Experts Reveal The Major Fights That Mean You Should Probably Break Up

Veronica Mars

Understatement of the century? Breaking up can be hard to do. Sometimes people end up in relationships they know aren’t right, but they stay because it just seems easier in some way. Despite how much you want to deny it, there are major relationship fights that mean you should break up with your SO, and fights over certain topics simply shouldn’t be ignored. As you’ll see from the points below, these fights all revolve around the fundamentals of what makes a relationship work successfully.

If you and your partner have been together for ages, it might seem like the worst thought ever to have to go back to being single. Maybe you’re not even sure if you love your partner anymore, but rather than put yourself back into the single ring, you plan to stick it out with your partner for a while more and hope and wish and pray that things turn around. Maybe they will turn around, but maybe they won’t. If you are constantly fighting with your partner about big things — like fidelity, money, marriage, life goals, jealously, and the like — now might be the right time to examine whether the relationship is truly working. If it isn’t, it might be better to cut ties sooner than later.

Will it be difficult? Yes. Will you feel better down the road and find someone you’re more compatible with? Also, yes. If a fight is ensuing over any of these 11 reasons, it might mean you should consider breaking up, according to experts.

1. One Partner Is Regularly Dishonest

Honesty is so important in a relationship, but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that twice. Of course, there will be white lies here and there (i.e., “That new haircut looks great, babe”), but for the most part couples should strive to be open and honest with one another. If you and your partner are regularly fighting because one of you is dishonest when it comes to the big things — like where you spent the night — signs could be pointing towards a breakup.

"Relationships thrive when there is cooperation, and a mutual exchange of curiosity and admiration," relationship coach Sara Russell tells Bustle. "If someone is acting unilaterally, and so focused on themselves that they can’t also take into account your experience and feelings, you may consider why you are in the relationship, and if staying is worth it."

2. You Want Different Things From The Relationship

When you and your partner find you’re constantly fighting about your future, it’s time to take a closer look at whether you’re with the right person. "It is inevitable that couples will argue and disagree, neither of which is necessarily cause for breaking up," licensed psychologist Chloe Greenbaum, Ph.D., tells Bustle. "However, two individuals should rethink their relationship if they find themselves arguing about fundamental, irreconcilable, and unchangeable differences in the values they hold important, which may include themes such as monogamy and the desire to have children."

3. You Feel As Though Your Values Are Being Compromised

When fights start to pop up because you feel your values are being compromised in your relationship, this is a red flag. As Samantha Daniels, dating expert and founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking, tells Bustle, "No two people need to be carbon copies of each other and it’s certainly OK to differ on your opinion about certain subjects, but if you can’t find any common ground on your values regarding things like child-rearing, trust, loyalty and family, the relationship will have a hard time lasting." If you start to feel that you’re doing all of the compromising, and your partner isn’t meeting you halfway, this could lead to resentment.

4. One Of You Has Jealousy Or Control Issues

Jealously has a bad connotation for a reason — it can play against a relationship in a big way. Fights due to jealously can tear a relationship apart and may even lead to controlling behavior. As David Simonsen, Ph.D., licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle, "If you're in a relationship where you are constantly fighting about feeling controlled, you shouldn’t be together long-term. It usually means your partner doesn’t feel confident about themselves and needs to control you to feel better about themselves."

5. Your Goals For The Future Don't Align At All

When two people have hopes and aspirations that differ, it’s difficult for a relationship to overcome it, particularly when it starts causing huge fights relevant to the topic. For instance, money tends to be a source of problems for many couples. If one partner wants to save money for a future with kids and a nice house, but the other isn't on the same page, it's going to cause problems. "If you find yourself consistently being questioned on how you spend money, this is a relationship to get out of," Simonsen says. "You need to find someone that you are financially compatible with. If not, there will be constant fights and hurt in the relationship."

6. One Of You Isn't Committed With Your Time

Are you and your partner constantly fighting over the fact that friends, work, and hobbies take priority over spending time together? If so, the relationship may not last. As Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and relationship expert, tells Bustle, "Relationships take time and commitment, and just saying you're committed doesn't cut it. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk." If your partner wants to spend their time working extra hours or going out with friends over you, they may not be as committed to the relationship as you are.

7. You Say Things That Are Mean Or Extremely Hurtful

Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes you really can't help what you say in the heat of the moment. But as a Cheryl Muir, dating and relationship coach, tells Bustle, sure signs of an unhealthy conflict are when one or both parties inflict damage, create a deliberate lack of safety, or make comments that threaten the stability of the relationship. In short, during fights you say and do things you know will hurt your partner deeply. "At best, this shows there is deep inner work to be done, if this person is willing," Muir says. "At worst, this is a sign you’re in an unhealthy connection."

8. Your Partner Blames You For Everything

If you're being consistently ignored, belittled, disregarded, or criticized, it may mean the end of your relationship. "Partners who repeatedly blame the other person, while refusing to take any responsibility for their own actions, are not safe," Jana Edwards, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in treating couples, tells Bustle. This includes people who insist on being the victim in the relationship, instead of taking responsibility for standing up for themselves or clearly stating what they want. According to her, "Safe relationships don't require mind-reading. They require a willingness to have conflicts that adhere to safety rules."

9. One Of You Can’t Keep Your Eyes From Wandering

Sound familiar? If you and your partner are constantly arguing over one of you having a wandering eye, you might want to reevaluate the relationship. As Christie Tcharkhoutian, Ed.D., licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle, "It isn't likely that a relationship will last if a partner consistently betrays the relationship, either through emotional or physical infidelity, without remorse or working with a therapist to stop these behaviors."

10. One Or Both Of You Isn’t Happy

Another thing I’ve personally dealt with, and I’m sure some of you out there have, too: You’re in a relationship that used to make you super happy, and for some reason that you can’t really explain, it doesn’t make you happy at all anymore.

As Edie Weinstein, a licensed social worker who specializes in helping couples, tells Bustle, "People are not generally angry for the reasons they think they are. Fights about money, sex, housekeeping responsibilities, or raising children often have their roots in either or both feeling unheard, unseen, and unappreciated." If feeling under-appreciated or unseen in your relationship is making you feel unhappy, it's important to talk to your partner about it. If nothing changes, then it may be time to consider breaking up.

11. It’s The Same Fight Over And Over… And Over

Lastly, if you and your partner are constantly having the same fight over and over and nothing is changing for the better, it could mean things are moving towards the end. According to Daniels, the key ingredient in any relationship is the ability and the willingness to work through issues. "If your partner is not interested in trying to work things out and turns a deaf ear to your concerns and upsets, this is a relationship that will not sustain the test of time and one you should leave," she says.

Next time you and your partner get into an argument, consider whether it was due to one of these major topics. If so, it could very well mean this isn’t the right person for you, and that’s perfectly OK. Remember the saying I personally love to replay for myself: There are many other fish in the sea.


Sara Russell, relationship coach

Cheryl Muir, dating and relationship coach

Samantha Daniels, dating expert and founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking

Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and relationship expert


David Simonsen Ph.D., licensed marriage and family therapist

Jana Edwards, licensed clinical social worker who specializes in treating couples

Chloe Greenbaum, Ph.D., licensed psychologist

Edie Weinstein, licensed social worker

Christie Tcharkhoutian, Ed.D., licensed marriage and family therapist

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