There’s a reason Adele, Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, Selena Gomez, [insert mega pop star of your choice here] have built massive careers singing about heartbreak and heartache: Breaking up is hard to do. Literally: When weighing pros and cons, it’s easy for the comfort of having a perpetual Netflix partner to triumph over the pain of ending a relationship that’s lost its spark. But cuffing season isn’t reason enough to linger in a dead-end relationship.
Cuffing season isn’t reason enough to linger in a dead-end relationship.
If you’re wondering whether your relationship has run its course, there’s a good chance it has. And, according to relationship experts, that’s not the only red flag.
Originally published December 19, 2017, updated February 8, 2018.
Keep reading for 5 tell-tale signs it’s time to break up.
1. There’s no reciprocation
If you’re the only one sending a “thinking about you” text or making reservations for date night, it’s a red flag. “This is a sign that the relationship has run its course for one single, solitary reason: Relationships are supposed to be partnerships and partnerships require a joint effort on both sides,” says Chris Armstrong, relationship coach and owner of Maze of Love. “If the relationship continues under this cloud of inequity, it can deteriorate into an ‘arrangement’ and nothing more.”
2. You’ve fallen into the “you, too” rut
Words carry a lot of weight in relationships. This is especially true for words of affection or compliments—when they’re sincere, honest, and, best of all, spontaneous. “When we’re in a relationship and you no longer mean what you say, ‘you too’ becomes a very easy reply to our partners’ words,” says Armstrong. “For example: ‘Have a good day.’ ‘You too!’ Or, ‘You look really good.’ ‘You too!’ And, ‘I love you.’ ‘You too!’—this is a clear sign that the words have become routine and are now things you believe you must say to keep things going.”
3. Hiding info is the new norm
Two rules of dating and relationships that often get forgotten: It’s important to have your alone time and you should have separate interests and friends. “But, it’s not okay to purposefully hide what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with,” says Kelsey Torgerson, MSW, a licensed clinical social worker and anxiety specialist. “If a partner isn’t being honest about where they are or with whom, it always makes me wonder why they need to hide this information.” And, if you or your partner find yourselves forming strong emotional connections—be they IRL or via DM—with the people you’re seeing when apart, it’s clear there are gaps in your relationship you’re looking to fill.
4. The intimacy is purely physical
It’s easy to list the building blocks of a great relationship—lots of laughing, great conversation, emotional bonding, and, of course, an undeniable physical connection. But when the emotional availability dwindles, that physical connection can slowly become meaningless. “Women deserve the whole ‘PIE’ when it comes to intimacy—Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional,” explains Armstrong. When you and your partner begin to spend more time tangled in the sheets than in conversation, it’s a solid indication that it’s time to separate. (Sorry!)
5. Friend time equals complain time
It’s a rite of passage to talk about your partner over brunch or pedicures with the girls. It’s expected you’ll get their take on that weird thing your S.O.’s mom said or dissect why they’ve been so moody about work lately. It’s a totally different thing if you’re counting down the minutes until you see your friends so you can vent, rant, and rave about every little thing your partner has said and done the past week that makes your skin crawl. “This indicates you’ve lost respect for your partner,” explains David Bennett, a certified counselor and relationship expert. “Without respect, a relationship just can’t grow and thrive.”
You’re not the only one in need of healthy relationship intel. It was the top-rated Google search this year. But romantic relationships, unfortunately, aren’t the only kind that end.