How to know if a relationship is over can be tricky. Especially after a big argument, all sorts of thoughts run through your head, often involving a big anvil falling on your partner's head Roadrunner-style. So yes it can be easy to jump to the conclusion that "this relationship is soooo over - I hate him/her, it's time to break up".
But when the dust has settled on an argument, what questions do you need to ask yourself and each other, to know if a relationship IS over, finito?
How to know if a relationship is over: The Obvious Signs
Sometimes we kid ourselves a relationship can still be saved, even when anyone from the outside can see your relationship is over. If your partner is having affairs, tells you it's over, is planning on moving out, no longer communicates with you, etc - please God just accept it's over and start trying to figure out how to move on.
Don't demean yourself in chasing someone who clearly no longer loves you and has told you so, begging them to stay. And don't buy some internet guide to 'Winning Your Ex Back, Even If They Don't Want You!!'. With these obvious signs you need to just accept it's over.
How to know if a relationship is over: The Less-Obvious Signs
Aside from the obvious signs though, there are less obvious ones that, if they become more and more common, should lead you to question if a relationship is over:
- Lack of Respect & Appreciation
Regardless of how long you have been together, and how comfortable you feel with one another, there should still be respect and appreciation for one another in your relationship. I guess the ultimate lack of respect is abuse, but there are other ways of displaying this - lying, cruel name-calling for example. And if this is combined with a lack of appreciation for your efforts in the relationship, then you need to admit that it's over. It's rare for someone to just start respecting you again.
- Passive Aggressive a.k.a. 'Being a tool'
Passive aggressive is one of those terms I hear mentioned a lot, and I never really understood what it meant, until a friend, a wise friend said "y'know, like doing stuff to you that shows they dislike you, without them ever ACTUALLY admitting they dislike you... like not picking you up when they said they would, constantly making promises they don't keep... y'know, just being a complete tool in general".
- Everything's One-Sided
It can feel like you're the only one trying sometimes in a relationship. If your partner never makes the effort to try to spend time with you, talk things through with you, it's a sign they are not as committed as you. Or if they demand a lot of your time, and are very possessive, yet get the hump if you display the same characteristics with them. Or if they are very flirtatious, yet get jealous if you so much as look at someone else 'the wrong way'. These are all signs of a lack of give-and-take, where your partner wants things their way, and your feelings don't come into the equation.
- Couple-time = Awkward-time
You know something is badly wrong when you dread spending time with your partner, and prefer being alone or with your friends - you're supposed to be a couple remember, i.e. together - if being together isn't what you want any more, then the relationship is in trouble
- High Maintenance is not sustainable
If the relationship is wearing you out, always stressing about your latest argument, then you need to recognise that this is not a healthy relationship. If the relationship seems to be constantly under strain, with petty jealousies, misunderstood statements, dumb arguments always coming up, and zero fun, love and happiness, then for goodness-sake admit that you deserve better and address this problem.
How to know if a relationship is over - my closing comments your honor...
If any of the above ring true for you and your relationship, then you need to quit kidding yourself and recognise that the relationship needs work. If you have yet to work through the issues with your partner then you need to do this.
And if you HAVE already talked things through with your partner and your relationship is still the same, then THAT is how to know if a relationship is over.
About the Author
Chris has a passion for helping couples stick together by working through their problems. Hundreds of couples have benefited from his free Relationship Bootcamp course, and his 'Romance For the Useless' site DoYouWoo.com