Should I Break Up With My Boyfriend? How To Know If It’s Over

Should I break up with my boyfriend? Deciding when it’s time to end your relationship with your partner is agonizing and confusing. There is no guidebook for every individual situation because every relationship is unique and personal to the people involved. However, there are certain universal signs that a relationship is over. If you identify with any of these things, it’s probably time to call it quits.

  1. You feel like you’re the only one making an effort. A relationship is a two-way street. No matter how much you want it to work, you will never be able to make it a success without equal investment from your partner. This means action, not just words. He needs to show up with his deeds, not make empty promises and profess his love for you. If he doesn’t put the work in and you feel like you’re doing all the heavy lifting, it’s time to move on.
  2. You’ve grown apart. Everyone changes, but trouble arises when a couple grows in opposite directions. In a healthy partnership, the two of you would support each other’s growth and cheer your individual progress. But in some cases, personal transformation pushes people apart. If you and your boyfriend have lost the commonalities that drew you together, you will have to re-evaluate your relationship and maybe bring it to an end.
  3. You feel like there’s an elephant in the room. Every time you’re together, you feel like there is something left unsaid. Whether it’s a grievance you choose not to express or you sense he’s not confiding in you about something important, your communication is at a standstill. You make small talk and discuss only the logistics of your life together. Anything more feels like opening a can of worms that could lead to a huge fight that you can’t be bothered to have.
  4. You avoid talking about the future with him. When thinking about the future makes you feel claustrophobic and anxious, you need to consider breaking up. Avoiding the topic altogether is a red flag because it indicates that your feelings are so complicated and negative that you can’t bear to confront the implications. Throwing your plans into chaos is scary, but if you can’t bring yourself to think about the alternative, it may be the only way for you to be happy in the long run.
  5. You find ways to exclude him from your plans. You’ll never be in a long-term relationship where you want to spend every second with your partner, but if you’re actively seeking ways to ditch him, you may need to ditch the relationship itself. Constantly finding reasons why he shouldn’t be your plus-one at parties or why you need to visit your relatives by yourself is an indication that you don’t want to be in a relationship with him anymore.
  6. You resent him. One of the ways we deflect our frustration with our inaction is by blaming those around us. If everything your boyfriend does annoys you, or if you feel like he’s holding you back from being happy or reaching your potential, you may just be annoyed at yourself for not having the courage to leave him. Resentment for imagined slights is a toxic emotion to spread in a relationship and it’s one of the clearest signs that things are over.
  7. You’re exhausted. Carrying around the burden of an unhappy relationship is tiring. Your home life should be your refuge from the craziness and unpredictability of the outside world. You should never feel like there’s a weight on your shoulders as soon as you enter your house or dread leaving work at the prospect of spending another evening with your partner. If you’re tired just thinking about your life together, it’s time to break up.
  8. You don’t feel seen by him. Feeling seen by your partner is one of the most important and powerful parts of being in a relationship. As the two of you grow, you should still feel connected, respected, and understood. If you don’t, you will feel more lonely and abandoned than if you were by yourself. If you don’t feel recognized by your boyfriend, you deserve to be with someone else.
  9. You can’t imagine a happy future with him. Very few people will themselves being happy right after a breakup, so it’s likely that, if you consider only the near future, you would conclude that staying with your boyfriend is a better option. On the other hand, if you imagine still being together in five years and it fills you with dread and disappointment, you are definitely better off enduring short-term pain so that you can have long-term contentment.
  10. You love him but aren’t in love. There is a difference between being in love and loving. If you’re in love with your partner, your passion for them and investment in the relationship are still there. Loving someone, on the other hand, only means that you care about them deeply. This is inevitable if you’ve been together for a long time and have a shared history. You may always love him, but if you’re not in love, the relationship is over.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.