesn't trust whom. Lack of trust will ruin any relationship.

10. The thought of parting brings relief. Of course, everyone sometimes wants to be alone or spend time with friends. But if you are better off without a partner than with him, then parting will be the right choice.

11. You don't feel safe. It doesn't matter if this feeling is constant or only a couple of times. In a relationship, you should never feel threatened.

12. You are a bad influence on each other. In a worthwhile relationship, partners inspire each other, help each other become the best version of themselves. If both of you (or one of you) click on the points that awaken a monster in the other, it is unlikely that something good will come of it.

13. You realize that you could be happier. The previous items may not apply to you. But if you feel that you are not very happy, or think that you deserve more, is it worth it to stay?

14. Your partner gives you ultimatums. For example, threatens to break up if you do not do something or, on the contrary, do it. This is primitive manipulation, which means that the partner is not confident in himself and is trying to control you.

15. Your partner's needs have become more important than yours. In a healthy relationship, the desires and needs of partners are of equal importance - a healthy relationship cannot revolve around one person. If a partner is not ready to compromise and take into account your desires, there is no question of equality and respect.

16. You are afraid to speak out loud. Because the partner will be offended, angry or leave you. But you have the right to say what you feel and what you want. And if fear stops you, think about whether you really want to be with such a person?

17. You have to ask permission. Taking into account the feelings and desires of a partner when making decisions is absolutely normal and even correct. But the partner cannot be the one who allows or forbids you something. The final decision should still be yours.

18. You stopped communicating with friends and family. Or they began to communicate with them less. If you invest all your time and energy in just one person, you will lose everyone who loves you.

19. Relationships are like swings . It's good, it's bad, it's great, it's disgusting. It may seem that this way you will never get bored, but in reality it will end in a “shaken” psyche or a nervous breakdown. Healthy relationships need stability, not jitters.

20. You feel stuck. If you are not leaving because you are afraid that you will be left alone or that you will not find someone better, then it is definitely time to leave. At least in order to work on self-esteem and develop self-love.

Text: Polina Franke Photo Source: Getty Images

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September 21, 2021 Relationship

No one promised that relationships are easy. But this does not mean that meeting or living with another person should resemble an endless hell.

Iya Zorina

Lifehacker author, athlete, CCM

Knowing when to quit and when to move on is the key to emotional survival.

Until we are 200% sure that the relationship is over, we continue to believe in it. This is understandable, because in a few years (or months) we become so attached to a person, we can say “grow into” him, that it is very painful to part. It is clear that you are trying to save the relationship: there is always hope that they will change for the better.

Not everyone has the courage to break up a relationship when it really ended. Here are 21 signs that "finita la comedy" if it has not yet arrived, then it is already very, very close. If at least four points out of all you say: “This is about us,” think about parting more seriously than usual.

1. Resentment

You are constantly offended by your partner, but do not say anything. You think that this is how you save your relationship, but in fact you only delay that unpleasant moment when all the accumulated negativity breaks out and your relationship ends in a painful break.

Resentment does not go away, especially if the factors that cause it do not disappear. If it does not splash out, then it accumulates inside, and this causes stress and illness. And, of course, destroys relationships - slowly but surely.

2. Disrespect

If you and your partner have reached the point where you show mutual disrespect, it's time to destroy your illusions. There is nothing easier than to stop being attached to someone who shows you disrespect.

People can continue to live together without respect and awareness of the value of each other, which leads to absolute indifference about the needs and desires of a partner. Well, what kind of continuation can we talk about?

3. Contempt

It doesn't matter what motives caused contempt, be it a failed career, a change in appearance or something else. Partners should support each other in any situation, because isn't this warmth we need so much under any circumstances, and especially during some personal problems.

If you start treating each other with contempt, you no longer get warmth from relationships and you live not with a friend who understands, but with a cold being who condemns you, why continue this?

4. Lies

I'm talking about that lie when you tell a person "I love you" without feeling anything. You are afraid of hurting him, but you are not really protecting him, but only making it worse. The truth will come out: you cannot lie all your life and at the same time not spoil it for yourself and your partner.

Well, if you say to yourself: “We are happy, I am happy, everything is fine with us”, when you feel that everything has already ended for you, this is also an escape from reality.

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5. Distrust

If you do not trust your partner, then there are reasons for this. If they are so serious that trust cannot be restored, why stay with this person? All my life to check, worry and waste my nerves?

6. Swearing in public

Anything good you can say about your partner can be said in public. And all the bad things are better left for personal conversations. To scold a person in public means to achieve only a negative response or hidden resentment.

In addition, if you scold your partner in public or even just allow yourself unpleasant jokes about him, it means that dissatisfaction is growing inside, which has already begun to spill out.

7. Withdrawal

If you often look for a way to be away from your partner and consciously try to avoid contact and intimacy, it's time to get rid of it.

You have already severed the emotional connection with your partner and thus gently let him know that it's over. Maybe it's better to do it right away, and not to produce suffering and doubts?

8. Demanding evidence of love

“If you love me, you…” It is very tempting to manage a person's life in this way, and if you hear this phrase from time to time, then something has gone wrong.

The only person who can change his feelings is himself, and some of your actions have nothing to do with it.

Well, if you yourself say this, think about whether you really need this person, will he become loved if he does something? And is it possible to manipulate someone you really love?

9. Public humiliation

If your partner has humiliated you in public once, he will most likely do it again and again. And it does not matter that he drank a lot that evening or he was in a bad mood.

Public humiliation of a partner speaks only of deep self-hatred, and no matter how much love you give to this person, it will not fix the situation without his firm desire to change and work with his self-esteem. And this is difficult not only to correct, but even to admit.

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10. Obsession with another person

sooner or later it will lead to a break.

Of course, this does not mean that partners should completely immerse themselves in each other and give all their energy to only one person, but obsession with someone else is fraught with suspicion, jealousy and resentment.

Yes, your partner is obviously missing something in your relationship if he is so attracted to another person, but you can hardly give him that. And certainly you should not change yourself for the sake of another person.

11. Obsession with pornography

There is nothing strange or wrong with partners watching porn together. Some kind of voyeurism helps to get turned on and find something new to try later in bed with a partner.

But if one of the partners is obsessed with pornography, complete satisfaction will always elude him: in pursuit of the Grail of multiple orgasms, he may end up on the path of sexual perversion.

So, if you are not satisfied with such scenarios, think about both the root cause of this obsession and the possible consequences.

12. Emotional infidelity

Some people believe that monogamy is the only possible relationship, for others it is difficult and almost impossible.

If you cheated for the sake of a variety of sexual experiences, the relationship can still be saved, but if there is an emotional attachment to the person with whom you had an intimate relationship, it is time to end the relationship.

The first question people ask when they find out about their partner's infidelity is: "Do you love him/her?" Because it is the emotional, and not the physical connection, that is the core of the relationship, and if it is gone, then you have nothing more to do here.

13. Inability to end the conflict

It starts as an endless struggle without reaching a consensus, which gradually develops into "as you wish", when the partners no longer care about the results of their struggle.

There is a rule: never go to bed offended by each other. And there is definitely something in it.

If none of the partners can pacify their pride and desire to always be the winner in the dispute, cannot agree to a truce without achieving their goal, these relations have no continuation.

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14. Subconscious

If you unconsciously do things that harm your relationship, it is your psyche that tells you what you really need.

You can think whatever you want, but your actions speak of real desires better than all your assurances and hopes.

15. Obsession

If your partner has an obsession with, for example, alcohol or substances, he/she is a shopaholic, gambler, workaholic, or obsessed with sex, you will always be in second or even fifth place and will not get the emotional connection that I would like to.

If you don't have an obsession with something, your partner's addiction can destroy not only his life, but also yours. Not a very pleasant prospect.

16. Painful attachment to the former

If your partner still maintains more than close relationship with a former passion or husband/wife, this destroys the relationship.

Former partners must be respected, especially if you have children in common, but the first role is still assigned to the current partner. If this does not happen, it is easy to feel secondary and unnecessary, and this is a direct path to a breakup.

17. Threats and emotional blackmail

This is a clear sign of an unhealthy relationship. Emotional blackmail is often presented as intense love, but it is actually control. And control, in turn, is an abuse of feelings. You have to run as far away from it as you can see.

18. Constant comparison and ratings

Does your partner compare you to those who look more attractive, earn more, are smarter and more interesting than you? This is one form of humiliation. If someone thinks that the grass is greener in someone else's yard, let him go there.

People are unique beings, although they are similar in many ways. You shouldn't compare yourself, let alone listen to it from your partner.

19. Indifference

Why stay together if you don't care about each other?

20. Loss of attachment

There's nothing wrong with wanting a roommate, but if you want more from a relationship, don't stay with a partner who isn't your one and only.

Learn more