13 Signs A Relationship Can’t Be Saved & You Should Stop Trying

Sometimes, even relationships that seem broken beyond repair can be saved. Other times, there’s nothing you can do to fix a relationship that’s disintegrating, and holding on hurts you and your partner. Here are 13 signs a relationship can’t be saved and you should stop trying.

  1. It’s impossible to communicate. Communication is crucial in any healthy relationship. When you have problems to work through, it becomes all the more important. It’s impossible to save your relationship if you can’t communicate like you once did. Whether that’s because one person refuses to listen to the other, or you both feel like you can’t express your truth when the other is listening, failure to communicate makes it extremely difficult to solve your issues.
  2. One (or both) of you isn’t willing to compromise. Saving a relationship that’s slipping away from you requires a lot of effort from both sides. That includes compromise and meeting each other half way. If you or your partner, or both of you, isn’t willing to compromise, it’s a sign your relationship can’t be saved. You both have to be willing and ready to put this work in.
  3. There’s a lack of remorse for mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, and sometimes, they’re worse than others. But usually, it isn’t the extent of the mistake that determines whether a relationship can be saved or not—it’s how a person acts after they make a mistake. If your partner won’t accept responsibility for what they’ve done wrong and aren’t sorry for the pain it’s caused you, saving the relationship is unlikely.
  4. They irritate you by being themselves. When we spend too much time with other people and never have space from them, anybody can become irritating. Or if you’re going through a period where you’re uncharacteristically stressed, even the people you love may get on your nerves. But if your partner irritates you just by being themselves, and there’s nothing else to explain your annoyance, it may be a sign to give up on the relationship because it can’t be saved. After all, a relationship should enhance your life, not feel like a chore.
  5. There’s abuse. There’s no place for abuse in a healthy relationship. If you experience emotional, physical, financial, or verbal abuse in your relationship, it’s time to walk away. Don’t try to save a relationship that features abuse, because doing so can put you in real danger. An abuser has their own healing journey to embark on; it’s not your job to save anyone who’s causing your harm.
  6. You act like someone who’s single. Do you spend most of your time thinking and acting like someone who’s single? Do you consider yourself to be a free person, and then feel a little surprised (and disappointed) when you remember that you’ve got a partner? If so, it’s probably best to walk away from your relationship rather than try to fix it. Relationships take work, patience, and commitment. There’s no point in putting in all of that if you just act like a single person, whether that’s through constant flirting with strangers or making big decisions without considering your partner.
  7. One or both of you doesn’t want it to work out. Sometimes, staying in an unhappy relationship seems easier than leaving. It might be that your heart wants the relationship to end but you can’t bring yourself to pull the plug. When that’s the case, you won’t want to put in the work required to salvage the relationship. And as difficult as it is to end things and start fresh somewhere else, it’s always better than holding onto a dead relationship.
  8. You’re happier when you’re apart. The whole point of being in a relationship is to enhance your life. If your relationship is making you sad or angry more than it’s making you happy over the long term, it’s a sign to let it go. Are you happier on your own than you are with your partner? Then you should stop trying to save the relationship and walk away.
  9. You don’t consider each other’s feelings. In a healthy relationship, the feelings of both partners are valid. If you’re going to save a relationship that’s disintegrating, both partners have to respect the other person’s feelings. That means being sensitive to how the other person feels, allowing them to express their emotions, and not dismissing feelings you might not understand.
  10. Rampant dishonesty. Some experts believe that there are times when you should actually lie in a relationship (via Time). But generally, rampant dishonesty is a sign to let the relationship go. When your partner is a completely different person from who you thought they were, and they’ve been lying about significant things, like money or criminal activity, the relationship is often a write-off.
  11. There’s been infidelity. Most people consider an unfaithful partner to be a deal-breaker. While some experts believe it’s okay to stay with a partner who has cheated on you, this often means that there’s no salvaging a relationship (via Mayo Clinic). That’s particularly the case when the cheating partner is not remorseful, won’t take responsibility, and isn’t committed to changing their ways.
  12. You have different goals and values from your partner. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to make a relationship work between two people who have different goals and values. The idea behind a healthy relationship is to create a partnership with which you can tackle the world together. It’s hard to operate as a team when you feel so differently about such important things, and aren’t moving in the same direction.
  13. Your problems aren’t caused by stress. When you’re stressed, a lot of the signs on this list can manifest in an otherwise healthy relationship. When life is overwhelming you, you might briefly adopt new goals, become annoyed by your partner, or be unwilling to compromise. But when these issues are caused by stress, they’re temporary and redeemable. On the other hand, when there’s no stress or other pressure in your life causing the cracks in your relationship, it’s likely to be because the relationship just isn’t working anymore. And in that case, the best thing to do for everyone involved is to call it quits.
Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including Hotsprings.co and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.