“Celebrate endings, for they precede new beginnings.” ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
There was an incessant doubt deep inside that wouldn’t subside. It followed me everywhere—through the good times and the rough times.
By “good,” I mean things were okay. They were never great, ecstatic, wildly passionate, and deeply connected.
I tried to escape it, block it out, ignore it, and pretend this nagging feeling would eventually disappear.
My heart wasn’t skipping a beat. The spark had long disappeared. I never had butterflies thinking about him. I felt myself slowly withdrawing.
And I couldn’t figure out why was this happening.
He was a wonderful man in so many ways. He treated me well. I knew he loved me. I knew he wanted to be with me. There was nothing drastically “wrong” with our relationship. Everything was “okay” with us.
I didn’t understand. I wanted to feel differently. It would have made my life so much easier.
So I contemplated. I stayed. I tried to focus on the great things about him, and us, in the hope I’d fall more in love and it’d all work out.
But it didn’t. Things didn’t change for me. That feeling was there for a reason. We really weren’t right for each other in the long term.
I agonized over what to do for months and months. Should I stay and ignore my feelings? Should I go and potentially make a massive mistake?
After much soul searching and going back and forward in my head, I finally found my answer. It broke both of our hearts but I had to trust my intuition and end it.
This experience taught me so much about myself and what I need and want in love.
I learned that when it comes to relationships, it’s rarely black and white, things don’t always make logical sense, you can’t force chemistry, and sometimes a break-up is the only answer.
Here are three ways to know when it’s time to break up.
1. You just know in your heart it’s not right.
This was me above. I couldn’t explain it in words; I just felt it in my bones.
I knew I should feel intensely drawn to him. I should want to spend way more time with him. I should want to share all of myself with him. I should want to make future plans with him and look forward to seeing him.
But I didn’t. And I couldn’t change it no matter how hard I tried.
I just couldn’t feel the way about him that I wanted to. And nothing I did could force that.
It was my gut, my instinct, my heart, my intuition trying to tell me that it just wasn’t right. He wasn’t “the one” for me in the same way that I wasn’t his “one,” either.
There wasn’t anything “wrong,” but the connection I desperately craved was missing. He didn’t light me up and make me want to be a better person. I didn’t feel how I wanted to with him.
This situation is difficult because you can’t always explain or articulate why you feel the way you feel.
But it’s so important to trust yourself. Those feelings are your navigation. Your truth. And when you listen, life gets so much easier and you open the channels right on up for greater love and happiness.
2. You’re miserable more often than you’re happy.
Do you spend more time fighting, arguing, feeling annoyed and disappointed than you do enjoying, loving, and growing with one another?
I’ve been here too. And at the time I thought it was normal. So I put up with it. I kept trying to make it work. I was convinced the fighting would eventually stop if I could be everything he wanted.
But this isn’t normal, and we were definitely not right for each other. It shouldn’t be this difficult (especially in the beginning).
Of course, every couple disagrees at times, and that’s normal. But it’s how you communicate and navigate these differences that can make or break your relationship.
If you constantly push each other’s buttons and find there’s continuously tension between you, something’s not right.
If you try to sort out your issues (whether just between the two of you or seeking out help) and you still find yourself miserable more than 50 percent of the time, it’s a sign this relationship isn’t healthy or going anywhere fast.
Really, you should be happy more like 90 percent of the time!
It’s time for bigger, better, happier, more loving times. You know what you need to do.
3. Your values, morals, and beliefs are misaligned.
Do you and your partner have different ideas and plans for money, marriage, children, religion, travel, family, work, and life in general?
Of course, all of our ideas and opinions aren’t always going to be exactly the same. That would just be weird and boring.
But is there a mountain of differences or even just a few big ones that make you really uncomfortable?
This is tricky to navigate. You might find that for a while you’re both able to come to a happy compromise or in the beginning of the relationship you can avoid those big contentious issues.
But I promise you they won’t go away. They’re going to shine bright at some point or another, and if both of you feel strongly about the topic it’s going to make your relationship extremely difficult.
Years ago my long-term (ex) partner wouldn’t even entertain a conversation about marriage or having children. After a couple of years together this was a huge warning for me that he didn’t see our relationship progressing much further for a long time.
I wanted something completely different than he did in life, and it was so important to me to be able to at least discuss these things. I made me realize we really weren’t right for one another. It was time to walk.
To be happy, comfortable, and growing in a relationship, you both need to be on the same page. You need to feel understood, accepted, and heard. When there are differing views on important life topics, this becomes almost impossible and can be difficult to resolve.
When you want the same things and feel similar ways about important issues couples are faced with, your relationship is so much more harmonious, connected, and easy.
So you’re going to want to think long and hard about whether the two of you are really compatible and what kind of differences you’re okay with.
If there are too many to count or you just find yourself butting heads about critical issues that you both refuse to compromise on, it’s time to go your own ways.
Many say that relationships are hard work. This is true to some degree. There will always be tough times that test you both and ask for compromise, but I truly believe that the majority of the time relationships should bring joy, inspiration, and happiness to both of you.
This is when you know it’s real. It’s right. It’s love.
Things aren’t meant to be hard. You’re supposed to support, encourage, and love each other, not constantly struggle with one another or question things.
I know break-ups aren’t easy. They’re just as heart breaking for the person ending it as it is for the partner on the receiving end. And the wounds take time to heal.
But if you’re continuously unhappy, seriously, what’s the point? You really are better off alone or with someone who brings you true joy.
So go ahead and trust your heart and your own instinct. You know deep down what the answer is and where your truth lies.
Be brave. Know that the pain will go and more joy will come. Do what you need to do to find real love. It’s always, always worth it.