How To Know When It's Time To End Your Long-Term Relationship

Breakups are never easy, but sometimes they are for the best. If you find that you enjoy yourself more when your partner isn't around, or the two of you just can't seem to go a day without completely blowing up on one another, it might be an indication that your relationship isn't healthy. But when you've been together for a long time, it can be hard to see the signs that you are headed for a breakup. Your relationship may start to feel like another obligation in your life, and finding a road to breaking up just doesn't feel like an option.

While we'd like to hope that every relationship can be worked through with the right combination of effort, communication, and therapy, sometimes two people just aren't good for each other. Knowing what to watch out for can be extremely helpful when deciding if your relationship isn't working out and may help you identify toxicity before things get even worse.

Don't ignore these relationship red flags

Cosmopolitan shared real stories from women who knew it was time to break things off with their long-term partner. One woman felt like her boyfriend's mother by the end of their relationship because he was unable to meet his own needs. Another shared that she and her partner had drifted so far during their relationship that they were almost strangers by the end. Many women shared that they couldn't picture a future or raising kids with their partner, a clear sign that a breakup should happen.

Some relationship red flags are more dangerous than others. If you start to feel controlled, manipulated, or have extremely low self-esteem because of your partner's words and actions, it is definitely time to part ways (via Better Up). Codependency can develop during a long-term relationship which can lead to unhealthy habits, jealousy, and even emotional abuse. A lack of trust can also be fatal to a relationship: if your partner has been unfaithful, you should probably consider breaking up, no matter how long you've been together.

Research has shown that many people who are unhappy in their long-term relationships are hesitant to break up because they don't want to hurt their partner, per CNN. While this is a valid worry, your long-term happiness is also important. There are ways to break up in an amicable way that may hurt initially but will be better for both of you in the long run.

Tips to make your break-up as easy as possible

No one likes a break-up: whether you're the one initiating the split or you're on the receiving end, breaking up with someone you love is painful, especially after spending a significant amount of time together. In many cases, you still care about the person you're breaking up with, even if you're no longer romantically compatible, so consider their feelings when deciding how to end the relationship.

Being clear while remaining kind is key to a healthy breakup — you don't want to give your partner false hope. Per Psychology Today, it's important to communicate your intention to break up while respecting the time you did spend together by remaining calm and empathetic. Keep in mind that your partner may have an emotional response; by keeping a level head, you will model for them that you respect them and don't want to hurt them further.

Insider recommends that you set boundaries with your soon-to-be ex and don't try to be besties right away. The transition from relationship to friendship can get blurry, especially after relying on each other for so long. Maybe unfollow each other for a bit or decide you won't text after you've exchanged things. This will allow you time to get used to your new normal as you dive back into your single life.

Of course, things will be more complicated when deciding how to divide assets, finances, or custody arrangements, but a good foundation of mutual respect will help make these difficult decisions easier.