Signs It’s Time to End Your Relationship


Couple in bed | iStock

Ending a relationship can be difficult. This is especially true if you’ve been with someone for a long time. The longer you’ve been romantically involved, the harder it can be to untangle yourself. You’ve built a history together, you likely have mutual friends, and you’ve grown comfortable with each other. However, there often comes a point where its time for things to end. How do you know it’s time? What’s the best relationship advice when it comes to this situation?

The Cheat Sheet spoke with April Masini, a relationship expert and founder of relationship advice site Ask April. She explains when it’s time to call it quits and the best way to proceed.

The Cheat Sheet: How do you know when it’s time to break up with your partner?

April Masini: One thing that should be aligned are your goals as a couple. If your relationship goals don’t sync up, it’s time to move on. You can have great chemistry with someone, but if you don’t have the same goals, you’re bound for misery. The latter is weighted more heavily than is chemistry. Ideally, you should try to find a partner who has the same goals you do from the get go — but the reality is that sometimes people change, or they thought that they wanted one thing and wound up wanting something else. Misaligned goals are deal breakers, and if you feel you’re not on the same page for goals, it’s time to move on. These goals can be marriage, kids, money, or location and lifestyle — or something else!

CS: What about cheating?

AM: Cheating doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it’s super easy to point fingers, and a lot more difficult to accept responsibility for your part in a betrayal dynamic. However, when one or both people in a relationship are chronic cheaters and are more familiar with cheating dynamics than loyalty dynamics, it’s time to move on. Love is one thing — but behavior is another. A cheater may love you but can’t be loyal to you. The latter is more important.

CS: Finances are an important part of a relationship. How does this affect a couple’s decision to stay together or break up?

AM:  Money is one of those things that people tend to dismiss when they’re in the first swirls of romance, and they shouldn’t. Your relationship with money and your ability to be honest about it with a partner is crucial to a relationship. When you’re not on the same page with saving for retirement, spending versus saving, or how much you each feel you want to have to be comfortable — it’s time to move on. These money issues will keep coming back to haunt you and cause fighting and distress. If you and your partner feel you’re very different from each other when it comes to money issues, it’s time to move on.

CS: What is the best way to end a relationship?

AM: A series of conversations about breaking up is usually the best way to end things. This gives both people in the relationship the opportunity to have multiple talks — not just one and done. This gives both parties the opportunity to think things over and then ask further questions or say what hasn’t been said at a subsequent conversation.

CS: How can you get closure after a breakup?

AM: People do the best they can with what they’ve got. Sometimes, a partner just walks out, without explanation, and you never hear from him or her again. The person who’s been left often comes to me asking for advice about closure. My reality dose is: you just got it. It wasn’t your idea of closure, but that’s the best a partner could do for you. Cobble together what you need from what you’ve been left with. Process it to move on.

A clean break is hard to do, but it’s best for moving on. Pick a time and date to split up your things, take your names off each other’s’ accounts — whether they’re joint bank accounts, shared Hulu accounts, or a rental lease — and divvy up your belongings. When it comes to social media, unfriend each other from the get-go. This avoids unintentional stalking and perceived angry unfriending down the line.

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