Breaking up is hard, but sometimes it’s necessary. You’ll do more damage staying than you will moving on. Bickering and bantering turns into expletives without explanation. Next thing you know, you are either so close to each other’s faces you can feel the heat surging off of your partner’s body, or you both have claimed your own corner away from each other, avoiding eye and physical contact as if you were strangers.
Breaking up is hard. That is why there are millions of books, TV shows and songs basking in the woes of it all. It happened, it was magical and it was over (or some variation of this). A strong cocktail of roller coasters, divergent paths and split feelings follow.
It’s hard to say which is harder: being single or being in a relationship. Really, it depends on who you are, whom you are with and what you ultimately want out of life.
In all honesty, I can personally say that trying to salvage and mold my relationship into something I’d imagined it could be was almost, if not just as hard as, letting go.
Based on my experiences and current dealings with the break-up gods, here are five red flags you may want to consider if you are thinking about ending your current relationship:
#1. You are constantly second-guessing your partner. This is numero uno for a reason. If you’re constantly second-guessing your partner’s beliefs, choices and life goals, maybe even every day, this hints at a lack of trust.
While it’s OK to disagree with your partner and have differing beliefs and goals, you both should be able to understand and support one another.
If your differences lead to arguments or affect choices you make as a couple leaving you dissatisfied and unheard, it may be time for a change.
As the cliché goes, trust is the crown piece of a relationship. If that quintessential piece is missing, the game is lost.
#2. Your partner doesn’t put your needs first. When you’re in a serious relationship with someone who truly cares for you, they will also be concerned with your needs and well-being. Checking up on you should not seem like an obligation to them, but rather a necessity they’re glad to take care of.
Your partner’s care for your needs should show up in the most minuscule of moments.
For example, I was out with my best friend, her boyfriend and their crowd. There was a moment in time where my boyfriend was doing his own thing playing pool, and my best friend and I were having our own conversation.
Yet, her boyfriend came up to her once he finished his beer and said, “Hey, do you need another? I’m about to go grab another beer.”
While that’s not a moment of fireworks, it shows that, even though they weren’t together at that moment, he came over to check in and care for her. He wanted to make sure she had what she needed at that moment.
To give you an even better example of his chivalry, generosity and love for her, he let her live rent-free in his apartment for four months while she completed her last semester of school. If he isn’t an example of an awesome boyfriend, I don’t know who is.
#3. Their insecurities or problems become your weight to bear. Everyone has insecurities. The problem with my relationship is that my significant other denied his insecurities, even to me.
I understand he is a man and is pressured to not show emotion. I would understand his reluctance, even in the first few months of our relationship.
But when those insecurities were pointed out, they were quickly denied. Brushed under the bed, better yet, and blown away in a cloud of cannabis smoke as if they had never existed.
Therefore, when life got real and these problems could no longer be ignored, everyone else around him was to blame for his problems.
I have a natural tendency to take on everyone else’s problems. I have empathy times 10. I sadly also began to question if he was even at fault.
Maybe it was the other people. That may have been true, except for the fact that everyone has free will, meaning he has complete control over his choices.
Ultimately, you can’t stress yourself out about problems you can’t fix for your partner, especially if they placed those problems upon themselves.
#4. You’re trying to change them; they’re trying to change you. “I don’t like your hairstyle. You’ve had it like that for so long. Why don’t you change it, babe?”
“Jeez, babe, you did gain some weight?”
“Come on, you don’t really have anxiety or depression. Snap out of it.”
“You just take my jokes too seriously… lighten up. If I see a fat person walking down the street, I’m going to crack a joke on them out of fun. I wouldn’t, like, say it to their face or anything.”
Do I need provide more examples? Some of these comments may make you feel insecure. Some may make you question yourself. Ultimately, you are who you are.
If you like your hair the way it is, keep it that way.
If you gained some weight, who’s to say anything about it?
If you have a mental illness, there is nothing for them to do but support you. Anything else is unacceptable.
If you don’t like crude humour, they should find someone else who does.
#5. Your goals are suppressed because of their lack of motivation. You’re a go-getter. You’re a fighter. You’re strong, and you’re all about getting what you need, want and deserve.
Your partner, on the other hand, is only living in the moment. Judgement clouded by the clichéd 20-somethings desire to drink, make money, repeat.
You realize there is more to life than simply making money. You’re thirsty for a career that is meaningful to you and that can support you.
If your partner gives you a blank stare when you ask them if they have any hobbies outside of work, know that is not something you need to fix. That will take some self-reflection, soul searching and a commitment to making life changes.
You can’t change anyone.
If you take any advice, take this: Relationships feel great when you’re in them, but hurt like a brick falling on your pinky toe when it’s over.
You will feel sad, then feel OK again, then miserable just when you thought you were OK.
They will show up in your dreams, pop up in your head when you hear that one song. They may even text you out of the blue one day.
The healing process is your chance to evaluate yourself, your relationship and positive and negative qualities you found in your partner.
You will find that life will go back to normal. You may even enjoy the single life. Actually, I recommend everyone enjoy the single life.
If you find yourself moving from relationship, to hook up, to relationship, you are not giving yourself the time to learn about you.
It’s OK to lean on your bestie, cry in your room, shove your face in fatty foods and binge your favourite shows so you don’t have to think for a little.
But remember to dust yourself off and get back on your grind.
It’s OK to let someone go. Take the good times, learn from the bad and remember every relationship gone sour is only getting you ready for the right one.
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