When to Leave a Relationship

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Knowing when it is time to leave a a significant other can be a difficult realization. This is especially true when a lot of love, emotional investment, energy and time has been given to the relationship. Some people may even feel the urge to continue in a bad relationship simply because of all the effort the partnership had been given, and this alone can make it hard to let go because it has been a large investment of time.

Others individuals simply ache and grieve the idea of leaving a relationship, but know they need to let go because a situation has developed serious problems, gotten out of control or worse, has become abusive.

When a relationship disintegrates, becomes estranged or drifts apart and there is little or no hope for reconciliation, often people come to the realization it is time to let go and leave the relationship. This is not always easy but sometimes the decision has to be made.

Here are some strong signs that it is time to leave a relationship:


If a partner is being emotionally, verbally or physically abusive and, if no professional help is being sought, it is time to leave the relationship. No one deserves to be abused and if a partner continues this unacceptable behavior, especially if cold and not showing signs of remorse and/or no desire to change, it is time to exit the relationship. 

Even if help is being sought, depending on the circumstances, it could still be time to go.  Occasionally these kinds of situations can be turned around, but the abuser has to seriously want to change and seek help in order to repair his or herself and the damage he or she has done through abusive behaviors.

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Constant Frustration, Fighting and Unhappiness

Unhealthy relationships, addictive relationships and partnerships where one or both individual’s needs are not being met can result in continuous frustration and unhappiness. If things get to this point it should seriously be evaluated whether or not this is what is desired in a relationship. If the relationship is a constant source of frustration, fighting or unhappiness this is a strong contender to perhaps exit the relationship.


If two people have little desire to be with one another, don’t share either physical or emotional intimacies and generally live two separate lives in the relationship it may be time to leave and move on. It is not so much the fact that time is being spent apart, it is more no investment or effort is being given to the relationship and an overall attitude of indifference exists. Once a person(s) doesn’t care one way or the other, the relationship will never be fulfilling or happy. Mostly what is left is a feeling of emptiness towards the partnership.

Make a List of Pros and Cons

Making a list of all the pros and cons in the relationship is a valuable effort if the decision is difficult to make. Once this is done, the relationship is probably at least emotionally over if the cons far exceed the pros in the partnership. Sometimes it takes a tangible list in order for a person to read in order to truly see how bad a relationship has gotten. In addition to the obvious things, cons can include other signs such as wistful feelings of the past, but no hope for future, changing inner values and beliefs, and a person assuming a role that is not his or her natural self.

Trust the Gut Instinct

For most people, the gut instinct rarely, if ever, lies. If something seems off or is just plain weird and your gut is screaming that something is wrong, it is wise to pay attention. This could indicate a serious problem exists in the relationship such as an affair, lying or other detrimental secret that exists.

Coming to the realization that a relationship needs to end is often difficult. While the reasons for a break-up may vary, many of the feelings regarding knowing when to leave the situation are similar. The ache of missing someone often endures long after the relationship ends, even if the person is not missed, but what the relationship once was needs to be grieved.

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