We’ve all been annoyed because of some dumb shit our partner has done. “Oh my god”, you think to yourself as you inhale very slowly, “You’re lucky I love you, you beautiful d**khead”. These frustrating moments are part of being in a long-term relationship and you usually end up laughing about them later. But what should you do when your relationship leaves you feeling more irritated than enamoured?
If being with your significant other brings more sadness into your life than it does happiness, there’s a problem. Here are 7 signs that it might be time to bite the bullet and break up.
1. You Try To Convince Yourself That You’re Happy
You shouldn’t have to convince yourself that you’re happy, girl! You should know you’re happy.
Stop and think:
- Are you posting this couple pic to Insta because you have beautiful memories of that weekend away? Or are you uploading it because you both fought non-stop and had a miserable time, and you could use some reassuring ‘likes’ right now? The comments might read “you guys are literally couple goals!” but that doesn’t change the fact that your mini-break was a train wreck, does it?
- If the actions of your significant other frequently upset you, do you discuss it with friends or family? Or do you purposely keep this information from them because you know they’ll judge your partner or argue that you deserve better?
- Do you feel like you have to justify why you’ve let your standards slip? Because you’re not fooling anyone, let alone yourself, when you announce that you’re fine with them forgetting your birthday.
It’s much easier to convince yourself that you’re happy than it is to confront the fact that you aren’t. If you’ve spent a lot of time fooling yourself lately, it may be time to have The Talk.
2. Your Relationship Isn’t Moving Forward
There are different expectations for different kinds of relationships. You wouldn’t expect your one-night-stand to meet your parents. But it’s fair to expect that your Official™ boyfriend or girlfriend will meet them. Asking your casual-sex supplier to move in with you is probably the worst idea ever. But if you’ve been dating someone for a few years now, shacking up together is a logical next-step. When all parties have the same expectations, its full steam ahead. But when your expectations don’t match you can run into insurmountable problems.
A friend of mine was dating her boyfriend long-distance for over 6 years. When her boyfriend told me that he’d soon be relocating to her city for his work, I was happy. I said something like “oh great, no more long car drives, you two can finally live together!” To my surprise, he started laughing and was like “No way, that’s not happening”. Here she was, wanting to spend the rest of her life with this guy but, to him, the thought of even sharing a living space with her was laughable (for the -1% of readers who are interested: she’s seeing someone else now)
TLDR: If you’ve got major expectations that your partner has no intention of fulfilling, don’t waste your time hanging around.
3. Only One of You is Making the Effort
If you stopped arranging dates, celebrating special occasions, cleaning your apartment or doing the necessary stuff like grocery shopping and paying bills — would your relationship still function?
One person making all the effort is a recipe for resentment. If you continue to do the work of two people, you will end up feeling like a makeup wipe. That is, unremarkable and disposable.
If you stick around, your concept of what considerate behaviour is will get warped. One day your partner will finally get up off their arse and do something mildly kind, and you’ll mistakenly think he/she is a goddamn superhero because the bar is set THAT low.
Check out comedian Daniel Sloss’s Live Shows on Netflix. He says, “If you only love yourself at 20%, that means someone can come along and love you at 30% and you’re like “Wow, that’s SO much!” … it’s literally less than half?!”
By the same token, if you’re the person in the relationship that does nothing – what are you playing at? Have you gotten the terms ‘partner’ and ‘servant’ confused? If you don’t care about this person enough to put the work in, do the decent thing and stop wasting their time.
4. You Don’t Want to Spend One-on-One Time with Them
For pity’s sake, don’t just stay in a relationship because it means you’ll have someone to bring to your work’s Christmas drinks. If you fight like cats and dogs and rely on the presence of others to act as a buffer — this is not happy relationship and you may need to go separate ways.
5. Your Relationship Lacks Trust
Without trust there is no love. Put on El Tango De Roxanne and tick all that apply to either of you
- ‘Checking’ (read: Spying on) their texts and messages
- Controlling who the other person spends their time with
- One or both people lie about major issues, like their spending habits, debt, alcohol or drug use
- Suspicion and paranoia are normal, everyday feelings
- One of you has cheated before, and now the other person questions everything
- Both of you have cheated before, so now both of you question everything
Sure, Brad and Ange’s characters stayed together in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. But that was a film, and this is real life. If you can’t trust your partner, things aren’t going to work out.
6. They hold you back
A supportive partner will encourage you to pursue your goals and to achieve your full potential. If your partner is telling you there’s no point starting that side hustle you’ve always dreamed about because it won’t earn much money or saying you shouldn’t enrol in that course because you won’t pass, if you’re trying to save money for a deposit but they encourage you to splurge every Saturday night — they’re holding you back, lady. Do you really want to spend your life regretting the chances you didn’t take because of someone you were dating?
7. Your Relationship is Abusive
If your partner hurts you, you are in danger. They may not necessarily inflict physical harm on you, but they can still be the perpetrator of domestic violence. If they do any of the following:
- Verbally abuse or threaten you
- Threaten to harm others in your life, or your pets
- Threaten to damage your property, or actually damage your property
- Deprive you of your money
- Isolate you from family and friends
- Control your behaviour and make you live in fear
Then they do not deserve to be with you, and it is in your best interest to leave them
Of course, leaving someone who is abusive is not as simple as just walking out the front door. The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria is offers inclusive advice for anyone who has been touched by domestic violence and real-life stories from members of the LGBTQIA community, women with disabilities, older people, young people and men.
If you’re in Australia and you ever need to call the police but are unable to speak because your abuser is present, you can ring 000 from a landline number and remain silent. If you don’t speak, the operator directs your call to an Interactive Voice Response Unit. If you then press ‘55’, the police will be dispatched to your location. This only works from a landline, so it won’t be helpful for everyone. It’s worth deciding on a code word or even an emoji you can message to a trusted friend which lets them know they need to ring for the police on your behalf.
Don’t think your partner’s behaviour has to be abusive before you’re justified in leaving them though. A woman once said to me: “I really like him (her boyfriend). But he makes me feel unattractive and unintelligent”
*RED FLAG FURIOUSLY WAVING*
If your partner makes you feel worthless, they don’t love you and you should show them the door. There’s roughly 7.7 billion people on this planet, you’ll find someone else who treats you with respect instead.
Award-winning food scholar. Infuriatingly humble explorer. Music specialist. General tv fanatic. Pop culture geek.