16 no bullsh*t signs your relationship is over (and 5 ways to save it)

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Another huge fight, another unnecessary squabble, and more insults hurled in both directions. Both of you leave the argument feeling defeated and lost.

You ask yourself, “How did we get here? How did this happen?” And finally, you wonder, “Is it over?”

Is your relationship over? It can be difficult to tell.

Sometimes you just know, and sometimes you don’t.

Some people come to the realization immediately and break up soon after; for others, they stew in a state of unknowing for months if not years, trying to cling onto a dead relationship.

No matter how intertwined your life might be with your partner’s, it is never a good idea to force yourself to stay in a relationship that is done.

Not only is it unhealthy for both parties, but it is a waste of your time and heartache.

In this article, we discuss everything you need to know to decide whether or not your relationship is over, and what you can do to finally move forward.

First, we’ll go over 16 signs your relationship is over, then we’ll talk about ways you can save the relationship (if it’s not too far gone). Let’s dive in!

Peter Pan syndrome

1) Shallow foundations

For young couples whose relationships started in a blaze of excitement and lust, this fire often quickly flickers out once the novelty of each other’s bodies and company wears off.

Now you feel an obligation to see each other, even though you don’t feel like you have much in common.

You slowly start to resent each other, to the point that even the sex – the one thing that was amazing in the relationship – becomes boring.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

2) Too much baggage

Almost the opposite of the “shallow foundation” problem, having too much baggage occurs when a couple has gone through too many fights, too many arguments, and too many bitter half-break ups.

You might love each other, you might laugh at each other’s jokes, and you might share all the same interests, but you’ve stepped on each other’s toes too many times.

No matter how much you two have tried to bury and move on from the past, the resentment from those fights just never goes away, until you can barely spend an hour with your partner without getting into a squabble.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • You have a long history of fights and making up
  • You feel like you have to walk on eggshells around each other
  • You are tired of saying (and hearing) sorry

3) Personal changes

People change. We go to school, we get jobs, we evolve in our careers, we develop new interests, we want to become different and better people.

But we don’t all change at the same rate and in the same ways. While two people might have been perfect for each other at one point in time, that doesn’t mean they will continue to be perfect for each other forever.

It’s not your fault or your partner’s fault. If one person starts to feel that they are at a different period of their life and need something else, they can’t help but feel that their partner is holding them back and keeping them from their true potential.

It’s something that we rarely ever admit, and instead it ends up manifesting in needless and petty fights.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • You or your partner has recently gone through a big life change
  • You or your partner has been talking about dreams and ambitions
  • You or your partner has become content with the status quo and thinks the other person is as well

4) You simply don’t know what to do anymore

Another sign your relationship could be over is when you feel at a loss over what to do. It may feel like you’ve tried to get through to your partner or get the relationship back on track, but always to no avail. 

Essentially, you’re at the point of giving up. 

I know this because I’ve been there too. 

About a year ago, I felt stuck and lost in a relationship. I was like I had exhausted all my options and was running out of solutions. 

But Rudá Iandê’s Love and Intimacy Masterclass gave me a fresh perspective on my love life.

I felt so skeptical that I didn’t even want to try at first.

But somehow, I convinced myself to give it a shot — and now, am I glad I did.

Rudá is also a world renowned shaman who has helped many people develop better relationships not only with themselves, but also with their loved ones.

And what I like about this free masterclass is that it doesn’t just offer quick fix, band-aid solutions.

Instead, the mini questionnaires that you’ll find alongside the masterclass help you explore your relationship in a pragmatic way.

They offer many new pathways to help identify some hidden issues that are currently sabotaging your relationship.

If you feel like you’re at the end of your tether, I highly recommend giving this masterclass a try.

It might just be the lifeline you need to reveal hidden issues and rebuild a strong connection.

Click here to access the Love and Intimacy Masterclass.

5) Circumstance and indifference

Personal changes don’t always have to be big, monumental life-altering events and realizations.

Sometimes they can just be small, gradual changes to the way you live your life, and these subtle changes can be notable to the health of your relationship.

For example, if one partner decides to start spending a few more hours working every day, that lost time can make a big dent to the connection in the relationship.

Slowly the indifference creeps in, and what used to be time spent together is now time spent apart, without caring about the effects on the relationship.

One thing might lead to another, and in just a few months, your entire intimate connection and sex life could be gone.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

6) You’ve lost yourself in the relationship

In a healthy relationship, we should be encouraged to flourish and be the best we can be. Our partner is supposed to uplift us and boost our confidence.

However, one of the worst ways to realize your relationship is over is when you don’t recognize yourself anymore. 

Whether it’s because your relationship is so intense that you’ve become caught up in it, or you’ve forgotten to pay attention to yourself whilst putting your partner first, it can result in feeling disconnected from yourself.

And if you’re unhappy internally, on top of a failing relationship, it’s a recipe for disaster

7) The relationship no longer adds value to your lives

Relationships are meant to add value to our lives, whether in the form of companionship, love, or something else.

A relationship is over when it is not only no longer adding value to our life, but sucking value from it.

But we don’t always recognize this when it happens. A part of us will continue to love the person that we are with, no matter how difficult things get.

In addition, people also get “comfortable”. This is when their relationship no longer fulfills them or pushes them to be better people, but since it feels safe and familiar, people stick around. 

After all, venturing out into the unknown can be daunting to say the least. 

8) There’s no more talk of the future

In a relationship, both partners should have a desire to grow and mature, separately and together. You should both be on the same page when it comes to what you want in your futures.

If you’re in a secure, healthy, loving relationship, it’s natural to begin to plan for the future. Even if you don’t always share your thoughts with them, spending the rest of your life with your partner is all you can imagine.

But when the relationship is ending, these daydreams can start to feel like a distant memory. Suddenly, the thought of being together forever makes you feel panicky.

Talking about all the things you want to do together in the future is no longer a fun, exciting conversation.

You might love your partner, but the thought of going through big life decisions together just doesn’t feel right anymore.

You may think that it’s worth holding on to those shared dreams for old times sake. But if you’re really struggling to picture them in your future, it might be a sign that you’ve lost faith and trust in them and the relationship.

And if your relationship isn’t going anywhere, you should probably ask yourself whether it’s worth staying in.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • You or your partner stop talking and making plans for the future
  • You don’t want to commit to long term things like having kids or getting a mortgage together
  • You start to imagine a different future to the one you had planned together.

9) Unrealistic expectations of love

One sign the relationship is over if you one or both of you have an unrealistic expectation of what a loving relationship should look like.

Westerners grow up obsessed with the idea of “romantic love”. We watch TV shows and Hollywood movies about perfect couples living happily ever after.

And naturally, we want it for ourselves.

While the idea of romantic love is beautiful, it’s also an unrealistic standard.

Experts estimate that the concept has only been around for 250 years. Before this, people got together for more practical reasons — usually for the sake of survival or to have kids.

I have to admit, I too was caught in the web of unrealistic expectations fueled by movies and social media. 

I expected my relationship to be a never-ending honeymoon phase, and when reality hit, it left me questioning the strength of my relationship.

That’s when I revisited Rudá’s Love and Intimacy Masterclass.

This free resource which I mentioned above broke down the myths surrounding romantic love and helped me set healthier expectations for my relationship.

If you find yourself falling into the trap of unrealistic expectations, this masterclass could be a game changer. It not only helps you unlearn these myths but also equips you with the tools to build a more sustainable love life.

And most importantly —a better understanding of yourself and your inner desires. 

Here’s a link to the free masterclass again.

10) You start feeling interested in other people

It’s normal to find other people attractive, even if you love your partner and you are in a happy relationship. This isn’t something we can control or should feel guilty about.

An innocent flirt or harmless banter with someone you find attractive isn’t really a sign that things are over in your current relationship.

If these innocent, platonic flirtations start to become something more, then you should start to worry.

If you start fantasizing about other people regularly, this could mean that you’ve lost interest in your partner and the relationship.

Most people think that cheating is just a physical act, but investing time and emotions into another person romantically can be a big indicator that your relationship isn’t fulfilling you anymore.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • You prefer to spend time with other people instead of your partner
  • You want to act upon your feelings towards other people
  • You find yourself thinking of other people even during sex with your partner

11) Every flaw becomes annoying

Flaws. We all have them, but a part of loving someone and having a great relationship is learning to accept your partner’s shortcomings.

That’s not to say that you have to love all of them though, there’s always going to be something that annoys you about your partner.

A sign that your relationship is over is when you or your partner start to find every flaw of the other person irritating.

Suddenly, it’s no longer cute when they forget to turn the bathroom light off or they lose the car keys again.

Small flaws like this are often easily overlooked and ignored when you’re in the beginning of a relationship.

As you spend more time together and your relationship is tested, these flaws can start to build up until you feel like you have nothing positive to say about your partner.

Maybe you find yourself struggling to remember why you fell for them in the first place? Or maybe just the sound of their breathing makes you want to scream. Either way, pointing out and criticizing everything they do isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • Small flaws start being the reasons for arguments
  • Little things your partner does annoys you for no real reason
  • You stop seeing all the good things in your partner that first attracted you

12) Your gut feeling tells you something is wrong

The gut feeling or ‘intuition’, is something within us that warns or guides us, even when we don’t have a logical reason or evidence to feel that way.

And we’ve got this ability for good reason. There’s a reason why the old saying ‘trust your gut feeling’ is still going strong today. We can often spend hours over- thinking a situation, but never reaching a conclusion.

Sometimes, trusting your gut feeling can help you make the right decision just by paying attention to how your body reacts to a situation.

When you’re in a relationship, emotions can fly high and if things aren’t going too well, you might often be feeling confused or unsure of what the right thing to do is.

You might have spent night after night thinking about all the possible outcomes, and whether you think the relationship could be saved or not.

At some point, it’s a good idea to stop thinking and just focus on what your gut instinct is telling you. If you feel deep down that the relationship is over, it could be your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to take action instead of staying in an unhappy situation.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • You’ve had a bad feeling for a while but you keep ignoring it
  • You don’t see any improvements in your relationship even though you keep trying
  • You feel negative emotions when you think about your relationship

13) You’ve lost interest in the relationship

When you imagine a great relationship, it’s usually with someone who you like spending time with and whose company you look forward to.

Losing interest in the relationship isn’t just about not wanting to have sex anymore. It can also be when you or your partner can’t be bothered to invest time into each other.

You start giving in to arguments just because you can’t be bothered to go through them anymore. You have lost interest in your partner’s opinions or daily life. Maybe you don’t even feel the need to talk much to your partner because you don’t care about what they have to say.

Losing interest doesn’t just happen overnight. Often, it comes because we’ve built up resentment towards our partner and over time, we stop seeing them or the relationship as ‘worth it’.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

14) You miss each other less and less

As the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. But what does it mean if you stop missing your partner when they go away?

It’s normal to appreciate some time apart from each other, but in a happy relationship, you’ll probably start to miss your partner after a few days of not seeing them.

Even if you’re used to being apart, at the very least you’ll feel happy when you’re back together again.

If it gets to the point where you feel relieved or happy when they’re away, and you don’t look forward to their return, this might not be the fulfilling relationship that most people wish for.

It’s a good idea to stop and ask yourself at this point, why are we actually together? What’s keeping us in this relationship?

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • Seeing your partner after some time apart doesn’t excite you
  • You aren’t bothered about how long your partner leaves for
  • Their absence brings you peace

15) The arguments are getting worse

Having the occasional argument isn’t the worst thing in a relationship. In fact, it can be a sign that you’re both invested and committed, so you argue over things to resolve them.

Arguing can help your relationship if your end goal is to fix the problem, not to aggravate your partner more.

A healthy argument should stay focussed on the problem, not on each other. If your arguments are to score points against each other and point fingers, you’re only going to end up exhausted and fed up.

But what about when the arguments become more frequent, and escalate in their intensity?

This could be a sign that your issues are getting out of hand, and you aren’t communicating with each other in a healthy way. If you can’t communicate properly, it puts your relationship under a lot of strain and tension.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • You have big arguments on a regular basis
  • You tiptoe around your partner to avoid triggering another argument
  • Your arguments don’t get resolved

16) More time is spent apart than together

Spending time alone or with your friends and family is very important, but there should be a balance with also wanting to be around your partner.

If you really enjoy being with someone, you’ll often find a way to make time to spend with them.

If you find yourself spending most of your time away from your partner intentionally, you should probably ask yourself, why?

Is it because you don’t enjoy their company anymore? Do you still have an interest in them? Or is it that you don’t really see eye to eye and you’re happier when you’re apart?

If this situation sounds familiar to you, it might be a sign that you’re avoiding your partner, which could ultimately lead to you growing apart.

This might be your relationship’s problem if…

  • You prioritize spending time with other people rather than your partner
  • You often just want to go out as a group rather than alone with your partner
  • You don’t feel excited when you make plans together
  • Hanging out with your partner feels like an obligation

If you feel like you can relate to these signs that your relationship is over, then you may identify with the following stages of a dying relationship:

The 5 Stages of a Dying Relationship

Stage Thoughts / Actions
Stage 1: Precontemplation – No thoughts of change My relationship makes me happy.

There is not much wrong with the relationship.

Issues are normal in a relationship.

Stage 2: Contemplation – Some thoughts of change Maybe this relationship isn’t working out.

Sometimes this relationship makes me feel bad.

I don’t know if this relationship is still healthy.

Stage 3: Preparation – Mentally preparing to end the relationship I need some help figuring out the best way to end this relationship.

I don’t want to hurt my partner, but this relationship needs to end.

I need to find a way to get out of this in one piece.

Stage 4: Action – Doing what needs to be done to end the relationship I don’t talk with my partner much anymore.

I imagine myself living a life outside of this relationship.

I have confirmed with my partner that I want to be out of the relationship.

Stage 5: Maintenance – Keeping the relationship done I do what I need to do to avoid seeing and interacting with my partner.

I threw out everything that would remind me of my partner.

I am starting to date other people.

Is your relationship over, or is it “just another fight?”

No relationship is perfect, and no couple stays together without working through their issues.

Any long-term couple will tell you – the key to longevity is to compromise, and you don’t reach compromise without wobbling through a few arguments. That’s why I recommend watching Justin Brown’s video above. He shares some advice on how to resolve communication difficulties in relationships.

This is why so many people stay in relationships that are long-dead, even though everyone around them can see it.

We simply find it impossible to tell the difference between whether we are going through just another fight, or whether this is the fight to end all fights.

On one hand, we want to choose the option that makes us happiest: leaving a toxic and exhausting relationship.

But on the other hand, we want to stay loyal to the commitment and history built with our partner, and do everything we can to see our conflicts as nothing more than growing pains.

While the line between a dead relationship and just another fight can be vague and often moves about, there is one question you can ask yourself to determine whether your relationship is done.

“Is your relationship forcing you to break up with yourself?”

What does this mean? Ask yourself the following:

– Do you still remember who you are?

– Do you still know and practice your own values?

– Do you know yourself, do you respect yourself, and do you like yourself?

– Do you still feel that you have the power to make your own choices?

– Do you feel that you are relevant and important?

All relationships are meant to add value to our lives, whether that value is in the form of companionship, business relation, love, or something else.

A relationship is over when it is not only no longer adding value to our life, but sucking value from it.

But we don’t always recognize this when it happens. A part of us will continue to love the person that we are with, no matter how difficult things get.

And that part will keep you convinced that your feelings that the relationship is over are actually caused by different things.

So if you think that your relationship can be saved, here are some everyday habits to change to reawaken the love between both of you.

Everyday habits you need to stop to save your relationship

Relationships don’t always end because of some grand reason.

Sometimes it’s the little everyday things that you could be unknowingly doing to your partner (or vice-versa) that’s nudging both of you closer to saying “let’s just break up”.

Every little interaction you have colors your perception of each other.

Every fight, every celebration, every minute detail of the seemingly ordinary things you do for each other ultimately adds up to how your partner perceives you.

It’s easy to get lost in everyday things because we dismiss them as normal excusable behavior.

We never think that something so natural as raising your voice or ignoring a question can lead to unhappiness in a relationship – and that’s precisely why they’re dangerous.

When left unchecked, these things grow into habits that can ultimately destroy the relationship.

Here are some everyday things you or your partner might be doing that’s contributing to the unhappiness in your relationship:

1) Stop taking the other person for granted

All relationships eventually plateau and move from intense to stable, no matter how passionate your early days might be. Although this sounds like the end of times, it’s actually a good sign of progress because you’re both ready to live out the not so exciting parts of life together.

However, this can also lead to taking the other person for granted.

Taking each other for granted comes in many forms — from forgetting to say “thank you” or ignoring a chore when they’ve asked you for help. At the end of the day, these gestures still have the same effect: they remove the very thing that makes the relationship feel special.

And when a man feels like he’s being taken for granted, he no longer feels essential to you — and this can be kryptonite for your relationship.

Because for a man feeling essential to a woman is often what separates a “happy relationship” from an “unhappy breakup”.

What to do instead: Start paying attention.

Notice what your man does for you and make sure to acknowledge his efforts – even a simple thank you can make the world of difference. 

2) Change up the routine

As your life moves forward, you might find yourself prioritizing things that have nothing to do with your relationship.

We get it: people get busy and preoccupied and it’s impossible to maintain a relationship 24/7.

It’s when you completely stop putting the effort to introduce novelty and fun in your relationship that things go sour.

Instead of doing something fun and exciting, you or your partner might start choosing the easier, more comfortable option.

You blame work, time, or money for not doing the things you used to. After all, it’s so easy to swap fun nights out for quiet movie nights indoors.

What to do instead: Actively make time for each other. Whether it’s trying a new move in bed or eating at a new restaurant, make sure you have time to do things that are outside your routine.

Don’t underestimate the power of novelty. Keeping your relationship fresh with new experiences is a proven way to keep it going.

3) Communicate with each other

When things were new, you would spend hours talking each other’s ears off.

You would talk about your dreams, fears, prejudices, expectations, and share those with each other so openly.

Eventually, it’s those very things that have kept you in their company, even after the high of attraction has passed.

It’s normal to stop having these “deep” conversations the more you get to know your partner. After a while, it feels like you know everything about them which means there’s nothing left to say.

Really talking to each other doesn’t just mean physically talking to each other whenever possible; it means preserving the curiosity and sensitivity you had when you talked about things other than your work, family, and gossip.

Your partner should be the person you could talk to about anything. If you find yourself (or them) talking more about work and nothing else, it’s bound to turn your relationship from stable to stale.

What to do instead: Strive to have interesting topics for conversation. Read a new book or watch a new movie together and discuss those with each other.

People in relationships that don’t talk about anything else other than their daily routines are going to realize sooner or later that there’s nothing keeping them from calling it quits.

4) Share your feelings

Biting back mean and unnecessary comments during fights is one thing, never saying anything back is another.

The natural response for couples is to bring things into the light, no matter how uncomfortable and awkward, to try and resolve things.

Even in your most heated arguments, you should still be thankful if both of you still care enough to actually talk about what’s wrong.

Emotional vulnerability – whether it’s in times of anger or happiness – means they are still willing to let you become a part of their life.

What’s more alarming than a complete shoutfest is completely ignoring what you feel for the sake of “peace”.

We hide things when we truly believe there are no options.

Why bother getting into a heated argument when they won’t be interested to hear what you have to say anyway?

So instead of explaining your piece, you hide the anger and all the emotion, and let bygones be bygones until you have nothing else to say about every aspect of your relationship.

What to do instead: Whether it’s out of consideration or exhaustion, always strive to be communicative with your partner.

Even if you don’t feel like talking, it’s good to let your emotions out so your partner knows what’s going on in your head.

This way, they (or you) may adjust appropriately and make improvements on the relationship.

5) Stop criticizing each other

Giving the other person constructive feedback from time to time is part of any normal, caring relationship.

However, what most couples don’t realize is that feedback can sometimes be a little too intrusive.

Criticism about your partner’s clothing, behavior, and habits may feel like innocent comments but they can ultimately snowball into discontent.

When suggestions go from helpful to naggy, it’s a clear sign there are communication problems in the relationship.

Criticism should help the person improve; it should organically inspire them to become a better version of themselves.

But if the words are doing nothing but alienating the other person, it’s time to take a step back and rethink these “casual comments”.

Over criticizing your partner can apply to anything – from the way they do their chores or the way they interact with other people.

At one point, it’s important to realize that the person you are in a relationship with is still their own person and that there are some things, no matter how simple or big, that just doesn’t warrant criticism.

What to do instead: Know when it’s time to stop. Criticism, no matter how helpful, can still breed self-doubt. If you must criticize something, do it sparingly and gently.

Preface your suggestion by letting your partner know you appreciate them and would never want to hurt them intentionally.

Otherwise, you can just do something according to your preference to avoid conflict.

I want to save my relationship…

You may have made it through the post and realized that all the signs are pointing to your relationship being over…but you don’t want it to be.

It may feel like you’re in a difficult place right now, but remember, it’s never too late to turn things around in your relationship. 

Remember how earlier, I described my past and times when I found myself in a similar situation?

I was questioning whether it was the end for what I had once thought to be true love.

I really can’t stress enough how useful Rudá’s teachings have been in guiding me towards better, healthier connections. 

His Love and Intimacy Masterclass, and it changed my perspective on what a loving relationship can be. 

Trust me, I was hopeless at first too, but the insights I received from this free masterclass showed me that sometimes our relationship issues can be hidden deep inside our inner needs and desires.

And if you’re truly willing to change your perspective, forget about unrealistic expectations, and become your authentic self, there’s a strong chance you can save and even enrich your relationship. 

To me, Rudá’s free masterclass was the nudge I needed to start that journey.

And I genuinely believe it could be yours too.

Here’s the link to the free masterclass again.

 

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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