Are you in a relationship where you feel stuck? Are you confused whether it is time to move on?
A few years ago, I was stuck in a toxic “relationship” that was draining me emotionally, mentally and physically. We had been together for years and over the time, I felt like my partner was my soul mate, but he wasn’t, and it took me quite some time to move on from it.
Whilst moving on was devastating and painful and took years to get over, and although I haven’t met the one I want to spend my life with, it was an incredible learning experience and helped me understand what I want from a relationship and was a valuable teaching moment I will never forget.
If you are in a relationship that you feel isn’t moving forward, it may be time to move on. Here are 10 signs that can help you understand when it is time to move on from a relationship. Though these are written with romantic relationships in mind, they can also be applicable to friendships.
Signs it is time to let go of your relationship
1. Are you living in the past memories rather than the present?
One of the biggest red flags you can encounter is when you are constantly re-living the past happy memories of your relationship to make you feel better about it. If you are using these memories as a justifier of wanting to continue with a relationship, it may be a good sign that it is time to let go.
When you are dwelling in your past memories or an imaginary future, you are actually living in a self-created reality which may impair you from looking objectively at the present state of the relationship. You need to keep in mind that the relationship has to exist in the now, not the yesterday.
Your memories should not be a reason for staying together. Your current feelings for your partner should be the basis for continuing the relationship, not the past or the future.
2. Does the relationship bring you more pain than joy?
When we are in love, we often are blinded by our past happy memories and forget the current issues we are undergoing.
If your relationship is leaving you frustrated, upset or unhappy more often than not and is emotionally draining for you, your partner may not be a good fit for you. Your current relationships should bring you joy and fulfillment in the present.
3. Does your partner expect you to change? Are you staying in the relationship expecting your partner to change?
Unless it is for your own well-being, like quitting a bad habit or switching to a healthier lifestyle, if your friend expects you to change, it can be a big red flag. Similarly, if you are staying on in a relationship, expecting your partner will change, it is definitely a wrong reason to be in a relationship.
You should not try to change a person to fit your expectations instead of accepting them as they are. Even if your partner changes, you will find something new you want to change, and won’t be able to be satisfied with who they are.
Moreover, if the person is not conscious, they will go on changing to fit your personal expectations. If they aren’t conscious, they will lose their personalities to become your shadow.
4. Are you trying to justify their actions to yourself?
When we are exposed to an uncomfortable situation, we tend to experience a stage called cognitive dissonance. This refers to the issue of facing a relationship that conflicts your beliefs. When this happens, we try to justify their behavior in order to feel more comfortable with the situation.
If you are trying to justify an action, chances are, the explanations are self-created. You are building the relationship based on your rationalizing ability, rather than reflecting the reality, and you are living in a world of false reassurances instead of the reality.
In order to form a realistic representation of the reality, allow the actions to speak for themselves. Actions speak louder than words.
5. Is your partner is causing you emotional/physical/verbal hurt?
If you are experiencing physical or verbal abuse, it is a big red flag. If your partner is abusing/hitting/cursing/swearing at you, even if your partner tries to make up for it later, it is a sign of a toxic and abusive relationship.
Even if it is a spur of the moment thing, it is an indicator of a hidden personality trait that needs addressing. Emotional abuse is trickier. Since it is invisible, it is often negated, however, emotional wounds are the hardest to heal.
6. Does the same situation/issues recur even when you have tried to address it?
If a situation or issue recurs more than thrice in a relationship, chances are, the relationship is stuck in a loop.
If you are ending up in a similar situation over and over again, you need to accept that the relationship has reached its peak. You can keep on pressing in the relationship; however, there is no future for the relationship.
7. Does your partner put little to no effort in the relationship?
A relationship should have a balanced effort level from both partners. If you are continually trying to put in effort, soon it is going to drain you.
You will need to give increasing degrees of effort to keep the relationship going. Unless the imbalance is addressed and remediated, it will worsen over time and lead you to losing your self-identity.
8. Are your fundamental values and beliefs different?
If you want any relationship is to work out, there needs to be similarity in the fundamental values you both hold. These beliefs are what hold the relationship together when it gets harder. It goes on being an uphill battle.
9. Is the relationship holding you back and preventing individual growth?
Relationships are an entity formed by individuals. Relationships are based on how both your parties are developing. Both parties can grow at the same pace or at different paces. If your relationship has reached a phase of stagnancy where no one is growing, or if someone is growing at an exponentially faster rate.
When you reach this stage, you are presented with options, change the dynamics of your relationship to adapt to the new development or change yourself to fit the previous dynamics.
You need to stay true to yourself and it is important to determine who you are or who you want to be, and this will determine if your relationship should continue. If your relationship is affecting your personal growth, you need to make changes or leave.
10. Have your feelings changed?
While we would love for things to remain unchanged, change is the law of nature. If your feelings have changed and are fizzing out, it is time for you to move on. People often get stuck in a routine and don’t know what they would do if they break away.
Often, relationships can still be functional and provide companionship, which makes people confused about letting go. A relationship without feeling is hollow and staying on in this relationship is doing your partner and you a huge injustice and drags out the relationship.
If you are questioning whether your relationship has run its course, or doubt the validity of the relationship, it may be a good time to sit down with your partner and discuss your issues openly. Instead of screaming, shouting or crying, it can be a good idea to sit down and talk about the issues you are facing and whether it is possible to figure things out.
I am still a die-hard romantic at heart, and though I just talked about breaking up, it warms my heart and soul when people put in work to fix a bad situation rather than abandoning it.
However, if you are looking at a relationship that is beyond repair, it is time to let go. Trust me, with time, you will feel a lot better about your decision. Good luck.