306: 9 Signs It’s Time to Break Up with Bae
Hosted by Rima Danielle Jomaa
Breaking up is hard to do but knowing when it’s time to do so can be even harder. How do you know when that time comes? With Rima’s first long term relationship, breaking up was SO HARD to do - even though it was what she had wanted for longer than she cares to admit. But going through with it and sticking to her boundaries was very challenging! Over time, it’s gotten easier as she learned to recognize the signs and patterns and knows how to end things gracefully. Now, she’s found that many of her clients struggle with similar challenges, so Rima talks about 9 signs that it’s time to break up with bae!
What you'll hear on this episode...
Society places so many expectations on us about staying together and commitment… breaking up can feel like a failure!
As someone who’s been married AND divorced, I know what it’s like to come to terms with a break up and to move past it. Knowing when it’s time to pull the plug is usually the hardest part - I find that once you make the choice and muster up the courage to do the “breaking up”, it gets easier from there.
Internally you feel relief once you are on the other side but the build up to it can feel like ths scariest moments of your life. Various life factors can make it even more challenging to untangle the messy knots of a relationship.
In graduate school, we talked a lot about cohabitation before marriage and how this affects a relationship. I won’t go too far into that because it’s something I could explore for a whole episode on it’s own. But we did learn that when you slide into living with someone because it’s a good financial decision or because you “spend so much time together anyway”, versus it being a consciously communicated “next step” in your relationship, or deciding, it leads you down a path of messiness should you decide to break up
Once you live together, it’s likely that you share other things besides a home, like bills, pets, belongings, bank or other service accounts, or whatever it may be. This makes breaking up EVEN more challenging because there’s the added financial burden and hassle of separating yourself from the life of your partner.
Because of these factors, we may convince ourselves that it’s easier to just stay together and try to work past the issues. This leads to people being in relationships that they probably shouldn’t be in, which can lead to a whole other host of issues, as you can imagine. Aside from frustration and resentment, anxiety and depression can be triggered as you’re forcing yourself to stay in a situation that doesn’t serve you due to the stories you tell yourself.
These stories might sound like this…
“I don’t have enough cash to get another place and pay the deposit.”
“It’s probably just a phase I’m going through. I’m sure it will get better!”
“We have so many activities planned coming up… I don’t want to mess those up.”
“My partner relies of me financially… I can’t do them like that.”
“Everyone knows we live together. It would feel like such a failure to break up and move out.”
“I would miss his dogs if we were to break up.”
And on and on. This isn’t a healthy way to live or to love. Do you both a favor and take time to examine if your relationship is really serving your highest self.
I don’t view a breakup as a failed relationship. If we live in the present, we can understand that all relationships have their place and run their course. There are many amazing moments that come along with all relationships. These don’t have to be negated if we split. But the memories shouldn’t be justifications for suffering in the present or future. Sometimes it’s best to let go and appreciate what you had. Something ending doesn’t have to make the WHOLE THING bad… I think the more that we can let go of this story of failure in our mind, the more at ease we can be with a relationship that doesn’t go on forever and ever.
My mentor used to always say, “If there’s doubt, get out.”. I like this advice. I think that things can flow well for a while and when it stops flowing, it’s okay to make the decision to end things and move on. It takes a lot of courage to recognize this and be conscious about your feelings and emotions, and it is respectful of yourself and the other. Often I hear that people don’t tell their partners the truth because they don’t want to “hurt” their partner but I call bullshit. We don’t tell our partners the truth because WE are afraid of hurting them, of what it says about us, and so we hide instead. The honorable thing to do is to be honest and forthcoming, to communicate and deal with it, and to give your partner the opportunity to make choices based in reality. Otherwise, you’re disrespecting both parties.
So if we’re going to examine what’s really going on, it’s a good idea to start by looking in the mirror (not by picking your partner apart). If you don’t really take time to understand what’s going on underneath the pain, you risk repeating the cycle with future lovers. In fact, you may already be doing that now. You are the common thread in your relationship problems, so make sure to delve deeply into your own work to understand how to be your best self in your relationship. It’s not about casting blame towards the other.
If you find yourself wondering, ‘should I break up with him (or her)?’ ‘Should I tough it out and try again?’ or ‘Should I call it quits so I don’t waste any more of my time and energy?’ It’s a good idea to trust your intuition. Our feelings are indicators of our well-being. While it’s normal to have highs and lows in every partnership, it’s crucial to pay attention to the patterns in the relationship. If the everyday annoyances and issues because pervasive or your feelings seem to be more down than up, it’s time to look at what’s going on.
It’s hard to know 100% what the best choices in life will be. The following list should help you determine what’s going on. If you relate to most of what follows, it’s most likely time to face the facts that dissolution is the best option for this partnership.
9 Signs It’s Time to Break Up with Bae
1. You’re lacking self-worth
If you’re feeling like the worst version of yourself, this is a bad sign. When in love, we should feel genuinely happy day-to-day as a baseline, not insecure or gloomy. Maybe you’re not feeling like “yourself” and you’re questioning things you used to be confident about. Where you were once creative, funny and personable, you are miserable, uninspired and stuck in a rut. You stay because you think you need your partner.
A good relationship should bring out the best parts of you. Yes, our partner is a mirror to us and sometimes the bad parts shine through, but for the most part, there should be space for us to be heard and understood. We have good feelings which lead to our best selves shining through. A bad relationship will do the opposite of this and leave you feeling down and worthless. This is a big clue that it’s time to say bye-bye and learn to love yourself instead.
2. Your relationship drains you rather than fills you up
Your partner used to excite you and lift you up emotionally when you spent time together but now you’re feeling anxious or depleted at the thought of being around them. You might feel like you’re at war with them constantly and you’re running out of energy to give.
This feeling of anguish and hopelessness becomes the new norm and no amount of trying gets you anywhere.
3. You’re constantly walking on eggshells
Your home, once your sanctuary and place to relax, has become a source of stress and tension. You find it hard to relax and unwind. You feel on edge and like any wrong word will cause your partner to explore. You find yourself tiptoeing around as to not make a sound and upset your partner. Everything becomes a disagreement so you find yourself saying nothing.
This stress can easily turn to illness. If you feel like you constantly have a ball in your throat or your stomach is in knots, you are operating in a fight-or-flight mode which is so unhealthy and unpleasant.
4. You reminisce about the good times
You find it hard to stay focused and present. You flip through old photos on your phone and remember how it used to be. You ignore that things haven’t been this way for a long time. You replay the stories in your mind and to others of when you were deeply in love, made one another laugh, and truly appreciated one another’s company.
You rely on the memories of when it was good to convince yourself that it can be good again. When will you accept the reality that the past is gone and that you’re stuck in a dismal present?
5. You know you’re settling
You know deep down that you’re settling in this relationship but you’re holding out hope that things will change… so you stay. You imagine a loving and fulfilling relationship, even though it’s not that now. Or maybe you don’t believe your partner when they tell you they don’t want a commitment or to get married.
You continue to waste more time in an unfulfilling situation in hopes of what “could be”.
6. You’re the only one working on the relationship
A relationship consists of two individuals - both of whom need to put in work for it to flourish. If one partner isn’t holding their weight, it’s not going to be an easy road.
If your lover doesn’t seem interested in resolving your issues or telling you that everything is fine, despite you explaining your feelings, or they tell you it’s your problems to fix and not theirs, then it’s pretty clear what needs to happen. They’ve made the decision easy for you.
7. You both harbor resentment
Resentment is the ultimate destroyer of relationships. It starts slowly but will lead to such bitterness if left to go unmanaged.
When we aren’t able to communicate successfully, resentment typically ensues - because our needs aren’t being heard or met. This wall of resentment is like a barrier to communication... in time, it’s a nasty cycle that gets worse and worse. The more resentful you get, the less you want to hear them out, and vice versa.
Fights become dirtier and more hurtful, and you both let your aggression and resentment out without reserve. You experience the same fights over and over or your fighting leads to ineffective communication tactics that cause one of you to break down, flee, whatever it is.
8. You’re not compatible
You may have had butterflies in the beginning but that doesn’t necessarily mean you two are compatible. If there are fundamental differences in values, life goals, outlooks, or you are unable to support one another fundamentally, there’s no future for the partnership.
What you want and need in life are important and you deserve to be in a relationship with someone that is on the same page as you. If you’re not, time probably won’t make it better… it will only make it worse. It’s best to let go now and make space in your life for someone who is in alignment with you.
9. Everyone in your circle thinks it’s time to call it quits
Those closest to you usually know what’s up with you and if they feel like it’s time for you to throw in the towel, they might be onto something. Of course, you shouldn’t always listen to others but in certain situations, like when we lose ourselves in a relationship, it might be a good idea to take a step back and check in with those that have known you the longest and know you the best. They often have objectivity (not always but usually) which can be useful in these situations.
If you find yourself withholding certain details about your relationship to avoid judgement or because you don’t want people to think negatively about your partner, this is a sign that it’s a toxic relationship.