Here’s How You Know Your Relationship Has Run Its Course: Signs It’s Over

There’s one thing worse than a breakup: staying in a dead relationship. Not all relationships are meant to last forever, and in reality, most won’t. These are the signs that your relationship has run its course and it’s time to call it quits. It may suck now, but it’s over and everyone will be happier when you admit that.

  1. You’re having the same argument over and over. Not all relationship problems can be fixed, but some consensus must be reached. But if you and your partner can’t do this, you might find yourself repeating the same arguments over and over, never reaching any agreement. For a successful relationship, you must be able to compromise or accept your differences. And if you can’t, it may be one of those signs that your relationship is better off being over.
  2. You’ve stopped growing. Relationships are challenging, but if those challenges feel completely futile, your relationship may be reaching its expiration date. In thriving relationships, hard times and growing pains still happen. But you, as a couple, must work to overcome them and find the lesson in the experience. If it feels like there’s nothing left to learn from your relationship and you’ve stopped growing and improving, it’s time to move on.
  3. There are more bad memories than good. Early in your relationship, you likely only saw the positive in each other. As time goes on, it’s normal (and totally necessary) to see each other more realistically, recognizing both the good and the bad. But if you’re starting to only see the negative, and it feels like you’ve had more bad times together than good, your relationship will likely only continue to suffer if you stay together.
  4. You don’t want the same future. One common reason why couples split up is that they don’t have the same goals and dreams for the future. You may have enjoyed your relationship in the last chapter of your life, but that hardly means anything if you can’t agree on the next chapter. Your goals and values going forward should be aligned. If they’re not, it’s better to give up on the relationship rather than give up on the life you truly want. If you’re looking for signs your relationship is over, this is a big one.
  5. You’d rather spend time with other people. If you have the choice between spending time with your friends or your partner, which option excites you more? If you find yourself dreading time with your partner, wishing you were with someone else, consider this a warning sign. And especially take note if you feel tempted to cheat (either physically or emotionally) on your partner. A struggling relationship is one where you have nothing to talk about, there are no shared hobbies or interests, and your time together feels like a chore. Then, you may resent time with your partner, wishing you could be with someone else.
  6. Your sex life is dead. This is one of the biggest signs your relationship is over. You may still like and respect each other. But if you used to be physically intimate, and that part of your relationship is gone, you may be better off as friends. It’s normal to experience some ups and down in the bedroom. But notice if your desire has changed. If you’re still attracted to other people, while your attraction towards each other has fizzled out, you may want to consider ending things.
  7. You feel exhausted with them. The people in your life should energize you, not drain you. But constant misunderstandings, defensiveness, and resentment can make time together utterly exhausting. Notice if you feel like you’re a worse version of yourself when you’re with them or if you’re always depleted after spending time together.
  8. You no longer miss each other. In a healthy relationship, time apart is necessary, and reuniting after feels rewarding. If your relationship has run its course, though, you may actually crave time apart—and you’ve completely stopped missing each other. This shows that you’ve not only started taking each other for granted, but you also no longer add value to each other’s lives.
  9. A major boundary has been broken. Relationships can overcome broken boundaries and betrayal. But that doesn’t mean they always should. If your partner committed a major deal-breaker (or if you seriously betrayed them), your trust in each other may be completely destroyed. You may feel like the relationship is no longer salvageable, and that’s okay. Your respective boundaries deserve to be honored, and if they can’t be, it’s time to end things.
  10. You fantasize about breaking up. If you’ve been considering breaking up for a long time, you might just be delaying the inevitable. Or maybe you’re in an on-again-off-again relationship that you can’t seem to permanently let go of. It’s normal to sometimes wonder what life would be like without your partner, but if you’ve been continuously fantasizing about breaking up for good, rip off the bandaid and discuss your feelings with them. Sometimes, our secret breakup fantasies deserve to become a reality, especially when your relationship is no longer happy and fulfilling.

The signs your relationship is over can be hard to spot, or at least hard to admit when you do notice them. However, you don’t want to waste your time or anyone else’s, so it’s important to be honest with yourself and your partner when you realize that things are finished.

Relationship educator, writer, host of the Relationship Reminders podcast, and mental health advocate hailing from the US and currently based in Tokyo