Millennials catch a lot of grief for how they handle relationships, romance, and sex. People often label millennials as needing to be instantly gratified, and therefore, don’t know how to stick by their significant others through tough times.
Truthfully, it’s very hard to know when you should keep trying or give up and walk away. It’s hard to give up on something you’ve put so much time, effort, energy, and love into. It’s difficult to admit that you’ve tried everything and nothing is working, but the fact of the matter is sometimes love and effort truly aren’t enough.
Sometimes people just aren’t right for each other. But figuring that out is never an easy task. Sometimes it’s easier to stay because you’ve become attached and comfortable in the relationship, and you assure yourself (and maybe even your partner) that this is just a phase and it’ll get better with time. But what if it isn’t a phase? What if the relationship has just become too unhealthy and broken to fix, and no amount of effort can make it as good as it used to be? It’s hard to tell when it’s time to call it quits and put your well-being and happiness first.
But there are some pretty clear signs on how to tell when it’s time to break up with your significant other.
1. They cheated on you
There is no excuse for this. None. If they loved you they wouldn’t have done it. If they respected you and cared about your feelings they wouldn’t have done it. They knew it would hurt you, and they did it anyway. It doesn’t matter how many times they say they’re sorry or that they wish they could take it back, or any of those empty promises they’re feeding you. If they had loved you, they wouldn’t have done it. You don’t deserve to be with someone that hurts you that deeply. Cheating is the ultimate betrayal to a relationship. It not only breaks your heart, but it breaks your trust. And there is no point in having a relationship without trust. It’s going to cause a lot of anger and bitterness between you, and will probably ruin your relationship further and cause more damage.
There is no reason to stay with a person that has cheated on you, regardless of how long you’ve been together or how much you love them. You will be fine without them. After all, you would never treat yourself like that, so why let anyone else do the same?
2. They invalidate your feelings
If they don’t respect you and your feelings, GET OUT. Plain and simple. If you tell them something makes you upset and they ignore it, that’s unhealthy. If you tell them something is bothering you and they tell you to get over it, that’s unhealthy. If they can’t sympathize with your feelings, thoughts, or where you are coming from, they are not respecting you. You deserve a partner that cares about your feelings and your needs. We are all humans with complex emotions and need constant reassurance and support regarding our feelings.
If your partner is not supporting your feelings than it’s just going to hurt you in the long run. You deserve to have your feelings validated, for someone to listen to you and make an effort to make you feel better, not dismiss your feelings and make you feel bad for having them.
3. They don’t take responsibility for their actions
If they’re constantly messing up, doing things you’ve asked them not to, or hurting you, and then not accepting what they’ve done, it’s time to leave them behind. If they’re always blaming other people or things for their mistakes, or especially if they’re always blaming you, it’s a sign they’re not mature enough for a relationship.
Your partner should never be putting all the blame on you, or putting you down. If they can’t say they’re sorry (and mean it) and show you they feel bad for what they’ve done, and try to fix it or change their behavior, why are you still there? I’m not saying no one can screw up from time to time in a relationship, because we’re only human after all. But if they’re consistently letting you down, why keep giving them the opportunity to do so when they’ve proven they can’t or won't change?
4. They make you feel like you owe them something
If your partner is constantly making you feel guilty for asking for help or support, that’s not okay. Your significant other should never hold things over your head, or make you feel bad for asking for something. Your partner should want to help you because they love you and that’s part of what being in a relationship entails. If they’re making you feel like you owe them something, chances are they’re probably romantically immature, selfish, or abusive. None of which are good traits to have in a partner.
You should never ever feel like a burden to your partner or feel like you owe them something. You should feel loved and support and cared about. If they’re making you feel anything less than that, they are not worth your time or your love.
5. There are double standards in the relationship
This is incredibly frustrating to deal with. If your partner gets upset with you for doing certain things or tells you they don’t want you doing certain things, but then turns around and does it themselves and tries to justify their behavior: that’s a double standard. Relationships are supposed to be even, give and take, with an agreement of what’s okay and what is not okay between the both of you. It is not fair if one person isn’t held accountable to these “rules,” while you are being ridiculed for not following them. You and your partner should have the same expectations for each other and should treat each other how you want to be treated. If your partner isn’t respecting you or holding you to the same accord as themselves, break up with them! You deserve more.
6. They don’t support you
The whole point of being in a relationship (besides loving the person) is to be with someone that pushes you to better yourself and supports you in your goals. If your partner is not supporting you they are holding you back and preventing you from reaching your full potential. If they get mad that you’re accomplishing great things instead of being proud of you, DUMP THEM.
Your partner should never be jealous of your achievements, hold you back, want you to fail, or prevent you from succeeding. Your partner is supposed to be your number one fan, and support you in whatever you want to do purely because they love you and want you to see you be happy. If they’re not supporting you they’re being selfish, and love is supposed to be anything but selfish.
7. They try to control you
There are varying degrees of controlling behavior in a relationship, but regardless none of them are acceptable. Your significant other should not try to control what you wear, what you post on social media, who you talk to, who you’re friends with, or what you’re doing with yourself. You are in charge of your own body and your own life. It’s fine if they tell you they like when you wear a certain clothing item, or state that something you posted made them uncomfortable, or they don’t like certain friends because they don’t treat you right, or they’re worried about something you’ve been doing. But it’s never okay for them to try and tell you what to do or how to live your life.
You are your own person, and no one can tell you how to live your life. If your partner is trying to control aspects of you or your life, that’s not healthy. Chances are the controlling behavior is just going to get worse with time, so get out while you still can.
8. They don’t let you hang out with your friends or do things without them
This is a very big warning sign that you’re either in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. Everyone needs space outside of their relationship, they need to be someone without their partner and need the time and the people to do that with. If your partner gets mad at you or picks a fight with you every time you try to do something without them, that’s not okay. If they make you feel guilty for doing things without them, that’s not okay. You have plenty of time to do things together, and they need to understand that they don’t own you. They have to share you with the rest of the wonderful people in your life, and respect that you are a person outside of them.
Love is not supposed to be selfish and smothering, it should be encouraging growth. If they’re too insecure about your relationship to let you do things without them, there’s probably a lot of other unhealthy things going on in the relationship too.
9. They’re abusive
People assume this should be a no-brainer, but it’s actually hard to tell when someone is being abusive towards you. There are varying degrees to a physical, emotional, and/or verbally abusive relationship. It’s also hard to tell when you’re in an abusive relationship because your abuser is generally very manipulative and makes you feel like everything wrong in the relationship is your fault. Which makes it harder to realize that actually, you’re not the issue here, they are. But you can usually feel it in the pit of your stomach and in the back of your mind. Something tells you that the relationship doesn’t feel right anymore, or that things in your relationship aren't normal.
If they’re making you unhappy, putting you down, blaming everything on you, lashing out on you, controlling you, and hurting you, they are abusing you! It’s very difficult to accept that someone we love and care about is abusing us, but it happens all the time. It can be difficult to recognize this situation and even harder to leave. But it will only get worse, I promise you. And harder to leave the longer you stay. Think of your happiness and your safety, and get out! As hard as it seems you will thank yourself.
10. Your friends/family don’t like them
Almost always your friends and family can see the signs of a bad relationship or someone that isn’t good for you before you do. It’s easier for them because they’re not involved in the relationship, they don’t have feelings or attachments to your partner, and they have a completely different perspective on the matter. So listen to them when they say that they don’t like them, or they’re not treating you right, or that the relationship is not healthy. Truly listen to them and think about it, don’t get defensive. They’re not trying to attack you, they just want what’s best for you and for you to be happy.
If all of your friends and family tell you that your partner just isn’t right for you, chances are they’re probably right and you’re going to wish they had told you sooner - or that you had listened sooner.
11. You’re not happy
Okay, I know this one isn’t always easy to tell either. Happiness is relative and if you have other things going on in your life it can be hard to tell what exactly is making you unhappy, and if your relationship is a source of that unhappiness. It’s true that relationships are hard work, but they shouldn’t leave you drained. It shouldn’t feel like a burden or inconvenience, and it shouldn’t add to your stress levels. If you’re spending most days unhappy and fighting, if most holidays, dates, and/or outings leave you miserable, chances are the relationship is causing you unnecessary stress. There’s also a chance that your partner is just as unhappy as you are. But no one wants to admit that someone that they love and care about is no longer the person that makes them happy.
However, you owe it to yourself to be happy. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are happy. You don’t owe anyone anything and if they care about you, they’ll respect that fact that you have to do what’s best for yourself, even if they're not it.
12. You can’t be yourself around them
Your partner is supposed to be just that, your partner. They’re supposed to be your best friend, your side kick. If you feel like you can’t be yourself around them or have to hide certain aspects of yourself from them, they are not the one for you. Your partner should love and accept every part of you, even your flaws and downfalls, because that’s what makes you who you are. If you’re with someone who you can’t be yourself around you are literally repressing yourself and that can lead to some very bad things, like depression. You deserve to be with someone that makes you feel like you can be yourself, and when you find people that do just that you’re going to be very thankful you didn’t settle for anything less.
13. You feel different
This concept is complicated because feelings change and people change constantly. It’s nearly impossible to feel the exact same way about someone forever. But there are different ways that feelings can change, and sometimes it’s not for the better. It’s normal to not love your partner in the same exact way you did when you first fell in love, or six months after you were together, or two years down the line, etc. But one thing is for certain, if you are not still madly in love with this person, if they don’t still make you insatiably happy, and you don’t look forward to seeing them or hearing their voice – you’re probably falling out of love with them. And it’s not fair to you or your partner to continue to date them if you don’t feel the same way anymore. It happens, feelings change.
It’s not always anyone’s fault, it’s just part of life. But by staying with your partner, you’re robbing them of a chance for someone else to feel madly in love with them. You’re always wasting time on them, when you could be happy and madly in love with someone else (or even just with yourself). You’re putting energy and effort into a relationship you’re not feeling anymore, and that’s not fair to anybody.
14. Your heart is not in it anymore
If you are no longer fully committed to your partner and the relationship, it’s not worth it. If you don’t even bother fighting with them anymore because you’ve given up, or if you’ve stopped caring about the relationship or your partner, your heart is not in it anymore. And if you’re no longer feeling the relationship you are not doing you or your partner any favors by sticking around. You’re just making it worse for you and your partner. A significant other can tell when their partner doesn’t feel the same anymore, and it can be incredibly frustrating to try your hardest to make someone happy and keep failing. The bottom line is you can't force feelings that aren't there anymore. You can’t help that you don’t love them anymore. You can’t change that so why bother to keep trying?
15. You can’t stop thinking about breaking up with them
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, then you already know what the answer is. If you’re consistently thinking about breaking up with them or what your life would be like if you weren’t together, it’s time to break up. That’s your heart telling you you’re just not into it anymore. You are wasting so much of your time and energy by only being half-committed to your partner - because let’s be honest if you’re always thinking about breaking up with them you’re not actually committed to them. The amount of time you sit there being unhappy and wondering if life would be better without them could be spent on so many other activities and involvements that could fulfill you and make you happy.
If you can’t stop thinking about breaking up with them, then it’s time to let go and see what life has to offer without your partner. Chances are you’ll thank yourself for it and wish you had done it sooner.
16. You have feelings for someone else
Unless you are a poly-amorous individual, this is a very clear sign that you are not happy in your relationship and it’s time to move on. Let me be clear, though, it’s normal to have crushes on other people, it’s normal to be sexually attracted to other people. It is not, however, normal to want to spend more time with your “crush” than your partner, to feel happier around your crush than with your partner, to feel more connected with your crush than your partner. It's not normal to hide hangouts, conversations, or meetings with your crush, from your partner. If you’re thinking about your crush and what it would be like to date them, or have sex with them, or whatever else, you’re developing feelings for someone that is not your significant other and that’s not fair to your partner. They’re committed to you and have no idea that you’re over there daydreaming about someone else. They don’t deserve to be treated like that, no one does.
If you’re feeling something for someone else you’re not being honest with yourself or your heart. You’d be happier if you were honest with yourself and your partner and recognized that your relationship is coming to an end. If you are capable of having feelings for someone else than it means your heart doesn't want this relationship anymore.
Break-ups can be hard but not being true to yourself and accepting less than what you deserve is harder. You deserve to be respected, supported and loved. Above all else, you deserve to happy. It might seem like the hardest thing in the world to let go and move on, but your future self will thank you. I promise.