12 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Relationship

12 Signs Your Relationship is Over

Relationships move through patches. Sometimes they coast along beautifully. Sometimes they splutter. Sometimes they gasp for breath on a cold stone floor. And sometimes they couldn’t even be bothered doing that.  

So how do you know whether it’s time to leave or time to fight harder to hold on? How do you know the difference between a bad patch and a permanent stagnation?

Knowing whether or not to call it quits isn’t always easy but if you pay attention the clues will be there. There are plenty. Here are 12:

  1. You’re getting the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ chat.

    This can be heartbreaking, I know, but don’t fight it. The reality is that it doesn’t matter if it’s you or your partner. If this is what you’re hearing, it means the combination of both of you just doesn’t work anymore. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either of you. What it means is that he or she can’t – or won’t – love you the way you deserve to be loved. Hanging on to that sort of relationship is such a waste of you. And as for that one-way love thing – you’re just too good for it. Let it go so something better can find you.

  2. Oh the disappointment.

    When you come home to be surprised by a candlelit room, a dozen roses and him or her preparing your favourite meal, you’re disappointed because you have your favourite mag in one hand, your favourite ‘takeaway for one’ in the other and, well, when you imagined tonight – it didn’t look like candles and roses and favourite home-made dinners. Nup. Nothing like that at all.

  3. When there’s no ‘us’ in future.

    When you think of your future, it doesn’t involve a picture of you-know-who at all. Instead, you’re jumping out of parachutes on your own and planning a trip to Italy with friends to learn how to cook pizza and how to say, ‘Buongiorno’ the way the locals do.

  4. The perfect Saturday night. It just looks different.

    Your perfect Saturday night is snuggling up on the couch, eating takeaway and watch a movie. By yourself.

  5. What would you do if …

    If this was the last day of your life, who would you want to be spending it with? Okay. Time’s up. The answer’s ‘him’ or ‘her’. If you’re still wondering whether or not your partner makes it on to your top five list of ‘maybes’, it’s probably time to move on. 

  6. Two types of days. Or not.

    There used to be two types of days – days with your partner and days without. Days ‘with’ were the very best days of all. Not anymore.

  7. ‘That’ talk.

    Talk about the future – holidays, Christmas, having kids, growing old together – leaves you cold, though probably not as cold as the tumbleweeds that roll past in the silent void that follow every time there’s talk about the future – ‘Babe I’ve been thinking – you love kids, I love kids – do you think six would be too many? (At which point you’re wondering if by ‘kids’, he means with someone other than you – to which you would give your greatest blessing and, when the time came, an appropriate gift of a stuffed dog or a little yellow onesie.)

  8. What if …

    If something happened like, say, a nuclear holocaust, and every man or woman on the planet except yours was taken out, how would you feel about spending the rest of your life together? Relieved? Grateful? Devastated? Do you weep quietly? Howl like a fisherman’s widow/er at how damn unlucky you turned out to be? Feel too distressed at the end of online shopping to feel else anything at all? Pay attention.

  9. You’re not ‘you’ anymore.

    Are people telling you that you’ve changed? Lost your spark? Don’t seem happy any more? What’s telling is that you secretly know exactly what they mean because you’ve been thinking the same thing for a while.

  10. Body talk.

    You might be working hard to ignore the problem but your body won’t lie. It’s an annoying fact of being human that your body knows what’s going on often before the rest of you is ready to wise up. Are you having more than your usual share of headaches, muscle aches, back aches? Has your appetite changed? Is your sleep disturbed? They can all be signs that you’re off balance, and not just because of a dodgy pair of heels. What’s going on?

  11. List it.

    You make two lists: ‘Reasons to Stay’ and ‘Reasons to Leave’. When the ‘Reasons to Stay’ list ends up longer you’re disappointed, until you quickly decide that ‘our eyes aren’t the same colour’ is a completely legit reason to leave.

  12. And this.

    The things you used to love about your partner have become annoying, or nothing to you at all.

Ending a relationship is hard, even if you’re the one ending it. Listen to the clues. Giving up is very different to knowing when to walk away. Relationships are never a smooth road and periodically will require a fight of warrior daring to keep it together – even the good ones. 

The most important thing is knowing the difference between having a relationship that’s worth fighting for, even if you get tired of the fight for a while, and knowing when there’s nothing left to fight for at all. There will always be a corner of you that will know the answer.

27 Comments

Tyler M

Hey I’m not sure what to do , I’ve been feeling I’d say at least 10 of the 12 things listed here but the issue is there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my relationship, we’ve been together for a little over two years and I’m just starting to realize that I don’t want to be in a relationship anymore ,with anyone . I want to explore myself , my passions . Is there any advice on what I should do , she’s a good girl , we get along , we even have a good time I just don’t want a relationship anymore , somewhere in myself is a void and it doesn’t feel like one a person can fill.But she has all of these hopes of us being together forever and I don’t share it , I don’t know if it’s just something wrong with me .

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Tracy

Hi so I have been with this guy for 5 years he has 2 children to a previous relationship and then we have a nearly 2 year old together – I’m forever hearing about the other kids mother how she lets them down all the time etc but as soon as she calls or makes contact he jumps to run with the kids which is strange because he’s forever calling her for everything and that she doesn’t deserve the kids he has full custody anyway lately we have became distant with each other I don’t get on with any of his family and the relationship just feels like a trap now and Iv had countless chats about how I feel nothing changes – everything just seems like a dead end I feel like I need to go rent another house else where to get away from this but part of me stays in hope that it will change but I think I’m kidding myself on what does everyone else think

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Someone

I think you need to focus on yourself and if that means giving yourself space then so be it. From what it sounds like he is not celebrating you and that isn’t fair to your growth especially if it means fully merging familial lives. If nothing changes after multiple conversations then you already know the answer but I will say this — sometimes people substitute action with words. What I mean by this is people can SAY they are going to do X Y and Z but their actions, or lack thereof, will always ring volumes louder. You know what you need to do, and I fear that you are just searching for validation. You are all you need. You are capable of the life you need. I hope you know that and wish you all the best!

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Rachelle M

My boyfriend and I have been together over a year. I had this dream about another guy a couple months back and then felt as if I were more drawn to him than my boyfriend. And suddenly I find myself annoyed at everything my boyfriend does. He touched my leg when I was annoyed at having to drive him to work today and I hated it it made me more mad. I moved it I didn’t like the feeling it gave me I was hoping he would move it. But the thing is I love him and care about him but I just get so a very with him. He doesn’t try anymore it’s like oh I have her I don’t need to do anything to keep her. I’ve said something I’ve talked to him and still nothing has changed and I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to the guy from the dream I’ve know this guy for over a year. Last week him a couple friends and I went to the movies I invited him. Everything went good. I drove my friends home and he was riding with our other friends. His car was parked at my house he could have just left without saying goodbye and just texted me. But he didn’t he waited for like 15 minutes just to thank me for inviting him and to say good bye. And for some reason that made me smile. And i don’t know if maybe there’s a chance I want an open relationship or if there is something I’m not aware of.

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Hannah V

I’m hoping someone can provide insight on mine and my bf’s relationship. We’ve been together almost 5 years, I feel like we’re in a healthy relationship but we do have our issues like everyone else. I struggle with anxiety and sometimes I think that might be taking a toll on our relationship and him, we’ve been emotionally disconnected for some time now and we talk about it openly often which most of the time leads into an argument of us going back & fourth telling each other what the other person does and how it makes us feel and finally we talk about the things we need to do to improve our communication, but we never really find the “solution” to our emotional disconnection which I feel like is the first step to tackle before communication. We love each other and want to make it work, so how do we go about getting that emotional connection strong again?

A little bit of background – I brought this up to him last night after sharing a video about emotional disconnection that I felt was very eye-opening and thought he’d have some insight to share and we could have an open conversation, but that didn’t happen. He didn’t say much about it besides “we’ve known this, but don’t know what to do about it” He said there’s no point in talking about it because it always leads to an argument.

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Mary

Hi Hannah! I feel like you might benefit from relationship therapy/couples counselling – it’s often helpful to get an outside perspective if you don’t know how to move through relationship issues on your own. I’m sort of in the same situation – there are issues in my relationship that we both acknowledge and want to work on, but it’s hard coming up with actionable plans. Relationship therapy also really helped my parents.
While anxiety can definitely impact a relationship, it’s important that your partner (and you) know how to identify and work through the particular things you’re anxious about – a lot of anxieties come from a common root (I’m always anxious about being seen as annoying/boring, which comes from being told that constantly throughout childhood, and this fear manifests in a lot of different ways), and addressing the core fears directly can be helpful.
If you’re both willing to attend relationship counselling, I think it would be helpful in the long run. It sounds like you’re both aware of the issues and want to move forward and grow from it, so I feel like there’s a good chance of working things out!

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Britta

That sounds frustrating, I can appreciate your dilemma. Understanding the differences between men and women is helpful, and also managing your anxiety.

Anxiety can create barriers and emotional disconnection, which makes it difficult to find true connection you’re looking for.

What have you found that’s been helpful?

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Della

So my think is fear. I’ve been married ten years and committed supported mostly all about his family. I have my dream and business ventures that he has never tried to support. I always put it aside because that’s what he suggested timing wasn’t or isn’t rigjt because he have to help his family. We bought a 3 family home that was to be turn into real estate property after five years of living there and upgradings. He moved all and I mean from his parents to all his siblings their kids and aunts and uncles. I have express to him how I feel about this and it’s like I’ve become a roommate who’s there for everyone. And I’m tired and done. It’s time for my kids and are to grow and to focus on my business. How do I live without someone who have told me over and over that I can’t make it without them but yet ten years with them no growth. Im afriad my kids will see me as wrong for breaking their home apart my family loves who they see on the outside. What how how can I break from this fear and bondage? I feel it and I know it’s time for me to walk walk away for my self and for my children. How do I go back to him for the fourth time and mean it and not be full of fear.

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Tee

I was in a relationship for 3 years. This guy was like everything to me and my kids. We dis everything together. Well I helped him mentally physically and spiritually to reach different levels in life and one day after I moved in with him for a short time until I closed on my house he dropped the ball and told me he didn’t want to be with me any more….I was floored broken felt used and on top of it all he bought a new car got a promotion at work I was like omg… now he doesn’t talk to me at all. He come in maybe say hello and thats it. He’s 57years old and acts like a child. I had a heart to heart talk with him and he told me he doesn’t know who he is or even how to be a man. I asked him why do you only be in relationships 3 to 5yrs and then you leave.. I have given this man everything because he led me to believe we would have a future together.

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Helen

My husband is seeing a woman and talking to her when he takes the dogs for a walk, he comes home and rushes out with the dogs. He said he was not seeing anyone. I went out with him one afternoon and this woman came along with her dog and was smiling at him in a funny way her head turned side ways and said hi there he just stud there. I did not like the way she was looking at him I was going to say something to her but did not I wish I did now. We have been fighting over this for a view days now and not getting any there. Now he says ” I am not talking to any woman”, but when he looks away he has that look in his eyes that says different. When I see her again I am going to let her know I am his wife but I don,t think it will make any difference. I don,t know what to do about this any more he is sixty four and she is younger than him. My son is up set about this and dose not want us to split up, but I do not want to stay with him if he is seeing this other woman

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Maica

My husband said He is not growing with me. ???? theb He left me. Please Enlighten me

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MK

Girl I feel all of this comment.. exactly how I feel except I’m not relying on him already I can make my own money even though it is hard as a woman. I just feel like he lacks aspiration and has for a few years now and has depression and I’m worried he will always just be satisfied/complacent/subjected with the bare minimum. I get that it is a pandemic now and everything is so different and I think a lot of people are now wondering what to do in life and having many doubts.

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Alice

I love him but I’m scared of missing out on everything. We’ve been together since freshman year of high school and now I’m in college. I feel like we’re growing apart but I don’t know what to do. I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering what I missed out on.

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candice

Dunno if anyone looks here anymore. My situation is ugghhh … bleak??? I finally came to terms w/ fact tht I shldnt expect my man to change who he is for me but yet know I’m not willing to accept nor live the rest of my life with the superficial love he has for me. This is so hard for me tho!! I don’t wanna have conflict, or hurt him an more than anything I’m stuck with this feeling like I “have” to tough it out. Im so torn & my mental health is not good anymore. Being emotionally neglected has taken a hard toll on me an I don’t even feel like me anymore.. I literally feel trapped

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Tanya B

I married at the age of 56 years old to a man who I’ve known since childhood. We dated for a year and a half. On our wedding night he changed. We’ve been married for 4 years and have never been on a date, we do nothing at all together. All he does is sits in the house and drinks about 6 beers a day and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. I’m in a marriage by myself. We haven’t had sex in 3 years because he stinks of smoke. We don’t talk,or spend time together ever. I think it’s time to end this.

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Tam S

Have you ever read “Pigs in Heaven” by Barbara Kingsolver? It would be a great novel for you right now. It is the sequel to “The Bean Trees” which is less relevant to your situation but also a great book – and hoenstly i would recommend reading it first. They are both page turners. Anyways, i strongly recommend reading them. Best of luck.

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Amomdè

Well i been with my man for 11 yrs. 3 kids no ring , I’m 33 hes 40yrs. Old yes. both of us always had love but financially on life support. I love him but I’m starting to feel like i want more but i know he does as well, but i just want him to get his self together finacially right and chase the bag and go jard for his family. I feel like I’m growing apart i want to live my life and i feel he’s holding me back by not allowing me to grow as a women. I’m not perfect i just wish he would stop trying to keep me at his pace i want to be free to do what i want and love. Everybody deserve to be happy even if it’s not with that peraon you may be with now. I love him but i want more than just me standing by his side and he don’t want me be great. That’s how i feel, i just want him to understand i want to move on and love on me because I’m being so co depended. I don’t want to depend on no one that i feel can’t lead, so i become stagnate and lost to and that’s not fair for my health and mental. When i die i die alone ane everything i done in my life I’m taking that with me but leaving memories of my presents.

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candice

Oh wow u took words out of my mouth. I’m so ready to live my own life. Mine expects me to have no life outside of him & I’m so over it. I’ve gotten to the point I’m awkward when I am around ppl cuz its foreign to me now & I was always a social butterfly. Time for a change

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carrie l

I have all of these with no surprise but yet i leave constantly and feel better and always feel better and like a weight has been lifted. But then I always take him back mainly out of guilt and promises of change and working on making things better. But the hard core truth is ive out grown him. Yes not saying it to be cruel or hurtful but that is me being totally honest with myself in a very long time. I want to be happy. Tired of the long hours of argueing over the same issues. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Im tired of being the grown up in every situation. And as long as you say what they want to hear it makes everything okay. Well if that was how life worked wed all be selfish spoiled children which is what i feel i married. If i wanted to marry a kid i would have. Bottom line at the end of the day when its all said and done im content being alone i dont need a man to make me feel whole. And its sad that he does need me or any woman to feel like he can exist . I cant worry about that I have to concentrate on what i need which i havnt done in a long time due to putting everyone elses needs first.

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Heather H

Hi Carrie I,
I can completely understand where you are coming from.
To take the initiative and responsibility of being the one to stand up and say okay I’m not growing within this relationship, I need to move forward and in order to do that I need to leave the man takes guts.
Sometimes when we baby the men in our lives too much they do turn into children and you’re right, some days it feels like you have married a child but in a way over time that child like behaviour has been nurtured by you caring for them.
To leave and then to return again out of guilt serves no purpose for you, your future or his future either. So it’s best when you finally make that decision to go through with it, leave and stay left. Once each of you grow individually to be the best you can be then perhaps you can come back together; but until then, time alone is what would serve you best, as it will me as hard as it is.
Take care and know that you’re not alone other people are going through the same arduous journey.

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Megan B

I feel selfish I need to know if I’m just bailing cause of our eleven year difference or cause I’m growing out of him..one month into getting clean i got with him…we now have a four year old..but I won’t have anymore..help

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Eva

i believe we all know these things. but, to have someone else write them and place ’em out here for us to find with the help of the universe. makes these words sound so much more doable. you should write about courage and the stress that will follow during our bold move out of our comfortable modes of complacency. I really liked the article; it hit Home. Thanks.

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Hey Sigmund

Thanks Eva. I’m pleased the article found its way to you! Here are some articles that might be interesting for you:
. Living Brave: How to Make the Right Moment Right Now https://www.heysigmund.com/shame-why-its-not-the-enemy-and-how-to-stop-it-getting-in-the-way/
. Letting Go: How to Master the Art https://www.heysigmund.com/letting-go-how-to-master-the-art/
. And this one is about what happens to your body when you end a relationship that you’ve outgrown (if you’re at that point, which you might not be) – it explains why breakups feel so awful https://www.heysigmund.com/your-body-during-a-breakup/
You’re absolutely right about the courage and stress that comes when we stretch beyond our comfort zones, but it’s there that the growth and the great things happen.

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Jaime

any articles on how to choose between the 10 year relationship with your child’s father (that is pretty much just being roommates) to choosing to pursue someone else?!

Reply

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Faces so often say so more than our words ever could. Even more than words and behaviour, faces tell the story of where we (and our nervous systems) are right now. Receive their joyful faces and their brave faces. Their scared faces and their sad faces. When their words are spicy and big their behaviour is bigger, receive their faces. Their faces won’t lie. And neither do ours. By receiving their faces it will open the way to show them, ‘I see you. I feel you. I’m with you.’♥️
Parenting was never meant to be about perfection. Neither was growing up. The messy times are so often where the growth happens - theirs and ours - but this can only happen if we can be with ourselves through the mess, with an open heart and an open mind. But this can be so hard some days! 

Let’s start by shoving the idea of perfect parenting out the door and let’s do that with full force. Perfection. Ugh. Let’s not do that to ourselves and let’s not do that to our young loves. It’s okay for them to see our imperfections, and it’s okay for them to lay theirs bare in front of us. We won’t break them if we yell sometimes. They will learn from our mistakes, and we will learn from theirs.♥️
If the feelings that send them ‘small’ don’t feel safe or supported, the ‘big’ of anger will step in. This doesn’t mean they aren’t actually safe or supported - it’s about what the brain perceives. 

Let them see that you can handle them in all their feelings. Breathe and be with - through their tears, or confusion, or lostness. Just let their feelings come, and let them be. Feelings heal when they’re felt. Big feelings don’t hurt children. What hurts is being alone in the feelings. Your strong, loving presence, your willingness to be with without needing them to be different, and certainty that they’ll get through this will hold them steady through the storm. If they don’t want you near them, that’s okay too. Let them know you’re they’re if they need.♥️
Brains love keeping us alive. They adore it actually. Their most important job is to keep us safe. This is above behaviour, relationships, and learning - except as these relate to safety. 

Safety isn’t about what is actually safe, but about what the brain perceives. Unless a brain feels safe, it won’t be as able to learn, connect, regulate, make good decisions, think through consequences. 

Young brains (all brains actually) feel safest when they feel connected to, and cared about by, their important adults.  This means that for us to have any influence on our kids and teens, we first need to make sure they feel safe and connected to us. 

This goes for any adult who wants to lead, guide or teach a young person - parents, teachers, grandparents, coaches. Children or teens can only learn from us if they feel connected to us. They’re no different to us. If we feel as though someone is angry or indifferent with us we’re more focused on that, and what needs to happen to avoid humiliation or judgement, or how to feel loved and connected again, than anything else. 

We won’t have influence if we don’t have connection. Connection let’s us do our job - whether that’s the job of parenting, teaching - anything. It helps the brain feel safe, so it will then be free to learn.♥️
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#parenting #parentingforward #parentingtips #mindfulparenting
The stories we tell ourselves influence how we feel and what we do. This happens to all of us. These stories can be influenced by our mood, history, stress - so many things that are outside of what’s actually happening. 

When our children are in distress, this will start to create distress in us. The idea of this is to mobilise us to protect, but when that distress happens in the absence of a ‘real’ threat, it can throw us into fight or flight. This can influence the story we tell ourselves. This is really normal.

Whenever you can, pause, and be open to a different story. It won’t necessarily make the behaviour okay, but it will make it easier to give your child or teen what they need in that moment - an anchor - a strong, steady, loving presence to guide them back to calm. 

When their brains and bodies are back to calm, then you can have the conversations that will grow them: what happened, what can you do differently, what can I do differently that would help?

The truth is that they are no different to us. In that moment they don’t want to be fixed. They want to feel seen, safe, and heard.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting

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