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.

12 Comments

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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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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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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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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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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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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When things feel hard or the world feels big, children will be looking to their important adults for signs of safety. They will be asking, ‘Do you think I'm safe?' 'Do you think I can do this?' With everything in us, we have to send the message, ‘Yes! Yes love, this is hard and you are safe. You can do hard things.'

Even if we believe they are up to the challenge, it can be difficult to communicate this with absolute confidence. We love them, and when they're distressed, we're going to feel it. Inadvertently, we can align with their fear and send signals of danger, especially through nonverbals. 

What they need is for us to align with their 'brave' - that part of them that wants to do hard things and has the courage to do them. It might be small but it will be there. Like a muscle, courage strengthens with use - little by little, but the potential is always there.

First, let them feel you inside their world, not outside of it. This lets their anxious brain know that support is here - that you see what they see and you get it. This happens through validation. It doesn't mean you agree. It means that you see what they see, and feel what they feel. Meet the intensity of their emotion, so they can feel you with them. It can come off as insincere if your nonverbals are overly calm in the face of their distress. (Think a zen-like low, monotone voice and neutral face - both can be read as threat by an anxious brain). Try:

'This is big for you isn't it!' 
'It's awful having to do things you haven't done before. What you are feeling makes so much sense. I'd feel the same!

Once they really feel you there with them, then they can trust what comes next, which is your felt belief that they will be safe, and that they can do hard things. 

Even if things don't go to plan, you know they will cope. This can be hard, especially because it is so easy to 'catch' their anxiety. When it feels like anxiety is drawing you both in, take a moment, breathe, and ask, 'Do I believe in them, or their anxiety?' Let your answer guide you, because you know your young one was built for big, beautiful things. It's in them. Anxiety is part of their move towards brave, not the end of it.
Sometimes we all just need space to talk to someone who will listen without giving advice, or problem solving, or lecturing. Someone who will let us talk, and who can handle our experiences and words and feelings without having to smooth out the wrinkles or tidy the frayed edges. 

Our kids need this too, but as their important adults, it can be hard to hush without needing to fix things, or gather up their experience and bundle it into a learning that will grow them. We do this because we love them, but it can also mean that they choose not to let us in for the wrong reasons. 

We can’t help them if we don’t know what’s happening in their world, and entry will be on their terms - even more as they get older. As they grow, they won’t trust us with the big things if we don’t give them the opportunity to learn that we can handle the little things (which might feel seismic to them). They won’t let us in to their world unless we make it safe for them to.

When my own kids were small, we had a rule that when I picked them up from school they could tell me anything, and when we drove into the driveway, the conversation would be finished if they wanted it to be. They only put this rule into play a few times, but it was enough for them to learn that it was safe to talk about anything, and for me to hear what was happening in that part of their world that happened without me. My gosh though, there were times that the end of the conversation would be jarring and breathtaking and so unfinished for me, but every time they would come back when they were ready and we would finish the chat. As it turned out, I had to trust them as much as I wanted them to trust me. But that’s how parenting is really isn’t it.

Of course there will always be lessons in their experiences we will want to hear straight up, but we also need them to learn that we are safe to come to.  We need them to know that there isn’t anything about them or their life we can’t handle, and when the world feels hard or uncertain, it’s safe here. By building safety, we build our connection and influence. It’s just how it seems to work.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting
Words can be hard sometimes. The right words can be orbital and unconquerable and hard to grab hold of. Feelings though - they’ll always make themselves known, with or without the ‘why’. 

Kids and teens are no different to the rest of us. Their feelings can feel bigger than words - unfathomable and messy and too much to be lassoed into language. If we tap into our own experience, we can sometimes (not all the time) get an idea of what they might need. 

It’s completely understandable that new things or hard things (such as going back to school) might drive thoughts of falls and fails and missteps. When this happens, it’s not so much the hard thing or the new thing that drives avoidance, but thoughts of failing or not being good enough. The more meaningful the ‘thing’ is, the more this is likely to happen. If you can look behind the words, and through to the intention - to avoid failure more than the new or difficult experience, it can be easier to give them what they need. 

Often, ‘I can’t’ means, ‘What if I can’t?’ or, ‘Do you think I can?’, or, ‘Will you still think I’m brave, strong, and capable of I fail?’ They need to know that the outcome won’t make any difference at all to how much you adore them, and how capable and exceptional you think they are. By focusing on process, (the courage to give it a go), we clear the runway so they can feel safer to crawl, then walk, then run, then fly. 

It takes time to reach full flight in anything, but in the meantime the stumbling can make even the strongest of hearts feel vulnerable. The more we focus on process over outcome (their courage to try over the result), and who they are over what they do (their courage, tenacity, curiosity over the outcome), the safer they will feel to try new things or hard things. We know they can do hard things, and the beauty and expansion comes first in the willingness to try. 
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparent
Never in the history of forever has there been such a  lavish opportunity for a year to be better than the last. Not to be grabby, but you know what I’d love this year? Less opportunities that come in the name of ‘resilience’. I’m ready for joy, or adventure, or connection, or gratitude, or courage - anything else but resilience really. Opportunities for resilience have a place, but 2020 has been relentless with its servings, and it’s time for an out breath. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a year that wraps its loving arms around us. I’m ready for that. x
The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids (and adults). Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic. 

Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what the holidays are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favourite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s about you and your people. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

When it all starts to feel too important, too necessary and too ‘un-let-go-able’, be guided by the bigger truth, which is that more than anything, you will all remember how you all felt – as in how happy they felt, how loved they felt were, how noticed they felt. They won’t care about the instagram-worthy meals on the table, the cleanliness of the floors, how many relatives they visited, or how impressed other grown-ups were with their clean faces and darling smiles. It’s easy to forget sometimes, that what matters most at Christmas isn’t the tasks, but the people – the ones who would give up pretty much anything just to have the day with you.

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