But every now and then, a client or a friend will share a story about their relationship, and I’m struck that the solution I want to invite them to consider involves saying goodbye.
Knowing when to end a relationship is one of the most important adult skills you’ll ever acquire. Given that it’s a skill, it is something we can cultivate with practice (and self-awareness). And beginning to identify the signs is the first place to start.
Here are five signs that it may be time to say goodbye to your relationship.
1. You don’t trust your partner.
Trust comes from a sense of internal comfort. It emerges from within, rather than as a result of trying to control everything your partner does. The bottom line? We cannot predict our partner’s behaviors, and the idea that our ability to trust is somehow predicated on our ability to do that is a HUGE misunderstanding.
Take me, for instance. I can’t tell you with 100% certainty where my wife is at this moment. I don’t have a honing device on her. But I trust her.
If you don’t trust your partner on some fundamental level, you’ve got some work to do on yourself. Stop torturing your partner into believing that they can behave their way into your trust. It doesn’t work like that — unless, of course, your partner has legitimately done things to cause you to lose trust. In that case, trust still doesn’t work like that, because most likely, you’ll never trust them again.
2. Your partner has potential.
Hopefully, your partner is a fully-formed human. And yet, you feel the need to inspect your partner before you commit. You feel as though you’re holding out for some new and improved version of your partner to evolve.
Growth is obviously something we want from being with someone. But if your partner isn’t who you want him/her to be today, you’re not in the right relationship. Sure, people change and grow over their lives, but you’re going to ruin your partner’s if your happiness is contingent on them changing.
3. If you could, you would definitely tap your partner’s phone.
You don’t think it’s OK for the government to do this, but you think it’s fine to jump on your partner’s phone the minute they exit the room.
If this sounds at all familiar, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got some work to do on yourself. If you’ve ever looked at your partner’s phone without their consent, you’re in this group.
4. You can’t be yourself in the relationship.
If the price of being in your relationship means you can’t be who you truly are, that’s too high a price. I’m not talking about making compromises here — I’m talking about dimming your inner light, quieting your voice, feeling stifled or shamed to be who you authentically are.
Relationships should help you grow into the best version of yourself. If yours makes you feel like you’re playing a role instead of playing yourself, it’s time to jump ship.
5. You can more easily identify what your partner does wrong than right.
Unless your partner is an awful individual, this is a YOU problem, not a partner problem. Either way, it’s time to end it.
If you fall into the latter group, you’ve become habituated to focus on what they do wrong. This can be corrected, but it involves a lot of work on your part and if you have any authentic feelings for the poor soul who has made a commitment to you, consider shielding them from you while you do this work.