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The 20 Telling Signs it’s Time to Give Up on a Relationship

Knowing when to give up on a relationship is a crucial decision. But do you know when to hold on versus when to let go?

give up on a relationship

People change. Feelings change. Perhaps the fire of desire has now turned to ash, and you have no clue what to do. Relationships aren’t perfect, but there comes a point you should know when to give up on a relationship. As much as we want our relationships to last a lifetime, love just doesn’t work that way.

Sometimes, you hurt yourself further by holding on to a relationship, trying to mend it. So you’re only left with one choice, the most difficult choice of all – to let them go. [Read: When to leave a relationship: 15 clues that shouldn’t be ignored]

Why do people choose to give up on relationships?

We want to say that we’ll love them forever when that’s not the reality of life. No matter how much we fight for things to work, it’s pointless if you’re alone in the fight. People give up for all kinds of reasons, and it’s not always because of cheating, betrayal, or something equally as severe.

Some relationships end because there’s an imbalance in effort, lack of trust, lack of respect, lack of compatibility, or when both people grow apart. Relationships are hard work, and we’re not always lucky enough to find someone to venture into life with us.

When someone chooses to give up, it’s often because the bad outweighs the good, and they start to lose hope in the relationship. Maybe they’ve been tolerating the relationship for so long and one day, they eventually wake up and lose patience. [Read: 20 valid reasons to break up with someone]

20 signs to know when to give up on a relationship

If you aren’t sure if you should stay and fight for your relationship or decide to move on, these signs will help you figure out what to do.

1. When you’re always looking back

A good sign of a healthy relationship is your ability to live in the present with no regrets from the past or fear of the future. However, if you feel tied down by your past so much that you can’t move on, then that’s a red flag.

One of the clear signs it’s time to give up on a relationship is when you’re looking backward instead of forward. [Read: 25 must-follow relationship rules for happy love]

2. When it’s more pain than bliss

A relationship isn’t perfect, and it never will be. But one of the indicators of when to give up on a relationship is when the pain outweighs the bliss. No matter how hard you try to be happy or bring happiness to the relationship, the pain is still more significant.

If your relationship leaves you unhappy more than happy, then there’s something wrong. That’s a clear red flag, especially when you’ve been feeling unhappy for a significant time now. [Read: Why does love hurt when it goes bad? The truth you need to hear]

3. When there’s always a condition

Love should be free and unconditional. If you find yourself working hard just to get your partner’s approval, affection, love, and loyalty, it’s the wrong relationship to be in. Love is the purest and wholesome thing we can feel because it comes without conditions.

So if one of you is trying their ultimate best to change the other or put pressure on them, that isn’t love – at least, not anymore. [Read: How to recognize and end toxic relationships]

4. When you have to convince yourself

When you wake up every day trying to plaster a smile on your face and convince yourself you’re in an incredible relationship, that’s a problem. Or, you try to convince yourself that your partner is great. You’re only fooling yourself. This is the part of love that should come naturally.

Yes, love is a choice more than a feeling, but you shouldn’t have to force yourself to feel happiness and love. So if you have to prove to yourself that you love them, this is one of the signs it’s time to give up on a relationship. [Read: 20 relationship problems that push a couple apart or bring them closer]

5. When there’s unresolved conflict and resentment

Maybe you are not fighting right, communicating positively, or dealing with things in your relationship constructively and maturely. As a result, conflict ensues often. Or worse, you don’t resolve conflict at all.

Maybe your partner is afraid of confrontation, so you end up never resolving any conflict in your relationship.

But just as repressed emotions will break you, unresolved issues will destroy your relationship. So if you’re wondering when to give up on a relationship, this is one of the signs to observe. [Read: Are you happy? Spotting the signs of resentment in a relationship]

6. When it’s going nowhere

When a relationship stagnates, it’s bound for rock bottom. If you keep fighting the same issues even after you have already addressed them, then something’s got to give. Or, maybe your relationship is stuck at one phase for a lengthy period, and it’s not progressing anywhere.

While we fear change, we also need that element of change, especially in relationships. So if you feel stuck in the relationship and you have for some time, it’s one of the signs it’s time to give up on a relationship. [Read: 10 reasons your relationship is at a standstill]

7. When you’re going nowhere

A healthy, positive relationship allows you both to grow in many ways as individuals. However, consider your role in the relationship if you feel stuck with the short end of the stick and feel stifled. If you’re not growing or changing positively, then you need to rethink whether your relationship is worth fighting for.

A relationship is all about growth, and it’s why being stuck in one of the worst feelings in the world. You have to be free not only to be yourself but to live and grow as you please. [Read: How to fall out of love when you see no future]

8. When you fight more than you talk

Disagreements and arguments are unavoidable in relationships. In fact, consider these as stumbling blocks allowing you to come out stronger and better as a couple. But if fights are all you need, this will exhaust and drain every ounce of your energy until you have no more left to fight.

Constant fighting is also one factor that leads to toxic relationships, so this is never a good sign to stay with someone. Fights and arguments might be normal, but it doesn’t mean that should be all you do.

A healthy relationship needs proper and positive communication in order to thrive and last. If you’re not doing this, then goodbye. [Read: Fighting in a relationship – How to do it right]

9. When you’re just so different

They say opposites attract, but only to an extent. For a relationship to work, you must share even some semblance of similarity in your values, beliefs, and priorities. Otherwise, you’ll always end up clashing and shoving your beliefs down their throats.

We never want to admit that having contrasting beliefs isn’t okay until we experience for ourselves what it’s like. Most often, one of you is going to end up compromising and chasing theirs for the relationship. That’s when you know the relationship is at its end. [Read: Do opposite attract or do they push each other away?]

10. When you’re not on the same page emotionally

Maybe you are more committed to the relationship than your partner or the other way around. Do you want something more out of the relationship than your partner is prepared to give? Emotional intimacy is just as important as physical intimacy, so you can’t underestimate the importance of this.

If you’re never on the same page emotionally, this indicates when to give up on a relationship. Staying with your partner, expecting things to get better or be different or for your partner to finally want to move to the next level doesn’t work. You end up disappointed.

Basically, you just love them for the potential they’ll meet your needs one day. But what if that day never comes? You can’t wait forever, and you shouldn’t have to. [Read: Emotional connection: 15 reasons and signs why it’s so important]

11. When you couldn’t care less

The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. If you’ve been with your partner for quite a while and you find yourself apathetic to them, then there’s really no point being together. This is a heartbreaking reason, but it happens.

When you stop caring about your partner or the relationship as a whole, it’s one of the signs it’s time to give up on a relationship. [Read: 10 clear signs you’re growing apart and don’t realize it]

12. When you’re losing your self-respect

A relationship needs a foundation of not only love but also respect. Aside from respecting each other, both of you should also have a healthy amount of self-respect.

If your partner somehow brings out your worst side and makes you lose respect for yourself entirely, this isn’t a relationship you should stay in any longer. Not when the ultimate sacrifice is yourself.

Trust us, keep whatever self-respect you have left, and just get out. [Read: How to respect yourself: 14 secrets of self-worth and self-belief]

13. When there’s no sex

Sex is, and will always be, a crucial part of a romantic relationship. It doesn’t matter if you’re not really going at it like bunnies, but if you are not sexually attracted to your partner anymore, then there’s something amiss.

Of course, you can always try to ignite the spark and remember the desire you once shared.

But if you or your partner cheats because of this, then one of you will just end up burned. The lack of sex doesn’t signal when to give up on a relationship, until it does. [Read: The lack of sex in a relationship: Why it happens & what it means]

14. When your future doesn’t have your partner in it

It’s so heartbreaking to come to the point where you no longer see your partner in your future, for whatever reason. People change and sometimes, the things you want change too.

If either of you isn’t including the other in your long-term, or even short-term, plans, you have to ask what kind of relationship you’re in.

If your relationship no longer has a future, then why are you holding on? Sometimes, love just isn’t enough, and you have to accept that. [Read: Time to let go? 14 reasons why good relationships end]

15. You feel obligated to stay

Another heartbreaking reason, but love should never come with obligations. The very purpose of love is that it’s not forced so if you feel obligated to stay. If you feel that way, that’s when to give up on a relationship.

Under no circumstance are you obligated to stay in the relationship, no matter how much you feel stuck or forced to. [Read: Relationship boredom – Why it happens and 23 zesty quick fixes to beat it]

16. You feel afraid to ask more from them

Communication is vital in a relationship. If you’re afraid to open up that you need more emotionally from them, it’s one of the signs it’s time to give up on a relationship. Maybe they invalidated your feelings before, or they continue to dismiss your needs and wants.

But the fact you’re afraid means you already know how they will respond, and that’s a red flag right there. If there’s an equal amount of respect in the relationship, then you should both respect one another’s voices.

The fact that you feel inferior to state your needs means something is already wrong, and maybe it’s been like that for a long time – you just haven’t noticed until now. [Read: How to show respect in a relationship and love each other better]

17. Your loved ones don’t support the relationship

We want to believe that love conquers all, that love is that powerful. Unfortunately, that’s not what really happens. When your friends and family don’t support your relationship *unless they’re somehow toxic,* there’s something they obviously see that you don’t.

This is one of the red flags you shouldn’t ever ignore on when to give up on a relationship.

We never want to accept when our loved ones don’t support our relationship, so we try even harder to make love conquer the odds. But eventually, you’ll get exhausted fighting and start to see precisely why they don’t support your relationship. [Read: 17 signs of a supportive partner who encourages you and your goals]

18. You always think about breaking up

The fact that you’re always thinking about breaking up signals that you’re already on the verge of giving up on them. You might be thinking that it’s nothing and it’s no big deal since we probably go through them often, right?

But, here’s the thing – if you’ve been feeling this way for a prolonged period already, it’s one of the signs it’s time to give up on a relationship. This means your gut is already telling you what your mind doesn’t want to believe. [Read: How to breakup with someone you love]

19. Your relationship is either toxic or manipulative

This should be an easy reason when deciding when to give up on a relationship. If your relationship is toxic or manipulative in any way, it’s no longer your responsibility to fix or change them.

The fact that the relationship is toxic means that the bad already outweighs the good, to the point where you can’t turn things around.

The longer you stay, the worse it’ll just get. So if your partner is gaslighting you or controlling you, it’s time to say goodbye and cut ties. [Read: 15 signs of a toxic relationship that’ll go from bad to worse]

20. You enjoy being alone more than when you’re with them

We all need our alone time, and we can’t always be lovey-dovey with our partners. But if you’d rather be anywhere but by your partner’s side and you never miss them, even after spending significant time apart, there’s your answer on when to give up on a relationship.

You don’t have to miss your partner all the time, but if you no longer like spending time with them, you might just be falling out of love with them. [Read: Letting go of someone you love – Minus the bitterness]

Is there some fight left in your relationship, or is it time to give up?

These are all valid reasons on when to give up on your partner. We know how much you still want to fix things but sometimes, it’s just too late. The more you try to do so, the more you hurt yourself trying.

Holding on to a relationship that’s over does you and your partner a massive injustice. Don’t stay in a union where you don’t feel alive anymore. It’s better for both of you to know when to give up, so you move on to better places with a new chance at love and happiness.

[Read: Letting go of people: Why it’s so hard & the right way to do it]

Knowing when to give up on a relationship is necessary if you want to be happy. We never want to admit that it’s the end until we’re left with no other choice but to let them go.

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Tiffany Grace Reyes
Tiffany is a wordsmith who has played with words ever since her letter-to-the-editor was published nationally at the age of 9. Since then her writing has gone f...
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