There’s a saying that illustrates how excruciating it is to walk away from a relationship: nothing dies as slowly than a dream. This is #relatable because most people begin a relationship because they’re filled with hope and promise, and excited about what the future could hold for their new love affair. But as it starts to crumble and the red flags start waving wildly, it becomes more and more difficult to ignore the cracks in your trust, your affection and your connection. Making the move to officially end it, though? It usually takes time to fully know when severing ties is necessary for both of you to be your happiest, best selves again. And sometimes, a little push. “Someone shouldn’t hold onto a relationship if it is the wrong one because not only will this be a waste of irreplaceable time, but he or she won’t be available to meet the right person,” continues psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D.
With the arrival of a New Year, many people take a long hard look at their life and made audits of what needs to change for a better lap around the sun. If you find yourself focusing on your unhealthy relationship—and feeling the urge to make an important change—let these convincing reasons propel you to let go and move forward.
“Healthy love relationships involve emotionally mature individuals who come together as a team and enhance each other,”
You’re only staying because you’re afraid of being alone.
It is in our innate human nature to desire a partner to share our life with. From having someone to motivate us when we’re feeling less than stellar to having a buddy on the sofa seat next to you for Netflix binges, two is often better than one. Dr. Thomas shares many people stay in dead-end relationships because they either fear being alone—or they worry even though their current situation is lacklustre, they might not find something better. After all, there is never a promise of greener pastures. “Because of this concern, someone might decide staying in even an unhealthy and/or unhappy relationship is better than nothing,” she continues. Especially if you have been partnered up for many years, the concept of getting back into the dating scene can feel daunting—and well, exhausting—but this anxiety shouldn’t keep you from leaving when it’s time. Dr. Thomas says if you can’t think of any other reason why you want to keep dating your partner, other than a distaste for the single life, it’s time to take a deep breath—and challenge yourself.
Your partner has broken your trust–repeatedly.
Especially if this isn’t your first romantic rodeo, you already know no one will ever be perfect. There are flaws about every potential partner that their lover has to accept, but there are also deal breakers that frankly, are just too telling to ignore. One of those is trust. Without feeling confident and secure in your partner’s affection and commitment to you, no relationship can flourish or progress. Couples psychologist Dr. Sarah Schewitz, Psy.D. explains anyone who has shattered your fidelity—and your heart—more than once isn’t a smart match. We’ve all heard ‘fool me once, shame on you but fool me twice, shame on me’—but it isn’t always easy to recognize it when it’s happening to you. “If your partner is repeatedly cheating on you or repeatedly breaking your trust in other ways, it’s probably time to let go. Their actions are showing you he/she does not value the relationship,” she explains.
You feel completely dependent on your partner.
Sure, part of a solid, serious relationship is the permission to be vulnerable and authentic, revealing your crazy, weird behavior and hoping someone will love you for ‘em, not despite them. However, there is a major difference between being with someone you value unconditionally—and fully depending on them as your only source of happiness, fulfilment and joy. If you can’t make any decision, go anywhere or function without your so-called other half, chances are low they’re actually the right person for you.
“Healthy love relationships involve emotionally mature individuals who come together as a team and enhance each other,” Dr. Thomas explains. “In a codependent relationship, typically one of the partners is the needy one and the other partner needs to be needed. As a result, these people find it hard to be without each other even if one or both are unhappy with these dynamics.”
These type of predicaments are the most difficult to walk away from—since you aren’t used to standing on your own two feet—so it’s recommended to talk to a friend or a family member who can lead you through the process.
Your partner refuses to get help.
Every couple goes through seasons of intense fighting, and often, more than one. Being able to communicate the good and the bad with your love interest is essential to maintaining a long-term bond—but sometimes, you need to admit when you need professional help. If you’ve suggested going to therapy, but your partner refuses, Dr. Schewitz says it is a clear sign your partner is afraid of looking within themselves and making the true change necessary. “He or she is more worried about the stigma of what it means to go to couples therapy than actually getting help for your relationship,” she continues. “To have a successful relationship, you both need to be able to put your egos aside and ask for help when necessary.” In this case, give your boyfriend or girlfriend one last chance to try, and if they refuse—you have a straightforward way of explaining why you’re packing your bags.
You have major fundamental differences.
There is no rhyme or reason for attraction—or one way to define it. You and your partner could share the same admiration for country music, or perhaps, you’ve both caught the travel bug and you don’t want to be cured. While these are undoubtedly fun, if you seek a relationship that goes the distance, it’s important to agree on the major stuff, too. Especially if you are hoping to get married, have a family or live a certain lifestyle. Dr. Thomas says having fundamental differences that neither of you will compromise on are reasons enough to end a duo. “These can be regarding kids, religion, issues with either or both families, where geographically to live, two paycheck family or not, and so on, “ she explains. “There is no point to continue in the relationship if such serious issues can’t be resolved to a degree that is satisfactory to both partners.”
Your relationship has become a one-way street.
It takes two to tango—and to have a fulfilling relationship. Dr. Thomas says if you feel as if you’re the only one who works to keep your spark alive and maintain peace, you’re likely left drained and unhappy. When you’re with someone who won’t put in the same effort, it can be frustrating, debilitating, and at times, soul-sucking. “A relationship is about two people’s feelings, needs, and beliefs. Thus, the relationship should reflect that or it’s a one-way street which isn’t a healthy or happy place to be,” she says. If you want you can—and should—give your partner a chance to change by expressing your feelings. If they aren’t receptive or sensitive, you have every right to find someone who will honor you, just as you are.