At a certain point in every relationship, after the initial phase of newness and excitement, most couples find themselves questioning whether the relationship is worth keeping. The passion that was once there has been replaced by monotony and routine, and no matter how hard you try, that ‘spark’ that was there, in the beginning, has disappeared.
But how do you know when it’s time to throw in the towel? How can you tell if it’s really time to leave a relationship, or if it’s just a normal lull?
Here are 5 signs it’s time to walk away:
1. You’re being emotionally abused
One of the biggest struggles we can face in a relationship is emotional abuse. Whether your partner is gaslighting you (think phrases like “you’re crazy” or “you’re overreacting”; anything that dismisses or diminishes your reality) manipulating you, continually criticizing you, or isolating you from family and friends, emotional abuse is not okay. Remember, your partner is still human, and no one is perfect, but when these behaviors become prolonged, it’s time to evaluate whether sticking around is worth it.
Many people stick around, even through emotional abuse, because they expect their partner to change. Unfortunately, if someone is emotionally abusing you, the only way it’s going to stop is if they choose to start healing their wounds. The truth is, most people struggle to accept who they are and be honest with themselves about their behavior because it usually means confronting something they’ve been trying to forget, like trauma. They may really love us, but unless they do the inner work required to heal, the relationship won’t improve. We have to learn to accept that we deserve someone that can treat us properly, and walk away when someone can’t. It may seem harsh, but if we stay, we’re just teaching them that we can tolerate their behavior. Eventually, resentment builds up when they don’t change, and the relationship becomes even more toxic than before.
2. You’re being physically abused
There is never an excuse for someone you are in a relationship with to lay hands on you in a disrespectful way. Emotional abuse, if we don’t confront it, often becomes physical abuse in the long run, which is why we need to understand that one time is one time too much. If someone hits you, chokes you, or hurts you in any way, it’s time to leave. Period.
This is the time to put aside any thoughts we have that tell us to give them another chance because when someone chooses to lay hands on someone they love in a way that does not evidence that love, it means they have some serious personal wounds to work through. Although we want to help, the best way to do that is by walking away and teaching them what is acceptable in a relationship. People learn from actions, which is why it is so important to remember that when you stay, despite the abuse, no matter how much you tell them you won’t tolerate any more of it, your actions are telling them otherwise.
3. Your partner cheated on you
It should go without saying that cheating is a huge no-no in any committed relationship, but many people choose to stay even when their partner is unfaithful. Just like with physical abuse, cheating is a sign that someone has some emotional wounds they haven’t yet healed. We may choose to rebuild with someone despite the cheating but at the end of the day, if someone breaks your trust it is okay to walk away.
We all strive to find a partner that doubles as our best friends, but when does spending too much time together become toxic? Codependency is a serious problem in relationships and appears when someone is relying too heavily on their partner to fulfill their needs.
Codependency can sound like “I need you to feel okay or else I’m not okay” or “ You should have known what I needed, it’s not the same if I have to explain it to you” or “I can’t be without you”. Having a codependent partner can be a heavy burden on a relationship, and although walking away from a relationship like this might not make sense, we need to remember that healthy relationships start with healthy people. If someone is codependent, they need to learn how to be alone and how to give themselves the validation they need so they aren’t showing up in a relationship and operating from a place of lack.
5. Your partner isn’t supportive
If your partner doesn’t support your goals and dreams, if you can’t lean on them when you are going through a difficult time, or if they can’t give you grace when you make a mistake, it might be time to re-evaluate. Relationships are about teamwork, and if your partner feels more like the opposition, walk away. Sure, maybe this is something you work with your partner on first before leaving, but if they can’t continually support you without you constantly reminding them, it’s okay to walk out.
At the end of the day, there are numerous reasons a relationship might end, and the simplest way we can decide if it’s time to roll up our sleeves and put in the work, or give up and go home, is to ask ourselves these questions:
What am I not getting in this relationship that I feel I should be?
Have I communicated that need to my partner?
Has it been an ongoing problem despite that communication?
If we’ve communicated our needs, and they still aren’t being met, we have to stop seeing a person we can change if we love them a little more and start seeing a person that can’t give us what we need. Maybe it’s because of their own emotional wounds, but if they aren’t ready to heal those on their own, we can’t fix them by staying.
How did you know it was time to leave your relationship? Do you agree with these reasons? Share in the comments below!