When To Break Up: 20 Surefire Signs You Should Know

By Ruth Jesse

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Breaking up is hard, especially if it’s with a loved one or someone you have invested a lot of time and emotion into. But no one wants to stay where they’re not wanted or appreciated, right? Hence, there are certain essential things you need to know about when and how to break up with someone.

Photo credit: Pexels
Photo credit: Pexels

⌛ 20 Signs When To Break Up ⌛

If you aren’t sure of whether you should break up with someone, the following 20 signs are significant green lights:

1.     You Are Acting Differently.

If you have started acting unlike yourself and feel detached from your personality, your partner is probably not helping you feel comfortable in your own mind, space, and body. The way you act and how comfortable you are in your own self has a lot to do with how your partners and friends make you feel.

2.     They Don’t Make You Feel Good. 

Have you been feeling a decline in your self-confidence and self-esteem? For example, does your partner make frequent and inappropriate jokes about you, and does it hurt you in any way? If yes, that is why you don’t feel good anymore.

And as much as you hate to admit it, it is not a sign of a healthy relationship. And if they are the reason behind it, it is a massive red flag that you should leave the relationship.

3.     They Don’t Appreciate You and Vice Versa.

If you two appreciated each other when you started the relationship and now that appreciation is slowly fading away, there’s something wrong. And if you don’t think you can fix it, it is time to break up.

4.     You Are Mean to Each Other.

Two dominant personalities can sometimes start becoming aggressive towards each other. And if you are both having a hard time controlling your anger and are very mean to each other, it’s time to part your ways instead of damaging yourself and your significant other.

5.     There Is No Intimacy In Your Relationship.

A lack of intimacy is an unmistakable sign that something in the relationship is not right. Whether you two are stressed about different things that you cannot work out, or you are just not attracted to each other anymore, no intimacy means no interest, and that’s a reason good enough to leave.

6.     You Are Keeping Them A Secret.

Are you hiding your partner from your social circle and family? Why? Are you afraid that people might judge you for your choice? Are you afraid that they might offend someone? Or are you embarrassed to introduce them to people you know?

No matter the reason, if you have been hiding your partner from people you care about, they are probably not the right one for you. So, part ways before you invest a lot of time, energy, and feelings in them.

7.     Your Family and Friends Don’t Like Them.

Don’t wave it away so quickly if your friends and family don’t like your significant other. These people have probably known you longer than the person you are in a relationship with. Hence, they know you far better. And if they don’t like your partner, it means they are worried about your compatibility with them. So consider their opinion, and if it is too harsh, it is a good sign you should break up.

Also, if you plan to marry this person or involve them in your life for the long-term, they must have good compatibility with the other important people in your life. If they don’t get along now, they will probably not get along too well in the future. So, call it quits before it’s too late!

8.     Your Relationship’s Speed Is too Fast or too Slow.

Relationships should comfort you and not scare you or give you stress. If your relationship is going too fast and it’s making you uncomfortable, break loose. Similarly, break away if it’s going too slow and you have no idea where it is even going.

9.     There Is Constant Anxiety In Your Relationship.

If your relationship consistently gives you stress and tears, it may not be working out for you. If you are always anxious about your partner reacting to something, lying to you, cheating on you, or giving you any other form of stress, breaking up would be a form of self-help.

10.  Your “Breaks” Are too Frequent and too Long. 

If you and your partner are continuously breaking up and spending time apart, maybe that’s how things are meant to be! If you are constantly fighting or frequently need time away from each other, understand that you might not be the most compatible option for each other.

Photo credit: Pexels.com
Photo credit: Pexels

11.  You Keep Blaming Different Things for Relationship Hurdles.

If you two fight a lot and blame it on life and circumstances, do some analysis! For example, if you constantly think things will get better when you have more money, are less stressed at your job, get a new house when you move out of the town, etc., etc., stop fooling yourself.

12.  You Have Started Thinking About Someone Else.

If you think you are interested in someone else and are no longer attracted to your partner, stop lying to yourself and them. Be honest and tell them the truth. Break up instead of cheating or being dishonest with them. It’s the right thing to do.

13.  Your Relationship Lacks Trust.

If one of you doesn’t trust the other, or if there is a general lack of trust in your relationship, understand that it won’t last long. At some point, you two are going to break up, so if you notice the trust issues getting worse with time, break up the relationship before one of you gets hurt.

14.  One of You Has Cheated.

If they have cheated and you find it hard to forgive them, don’t force the relationship. Be mature adults and understand that you cannot forgive them. If you have cheated on them, rationalize their response and break up instead of forcing them to forgive you and start all over again.

Understand that it is hard for people to get over such dishonesty and trauma. So break up the relationship instead of torturing each other.

15.  One of You is too Clingy or too Needy.

Yes, there’s such a thing as too needy or too clingy. Everyone has a personal space that should be respected and appreciated. And if one of the two people does not respect the personal boundaries of an individual, the relationship won’t last too long. So, before you two invest your feelings and make irreversible decisions about your lives, split ways and make things easier.

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16.  Your Relationship Has Been Unhappy or Dull for A Very Long Time.

Despite talking to each other, communicating, and trying everything else possible, if your relationship lacks the spark it needs to survive, stop forcing it on each other. If you have been unhappy for a long time and nothing seems to work, free yourself and your partner.

17.  You Are Headed in Different Directions in Your Lives. 

People grow, and their lives change. There is nothing inhumane, unnatural, or selfish about that. So, if both of you are headed in different directions and have different goals in life, then the best thing is to break free and move your separate ways.

18.  There is More to Your Relationship Problems Than the Tip of the Iceberg. 

Sometimes, there are certain things two people have not talked about, and frustration and anger start showing through indirect ways. Minor things irritate you and cause significant disturbances in your relationship. If you don’t think you will ever talk about the central issue of the relationship, break up and stop hurting each other.

19.  You Both Lack Communication. 

Whether it’s one of the two people or both, if the relationship lacks communication and clarity, it is as fragile as thin glass. Moreover, it is anything but a healthy relationship.

Sometimes, people don’t have communicative personalities. If you or your partner has such a nature, or both of you have such personalities, let go before it’s too late.

20.  You Have Different Intentions for Your Relationship. 

More often than not, people get in a relationship because they are looking for something long-term, while others are not ready for such a commitment. So, make things clear at the very beginning, and if you realize that you have different intentions for each other, be honest and leave instead of using someone or being used.

⬤ 7 Stages Of A Breakup ⬤

To prepare you for what’s next, here are the seven most important stages of a breakup. Understanding the science behind them and knowing that they are entirely normal will help you healthily get through them:

1.    Denial

If someone broke up with you, feeling denial and shock are entirely natural. In fact, these feelings are inevitable no matter how much you saw the breakup coming. But you don’t need to force it on yourself.

Denial is a way your mind and body gather some time to absorb the news and accept it. It helps people decrease the intensity of their emotions and helps them cope safely.

2.    Guilt and Pain

Whether someone broke up with you or you broke up with them, feeling guilt and pain is normal. You will also feel resentment and bitterness towards that particular person and sometimes yourself.

But just understand that what you are feeling is temporary, and it is your body’s reaction. You just have to get past it somehow, and these feelings will go away eventually.

3.    Anger

Being angry with yourself about your decision or being resentful towards a person who broke up with you is very natural. You will most likely feel angry, even if you completely understand why it was for the best.

Your maturity and understanding might subside for a bit as you pass through this phase. However, reminding yourself that it is normal and you will get through it will help.

4.    Depression

When you have been in a relationship, no matter how short-lived or toxic it was, it comes with a bit of grief. This depression is related to losing a person you saw potential in. Hence, you might feel sad about it and even feel the urge to go back. However, keep reminding yourself of why you broke up in the first place and whether that reason is still essential.

5.    The Breakthrough

By this stage, your depression, anger, guilt, and pain will die down, and you will feel more relaxed and calm. You will stop thinking about the breakup very frequently, and it will become a memory that passes through your mind only a few times a day. Plus, it will no longer hurt as much, and you will not feel the urge to go back. This phase is your upward turn when you start moving back towards a healthy, everyday life.

6.    Reconstruction

You start working through your life again, carry forward with your ambitions and goals, and maybe start looking for someone new. You might not start actively dating, but the thought of someone else will not irritate you anymore. In fact, you might start being comfortable with it. Your whole perspective on love and dating will be “reconstructed.”

7.    Acceptance

You will gradually accept the tragedy and welcome a new life full of different possibilities. You will actively start searching for happiness, peace, and contentment. And it doesn’t always mean that you will start looking for more people to date. It just means that you will start becoming more involved in your own life and be happy in the state that you are in.

👀 10 Signs Your Partner Wants To Break Up 👀

Sometimes, even though you are unsure of what you want, your partner might already have decided. If they want to break up with you, here are ten signs that will help you know:

1.    They Are Avoiding You. 

If you notice that they have stopped talking to you, attending your calls, and showing up on special occasions, it means they are trying to avoid you. And if they are, it’s a sign they want to break up with you now.

2.    You Don’t Talk About Your Future Anymore.

Did you two discuss your future often but have completely stopped talking about it now? If they no longer include you when they talk about their plans, take that hint: you are not a part of their future anymore. And even if you don’t initiate conversation, you can expect a confession coming soon.

Photo credit: Pexels.com
Photo credit: Pexels

3.    They Are Not Intimate With You Anymore. 

As I said, lack of intimacy means there is a lack of interest and attraction, which is a primary sign of a relationship ending. If they are not intimate with you anymore, they have lost interest and are not attracted like they were.

4.    They Have Started Prioritizing their Friends and Social Life Over You.

If your partner leaves you alone for dinner because they want to see their friends or meet with their social acquaintances, you are no longer a priority. And as much as you hate that, it is one of the most significant signs that your partner wants to break up.

If communicating with them does not lead to a satisfactory answer, you can confirm your suspicions by confronting them. Bring it out in the open and be honest with each other.

5.    They Continuously Find Reasons to Fight with You. 

Sometimes, people don’t know that they want to break up with you; they subconsciously think about it. Then, they start making ways for it to happen.

The most common occurrence is when people start fighting over minor issues. It means that they are finding indirect ways to kill the relationship and subconsciously want a breakup.

Photo credit: Pexels.com
Photo credit: Pexels

6.    They Keep Secrets from You. 

If your significant other has started hiding things from you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are cheating on you. Sometimes, it just means that they have stopped trusting you the way they did. It has nothing to do with something you did; they might just be losing interest and don’t want to entrust you with any more of their secrets. If that’s what you think is happening, it might be time for you to break up.

7.    They Don’t Make an Effort Anymore. 

When people like you and want to take a relationship forward, they make an effort. And if they stop trying, it means they no longer have any expectations or ambitions regarding the relationship.

If your partner has stopped making all the efforts they used to make earlier, it might mean that they have stopped trying for the relationship and want to break up now.

8.    They Continuously Threaten to Break Up. 

Again, sometimes people subconsciously know that they want to break up but have not concluded their decision yet. In such cases, whenever you two fight, the first threat they give is a separation. And you might think they’re overreacting, but subconsciously, that’s what they want. And every time you fight, they see an opportunity to escape, which is why they bring it up. Also, they might keep mentioning it to prepare you in a way.

9.    They Have Stopped Communicating. 

If your generally communicative partner has stopped communicating with you, it means they are not making an effort anymore. Lack of effort means lack of interest, and regardless of the reason, they probably want to end the relationship. Besides, a lack of communication eventually leads to a relationship collapsing anyway, whether or not you two wanted to end it.

10.  They Don’t Appreciate Your Efforts Anymore. 

Apart from not making an effort themselves, partners who want to break up usually also stop appreciating any efforts that you make. They will no longer recognize your favors and hard work for the relationship and continuously move further away. Single-sided effort does not last long, especially if it’s not reciprocated or appreciated.

🔅 How To Break Up With Someone 🔅

If you want to break up with someone, or you know that they want to break up with you, and you want to initiate the conversation, this is the right way to do it:

◉ Think About It. 

Think about why you want to break up or why they might want to break up with you. Consider the reasons, emotions, and feelings behind the decision. Also, think about what you are going to say and how you’re going to say it. Take into consideration the method you are going to use, where you will do it, and how they might react. Think about it in every aspect possible, so you’re thoroughly prepared.

◉ Tell Someone You Trust. 

This person might be a friend of yours or even from their social circle. Telling someone is essential in case things go wrong and you need help. Also, if you choose to tell someone from their friends or family, it will help them be prepared to handle what’s next.

◉ Don’t be Brutal But Be Straightforward. 

Tell the truth but don’t be harsh with your words. Tell them the real reason behind the decision but don’t try to make them feel guilty or bash them for something they didn’t intend to do. Instead, try to end the relationship on a healthy note by being honest and polite.

◉ Break Up in Person. 

The worst possible method to break up with a person you were once intimate with is via email, letters, or phone. You owe them respect to breaking up in person. Where and when you want to do it depends entirely on you but just make sure you meet them and have face-to-face communication when you do it.

◉ Don’t Leave Abruptly. 

Don’t just say your part of the dialogue and leave; wait for their response and see how they react. Then, finish the conversation smoothly and peacefully instead of leaving it abruptly and unfinished. This closure is essential for both of you, and it is a mature and healthy way to break up.

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🤔 Why Should A Relationship End 🤔

There are no right or wrong times for relationships to end. However, specific hard and fast rules will help you throughout your dating life. In general, a relationship should end when:

⫸ It’s No Longer Making You Happy. 

If a relationship makes you anxious, stressed, sad, or anything else but calm and happy, it is toxic. As soon as you realize that the relationship is not making you happy anymore, it’s time to leave.

⫸ It is Damaging You in a Mental, Emotional, or Physical way. 

If a toxic or abusive relationship is harming you in any way, you should end it immediately. Remember: mental and emotional abuse is still abuse and a reason valid enough to break up.

⫸ It is Keeping You from Growing or Healing. 

If you want to grow and evolve in your life and career or heal from trauma, and your relationship is somehow stopping you, it is not selfish to break up. In fact, it is the right thing to do for both of you. If a particular relationship does not help you grow, it will only cause resentment and negative feelings in the long run.

⫸ One of You is Interested in Someone Else. 

The sole base of a relationship is interest and attraction, and if one of you does not feel it for the other, there is no point in staying together. If you have lost interest in each other, or one of you is interested in someone else, it is time to break the relationship no matter how hard it might be.

⫸ You Have Other Priorities Now. 

If a relationship is not your priority anymore, it is a good enough reason to break up. If your job, career, life, or anything else is more important than satisfying a particular human, it is only fair to separate your ways.

🥺️ Healthy Breakup 🥺️

Healthy breakups are not fictional or fantasy: they’re real! And all mature adults are capable of breaking up healthily. Want to know how? There are three main ingredients of a healthy separation:

🔑 Good Communication

Be honest with each other and tell your partner what you are feeling. If you want to break up or feel that they want to break up, communicate it to them. Sometimes, you have to initiate that overwhelming conversation since the other person is a little shy. Be polite, mature, and communicate about it.

🔑 Deep Reflection

Do a thorough self-analysis and understand why you two are breaking up. Look at the trauma logically and understand why it is best for you two. Try to reflect deeply to come to terms with it and not be petty!

🔑 Self-Love

Love yourself enough to understand that what you did was the best for you. And if someone else broke with you, realize that you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Even if it was your fault, you can correct your mistakes and be a better human in the future. Talk to yourself like you would to your closest friend. Self-love plays a vital role in experiencing a healthy breakup.

Photo credit: Pexels.com
Photo credit: Pexels

🧐 Conclusion 🧐

Keep in mind that all the reasons mentioned above require prior communication, obviously. And when communication gives no positive results, and you have lost all hope in any improvement, then you should decide to break up. Don’t make rash decisions when you’re emotional or angry. Instead, give it proper thought, rationalize your feelings, and then make a decision appropriately.

Ruth Jesse

Ruth is a life coach who specialises in relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.

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