12 Signs That Staying Is Becoming Harder Than Leaving

When things start to go downhill in a relationship, it can be hard to decide whether things are bad enough to warrant breaking up or if it’s just a rough patch that you can work through together. If things continue to go bad, though, you might start to discover that as painful as breaking up will be, it’s going to hurt less than staying where you are now. If you’re on the fence about the status of your relationship, this is how you can tell that you’re doing far more damage to yourself by sticking around:

  1. You dread seeing him. The excitement that used to come with seeing him after work has been replaced with a negative, almost foreboding feeling. You always THINK you’re going to be happy to see him again, but as soon as he walks through the door, you realize that all you really want is to be by yourself. When you go out with friends together, you can’t help but wonder if you’d be having more fun if he weren’t there.
  2. You find yourself practically trying to pick fights with him. You’ve never been one to enjoy conflict, but now, you find yourself escalating small problems into major ones. It’s almost like you’re subconsciously trying to prove to both yourself and him that this relationship isn’t working out, that you really can’t find any possible way to get along. You’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, and although part of you wants to stop, something deeper inside you doesn’t care.
  3. The words “I want to break up” are always on the tip of your tongue. Sometimes they nearly leave your mouth before you manage to rein them in. Every time he gets on your nerves, every time you have a petty argument, every time you think about how you really just don’t want to be in this relationship anymore, you come so close to ending it, but something stops you every time. You think that maybe you can work things out, or maybe you’re just particularly emotional, but when those little moments start happening more and more frequently, it might be time to just let the words come out.
  4. Everything he does drives you insane. Sometimes you feel your blood pressure rising just from listening to him breathe. You once loved his quirks, and even his flaws were easy to look past thanks to how amazing it was to be with him. But now, it’s like he can do nothing right. It’s not just something that happens after you get past the “honeymoon stage” either. This is something that goes deeper, telling you that you can’t even find little things that are redeeming about this relationship anymore.
  5. The good times stick out rather than being normal. In a healthy relationship, you’ll be able to pinpoint times when things were bad — the moments in which you’re happy are nearly constant, so the times in which you’re not tend to stand out in your mind. But if it’s the other way around recently, well, that’s a problem. Being happy in a relationship shouldn’t be something that happens once a week; it should be normal. If you two are fighting together more often than you’re smiling together, you’re going to be a lot happier once you’re out of the relationship.
  6. The idea of being with him forever terrifies you. Rather than being exciting, the idea of being married to this guy is dreadful. Even if it’s too soon to think about marriage, a good relationship will allow you to have an open mind about the “what-ifs” of the future. But if the idea of spending the rest of your life with him leaves you with a pit in your stomach, it’s because you know in your heart that staying with him isn’t good for you.
  7. You start talking about “the next time you’re single.” Even in a young relationship, you should be excited enough about the guy you’re with that you’re not interested in returning to the single life or dating other people. By having those slips of the tongue referring to being single again as something that WILL happen instead of something that MIGHT happen, you’re expressing a subconscious desire to be free from your relationship. You know that what you have with this guy isn’t going to last, and you’re kind of looking forward to the day it ends.
  8. Your sexual attraction to him is dying. A lot of people say that the sex was the first thing to go when their relationship went sour, and it makes sense. Could you really have such an intimate experience with someone you can’t stand? I mean, sure, angry sex is definitely a thing, but when a relationship is dying, it often lacks the passion required for even that much. Finding yourself with a complete lack of sexual attraction to your boyfriend might just be a hormonal thing, but if your relationship has been on the rocks recently, it might be just one more sign that it’s time to go.
  9. You feel trapped. A relationship that makes you feel happy will have you wanting to stay in it. The idea of leaving will upset you, but you know that if you ever DID want to get out, all the doors would be open. A relationship gone sour, however, can often leave you feeling like there’s no way out. You’ll feel suffocated when you’re with your boyfriend, and even if you know all it takes to end things would be to just tell him you want to break up, it feels impossible to take that step. You’re caught in a terrible type of purgatory, not knowing if you should stay or leave and finding both to be impossible options.
  10. Your dreams about him are nightmares. Your unconscious mind reveals a lot about your life that you’d rather not admit. A lot of people (including me) have figured out just how unhappy they were in their relationships when they started having dreams about getting married to or having kids with the person they were dating. But rather than being happy dreams, they were nightmares. Nothing was necessarily out of the ordinary, but the very real feeling of being truly tied down to their significant other left them feeling panicked… and that sensation didn’t always go away when they woke up.
  11. You’ve stopped trying to impress him. We all get a little more relaxed with our partner as time goes on, but most of the time, we at least make a bit of effort to do nice things for them or look a little cuter than normal when we go out together. But when your desire to leave starts overpowering your desire to stay, you’ll probably find yourself not giving a damn about how you make him feel. You stop picking up his favorite drink from the store on your way home, you’re less generous in bed, you’re just generally more apathetic as to whether or not this guy is happy with you. You might not actively want him to break up with you, but you really wouldn’t care if he did.
  12. Your gut is telling you to leave. Some of the toughest battles we face are the ones that rage between our hearts and minds. Your mind is telling you to leave, that the relationship you’re in isn’t a healthy one, that you could find more happiness as a single woman or with a different guy. But your heart is telling you that you love him and that you would be crushed if you had to live without him. When the two can’t agree, listen to your gut. Its voice may be quieter than that of your heart or mind, but it has a way of knowing what would really be best for you. If your gut is telling you that your future is going to be a lot brighter without your significant other, you’ll probably end up a lot happier if you listen to it.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt. She's also a TEFL/TESOL-certified ESL teacher and an equine enthusiast. Originally from Pennsylvania, she lived in Costa Rica for a while before moving to Australia. In addition to her work as a writer and editor for Bolde, she also has bylines with Little Things and regularly writes for Jiu-Jitsu Times.

You can follow Averi on Instagram @bjjaveri or on Twitter under the same handle.