Relationships

10 Signs You Should Consider Breaking Up With Your Partner

Just remember: Ending a relationship doesn’t mean it was a failure.

If you've thought "I can't do this anymore," it might be time to walk away from the relationship.
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Few things are scarier than feeling like you don't love your partner anymore, especially if you've been together for a while. It might dawn on you in the middle of an argument, or on a random Tuesday afternoon. And just like that, you have to consider what happens next.

If you're like most people, your first instinct might be to downplay it. “It’s only natural to want what's so familiar to you to stay the way it is,” psychotherapist Katherine Schafler, tells Bustle. You might also throw yourself into fixing things, which could very well improve the dynamic between you and your partner.

Research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family analyzed data from 47,000 couples and found that they felt happiest when spending time together. That's why reinvesting in each other — by going on dates, playing games together, and asking each other interesting questions — could help you feel more in love. That said, if you make a plan with your partner, try really hard to find the spark you once had, and still feel disconnected, don't force yourself to stick around. While it can be hard to know when to walk away from a relationship, that lack of feeling could be a telltale sign.

“If you’re staying out of guilt or a desire to not hurt the other person, your heart’s definitely in a good place — it's just not in the relationship anymore,” Schafler says. “Staying with someone out of pity is not kindness, and ultimately, it hurts your partner more in the end, which is not loving at all.” So, how do you know if you don't love someone anymore, and that it might be time to move on? Chances are, the ten signs listed below will sound familiar.

1

Your Curiosity Is Starting To Fade

If you have strong feelings for someone, you'll go out of your way to show interest in what they're thinking, and reading, and watching. This tendency typically peaks at the beginning of a relationship when everything is fun and new, before it evens out to a general sense of love and appreciation.

If you're no longer invested, though, that's when your curiosity might start to fade, Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. You won't feel like checking in, asking about their day, or bothering to get their opinion on a topic. It simply won't seem important anymore, because you're emotionally checked out.

2

You Don't Call Them First

Whether you got hired, fired — or just want to send a funny meme — take note if your partner isn't the first person you think about when you want to share something, Shari Foos, MA, MFT, MS, NM, a marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle, as it's often one of the many indicators you're no longer in love.

That said, "it can be easy to confuse falling out of love with boredom and even positive independence," Foos says. "Ongoing relationships typically endure short or long periods during which one or both partners are 'over it' until they become aware of what has been turning them off."

So consider why you feel the way you do before jumping ship, and talk to your partner about it. "This difficult stand-off can lead to renewed closeness," Foos says.

3

You Don’t Desire Intimacy With Them Anymore

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While the frequency of sex will likely ebb and flow in a long-term relationship, losing all sexual desire for your partner could be a sign something’s amiss. If they try to initiate sex, do you recoil and shut them down regularly? Alternatively, do you often think about sex or pleasure outside of the relationship? If so, you might have lost the physical attraction you once had.

4

You’ve Thought “I Can’t Do This Anymore”

When you’ve exhausted all your resources and tried everything to salvage your partnership, if nothing between you and your partner changes, it might be time to consider walking away from the relationship. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking anything along the lines of, “I can’t do this anymore,” it’s probably time to reevaluate why you might be pushing yourself to stay.

5

You Daydream About Being Single

If you can't stop thinking about dating someone else, or wondering what life might be like if you were totally free, there's likely a reason for that. Relationships definitely require a lot of commitment — of time, money, emotions. When you're invested, it all feels 100% worth it. Once a relationship weakens, though, that commitment might start feeling more like a sacrifice.

6

You're Making Plans Without Them

Whether you're figuring out the logistics of where you want to live, or simply daydreaming about a future vacation, take note if you catch yourself excluding your partner from the equation, certified divorce coach Andrea Javor tells Bustle. If you can't picture them sitting next to you on the beach or walking through the doors of a new apartment, consider it a sign you'd rather focus on yourself.

7

You Don't Want Them Touching Your Things

Another sign your heart isn't in it anymore? If you start feeling possessive of things you used to share. For example, you might "resent them eating your food and start labeling everything in the fridge," Foos says. And that's because you aren't excited to be part of a duo — at least not with them.

If your heart isn't in it, Foos says you might even go out of your way to block your partner, possibly by sitting alone in a corner with music blasting in your headphones. Again, everyone goes through phases and every relationship will have ups and down. But if this trend goes on for a while, you might want to admit to yourself that you're no longer invested.

8

You're Less Impacted By Their Emotions

If, in the past, you scrambled to help your partner whenever they were sad, or jumped for joy whenever they were happy, you might notice that their emotions have less of an impact on you now.

"Love provides the super power of extreme empathy, mirroring, and twinship," Romanoff says. "When partners are out of love, they no longer have the capacity to hold each other's emotions with such genuine intensity."

9

You Can't Stop Rolling Your Eyes

Similarly, you might even find your partner irritating. In fact, studies have shown that one of the biggest predictors of an impending breakup is when couples roll their eyes at each other, because it demonstrates "contempt" or loss of respect. If you secretly think your partner isn't as smart as you, is irresponsible, is a nag, has the wrong values, or otherwise doesn't deserve your affections, this is one of the ways it shows.

10

You're Hanging Onto An Investment

"People often use past history and time invested as a reason to stay," Alyssa Arnol, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, tells Bustle. So if you're only sticking around because you've been together for five years, and are afraid to let all that go, it may be better to move on.

“Ultimately, it can feel really scary to leave a relationship that you've put so much time and energy into,” Arnol says. But if these feelings continue, despite trying to make a change, remember it'll probably be in everyone's best interest to break up — instead of clinging to something that clearly isn't working.

Sources:

Flood, S., & Genadek, K. (2016, February 1). Time for each other: Work and family constraints among couples. Retrieved February 18, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712716/

Katherine Schafler, psychotherapist

Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, clinical psychologist

Shari Foos, MA, MFT, MS, NM, marriage and family therapist

Alyssa Arnol, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist

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