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Here Are The Signs It’s Time To Break Up With Your Partner

Couples therapists weigh in on warning signs and what they could mean for your relationship.

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Relationships can be really tough. And it's hard to know when to work through things or admit that maybe you and your partner just aren't compatible anymore.

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So we reached out to two relationship experts: psychotherapist and marriage counselor Jean Fitzpatrick, and Terri Orbuch, PhD, author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great. They helped us put together a list of warning signs that maybe your relationship isn't as healthy as you thought, and some advice on how to either work through those problems or make the decision that it's time to break it off.

Warning signs that have an asterisk next to them (*) are more serious and shouldn't be taken lightly, despite the quiz result you get. Also, in a relationship where physical, emotional, or substance abuse is an issue, seeking professional help is essential. If you've experienced any of these, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233, or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), 1-877-726-4727, for help.

  1. Check off all the warning signs that are true for you and your relationship.

    You disagree with your partner on many underlying values (faith, children, money, equality, etc.).
    Your partner makes you feel like you can't do anything right anymore.
    Your interactions have stopped feeling warm or supportive.
    You don't feel like you're affectionate with each other anymore, especially in public.
    Your partner isn't willing to help keep your sex life interesting, and they tend to be pretty selfish in bed.
    You don't put in much effort to connect with each other's co-workers, friends, or family.
    Instead of reminiscing about the fun times, all you think about are old wounds or disappointments.
    Family and friends are telling you it's time to end it.
    It feels like your partner barely ever listens; it's like talking to a brick wall sometimes.
    You feel like you're always walking on eggshells around them, trying to avoid conflict.
    You/your partner avoid conversations about your future together.
    Your partner refuses to apologize for just about anything.
    Your relationship feels draining, instead of adding to your energy level or personal growth.
    You've stopped flirting and joking with each other.
    It feels like you don't have much in common — movies, books, TV shows, hobbies, humor, etc.
    You're starting to envy your single friends.
    You've stopped seeing your partner as the parent of your future child.
    You often make your own plans for work, fun, and vacation without consulting the other.
    When you share news or worries or excitement, your partner is hurtfully unresponsive, indifferent, or negative.
    You or your partner aren't willing to compromise on things.
    Fights can get ugly, leading to insults and foul language.*
    You are always on your phones and computers, or watching TV when you're around each other.
    It feels like one of you is always "taking things the wrong way."
    You/your partner confide(s) more in your friends than in each other.
    You're starting to make plans more with your friends than with your partner.
    You don't feel lucky to be with them anymore and you've started negatively comparing them to the people you meet.
    You feel like they treat others significantly better than they treat you.
    Your partner is constantly criticizing, ridiculing, and putting you down (sometimes even in public.)*
    You notice you're rarely sober when you're around each other — due to alcohol, drugs, etc.
    There's a lot of suspicious jealousy (not reacting to anything that's actually happened) in the relationship.
    You don't feel like you're able to trust your partner and let them in.
    You've talked about specific milestones (moving in together, getting engaged, getting married, having kids, etc.) but they keep getting postponed.
    You don't feel comfortable saying I love you anymore.

Here Are The Signs It’s Time To Break Up With Your Partner

It seems like you've got one fantastic relationship, judging a complete lack of warning signs. Fitzpatrick and Orbuch say to keep up the great work.

Your bond seems really strong. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF
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Fitzpatrick and Orbuch say chances are you have a basically sound relationship that will benefit greatly from some communication and conflict management skills. They recommend working on improving your relationship by giving your partner daily appreciation, communicating more of your needs and expectations, and learning the best method for addressing conflict in your relationship. It might also be the case that your relationship is still young and there are just some small kinks or things you still have to learn about each other. That's normal! Here's some relationship advice that everyone could use.

Your bond seems pretty solid, but you may have a few things to work out. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF
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Chances are your relationship needs more attention if you want it to be sustainable, say the experts. They recommend trying to set aside 20 minutes a day to sit down together and connect (technology free, please). If there are issues that keep coming up, talk about them rather then ignoring them or hoping they'll just disappear. Take time to talk about how to resolve or compromise on reoccurring issues. It might also be the case that you or your partner's expectations about the other person or the relationship aren't realistic. Setting standards that are way too high to meet will only lead to frustration, disappointment, and resentment. Here are some tips that might help.

Your relationship could use some work if you want it to last. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF
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Fitzpatrick and Orbuch say the good news is that it's often possible to reverse many of these issues. If this relationship is important to you, they recommend learning non-toxic ways to deal with conflict and rebuild mutual respect and intimacy. Otherwise, these issues will become deeper and harder to fix. This will take change, compromise, and commitment from both of you. The experts suggest seeking out counseling or the help of another healthcare professional if you or your partner are serious about making changes. If you're interested in starting therapy, this guide can help.

If you want to save this relationship, you'll need to put in the work. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF
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It doesn't seem like you're happy or satisfied in this relationship. Orbuch and Fitzpatrick think this means that either you aren't in a good place for a serious romantic relationship, or your current partner isn't the right one for you. Ask yourself if you truly feel able to trust and care about someone at this point in your life. Also ask yourself what qualities you genuinely need in a romantic relationship and if you're getting those things right now. If the answer is no, what would need to change in order for you to feel happy, secure, and fulfilled in this relationship? There is a chance that you and your partner could work these issues out, but it's also very possible that this relationship is not the right one for you. Here are some other signs you should break up and here's how to do it like an adult.

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