Relationships can enrich our lives and add fulfillment and excitement. Or they can be tremendously damaging and poisonous to our soul. So if you don’t know how to know when to end a relationship, then you could be putting yourself at risk for unnecessary suffering.

Whether it’s a friend, family member, or significant other, any relationship comes with its share of challenges. And more often than not, putting in the effort to resolve relationship issues can and does result in a healthier bond.

But there are some relationships that, no matter the amount of work and goodwill put into them, will never bring a return on your time or emotional investment. These relationships are toxic and poisonous, and they need to be ended in order to live a rich, full, and meaningful life.


How To know when to end a relationship


There are more negative interactions than positive ones


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If you feel like most of your interactions are negative or find you don’t like how you feel around someone most of the time, it may be time to end things.


Every relationship has its good interactions and its bad ones. But there are some relationships that seem like every interaction is tense and filled with negative emotions. When communication becomes difficult or impossible, the relationship is often beyond fixing.


Vastly different needs


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Having different needs is a common relationship problem, but if you can’t find common ground or compromise, you’re in trouble.


In the beginning of a new friendship or romance, it’s easy to try and compromise with one another, making certain that both persons needs are being met. Over time, some friends or couples realize their needs are too different to look past.

For example, in romantic relationships, some may need more sex than the other. Someone may need to be always in control or have a need to lie. These kind of clashing needs are a red flag for any relationship.


A blatant lack of respect


how to know when to end a relationship

Learning how to know when to end a relationship is an important skill if you want more fulfilling and enriching relationships.


Respect is essential in relationships. But sometimes there are those individuals that seem incapable of respecting the other person, their needs, their boundaries, their wishes, etc. These people often tend to be on the narcissistic spectrum and are incapable of having empathy or respect for the needs of others.


This is by no means an exhaustive list of signs, but these are some of the more common and problematic signs it’s time to end the relationship.


Letting go and moving on


Once you know it’s time to end the relationship, you may find that your head and heart waffle back-and-forth, wondering if you’re making the right decision. This is why it’s a good idea to have someone in your corner you can rely on to give you honest, objective feedback, sound advice, and provide clarity.

Sometimes you can find this in your network of friends and family, but other times it might be difficult to find a neutral third-party that can be objective. Someone you never have to wonder whether or not they are “just saying that“ because they love and care about you.

Life is short. If you don’t know how to know when to end a relationship, then you are going to suffer needlessly and longer than necessary. So find an awesome therapist or life coach you like and trust to help navigate the challenges, provide objective feedback, and map out a plan of action.


James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.