It is never easy to accept that it may be time to leave a relationship, but crucial when said relationship is toxic or destructive. Maybe people fear being alone, or don’t want to hurt the person they are with by ending things prematurely, even if it is best for all parties involved. Below are the top three red flags that your relationship may be toxic and signs you should leave.
1. You or your partner are distant or emotionally unavailable.
There are many reasons why a person may become distant; they may be shutting down because they’re no longer interested in the relationship, they’ve prioritized other things above you, or even because they are an emotionally neglectful person. One or both of you may feel that you’ve grown apart, or feel “stuck.” Healthy romantic companionship is supposed to serve the emotional needs of both individuals. If your partner ignores you, shows no interest in your life, or doesn’t seem “present,” you must evaluate if you are gaining anything from staying together.
2. Your partner doesn’t “fight fair” or treat you with respect.
Communication breakdowns, contempt, negativity, and abuse are all hallmark signs of a toxic relationship. If you do not feel that you can openly and honestly communicate with your partner without being berated or criticized you could be in an emotionally abusive relationship. Having reoccurring fights or vicious arguments are damaging to a person’s mental and physical health, and are a huge red flag in relationships. Partners who don’t respect your privacy or trust you can be equally harmful.
3. You’ve been unhappy for a long time and are considering other options.
Whether you’re fantasizing about seeing other people, living alone, or making major life changes without your partner, if you are finding yourself spending a lot more time considering alternatives to your current situation, that is a good sign that you are ready to move on from a relationship that is not good for you. If you cannot see yourself being with the person long term it may be better to end it early and “rip off the band-aid ,” but if the relationship is toxic than it is definitely better to move on. If your partner hurts you more than they bring you joy, it is time to make a change so that you can be happy.
Reaching out to family and friends and making sure they know what’s going on can be a good way to get help when ending a toxic relationship. Therapy can also be an invaluable tool for getting through break ups, especially when it is with an abusive partner. A good therapist can help you process emotional pain and rebuild self esteem. It is never easy to leave any relationship, but as Nina Simone wrote, “you’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.” – Gwendolyn Duval