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.

25 Comments

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

Reply
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!

Reply
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.

Reply
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!

Reply
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?

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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

Reply
Maica

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

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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

Reply
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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

Whenever the brain registers threat, it organises the body to fight the danger, flee from it, or hide from it. 

Here’s the rub. ‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually dangerous, but about what the brain perceives. It also isn’t always obvious. For a strong, powerful, magnificent, protective brain, ‘threat’ might count as anything that comes with even the teeniest potential of making a mistake, failure, humiliation, judgement, shame, separation from important adults, exclusion, unfamiliarity, unpredictability. They’re the things that can make any of us feel vulnerable.

Once the brain registers threat the body will respond. This can drive all sorts of behaviour. Some will be obvious and some won’t be. The responses can be ones that make them bigger (aggression, tantrums) or ones that make them smaller (going quiet or still, shrinking, withdrawing). All are attempts to get the body to safety. None are about misbehaviour, misintent, or disrespect. 

One of the ways bodies stay safe is by hiding, or by getting small. When children are in distress, they might look calm, but unless there is a felt sense of safety, the body will be surging with neurochemicals that make it impossible for that young brain to learn or connect. 

We all have our things that can send us there. These things are different for all of us, and often below our awareness. The responses to these ‘things’ are automatic and instinctive, and we won’t always know what has sent us there. 

We just need to be mindful that sometimes it’s when children seem like no trouble at all that they need our help the most. The signs can include a wilted body, sad or distant eyes, making the body smaller, wriggly bodies, a heavy head. 

It can also look as though they are ignoring you or being quietly defiant. They aren’t - their bodies are trying to keep them safe. A  body in flight or flight can’t hear words as well as it can when it’s calm.

What they need (what all kids need) are big signs of safety from the adult in the room - loving, warm, voices and faces that are communicating clear intent: ‘I’m here, I see you and I’ve got you. You are safe, and you can do this. I’m with you.’♥️
I’d love to invite you to an online webinar:
‘Thriving in a Stressful World: Practical Ways to Help Ourselves and Our Children Feel Secure And Calm’

As we emerge from the pandemic, stressors are heightened, and anxiety is an ever more common experience. We know from research that the important adults in the life of a child or teen have enormous capacity to help their world feel again, and to bring a felt sense of calm and safety to those young ones. This felt sense of security is essential for learning, regulation, and general well-being. 

I’m thrilled to be joining @marc.brackett and Dr Farah Schroder to explore the role of emotion regulation and the function of anxiety in our lives. Participants will learn ways to help express and regulate their own, and their children’s, emotions, even when our world may feel a little scary and stressful. We will also share practical and holistic strategies that can be most effective in fostering well-being for both ourselves and children. 

In this webinar, hosted by @dalailamacenter you will have the opportunity to learn creative, evidence-informed takeaways to help you and the children in your care build resilience and foster a sense of security and calmness. Join us for this 1 ½ hour session, including a dynamic Q&A period.
 
Webinar Details:
Thursday, October 14, 2021
1:30 - 3:00 PM PST
 
Registrants will receive a Zoom link to attend the webinar live, as well as a private link to a recording of the webinar to watch if they cannot join in at the scheduled time.

Register here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/thriving-in-a-stressful-world-a-heart-mind-live-webinar-tickets-170348045590

The link to register is in my story.♥️
So much of what our kids and teens are going through isn’t normal - online school, extended separation from their loved people, lockdowns, masks. Even if what they are going through isn’t ‘normal’, their response will be completely understandable. Not all children will respond the same way if course, but whatever they feel will be understandable, relatable, and ‘normal’. 

Whether they feel anxious, confused, frustrated, angry, or nothing at all, it’s important that their response is normalised. Research has found that children are more likely to struggle with traumatic events if they believe their response isn’t normal. This is because they tend to be more likely to interpret their response as a sign of breakage. 

Try, ‘What’s happening is scary. There’s no ‘right’ way to feel and different people will feel different things. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel.’

Any message you can give them that you can handle all their feelings and all their words will help them feel safer, and their world feel steadier.♥️
We need to change the way we think about discipline. It’s true that traditional ‘discipline’ (separation, shame, consequences/punishment that don’t make sense) might bring compliant children, but what happens when the fear of punishment or separation isn’t there? Or when they learn that the best way to avoid punishment is to keep you out of the loop?

Our greatest parenting ‘tool’ is our use of self - our wisdom, modelling, conversations, but for any of this to have influence we need access to their ‘thinking’ brain - the prefrontal cortex - the part that can learn, think through consequences, plan, make deliberate decisions. During stress this part switches off. It is this way for all of us. None of us are up for lectures or learning (or adorable behaviour) when we’re stressed.

The greatest stress for young brains is a felt sense of separation from their important people. It’s why time-outs, shame, calm down corners/chairs/spaces which insist on separation just don’t work. They create compliance, but a compliant child doesn’t mean a calm child. As long as a child doesn’t feel calm and safe, we have no access to the part of the brain that can learn and be influenced by us.

Behind all behaviour is a need - power,  influence, independence, attention (connection), to belong, sleep - to name a few). The need will be valid. Children are still figuring out the world (aren’t we all) and their way of meeting a need won’t always make sense. Sometimes it will make us furious. (And sometimes because of that we’ll also lose our thinking brains and say or do things that aren’t great.)

So what do we do when they get it wrong? The same thing we hope our people will do when we get things wrong. First, we recognise that the behaviour is not a sign of a bad child or a bad parent, but their best attempt to meet a need with limited available resources. Then we collect them - we calm ourselves so we can bring calm to them. Breathe, be with. Then we connect through validation. Finally, when their bodies are calm and their thinking brain is back, talk about what’s happened, what they can do differently next time, and how they can put things right. Collect, connect, redirect.
Our nervous systems are talking to each other every minute of every day. We will catch what our children are feeling and they will catch ours. We feel their distress, and this can feed their distress. Our capacity to self-regulate is the circuit breaker. 

Children create their distress in us as a way to recruit support to help them carry the emotional load. It’s how it’s meant to be. Whatever you are feeling is likely to be a reflection what your children are feeling. If you are frustrated, angry, helpless, scared, it’s likely that they are feeling that way too. Every response in you and in them is relevant. 

You don’t need to fix their feelings. Let their feelings come, so they can go. The healing is in the happening. 

In that moment of big feelings it’s more about who you are than what you do. Feel what they feel with a strong, steady heart. They will feel you there with them. They will feel it in you that you get them, that you can handle whatever they are feeling, and that you are there. This will help calm them more than anything. We feel safest when we are ‘with’. Feel the feeling, breathe, and be with - and you don’t need to do more than that. 
There will be a time for teaching, learning, redirecting, but the middle of a storm is not that time.♥️

Pin It on Pinterest