It happens to all of us. A time comes when we grow out of certain relationships that we were at one time so satisfied and/or attached to.
Unfortunately, change like this can sometimes be extremely uncomfortable, confusing, and upsetting. If you are going through a tough breakup right now (whether partner, friend, or family member), know that you will look back on this experience one day with the peace of mind that each and every event had its purpose. I'm sure you can think of multiple instances in which a change in your life has allowed you to grow, shift, and evolve into a better and more knowledgeable version of you.
If you are questioning yourself, feeling pulled in multiple directions, or curious about whether your relationships are serving you, this is for you.
While I will be focussing on relationships with people specifically, you may be able to apply some of these signs to your relationships with places, ideas, and things as well. They are in no particular order.
Sign #1: You are feeling unfulfilled.
Do your interactions with this person always seem to be the same thing over and over again? Do you feel like you are being held stagnant with them rather than growing together?
Sometimes, a communicative, honest, and open conversation with this person can get you guys on the same page and end that funk in your relationship.
But, if that doesn't lead anywhere, or if you find that your goals concerning what you want to get out of this relationship are no longer, or were never, aligned, then it might be time to walk away from that relationship.
Make it a standard for yourself to only invite and keep relationships that fuel growth for each person. These kinds of relationships are honest, respectful, understanding, and loyal. Fulfilling relationships can be anywhere from silly to professional.
Sign #2: You are feeling unsupported or uncared for.
Do you feel embarrassed to express yourself fully around this person? Do you fear their reactions to your opinions? Or maybe you just don't bother getting deep with them because they belittle your experiences.
Do you hold on to and cherish their rare comments of approval, and then mimic those behaviors to hopefully gain more approval?
Relationships like these can feel onesided and hollow. These relationships begin to hold you back by making you feel insecure about yourself and invalidating your desire to have relationships that are supportive and fun.
Trust me, you deserve loved ones who support all that you are and all that you are aiming to be. These people have your back and don't try to compete with you.
Sign #3: You are feeling held back or controlled.
Is this person making you feel like you can't or shouldn't follow your heart? Are you made to feel guilty for making life changes, doing something without them, or even being happy when they are not? Do you see less of your friends and family because of this person?
Holding things over your head is a way of controlling you. You should not fear living your life a certain way because of what someone close to you might do.
This kind of person can be very intimidating and anxiety-provoking to stand up to, making it a hard relationship to end. Try your best and do what you can to cut off all sources of communication with them, including social media.
Most of all, do not succumb to their threats. If you are ever in fear for your or their life, please call a mental health hotline, domestic abuse hotline, suicide hotline, or the police.
Sign #4: The air between you two is not cleared (and no, I do not mean with sage).
Are there grudges, dishonesty, or continual jealousy affecting the relationship?
All these things serve to open wounds wider until they fester and explode. Without clearing the air, there will never be a moment when you will feel completely comfortable being around that person or even having them as a loved one.
Underlying issues tarnish all parts of a relationship. Sometimes when both people are committed, these issues can be fully flushed out. This takes continual and committed effort to be open, communicative, and understanding rather than defensive.
If one person is not committed to this, or if these issues are recurring, it's probably a sign that this relationship no longer serves you or that person.
Sign #5: There is a lack of respect.
Does this person waste your time, only hang out with you when it's convenient for them, or expect you to do what they say or want without ever considering you?
This is a pretty good sign that you are being used by this person for their own desires and needs. This is very one-sided and draining.
You absolutely do not need to entertain this kind of behavior. Let them know how you feel and if they deny or disregard your feelings, take a step back from this relationship.
Sign #6: The relationship is abusive.
While all the above signs were mainly focused on toxicity in relationships, there are also many signs of abuse.
Things like diminishing your self-worth, interfering with you work, school, and finances, causing chronic anxiety, using intimidations, fear, and name-calling, gaslighting, and physical violence are all considered forms of abuse.
If you think your relationship might involve any of these things, I urge you to look further into it. None of these behaviors are healthy or okay, especially if you do not feel confident or safe about calling them out.
Open up to another person about your concerns and seek professional help if you feel that the situation has expanded beyond your scope. If you are questioning whether you can handle the situation by yourself, take the safer route and ask for help.
And remember: your feelings are valid, no one deserves to be treated in these ways, you are not crazy, and your safety and comfort come first.
This is not an exhaustive list. Relationships are so incredibly dynamic, hence why we go to therapists, psychologists, and social workers for our issues rather than scientists and mathematicians. There is no algorithm to exactly what relationships should and should not look like.
With a few of these signs, both people can commit to being vulnerable and understanding towards each other in hopes of finding a resolution. Then, they must both commit to doing their best not to let those issues repeat themselves. This is conflict resolution and it is necessary in all relationships.
But if one or both people are not committed or are not compatible enough, both people are better off leaving that relationship behind and taking it as a lesson.
Stay safe out there, know your worth, and spread love.