Breaking up is hard to do. Sometimes you know for sure when it’s time to call it quits (she slept with your best friend, for example). But other times, it’s not as clear (you fight, but don’t all couples fight?). When you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a while, sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between what’s simply a rough patch and what’s a clear sign that you’re headed towards Splitsville.
So that’s why I connected with Nicole McCance, a relationship psychotherapist in Toronto, to help you out. Here are five clear-cut indicators that, yes, it’s time to move on.
You can’t resolve conflicts.
Every relationship has its share of conflicts (the good ones usually do). But when you’re constantly fighting, and often for the sake of fighting, then it’s probably time to call it.
“Healthy relationships should feel easy most of the time,” says McCance. “If you feel that your negative emotions towards each other are more frequent then your positive ones, it may be time to call it quits. Relationships shouldn’t be so hard. If you feel like your relationship is a lot of work and draining you, there may be a better match for you.”
Because no one wants to reenact The War of the Roses.
You no longer have sex and it doesn’t bother you.
Every couple goes through a dry spell, especially if you’ve been in a long-term relationship for a while. The honeymoon phase does eventually fade, fellas. But when you don’t care that you’re no longer knocking boots…that’s when you know there’s a problem.
“It’s normal to go without sex due to hectic schedules but you should be yearning for each other,” says McCance. “Sex is an expression of love and a way of connecting with your partner. If it’s not there and you don’t miss it, it’s important to ask yourself why.
You can’t picture a future together.
When you think of your future, is she in it? And we don’t mean next Saturday night. We’re talking about the long game. When you look at your five-year plan, is she a factor? “If you are having a difficult time seeing her mothering your children or even living together then you may be wasting your time,” says McCance. “Are you wanting her to change? Try not to fall in love with her potential and see the woman for who she is now. Then decide if you want to be in this relationship or not.”
You feel like you are constantly evaluating the relationship.
I once knew a man who made a pros and cons list about his girlfriend. The mere fact that he had to make a list showed me that his relationship was doomed. I was right. They broke up six months later.
“If you have doubts and can’t seem to shake them, this should tell you something,” says McCance. “I see many couples who stay with their current partner because they are afraid that there is no one better out there. It is best to communicate your doubts to her and if they are not resolved… think about moving on.”
Your friends and family are concerned.
No one knows you better than your bros and famiglia, so if they don’t you and your lady are a good match, chances are . . . they’re right.
“It may be time to break up when no one likes the person you are dating,” McCance recommends. “They just might be seeing something that you can’t right now. Love can be blind. This can be hard to hear but listen to their concerns, they do know you well, after all. Be open to their feedback.”
Pulling the plug on a relationship is never easy, but if you’re experiencing one, or more, of the above scenarios, you’ll be doing yourself, and your significant other, a real solid by investing your energy elsewhere.
Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer based in Toronto, something of a humorist, and considers herself more Bridget Jones than Samantha Jones. Though she won’t reveal which parts, she will admit to liking emotionally unavailable men and drinking lots of wine. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan.