When you're unhappy in a relationship, you may start pondering the big question: "Should we break up?" It should be obvious, knowing whether or not you should be with someone, but it can be difficult to tell if you're just unhappy at the moment or if your issues are worth breaking up over.
Part of the problem is that, especially if you've been together for a while, you feel like you need a really good reason to breakup. Even if you're unhappy — and have been for a while — it doesn't always feel like enough. I mean, sometimes it's obvious. "Your partner is not reliable, doesn't show up, doesn't keep promises," Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, tells Bustle. "Your partner won't work with you to solve problems or get things done [or] has too many emotional outbursts, throws hissy fits or temper tantrums when something goes wrong." And obviously in cases where there is abuse, manipulation, or disrespect, you should definitely end the relationship. But sometimes, the problems are not so clearly breakup-worthy.
The important thing to remember is that sometimes, even without one huge reason, it's totally OK to break up. Here are some things that are absolutely good reasons to end a relationship:
1. You Don't Feel Like Yourself
You know when you feel like you need to be totally 'on' with someone, that you can't quite be yourself? That's a really bad sign. "Always break up with someone if you don't feel like yourself when you are with them," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. If you've stopped being able to be authentic with someone, something's gone wrong.
2. You Can't Stop Thinking You Should
"If you are even thinking this question, I would say that is red flag number one," Marina Sbrochi, IPPY award-winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life, tells Bustle. It's not unusual to occasionally wonder what it would like to be single, but if you can't get it out of your head it means part of you knows you're not happy now.
3. You Realize There's Something You Can't Let Go Of
Sometimes we think we can get over something — cheating, a lie, a secret — but, as much as we try, we can't let it go. "If someone you are dating or involved in a long-term relationship with has betrayed you in a way that you cannot get past — cheating, lying, addiction — then it is time to end the relationship for your own emotional health," executive editor and founder of Cupid's Pulse Lori Bizzoco, tells Bustle. "Remember, ending a relationship with someone is a personal decision and only you know what is healthy or unhealthy for you."
You may feel pressure to 'just get over it', but if you can't then you can't. And there's no shame in that, so don't keep torturing yourself.
4. You've Exhausted Your Other Options
There are a lot of things you can use to try and save a relationship. "If it has been a fairly serious relationship," licensed psychologist, and founder and CEO of Rapport Relationships, Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, tells Bustle. "I highly suggest seeking out a couples therapist to help discuss whether ending the relationship is what is needed." But if you're unhappy and you've tried everything, you can admit that it doesn't work anymore. Sometimes it's just time to let it go.
5. Too Much Has Changed
Sometimes, you just grow apart. You've realize that you don't want the same things, your deal-breakers don't line up, or your chemistry is just off. And you can't always get through to them to talk about it. "They’ve stopped communicating and get defensive when you point it out," Danielle Sepulveres, sex educator and author of Losing It: The Semi-Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin, tells Bustle. If you've grown that different, then there's a good chance that you could both find other people to be happier with.
6. They've Stopped Rooting For You
Have you ever been in a relationship where it just doesn't feel like the other person is on your team? "Lack of interest in what is going on with you is a big sign that someone is about to end a relationship," Rob Alex, who created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night with his wife, tells Bustle. "If all of the sudden the person you are in a relationship with stops caring about what's going on at your work, or things that you enjoy doing, then a flag might be raised."
Maybe their own life hasn't turned out how they hoped, maybe one of you fell out of love, but if you don't have each other's backs anymore then find someone who does.
7. You're Stuck In A Cycle
Arguments can take on a momentum and a life of their own— and if you don't resolve that, it can go on indefinitely. "You should break up with someone if you continue to have the same couples' conflicts and arguments repeatedly and your partner refuses to support satisfying your needs," Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting, and relationship psychotherapist tells Bustle. "A healthy working relationship requires two willing participates who want to please each other’s wants and needs." If you keep having the same fights and can't communicate, then that cycle will never stop.
If you feel like you should break up, remember that the only reason you really need is that you want to. If you're unhappy, if the relationship is unhappy, you don't owe it to anyone to stay. You both deserve to be in relationships that make you happy.