8 signs it is time to let go of a relationship that doesn't serve you anymore

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A failed relationship can feel like the ultimate rejection.
A failed relationship can feel like the ultimate rejection.
Photo: Justin Lambert
  • Relationships are generally challenging, and one may hold on to the hope that a tough season in the relationship will come to pass.
  • Relationship expert Paula Quinsee shares 8 signs that it is time to let go of a relationship that does not serve you anymore.
  • Deciding to let go doesn't make you a failure. She says a failure is an event, not a person.

Anyone who has been in love knows that letting go of a relationship that no longer serves you can be difficult. The heart persists even when your head tells you it is time to call it quits.

Relationships are generally challenging, and one may hold on to the hope that a tough season in the relationship will come to pass.  But for some people, it never gets better, and the status of the relationship doesn't change or improve over time.

Relationship expert Paula Quinsee says we all want to be loved and accepted for who we are at a basic human level. A failed relationship can feel like the ultimate rejection.

"We often start questioning our worth and what's wrong with us that our partner doesn't want to be committed or can't love us. Often, fear holds us back from making that final decision to let go," she says.

The fear of being alone, on our own and starting all over again may be crippling.

READ MORE | Can you love someone too much?

8 signs it is time to let go

  • You/your partner are detached from your relationship and are just going through the motions.
  • There is very little engagement, communication, or connection between you – everything happens on a superficial level.
  • There's no talk about the future or putting any future goals in place.
  • The relationship is one-sided – your needs are not taken into account.
  • You/your partner are using unhealthy avoidance/coping mechanisms such as alcohol, substance abuse, stonewalling, silent treatment, etc.
  • You/your partner are non-committal regarding conversations, making plans or taking action.
  • You/your partner keep threatening to walk away/end the relationship.
  • You have underlying resentment about things that happened in the past and are not able to forgive and move forward together.

READ MORE | 7 signs he is not that into you, according to a dating coach

Some questions you can ask yourself to help gain clarity on what's driving you to stay in your situation are:

  • What do you really love about this person?
  • Why are you considering ending/leaving the relationship?
  • If you had the opportunity to turn things around, would you want to, and how badly do you want to fix this relationship?
  • What is your level of commitment to making the relationship work should you decide to stay and work on it?
  • What has your role/contribution been in getting things to where they are now?

Staying in a relationship you don't want to be in anymore has lasting consequences. It may impact your mental and emotional well-being.

"People may lose their identity and sense of self within their relationship as they resort to coping mechanisms to survive their environment, such as alcohol, sleeping tablets, socialising, throwing themselves into their work, and becoming numb to their emotions," Paula says.

READ MORE | Do you think you are settling in your relationship? 5 signs you are, according to a dating coach

"In the long run, it can negatively impact our self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence and, in extreme cases, even lead to suicidal thoughts and depression."

Deciding to let go doesn't make you a failure. "A failure is an event, not a person," she adds.

"It's important to unpack and process what led you to your situation. How do you learn from it so you are in a much healthier emotional space for your next relationship."

- Paula Quinsee is a relationship coach, author and speaker specialising in creating healthy relationships at home and in the workplace to co-create a more human connected world and positively impact people's lives.

Are you in a relationship you want to let go of? Tell us here.

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