Like anything worth participating in life, relationships—no matter how perfect they seem—can have their fair share of ups and downs. If, for the most part, you feel happy and loved in your relationship (and making your partner feel the same), having an argument here and there is nothing to worry about. However, at some point, you may be faced with having to take a closer look at your connection with your partner. Analyzing the good and the bad will help you figure out if you're heading for a breakup and how to cope afterwards. While you may deeply care about your partner, staying together may not be the best choice for either of you. If you're unsure what to do, look for the six key signs that your relationship is over, according to a professional counselor.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Suzanne Degges-White is a licensed counselor whose area of focus is individuals and families facing life transitions.
Because you've been so emotionally invested in your relationship for so long, you may subconsciously turn a blind eye to the problems that pop up more often than they used to. Dr. Degges-White offers a few signs to look for that will help answer the question you may be afraid to ask, "Is my relationship over?"
There's No Emotional Connection
One of the key signs that your relationship is over is that you are no longer vulnerable and open with your partner. A cornerstone of any happy and healthy relationship is that you and your partner share thoughts and opinions with one another and truly open yourselves up to each other. However, if you're not interested in connecting with your partner on a deeper emotional level and no longer want to take the time to share what's truly on your mind, it's time to consider that your relationship may over.
Dr. Degges-White write in Psychology Today, "A lot of us want to snap at our partners, because we’re ticked off about something else entirely—we choose partners and families as our 'safe spaces' to take out our 'not-so-pretty' feelings."
Physical Intimacy Doesn't Appeal to You Anymore
Dr. Degges-White offers, "When just the thought of your partner being close or touching you intimately is off-putting or mildly 'disgusting,' it may signal that the relationship is in need of an overhaul, or that a breakup is potentially near" If you were sexually passionate about each other in the beginning and that passion has deflated to a point where you're no longer interested in sex with your partner, that could be a problem for your relationship.
If you're wondering if your relationship is over, an additional sign is that you're no longer physically intimate with one another. For instance, if the passion has left and you and your partner no longer desire to be with one another in an intimate way, you may need to ask yourself why. A lack of sexual interest is often a reflection of the health and potential longevity of your relationship. When your sex life is over, this can be a key indicator that your relationship is too.
It's Hard to Agree on Anything
Another telltale sign that your relationship may be headed for its end is that you and your partner can't see eye-to-eye on just about anything anymore. For instance, if you're trying to decide if you should buy or lease a car, what color to paint the bathroom, or which restaurant to go to for dinner, you and your partner can't reach an agreement, and your opinions are diametrically opposed from one another.
That constant disagreeing can lead to anger on both sides. "We hide deeper feelings (from ourselves and from others) with more socially acceptable negative attitudes sometimes, and when we find ourselves behaving in ways that aren’t the typical way we behave, we might need to do a little soul-searching to get a clearer picture of where our attitude is coming from," Dr. Degges-White says. When all you can agree on is that you can't agree on anything, this is a big indicator that your relationship is over.
Someone Else Seems More Appealing
A clear sign that your relationship is over is that you long to be with a person who isn't your partner. Whether you find yourself wishing you were still with your ex, have an intense crush on someone from work, or are fixated on the idea of having fantasies with someone who isn't your current partner, it's time to recognize that your relationship is probably finished.
"Sexual fantasies about others can be fine if they are adding to your relationship with your partner, but if they are creating a world in which your partner’s role is shrinking, it’s time to either put someone else in your fantasies or begin a conversation with your partner," Dr. Degges-White advises.
We hide deeper feelings (from ourselves and from others) with more socially acceptable negative attitudes sometimes, and when we find ourselves behaving in ways that aren’t the typical way we behave, we might need to do a little soul-searching to get a clearer picture of where our attitude is coming from.
You may even be engaging in an emotional affair and are focusing your time and attention on someone else. When your partner is no longer a top priority and you're constantly fantasizing about being with another person, the next best step is to have a discussion about breaking up.
The Trust Is Gone
An additional key indicator that your relationship is over is that you just can't seem to trust your partner anymore. Whether he or she has betrayed your trust in the past, had an affair, or never keeps his or her promises, the word that should come to mind is, "breakup." When you can't trust the person who's supposed to be your in your corner, it's a major roadblock that is going to prevent you from having a deep and meaningful connection with him or her.
Dr. Degges-White warns, "When you can’t stand looking at your partner, dread your partner’s return home, or feel like you’re going to scream if your partner starts telling the same joke/boring story/dumb remark/etc., then you probably need to sit down and talk honestly about whether or not the relationship is growing into what both you and your partner need it to be."
Your Goals Don't Align
If you're trying to determine if your relationship is over, another clear sign is that you don't want the same things going forward. For example, if you desire to have children one day, but your partner never sees kids in his or her future, this major difference will inevitably cause your relationship to fail. Dr. Degges-White admits, "Waiting for some things to happen makes sense—education, career paths, family obligations. These types of things can definitely take priority over a relationship if the circumstances surrounding these changes warrant it. But if your partner (or you) is using these external events as 'reasons' for not committing, then you’ll begin to notice a pattern when the external events keep changing or lengthening."
When your goals don't match up and your visions of the future don't align, your relationship has actually reached the finished line.