Is Your Relationship Over For Good?

When your relationship is on the rocks, you’ll experience a lot of extremes as a couple: more fights, more tears, more unhappiness. You may make up a few times, but inevitably, the cycle starts all over again. So when is it actually time to say goodbye?

Unhappy woman with boyfriend

You're in it alone

According to Caird Urquhart, author of 30 Ways to Better Days: How to Rally After You've Been Dumped, the first clue is when one person has simply stopped putting in effort. That may come in a variety of forms, such as being "busy" more often or less interested in communicating or working toward a solution. You might notice a lack of support for the other person and increased frustration with the little things. "If either party isn't interested in continuing to make the effort, the end is near. You can't control how someone else feels. What you can control is how you think and how you react," says Urquhart.

Change is the only constant

Change is a part of life, but it can be tough on a couple. When one partner "evolves" and the other remains unchanged, a goodbye may be near. Perhaps you've become passionate about healthy living, while your partner has no interest in leaving the coach. Maybe you're laser-focused on building a career, while your partner is content to work fewer hours and have more play time. Neither person is right or wrong when change happens, but if you're not on the same page, it's time to turn to a new chapter.

Urquhart says that relationships never really end; they just turn into something else. It's important to recognize that change isn't a negative: "You and your partner evolve for continued growth, but when we hang onto the course of our lives too tightly, we feel the pain of change the most. Evolution is part of the human experience. Learn to embrace it."


According to Psychology Today, Facebook is implicated in more than 20 percent of the divorces in the U.S.

There is no shared vision

Relationships are about compromise; however, when you have wildly different visions on things that are truly important -- such as whether or not to marry, have kids, move to a major city or travel the world -- it may be time to say goodbye. You'll always need to sacrifice in some ways to ensure that you're both happy, but if you disagree about the things that you want most in this life, consider moving on.

You can't get past the past

When couples harbor anger and resentment about something in the past and the issue rears its head often, the relationship may be winding down. Being angry for a little while is OK, but your relationship may be on the rocks for good if every fight returns to a past that a person cannot let go, despite your insistence on moving forward and forgiving.

Life vs. fiction

Rainshadow Road

Head to the SheKnows Book Lounge for a great fiction read about love, life, family, betrayal and moving on – Lisa Kleypas' new novel Rainshadow Road, our Red Hot Book of the Week.

More relationship tips

5 Ways to get over a breakup
Fear of commitment: How to get past your fears of marriage
Signs he's ready to settle down


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Comments on "Relationship on the rocks: When it’s time to say goodbye"

Angel Dust March 12, 2014 | 1:14 PM

I went onto my ex's computer to check my Facebook page & he was already logged in. I asked him how many times he talks to his ex, but he said that he wasn't. Facebook messages don't lie, they tell right on them when they were read & when they were written. I was posting sayings, quotes & prayers that had to do with my life. Yes, some of them had to do with him, but nobody knew that. I just posts things, some without comments. Well, needless to say the main reason for our break-up was FB. I never cheated on him until the day he told me I had to go live somewhere else. I was so upset that I went out with some old friends, very bad mistake. When we got to drinking, I did some drugs with them too. I then slept with a guy I knew from the "past". I was told that I called him by me current ex's name like 4 or 5 times. This made my past ex very angry & he found a way to send a picture of us to my current ex. Yeah, NOT good at all. That ruined any chance of getting things back together with the current ex. It is very hard to move on. I cried for 4 days straight, had trouble sleeping & kept messaging my current ex hoping for some response. For him to say I forgive you & we can try again but start over on a different note.

Joseph November 01, 2013 | 12:07 PM

What if the past is the problem, but you were not...? I remarried with a woman who I feel is a good woman, but she concentrates on the pains of her previous marital mistakes as well as the mistakes I made in my previous marriage with someone else... I think she needs true counseling but we cannot afford it. Any suggestion(s) to help us?

len June 27, 2013 | 9:42 PM

I know our relationship is over but I keep denying to myself that its not yet over, because i just cant let him go...I love him so much.As the days passed i noticed the signs on him that he is not interested anymore but he cant say it directly maybe he just avoid hurting me.It hurts me but I stay blind.there is a thought on my mind that i should end it now or it will be too late.This is man abusing me emotionally because he knows how much I care for him.But i don't know to start.

Lori February 15, 2013 | 2:53 AM

I tried so hard to stay with my daughter's father and be with him for the sake of my daughter having her Dad. He was verbally abusive, draining, & downright horrible. I woke up one day and realized I did not want my daughter to think that being treated like that was ok. I realized that no matter how positive I tried to be it was not working. Then my sister said two things to me, "The negative outweighs the positive & it's better to be alone than in bad company" That was the wake up call of words that hit me. I asked him to leave and have been alone for 7 years now raising my daughter ALONE. He is a horrible father (he moved out of state with another sister of mine) never sees his daughter and is an all around loser. I am so glad he is out of my life...but at the same time I am so sad for my daughter. I have no regrets though! Just hoping one day to find a man that deserves us and will treat us well.

Jana October 16, 2012 | 6:16 PM

I understand completely what you are trying to say, and I'm in a similar boat. I've always said someone should write a book of rules to follow. Seems like it would make decisions easier. The question is, do you love him? Couples who have "made it" have also had their times of grief as well. Sometimes I talk to the older generations to get my answers because ultimately I don't want to be a statistic, but I do want to be happy. I just may have to find that happiness on my own instead. Who knows?? Sorry, but you are the one who knows what you can and can't tolerate.

becky July 18, 2012 | 7:19 AM

I am starting to realize this. Me and my husband got back together after he was living with someone else for 3 years, and we've been back together for about 3 years, and i mainly allowed him back for our daughter, she was only 2 or 3 when we split and she lost alot of time with her dad. I wanted her to have time with him and to grow up with him. well i easily get frustrated with him, when he does anything wrong, or if he gets mad at me or mad at the kids. i feel he should be so grateful that we allowed him to come home after what he did to us. And i try to move past the hurt he caused me for 3 years, but it keeps coming back into my mind. at that time, he left me without me having a say in it, without a warning, and now, it feels like i have had time to get use to the idea of him being gone and i'm actually wishing for it. the resentment is still there. i have learned to put up with him, but it's not a happy life. if he does one thing wrong, i go back to the thoughts of, why did i allow him back and he should be grateful to me. and it's been 3 years. so i do want it to end, i can't get the thoughts out of my mind, but now it's hard to end it.

Leslie June 22, 2012 | 5:12 PM

It's very hard to know that it's time to end a relationship and take the steps to move forward. As I've gotten older, I've realized that life is too short to waste on someone who isn't worth it. Time goes by so fast. It's better to be single and share your time with your friends than with someone who doesn't care about you. Be smart about it.

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