Knowing when to let go of a relationship can be one of the trickiest aspects of dating. A breakup can bring about feelings of anxiety, guilt, or remorse, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Everyone has to go through a breakup at some point. And it’s almost always better than the alternative – being stuck in an unsuitable relationship.
This blog post is about spotting the red flags. Many guys came to me for tuition over the last 15 years because they lost valuable parts of themselves to a toxic relationship.
It’s easier to find yourself after a breakup if you keep an eye on the relationship’s vulnerabilities and preempt difficulties with open communication.
Some relationships are fixable. It can be worth the hard work to examine the relationship’s flaws and rebuild together. Where possible, I’ve outlined the best ways to do this below.
Understanding the difference can help you build a life full of excitement that will keep you emotionally, sexually, and intellectually satisfied.
1. You’re more committed to the relationship than your partner
In some relationships, one partner is more involved than the other.
If you’re heading in two different directions – or, in the same direction at two very different speeds – you’ll never get there together. It’s better to admit the truth and start walking your path.
If you’re the one more committed, ask yourself: Is it possible to slow down a little and give your partner the time and space to develop feelings in tandem with your own?
Regardless of how things turn out in your relationship, being able to set realistic expectations and adapt when they’re not met is a valuable life skill.
You can put it to productive use in every area of your professional and personal life.
If you need to work on your adaptation skills a little further, or if your partner is never likely to reciprocate your feelings, it’s time to find a partner with more compatible goals.
2. Your partner’s more committed than you.
Maybe your partner feels and expresses the desire for long-term commitment more often than you do.
The time may come when they begin to apply pressure and bring you round to their way of thinking, but you might not be ready yet.
Explain to her that you’re serious about the relationship and that you don’t want to be with anyone else but her. However, you’re exploring the depth of the bond at your own pace.
It’s not healthy to manufacture feelings you don’t have, simply to help her feel secure, nor is it fair of her to expect this of you. If she can’t accept the way you feel, she may not have your best interests at heart in the long run.
In this instance, a clean break is the best decision for both of you.
3. Your partner can’t bear you spending time away from them.
You should both have lives outside your relationship. Codependency is unhealthy and will only steer your relationship toward dysfunction and an unhappy split.
Friends, family, career, hobbies, and room for adventure and spontaneity are all features of a full and balanced life. All of them require an investment of time and energy.
Being a well-rounded person with a lot to live for and plenty of social energy to go around isn’t just right for you, it’s good for your relationship.
If your partner resents you for any time you spend away from them, they may not have the self-esteem or confidence to pursue interests of their own, or they may fear losing you to these interests altogether.
She may not have meaningful relationships with family and friends or might lack the social courage to network with new people. Talk to your partner and try reassuring her that you haven’t lost any enthusiasm for spending time with her.
However, to be your best self, you have to pursue your passions, interests, and friendships, nurturing different aspects of your personality in social settings around different people.
She may still have issues with your time outside the relationship, and they’re probably symptomatic of a more significant problem with trust. Try and work through these trust issues with her. If it’s too considerable a barrier, you have to draw a line in the sand.
It’s best to end things on your terms while you still have the time left to make a life for yourself.
If she balks at this, it should be a deal-breaker. Holding you back for fear of losing you is a clear indicator that you and your partner are a mismatch.
4. You’re incomplete without each other
A flourishing relationship should involve two parties who feel complete and happy by themselves, but enrich each others’ lives enough to warrant joining forces.
If one or both of you rely on the other for fulfilment, you may not be ready for a long-term relationship. You have work on yourself before throwing yourself into a deep commitment.
This may sound familiar, and your partner may be the one showing signs of neediness. It should be a cause for concern and may not even feel like one at first. That’s the real danger.
Before too long, they may end up dominating your time and experience strong emotional reactions when you try to invest precious hours into yourself.
The first step around this tension to help your partner help themselves. Make sure you spend time apart in ways that nourish and engage you, and encourage her to do the same.
Having activities and social groups of their own to nurture and develop outside the relationship will bolster your partner’s self-esteem and help them feel secure enough to let you take the same steps.
Encourage her to accept an invitation to work drinks with colleagues, reconnect with old friends, or take up a new creative outlet or sport.
If you wait too long, you may have jettisoned too many other valuable aspects of your life to salvage much when the relationship inevitably ends. If you know you’ll have to get out sooner or later, always choose sooner.
5. You always think about being with other people.
A sure sign that you’re ready to move on is that you frequently imagine being with other partners.
Everyone, whether single or attached, notices attractive people. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you cease to function as a sexual being.
It’s also human nature to experience FOMO when thinking about the “what-ifs” – this career, that car, this house, a different brand of shoes. Partners are no exception.
Checking out a sleek restaurant with sexy lighting is fine as long as you go back for home cooking afterwards. However, if you have thoughts about other women everywhere you go, it’s not fair on you or your partner.
They may not even be exclusively sexual thoughts.
You may catch yourself imagining how much more fun you’d be having if you’d turned up to the party with a more socially adaptable partner who got up to dance with you.
Maybe you feel Sunday lunches would drag less if you had a partner who got on better with your family.
Continually imagining the life you could have had with another person is a reliable indicator that the life you’re in now isn’t the right one. Take action now to broaden your horizons and seize on a better future.
As a single person, you can harness your restless imagination and repurpose it into intuitive dynamism; the kind that commands attention and makes you interesting and attractive to a broad range of people.
6. One of you cheats.
This is a step beyond the last red flag. Many modern relationships have looser dynamics and less focus on monogamy, allowing other partners to enter the fray.
However, if one of you steps outside the established bounds of the relationship you have, it can be destructive and cause immense pain.
In these circumstances, it’s important to put emotions to one side and reason. If you feel you can no longer trust the partner who cheated, then the relationship has to end.
Painful experiences are nothing without lessons, however. If a person cheats, it’s because the relationship is not meeting their needs. How can you level up to make sure you meet the needs of the next person you date?
Always look to improve yourself. That means leaving partners that have broken your trust.
PRO TIP: You’re not afraid to be without her, you’re just scared to dump her.
It’s sometimes the healthiest choice to be single. The only thing stopping you may be the grim prospect of an awkward conversation with your partner. However, you’re cheating yourself out of a better life. Take the leap.
Many people procrastinate breakups. Even when they know they ought to do it, it’s all too easy to keep finding flimsy excuses and justifications for putting off the tough chat.
It’s never the right time, and it never will be. So right now is as bad and as good a time as any other.
In reality, it’s an hour or two of unpleasantness, followed by a lifetime of freedom to grow and infinite opportunities.
Maybe you’re afraid of an angry reaction. But will your partner’s response be better or worse now than three months further down the line?
Break the news in public if you’re afraid of the scene they’ll cause behind closed doors. It’s best to make sure you haven’t anything valuable belongings at their house.
Maybe you genuinely care for your partner and don’t want to break their heart. If so, leading them on won’t help. The kindest thing to do is to come clean about your feelings. They’ll get over it in time.
Be honest, open, and supportive without giving your partner false hope. But don’t be the man who wastes both his and his partner’s time in a relationship he doesn’t value, just because he doesn’t dare to say what he wants. It’s not fair on either of you.
The sooner you can face your fears and take responsibility for your happiness, the sooner you can move on to a new world of exciting interactions with alluring new people.
Sooner or later, most relationships run their course. You should only end up with a great match or someone who helps you self-actualise. Don’t settle for less.
Knowing when to walk away from a failing relationship takes experience, intuition, and emotional intelligence. Going through with it takes courage and resolve.
It can be daunting and gruelling to build a new life after a relationship, but it yields so much excitement and energy. The first step is the hardest, as it’s natural to cling to what’s familiar.
In relationships, you usually get what you’re willing to earn. Too many people settle for what they think they deserve.
I’m here to tell you that you deserve the best. Thousands of men have benefitted from having a guide to show them through the nuances of life after a breakup.
I’ve been helping men to improve themselves after relationships end for over a decade and a half, and their next relationship is always far happier.
Get out there and roll the dice. Boldness reaps rewards.
Learn how to settle for nothing less than what you deserve and make §an amazing first impression at my virtual Impactful Connection workshops.