Just like at the beginning you were convinced they were The One, now you know in your gut that it’s just not right. Your friends and family have told you. Even if they haven’t sat you down and said the actual words they are silently – but obviously – not in favour of this relationship. Deep down it is even gnawing away at you: ‘it’s time to leave your partner.’
But even though you’re aware that your wellbeing and happiness is number one, why can’t you break away? What are you hanging onto? Is it because, somehow, you hope that things will change? That you’ll wake up one day and all your relationship problems will be somehow magically fixed? If so, you might be actually wishing for a completely different person to spend your life with than the one you actually have right now. You’re staying put for an ideal scenario. But sometimes you have to fact facts: the only way to get what you want – and be happy – might be to leave your partner.
So how do you know when they’re not the one and that it’s time to end a relationship? New York-based therapist and wellness writer Megan Bruneau has supported countless clients over the years as their relationships unraveled, and she says: ‘some themes seem to emerge again and again.’ So, if one or more of the following nine signs ring alarm bells, it’s hard to admit but you might be better off without each other and that it’s time to leave your partner.
Things Will Be Better ‘When…’
When his friends start having kids, he will realise he wants kids too. When he gets that promotion, he will stop taking all her anxieties out on me. When we get more time together, we will feel more connected. When, when, when… Does that day ever come? Stop convincing yourself things will change for the best one day. What about today? Isn’t it time you lived for now, instead of a hypothetical future? Megan asks: ‘If you knew they’d never change, would you still be in it for the long haul?’ If the answer is no it’s time to leave your partner.
You Believe That You Should Change
Okay, so you love milky tea and he likes it strong. He might be convincing you to go easy on the milk when you make a cuppa. Fine. But if he’s asking you to shift a load of weight, get a better job or stop spending time with your best friends or family, then that’s plain wrong. The love between you both should be unconditional no matter what shape you are or what you do for a living. Your friends and family should never be their concern. If you’re feeling the pressure to change to make your partner happy, you’re accepting their insecurities as your problem. And they’re not.
Your Relationship Is Good Only When You’re Happy
So you’re not allowed to have a bad day? Ever? You’re human. How are you supposed to act happy all the time, suppressing your true feelings? It’s easy to feel loved and supported when you’re in a good place. But work will always hit a stressful period. You will get the flu or a stomach bug and at some point you will lose sleep worrying about loved ones. As Megan says: ‘Inevitably, life will throw more things than just happiness and calm your way, so it’s important to feel safe feeling those less comfortable emotions in the presence of your partner.’ If you can’t then it could be time to leave your partner.
You’ve Become A Negative Person
And you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve always been this cynical. But in truth, you mourn the loss of that upbeat side you used to have. Maya Maria Brown, relationship expert and creative strategist at relationship app Coupleness, says: ‘Do you find that you used to be really silly and joke around, but since you started this relationship, you haven’t really been that goofy version of yourself at all?
‘Your relationship may be getting in the way of your identity, which is one of the strongest reasons to leave your partner.’ So be easy on yourself. It’s not possible to feel like a ray of sunshine when you feel disrespected, under-appreciated or guilty on a regular basis. Does your partner ever say sorry? Either you never hear this word or you hear it too often. Of course, no relationship is perfect. Harsh words get said and emotions can run high. But this should not be the common way you both function together. You’ll never see the good stuff if you’re drowning in the bad stuff.
You Never Visit Your Loved Ones Together
It’s your mother’s birthday and a surprise dinner has been arranged. But your partner refuses to go or makes yet another excuse as to why they can’t make it.
Your best friend has asked you both to join her on a camping trip, but again, your partner finds a way to avoid going. Maybe your colleagues have questioned whether your ‘other half’ even exists? Ass Maya likes to remind her clients: ‘Is this the person you want to bring to your brother’s wedding? Do you want them with you at a family member’s funeral? Can you imagine them by your side at the doctor, whether you’re getting good news or bad?’ If you can’t answer yes how is this relationship benefitting you – it’s time to think about whether you should stay or is it time to leave your partner?
You feel Like The Dramatic One
‘Oh, you’re so high maintenance.’ You express a need or concern and get told you’re being unreasonable. So, of course, you end up apologising. But this behaviour is born out of deep frustration. You’re not being heard. Or understood. No wonder you’re triggered into being defensive and reacting larger than usual. Megan says that ‘being told that you’re sensitive or crazy is a classic gaslighting tactic. If you don’t leave your partner, your self-esteem will.’
Your Happily-Ever-After Is Wildly Different To Theirs
A healthy relationship thrives on a clear vision for the future. If your ideas don’t align, then your future looks muddled and uncertain. ‘Maybe it feels like you and your partner speak different languages,’ says matchmaker and dating coach Tennesha Wood. ‘You’re both talking, but it doesn’t lead to a deeper connection.’ Maybe your five or 10 year plan involves buying a home in the suburbs and having two kids, and your partner hopes to travel the world with no ties. Tennesha says: ‘Staying in a relationship where your plans for the future are drastically different can leave one or both people feeling like they have settled.’
You Fantasise About Freedom
It started as a daydream. You pictured life without them. But now it’s a constant thought, and you watch TV shows about carefree singletons and envy them. Maybe you think about letting loose, dating again and the thrill of the chase, but overall, you’re dreaming desperately of being free. Of only having yourself to deal with. ‘Having solitude and alone time is necessary in every relationship,’ Tennesha says, ‘but if you find yourself wanting to be away from your partner consistently, it’s time to consider leaving.’
You Fight And Fight
And you never imagined a life with such conflict, ever. Maybe you’ve got an argumentative side to you, maybe you haven’t. But do you both feel past the point of compromise and effective problem-solving? Are you having the same argument again and again and again? ‘No matter what you do, there seems to be no peaceful solution,’ says relationship expert Susan Winter. ‘This process is exhausting and disallows any partnership growth.’ Sad to say but you’re better off alone.