Breakups happen. It’s a fact baked into every relationship: all relationships come to an end until one doesn’t. Sometimes the breakup comes screaming out of the clear blue sky while other times it’s like watching an oncoming train and knowing you’ll never get out of the way in time. But not every relationship ends with a loud and dramatic climax. Sometimes the end has already come and nobody has noticed. Your relationship is shuffling along like a zombie, putting on the empty performance of being a couple even as your hopes and dreams quietly bleed into despair.
Sometimes there’s that vague sense that things are wrong as you both try to half-heartedly keep things going because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? After all, it can be hard to pull the trigger on that break-up, even when you know it needs to happen. However, there comes a point when everyone needs to realize that the patient is dead and there’s no amount of CPR, couple’s therapy, lingerie, or weekend getaways that can bring it back.
Here’s how to recognize that your relationship is already over and it’s time to let it go.
5) You Aren’t Communicating
Communication is vital for a relationship’s success. After all, nobody’s a mind-reader and expecting your partner to just be able to divine your wants and needs is a one-way trip to frustration and disappointment. However, there’s a difference between communicating and “filling the air with noise”. We have a tendency to mistake “talking” for communicating and strive to cover those moments of silence with verbal flack as though it were a way of chasing relationship difficulties away. In practice though, it doesn’t matter if you can coexist in companionable silence or if you chatter away like a pair of extroverted cockatoos as long as you can express your needs clearly to one another. When everybody is talking but nobody’s actually connecting, you’ve got problems. And if the two of you can’t find a way to bridge that gap, then the relationship is dead in the water.
It doesn’t matter how long your conversations can go for if it’s all surface. If you can’t ask for what you really want or need or open up about how you actually feel, then your relationship is functionally over. It doesn’t matter if you feel like it’s something you’re not “allowed” to want or if you’re afraid that if you ask, the answer will be “no”. It doesn’t matter if making your needs clear will result in a fight; avoiding or ending a conflict doesn’t actually make a relationship stronger if nothing is resolved and frankly, some fights need to happen. Sometimes conflict is how you move things forward. If you don’t have the emotional space and security to make yourself heard and be understood, then it’s time to move on.
4) You’re Going From Fight To Fight
No couple, no matter how perfectly in sync or in love they may be, can avoid fighting. As long as you have two separate people, you’re going to have conflict. Hell, for some couples, the “explode at one another, then passionate make-up sex” is part of their dynamic and they’re just fine with it.
But there are the occasional flare-ups that are part of every relationship and then there are the relationships where those moments of quiet aren’t tranquility, it’s the calm before the storm. When your relationship has become a never-ending string of arguments, grievances and all-out fights, then you’re looking at a relationship that’s gone past it’s expiration date. Going from fight to fight is a surefire sign that something has gone horribly wrong at the core of your relationship and neither of you are managing to address it. Maybe you’re unwilling to admit that you were wrong. Maybe they can’t quite bring themselves to let go of previous arguments and they’ve been storing up slights and affronts like prize tickets from passive-aggressive games of emotional skee-ball and now they’re ready to get the giant stuffed teddy bear of I-Am-Less-Wrong-Than-You-Therefore-I-Win.