When a client comes to me for coaching, ‘How to find love and make a relationship grow’ aren’t the only kinds of relationship advice they seek. When to call it quits is (unfortunately) also a necessary topic to explore.
Knowing how long to stay and when to go is a statement of self-respect and personal limits. You do have to know yourself well and be uncompromising in your personal accountability. That’s foundational to any relationship advice I offer.
When to call it quits is undoubtedly one of the most difficult decisions you may ever have to make in a relationship. No one enters into a relationship predicting or hoping it will end. However, there is a high likelihood is that you will go through a lot of dates, relationships, and heartaches en route to finding true love.
For marriage-minded people, knowing when to end a relationship that isn’t in your best interest is essential. Your quest is to be in a relationship that encourages both of you to be your best and for both of you to constantly grow as a couple.
It’s easy when you’re starting out with someone to seek relationship advice. When to call it quits, however, isn’t a topic you’re likely to ask about unless you’re at a quandary with your current relationship. You’re consumed with your infatuation and all the possibilities you see with this person. How are you supposed to know, then, when it’s time to throw in the towel and move on?
No two people are alike, and no two relationships are alike. You’ll therefore have to be very honest with yourself and your partner about how the following guidelines apply to your relationship.
There are a couple situations that are so contrary to what a healthy relationship is about that they should be automatic deal-breakers.
If there is abuse in the relationship, you need to get out. And you both need to get help. The dangers of staying outnumber any benefits. And one of the biggest dangers is that you will become desensitized to the abuse. Then you won’t recognize it for what it is, possibly until it’s too late.
The other deal-breaker is addiction. Regardless of who has the addiction, it can’t survive without codependency, enabling, and denial. The person with the addiction needs professional help, and anyone staying with the addict needs help, too. Is that really how you want to embark on finding forever love?
Other signs that it might be time to throw in the towel may not be so obvious. This is especially true if you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, as every relationship naturally goes through changes.
Take a look at this relationship advice — when to call it quits. Do you recognize yourself, your partner, and/or your relationship in any of these signs that you should move on?
- You’ve lost respect for one another. Respect is foundational to any healthy relationship. You can’t build a common dream or the promise of forever if you look down on your partner or hear disparaging remarks.
- You’ve lost interest in your partner’s life experiences.
If you would rather shovel snow than listen to your partner talk about his/her day, there may be something deeper going on.
It’s impossible to grow in intimacy if you really don’t care to know about your partner’s experiences and thoughts about them.
- One or both of you has lost interest in sex.
You know the difference between “just not hot-and-heavy-anymore” and “don’t touch me.”
Loss of sexual interest in your partner is a major red flag and often signals deeper issues going on.
- Communication feels like a lost cause.
If you’re trying but get nothing in return. If you can’t agree on anything. If you have reduced your communication to the weather and pragmatics of getting through the day. If you think twice about bringing anything up with your partner.
Any of these examples can spell the demise of the most important part of a relationship: communication.
- Your relationship is full of negativity.
If every encounter and conversation has some kind of ‘edge’ to it, there’s probably some underlying disapproval, distrust, or dislike sharpening it.
Negativity can be a way to sabotage a relationship by creating a toxic, unlivable environment. There may be some passive aggression going on here.
- One of you keeps trying to change the other.
Relationships, at their healthiest, are a place for people to evolve and grow. And all growth involves change.
But evolving into your best self doesn’t mean sacrificing your core qualities and values.
If you and your partner are trying to change one another at a core level, it may be time to call it quits.
Things like religious and political beliefs, views on money and work, and openness to children are integral to a person’s character and life direction. If you find yourself in a push-pull struggle to change your partner, your relationship will probably always be a struggle.
- One person makes all the effort.
Relationships take the full effort of both people. Yes, sometimes one person will give more while the other receives more. But if one person is kicking back and letting the other do all the work, something is very wrong.
If only one of you is communicating and putting forth the emotional effort, the relationship is on borrowed time.
- You start having an interest in dating other people. It’s not unnatural to be curious about what the online dating world is offering. But if you’re sneaking off to your computer to read profiles, you’ve already checked out of your relationship.
- One or both of you refuse to get help.
It’s not unusual for one person to be willing to get help while the other needs some tugging on the leash. But relationships are a two-way street. And so are their problems — even if those problems seem to originate with one person.
‘Getting help’ isn’t about deciding that one person is right and one is wrong. It’s about helping two people navigate their issues with better communication skills and clearer vision into a healthy relationship.
When Jane come to coach with me, she was in a toxic relationship. After reviewing her life vision and relationship values, it became clear that they wanted different things in life and her key values were being stepped on. This reflection made it clear that Jane had tot leave the relationship and set stronger boundaries for herself for her next relationship.
When seeking relationship advice, ‘when to call it quits’ is an important component to the overall picture. Just as it’s important to know how to work through the tough times, it’s also important to know when to walk away.
And if your relationship ever comes to that, it’s always good to have reliable support for the journey. Knowing how to leave a relationship after fearless self-examination and uncompromising self-accountability will set you up for success the next time.