Are you struggling to let go of a relationship that isn’t working?

People struggle to let go of unhealthy and toxic relationships because of attachment, fear of being alone, comfort, convenience and circumstances. Some can also find it hard to move on from a relationship even after separating. The inability of letting go can hold you back in life. It can keep you away from being in a healthy relationship with someone you love and with whom you enjoy spending your time.

In this article, you will learn the signs that your relationship isn’t working, and some guidance to help you decide if it’s time to let go and move on. We will also, briefly cover how you can let go of a relationship if you choose to do so.

How Do You Know When to Let Go of a Relationship?

First let’s have a look at what it means to let go of your relationship. Here’s the definition of letting go according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary

  1. to relax or release one’s hold —used with of
  2. to abandon self-restraint : let fly
  3. to dismiss from employment
  4. to fail to take care of : NEGLECT

When your relationship isn’t working or you drifted apart, it could be time to let it go. A dysfunctional relationship with unsolved problems that have accumulated over time can leave you feeling emotionally overwhelmed. This eventually will damage your health and well-being.

If you are thinking of quitting your relationship, don’t rush into it. Instead, take a week to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings.

Letting go of a relationship becomes harder when you don’t understand why it needs to end. When you can express your feelings and really understand each other. You will then be able to make a decision that empowers you and that contributes to your overall life and well-being.

In this case, letting go of a relationship wouldn’t even be much of a question because you made the decision in a loving way while respecting yourself and your partner. As well as considering both of your feelings, needs and circumstances.

Letting go of someone you love isn’t easy, but holding on stop you from exploring another relationships which have the potential to be wonderful.

Why Is It Hard to Let Go of a Relationship?

Are you struggling to let go of the comfort, convenience or circumstances that your relationship provides you? First of all, it’s worth considering if you are struggling to let go of the relationship or your partner.

Letting go of a relationship involves moving on from your current circumstances. E.g. social, children, location, financial and health issues.

Letting go of your partner comes down to no longer sharing your life with this person. This in turn, involves their company, living, sleeping and travelling together. So, basically spending your time and sharing your space with that particular person.

Once you get used to having someone in your life, it can be hard to let them go. Some couples choose to stay together even if their relationship doesn’t work. An unhealthy relationship brings a lot of suffering.

The history you shared and attachment you may have with your partner make it challenging to end your relationship. Letting go off the certainty that a relationship brings is another reason why it becomes hard to let go of it. It doesn’t matter if the relationship is healthy or unhealthy for us, we know what to expect. Letting go of such relationship leaves us in unknown territory which can be frightening.

Try to avoid making unilateral decisions. Instead, talk to your partner about your thoughts and feelings, and together you can decide the best way forward for both of you.

If you still have feelings for each other, you can try to work things out. However, if your feelings faded, it’s probably time to move on.

Signs When to Let Go of a Relationship

It’s time to let go of your relationship when it no longer brings you happiness and fulfilment. And, when you have unresolved problems that accumulated over time and are slowly destroying the loving relationship you once had. If you find yourself in a relationship that doesn’t work, you can try to fix it or let it go.

Here are some signs to help you recognise that your relationship is not working and consider if it’s time to let it go:

  • You feel emotionally suffocated and overwhelmed
  • You no longer enjoy being with your partner or talking to them
  • You and your partner have different life goals
  • Your relationship goals doesn’t align
  • You cannot see a future together
  • You have been together for a long time, yet there are no plans for the future
  • You are having more and more arguments
  • You have different sex drives and it’s causing conflict and frustration
  • You don’t talk as much as you used to
  • You no longer talk about your feelings or your relationship
  • Your feelings have changed, and you drifted apart
  • You developed feelings for someone else
  • You are sacrificing for the relationship
  • You feel your partner or your relationship are holding you back

If you recognise yourself and your relationship with some of these signs, it’s time for you to understand your feelings and express them to your partner in healthy way. We’ll look at how you can do this later on.

When to Let Go and When to Stay in a Relationship?

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when it’s time to let go of your relationship. When relationships don’t work, they tend to deteriorate over time. One moment you are happy and in love and the next you are in a relationship full of arguments.

At this point, you can either try to solve the problems fix or let it go and move on. But it’s not easy to let go of someone with whom you shared a part of your life. So you may stay together, even when your relationship doesn’t work.

You might try to make your relationship work even if you are not feeling it any more. Maybe you are afraid of being alone or don’t know how to deal with the void that your partner will leave in your life.

  • If your feelings change, express them to your partner and make a decision together.
  • If you’ve had enough and just want to break up, there’s a right and the wrong way to do it.

In a nutshell, it’s time to let go of your relationship when it no longer contributes to your life and well-being.

If you are feeling at a crossroads with your relationship, the first step is to figure out what’s wrong! Understanding what is working for you and for your relationship and what isn’t. Once you identify the problems in your relationship, you will be able to find the best way forward.

To let go of your relationship and move on, you need to realised what is keeping you from making a decision. Once you recognise what this is, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons of having this relationship with this particular someone.

Then, you can share your findings openly and honestly with your partner. So, they can have a chance to respond, get their feedback and learn about their experience with you in this relationship.

When to Hold on to a Relationship?

As long as you have trust and understanding in your relationship, you can talk about anything life throws your way. That said, if your communication isn’t great, it will be tough for you to fix the issues that you face.

Every little issue has a chance of growing into a big problem that can eventually ruin your relationship.

When you spend a long time in a relationship, there’s a possibility that you will drift apart. Your feelings may change, or you may develop feelings for someone else. You should let go of relationship when it is no longer working for you, and you can’t find a way to fix it.

Couples in go through similar problems. Most issues can be sorted with good communication and understanding.

If you and your partner have the willingness and are ready to make an effort to rebuild your relationship to make it work. Then, it’s worth giving it a try and hold on to your relationship.

How to Let Go of a Relationship?

Once you’ve reflected on your relationship, it’s time to talk to your partner. Express your thoughts, doubts, and concerns as clearly and honestly as you can. Give your partner some time to process what you’ve said and hear them out.

When you get everything out in the open, you’ll be able to make a better decision that works for both of you. Whatever you decide, you will know that you’re not the person who is running away from problems. Instead, you are the one who faces them and learns how to handle the situation the best way you can.

This approach will help you with your future relationships as well as your life in general.

It seems that in many couples one person makes a unilateral decision and then informs their partner about it. This creates a lot of emotional pain and suffering to both partners. Here is where the idea of letting go becomes an issue.

So, let’s take three steps back from this:

Step Back No. 1

Don’t make a unilateral decision to break up and then informing your partner about it. Which completely avoids the question of how you are going to inform your partner about your decision. In other words, if you don’t make a unilateral decision to end your relationship, you don’t have to worry on how you are going to do inform your partner about it.

Step Back No. 2

Develop an understanding by sharing your thoughts, feelings, doubts and concerns and hear each other out. Now, instead of focusing how you are going to end your relationship, you are addressing the issues, problems and challenges you are facing. This understanding gives you an opportunity to reflect on your relationship and its challenges to see if there is a way to make it work.

Step back No. 3

Provided you followed steps 1 and 2. You are now in a position to make a more conscious and educated decision that works for both of you. You can do it in a loving and respectful way towards yourself and each other. From here, whatever decision you make both of you, by making it together, both of you will know why this is the best decision for each of you.

This process eliminates the need to struggle in letting go of your relationship. As a result, letting go is no longer a thing.


When you’re in a relationship, problems accumulate slowly over time. Rarely one moment destroys a healthy relationship that is based on trust and effective communication.

If you are attentive to what’s going on in your relationship, you can pick up when things start to go wrong. The earlier you can identify the problems, the better your chances to fix your relationship.

When you are struggling in your relationship, the first thing to do is to discuss these concerns with your partner.

You know it’s time to let go of a relationship when you’ve done everything you could to save it. You acknowledge everything that happened in your relationship and see where you and your partner failed. Then, recognise there’s no more you can do, or are willing to do. Then, it’s time to let go of you relationship.

When you can’t let go of a relationship that isn’t working, you are creating a situation that is likely to bring you a lot of suffering.

Letting go of a relationship is a three step process:

  1. You recognise your relationship isn’t working by picking up on some of the signs that we covered in this article.
  2. Knowing why you would let go of a relationship is the key aspect of you being able to move on.
  3. You want to end your relationship in a healthy way, so you can learn from your mistakes to avoid repeating. This will help you create more loving relationships and make more conscious decisions.

There are two situations where letting go of a relationship becomes a thing:

  1. When you are in a relationship that isn’t working, yet you are choosing to stay in it.
  2. When your relationship ends, but you are struggling to let go of the idea of being with your ex-partner. And, you find it difficult to move on with your life and have other relationships.

Staying in a relationship that isn’t working is unhealthy. In this case, it’s best to try to resolve the issues or end your relationship. Approaching this in a loving and respectful way is more important than the final decision you are going to make.

In other words, you may choose to stay together and work things out or end your relationship. You can either fight through out this process, which will create more struggling and suffering for both of you. Or you can find the way to build an understanding of how you both feel about each other and this relationship.

Every moment you spend in a toxic relationship is a moment you could be spending in a loving one.

Help and Advice with Letting Go of a Relationship

Tips to Let Go of a Relationship

  • Avoid making a unilateral decision to end your relationship
  • Talk to your partner about the issues that are bothering you
  • Take the time to hear each other out
  • Build enough understanding of each other’s perspective of your relationship to make the best decision going forward that works for both of you
  • Approach your problems and concerns as objectively as you can
  • Try to manage your emotions as much as possible to give yourself clarity of your feelings, goals and circumstances

If you don’t know how to deal with letting go of your relationship and need professional help and advice, we’ll be happy to help! Check out our coaching options here.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 be best for both of you

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

Depending 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.

How to leave a relationship gracefully?

Try to identify the problems you are facing and discuss them with your partner avoiding making a unilateral decision. When you can have an open and honest discussion about your relationship you can either fix your problems or end it and move on.

How to let go of a relationship without closure?

Reflect on your relationship objectively and find the reasons it didn’t work out and the role you play in it. The more responsibility you can take for your relationship, the more empower you will be to make healthier decisions later on.

When do you know to let go of a relationship?

When you are no longer feeling happy and fulfilled.

How to let go of a previous relationship?

The best way to let go of a previous relationship is by having a clear idea of why it didn’t work out as well as recognising what was amazing about it. Once you know the part you played in your past relationship, you can work on your self-development and improve the things you didn’t do quite right.

Knowing this, will help you choose the right person in the future. You will be able to set boundaries and navigate your relationship avoiding making the same mistakes as you did before.

When to hold on and when to let go of a relationship?

Hold on to a relationship when you and your partner have the willingness to make it work and are prepared to put the effort.

When to let go of a potential relationship?

When the potential is only in your mind, but in reality there is no indications that the other person is interested.

How do you let someone go emotionally?

You may be struggling to let someone go emotionally because you are second guessing you made the right decision. Particularly, if you made a unilateral decision. You may be also be worrying about your partner’s feelings and how they are coping with the break up. So, recognising your feelings and reasons for ending the relationship may help you to come to terms with your emotions.

How to let go of an unhealthy relationship?

When your relationship is unhealthy you can try to make it work by resolve the problems or you can choose to end it and move on. Whatever you choose, avoid continuing an unhealthy relationship and ignoring the problems.

How to let go of a toxic relationship when you still love them

Once a relationship becomes toxic it is harder to deal with it. When emotions are running high and you are overwhelmed by unresolved problems, a good option would be to have some time apart. Before you make any final decisions. This will give you an opportunity to find emotional balance and have an objective perspective on your relationship.

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