Man holds red broken paper heart in his hands. Black and white image with red paper heart. Vignette.

The trouble with relationships is it’s often difficult to spot the signs when things are becoming derailed. There’s a tendency to keep putting on a brave face and gloss over the faults. But the trouble with being in denial is it will only prolong the inevitable, drawing out a stressful situation for no reason. So how do you know when the time has come to end your relationship and enjoy the freedom to browse singles online again?

You have serious doubts about continuing

One of the most obvious signs you might need to end a relationship is when the natural misgivings everyone has from time to time evolve into something much deeper. Instead of brushing off aspects of your partner’s behavior as something which is surely a one-off which you’ll easily get beyond, and resolved with an apology, you find yourself becoming seriously concerned – to the extent you begin questioning whether you’ll have any future together.

You can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel

In any relationship, there are bound to be ups and downs, disagreements which will cause friction to flare but can usually be dealt with by a combination of common sense and strong communication. But what happens when you can’t see a way out of the issues you are having? In a healthy relationship, even in the grip of a heated argument, you should always be able to envisage a moment when this passes. But failure to see anything other than a long, depressing tunnel is another surefire indicator your relationship has reached its end point.

You start wondering if the grass might be greener…

A classic sign you might need to consider escaping this situation is if you begin dwelling on the possibility of life with someone else. Other than daydreams, being romantically involved with anyone other than your partner has possibly never crossed your mind. But when you start to harbor seriously intimate fantasies about that new start in the office or the person who serves your morning latte, your current partnership’s days may well be numbered.

You weigh up pros … but there are more cons

If you’re having any doubts about your situation, it’s common to consider the good points and bad points. In most circumstances, it will be the case that no matter how negative certain aspects have become, there will always be a series of much more potent positives to cancel out each of these. But when you undertake this exercise and the cons are totally outweighing the pros, the time might well have come to seek a get-out clause and escape your misery.

Your friends are one step ahead

With relationships, the default position is very often to deny the enormity of any issues there may be. This is where your social circle can become so reliable, as friends or family can observe your relationship from the outside and provide an objective appraisal. Devoid of sentimentality, they will be able to advise you that you really need to end your relationship. You might be surprised at what you hear, but at least everything will finally be out in the open for you to deal with.

You know this is a decision you won’t regret

Finally, when you reach the decision that finishing your relationship would definitely be a situation you would not regret, but rather feel as if you will be unshackling yourself from something toxic, then you will know the time has definitely come for you to make that crucial move and end it.