When to Hold On to a Relationship: and When to Breakup

When to Let Go of a Relationship

Are you trying to make your relationship work, only to feel stuck, exhausted and disappointed that nothing seems to make a difference?

The question of when it’s time to break up with someone doesn’t have a simple answer. The decision to break up greatly depends on the connection you share with the other person and your individual circumstances. When your relationship is not working, you need to find out what exactly is wrong. Once you identify the underlying issues, you can talk to your partner to see if you can find a solution. If there is a way to turn things around, you can save your relationship. However, if you can’t see a way forward, it might be time for you to break up and move on.

In this article, we’ll see when you still have a fighting chance, explore the signs that a breakup is on the horizon and teach you to recognize red flags that indicate it’s time to break up and move on.

For simplicity, we’ll divide all signs into three categories and see them as traffic lights:

  • Green – Stay in a relationship
  • Yellow – Consider breaking up
  • Red – Time to walk away.

Before we dive into the signs, let’s have a look at why letting go of your partner can be so hard.

Why Is It Hard to Let Go of a Relationship?

Letting go of your partner means no longer sharing your life with this person, their company, living, sleeping and travelling together. When you spend a significant amount of time with someone, you share memories and history. Now, you no longer have someone to come home to and share the day’s events.

The longer the relationship lasts, the harder it is to break up.

Sometimes partners stay together in an unhealthy relationship because of :

  • Fear of being alone
  • The comfort of certainty and predictability
  • Fear of the unknown
  • A belief that they don’t deserve better

Even after physically separating, many have a hard time moving on.

A clean breakup will give you a chance to keep your ex-partner as a friend and allow you to support each other emotionally and practically.

When to Hold on to a Relationship

Knowing when to hold on to a relationship can be tricky, but if you share the following, it’s a good sign that all is not lost:

  • Mutual respect
  • Open communication
  • Shared values and life goals
  • Heartfelt effort from both sides
  • Personal growth
  • Mutual support
  • Ability to solve your current problems

When you can talk openly and honestly, you can find the right thing to do.

Spending time to reflect on your current situation will give you and your partner a chance to connect, get some clarity and figure out what’s wrong!

A healthy relationship should contribute to your life and well-being.

So, if you find yourself in a toxic or unhealthy situation where there’s consistent disrespect, lack of trust, or emotional abuse, the answer is pretty obvious…

Signs It’s Time to Let Go of a Relationship

Knowing when to break up with someone can be a complex and emotionally challenging experience, particularly if you care deeply about that person.

Letting go of someone you love isn’t easy, but holding on to a relationship that isn’t working, makes no sense as it stops you from exploring other relationships. Let’s learn to recognize the signs that your emotional needs may not be met in the long run:

Lack of Compatibility

When fundamental values, goals, or lifestyles are incompatible, conflict and unhappiness are inevitable.

  • You prefer to spend time alone than with your partner.
  • You want different things in life.
  • You have conflicting preferences.

Repeated Trust Issues

If trust has been consistently broken and it’s difficult to rebuild, it can be a sign that it’s time to break up.

Loss of Intimacy

A significant and prolonged lack of physical or emotional intimacy can be a red flag.

  • You drifted apart or developed feelings for someone else.
  • Different sex drives cause conflict and sexual frustration.
  • You no longer enjoy being with your partner or talking to them.

It can be scary to see yourself losing feelings for the person you once loved. But that’s the nature of feelings; they change all the time. If you notice a change, share it with your partner and if you decide to break up, make this decision together.

Unresolved Conflicts

Continuous arguments or disagreements that don’t get resolved can create a toxic environment.

  • Every little issue grows into a big problem.
  • You are having more arguments and growing resentment towards each other.
  • You or your partner no longer have the willingness to put in the effort.
  • Doubts and concerns accumulate, slowly destroying the love and understanding you once shared.

Feeling Unfulfilled

If your partner consistently leaves you feeling unfulfilled and your needs aren’t being met, the change could be overdue.

  • You are feeling sad and unhappy more often than not.
  • No sense of well-being.
  • Being together is no longer fun.
  • Original fun and excitement are now replaced with boredom and monotony.
  • Your partner no longer contributes to your life and well-being.

Loss of Respect

When respect for one another diminishes, it becomes challenging to maintain a healthy connection.

  • You may still be in love with your partner but are no longer comfortable with how they behave.

Different Life Goals

If your long-term goals and aspirations are fundamentally different, it may lead to resentment or feeling held back.

  • You have been together for a long time, yet there are no plans for the future. When you can’t see a future together a long-term relationship is off the table.
  • Your life goals don’t align.
  • You want different things.

Lack of Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Without it, issues can escalate.

  • You don’t talk as much as you used to.
  • You no longer talk about things that Matt.
  • You don’t make plans.

The lack of good communication and the inability to resolve conflicts can turn the most loving relationship into a disaster.


If you feel stuck in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere, it might be time to reassess.

  • Neither partner is growing or evolving.
  • You feel your partner is holding you back in life.

Constant Criticism or Negativity

  • You no longer feel secure.
  • Constantly blaming one person for all the issues.
  • No matter what you do, the other person is never happy.

When your partner is constantly giving you criticism or negativity, it can erode your self-esteem and happiness and is a sure sign that it’s time to break up.

Constant Disappointment

  • Promises are consistently broken.
  • Expectations are repeatedly unmet.

Personal Growth

Some people end their relationships for personal reasons.

  • Travelling
  • Discovering yourself
  • Focusing on work
  • Personal development.

Ultimately, deciding to break up with someone is a deeply personal choice. It’s important to listen to your own feelings and intuition. Seeking advice from trusted friends, family, or a professional can also provide valuable perspective. Remember, your well-being and happiness should be a priority.

Red Flags that Indicate It’s Time to Break Up

See if you recognize any one of these red flags:

Physical or Emotional Abuse

Any form of abuse is a clear indication that the relationship is not safe or healthy and is a sure sign that the time to break up is now. As a rule of thumb, if it happened even once in the past, it is likely to happen again.

One-Sided Relationship

If one partner consistently puts in more effort than the other, it creates an imbalance and resentment. When only one person is constantly giving their time and actively working to improve a relationship, it’s definitely a warning sign that it’s time to break up. A one-sided relationship is a clear red flag that the other person isn’t interested.

Feeling Drained or Depleted

If the relationship leaves you feeling emotionally drained, exhausted, or constantly on edge, it’s a sign that something is amiss. Sacrificing your personal life when your partner makes no attempt to meet you halfway is a clear red flag that it’s time to break up.

You deserve better than to give up your mental health and emotional well-being for someone else, who doesn’t even consider your emotional needs. When you find yourself feeling emotionally suffocated and overwhelmed, it should be enough of an answer if it’s time to break up.

It’s important to take these concerns seriously and if you can’t change it, it’s likely time to break up and walk away.


You may find yourself in a relationship that isn’t working and you feel like giving up but at the same time you are overwhelmed with doubts: what if there’s something you can do to save it? Or is it really time to let it go?

Before making the final decision to break up with someone you care deeply about, it helps to know that you’ve given it a fair chance. The truth of the matter is that every couple hits a rough patch once in a while, particularly in a long-term relationship.

Rough patches can leave romantic partners feeling stuck and insecure, wanting to end things. However, once the emotions subside, partners can reflect on their situation objectively to see if the issue at hand can be resolved or if there are clear red flags that indicate a fundamental change in core values that negatively affect their mental health and emotional well-being.

If you are feeling stuck in a relationship filled with emotionally charged arguments, it can be tough to find the answer. The first step is to figure out what went wrong!

Once you know the core issues, you can see if there is a way to fix them or has the time come to end the relationship and move on. Without understanding the reasons for your break up, it’s hard to feel secure and to feel confident about whether or not you are making the right decision.

Some people give up on their relationship as soon as they face some challenges. Others make a lot of effort and do all they can to make their relationship work. One thing for sure is that staying in a relationship that isn’t working is unhealthy. An unhealthy relationship that you cannot fix, can become toxic. Sometimes breaking up is a healthier option than staying in a deteriorating relationship.

At some point, you may lose touch with yourself and who you truly are. Giving up without trying to solve your current problems, may lead to regrets later on. It’s much easier to move on when you know you’ve done everything you could to save it.

Ultimately, time spent in toxic relationships could be invested in a healthy and loving one.

For some reason, it has become normal for one person to decide that it’s time to break up and find a way to inform the other person about their decision. Instead of finding a way to connect, they are spending time and energy thinking how to do it (on the phone, text or writing a breakup letter).

Breaking up with love and respect way becomes possible when both you and your partner are involved in the decision-making process. A unilateral decision is the wrong way to go about it as it guarantees heartache, struggle and pain and makes it impossible to break up in a healthy way. As long as your decision to break up is mutual, you will have less of a hard time to break up and move on.

Making a final decision to break up is a huge step, which should be taken together.

  1. Try to avoid making unilateral decisions.
  2. Instead, talk to your partner about your thoughts and feelings, and together you can decide the best way forward for both of you.
  3. If you still have feelings for each other, you can try to work things out.
  4. However, if your feelings fade, it’s probably time to move on.

These questions can help both of you gain clarity and make an informed choice:

  • Are we both committed to making this relationship work?
  • Do we share common long-term goals and visions for the future?
  • Do we have a strong foundation of trust and confidence in each other’s commitment?
  • Are we able to maintain a healthy level of independence and pursue our own interests and goals?
  • Have we discussed and established clear boundaries and expectations in the relationship?
  • Have we addressed the underlying issues and concerns?
  • Take a step back from having to decide on your own.
  • Tell your partner what’s not working for you in your relationship.
  • They might help you figure things out.

Here are some concrete steps you can take to get some clarity about your decision to break up:

  1. Identify how the dynamic between you and your partner has changed.
  2. Ask yourself how you feel about your partner.
  3. Pinpoint the problems that you’ve encountered in the past.
  4. Reflect on how you dealt with these problems, if at all.
  5. Clarify what you want in a romantic partner for yourself.
  6. Share your thoughts and doubts with your partner.
  7. Ask your partner how they feel and what do they think about your situation.
  8. Talk to your partner about things that aren’t working for each of you and see if you can fix your issues.
  9. Whether or not you can fix your problems. Together with your partner, you can decide on a way forward that works for both of you.

Use these steps, to give your relationship a fair chance, so no matter what happens, you know you’ve done your best and spoke your truth.

The inability to let go can hold you back in life. It can keep you away from more fulfilling relationships in the future and a healthy relationship with someone you love and with whom you actually enjoy spending your time.

Breaking up is a decision that’s influenced by individual feelings, needs, and circumstances.

While friends and family can offer you reassurance and support, be open to finding professional help sooner rather than later if you don’t seem to make progress and keep going back to the behaviours that are causing problems in your relationship.

Relationship coaching can easily pinpoint the root cause of your problems and can provide clarity and guidance in making the right decision. An experienced professional can help you end your relationship in a healthy way, where you can learn from it to avoid repeating the same mistakes in your future relationships.

I hope that this article has given you some clarity to know when to break up. If you don’t know if it’s time to give up on your relationship and need professional help and advice, we are here to help! So, check out our coaching options and let us help you make the right decision.

Frequently Asked Questions about When to End a Relationship

How do you know when it’s time to end a relationship?

Knowing when to end a relationship can be indicated by a persistent lack of respect, trust, or emotional safety. If attempts at open communication and problem-solving consistently fail, it may be time to consider parting ways. Ultimately, trust your instincts and prioritize your well-being.

At what point do relationships usually end?

Relationships can end for various reasons and at different points. Some end early due to fundamental incompatibility, while others dissolve after years of trying to make it work. There’s no one-size-fits-all timeline; it’s unique to each situation.

How do you know if your relationship is beyond repair?

A relationship may be beyond repair if there’s a pattern of ongoing emotional, verbal, or physical abuse, or if there’s a fundamental lack of trust and respect. If both parties are unwilling to invest in necessary changes, it may be an indicator that breaking up is your only option.

How do you know when it’s time to break up?

It might be time to break up if you consistently feel unhappy, unsupported, or unsafe in the relationship. If your needs and boundaries are consistently disregarded, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to consider ending things.

What are signs your relationship is over?

Signs that a relationship may be over include a lack of emotional connection, ongoing conflicts without resolution, and a feeling of growing apart rather than growing together. If you find yourself constantly questioning the viability of the relationship, it’s worth reflecting on whether it’s time to move on.

At what point do couples usually break up?

Couples break up at various points, depending on the specific circumstances. Some relationships end relatively early on, while others may continue for years before reaching a breaking point. There’s no set standard for when a relationship should end.

When should you call it quits in a relationship?

It may be time to call it quits in a relationship if you’ve sincerely tried to communicate and work through issues, but the problems persist. If the relationship consistently hinders your personal growth, happiness, or well-being, it’s a sign that it may be time to move on.

When is it time to let go of a relationship?

It’s time to let go of a relationship when:
• It is no longer working
• When it becomes unhealthy
• When you did all you could to make it work
• When you and your partner decide that it is best for both of you

How to let go of a bad relationship and move on?

Depending on how bad your relationship is, you may either choose to talk to your partner and address your problems. Or you may want to pack up and leave. Which one is best, depends on your particular situation.

Should you give up friends for a relationship?

A relationship should never be restrictive or prevent you from being with friends or family. Giving up on friends for a relationship is unhealthy.

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