How to Know It's Time to End a Relationship
Dating can be exciting and fun, but it’s not without its challenges. When people come to me for dating help, they sometimes have to ask a tough question: is it time to end my relationship?
Knowing when to end your relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t always apparent, and sometimes things can be worked through or overcome.
But there are some unhealthy patterns that can develop in dating relationships. And staying in an unhealthy situation will be harmful to your own wellbeing over time.
If you are trying to decide when and if to end a relationship, I’d start with this: be honest about how you’re feeling, and how the person you’re dating makes you feel.
Do You Feel Unsafe?
Even if your girlfriend has not shown clear signs of abusive behavior, they may have a tendency toward anger or outbursts that makes you feel unsafe. You are not obligated to stay with someone until or unless they hurt you. If you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or fearful around someone, you don’t have to maintain a relationship with them.
Do You Feel Drained?
Sometimes, we can care a lot about someone, but that relationship can turn into a one-way street where we are always the ones giving our time, our money, and our emotions to make the other person feel happy and comfortable.
Meanwhile, they may not consider our feelings, our energy level, or what we need when we are struggling. If you’re with someone who doesn’t seem to respond or want to change when things feel out of balance, it may be time to make a change. You don’t want to remain in a toxic relationship with someone when there are plenty of people who are willing to have a healthier approach to dating.
Are You Not Ready?
You should never feel pressured to do anything you are not ready to do in a dating relationship. If you’re dating someone who is pressuring you to have sex, move in together, or get married, you should let them know if you don’t feel ready. If they are not willing to respect that boundary, and if they continue to push things forward without listening to you, it is time to start thinking about how to distance yourself from them.
Are You Incompatible?
I’ve heard many stories about dating relationships that start off great, with lots of romance, chemistry, and fun, only to run into trouble when people tried to take things deeper. Sometimes, it’s simply time to step away from a relationship because you are incompatible with them.
This may happen because you have different ideas about God and faith, which shapes how you each approach challenges and big decisions. It may be that you have different priorities. Or you may simply want different things from the relationship. It’s a difficult conversation to have, but it may be best to end the relationship— especially if have serious doubts about your long-term happiness.
The silver lining to these tough conversations is this: you don’t have to go into them unprepared, or without support. TheHopeLine can help. Ask a HopeCoach for dating advice on important relationship questions or browse our ebook and podcast libraries. Whatever you decide, we are here to support you as you learn about healthy, happy relationships.
If relationships are not building you up, it is worth finding new relationships. Watch this video from a licensed counselor helping you with the fears of ending a toxic relationship.