How to know your relationship is over

Signs your relationship is failing? Could your partner or spouse be planning to leave you?

What are the signs your relationship is over?

Are you worried that your partner is about to end your relationship or marriage? Or perhaps you’re thinking about breaking up, because you’re unhappy and just going through the motions?

Either way, there are definite signs to look out for that could potentially signal the end of your relationship. And, of course, there’s relationship help available whatever your relationship problems or issues are.

REasons for a relationship breakdown

Relationships break down for all sorts of reasons and problems. See if you can find your particular problem on this page: 25 common relationship problems with links to articles containing a ton of relationship tips and advice.

Photo: broken window. Text: warning signs your relationship could be over

How do you know when a relationship is beyond repair and it is over?

If a breakup is imminent, it is often the result of repeated periods of unhappiness and/or doubts – either for you, your partner, or both of you.

Often these periods of dissatisfaction, irritation, anger, frustration, hurt and disappointment increase in length and happen more frequently. Your relationship problems appear to be piling up!

It’s not unusual for these cycles of ups and downs to continue over several years.

Image quote: People change and forget to tell each other. -Lillian Hellman
The two of you will have changed, but to what extent? Are you wondering whether they’re signs the relationship is over? Time to take action!

However, a breakup can also happen seemingly out of the blue. 

Nevertheless, the ending of a relationship is always a process with a beginning, a middle and an end. Some may happen more rapidly than others, but when you look back, you’ll probably be able to identify the stages.

Statements like “I’m leaving you” or “I don’t love you anymore” are unlikely to have risen out of a ‘sudden’ realisation – even if it seems like that to you.

Worried your partner is about to break up with you?

Hop over to my article: How to make your partner love you again.

And, just in case, my article: Afraid of commitment.

Photo: woman staring out over the sea. 'How to know when a relationship is over.

Normal ‘ups and downs’ or beyond repair?

Would you be shocked if your partner suddenly told you he or she doesn’t love you anymore, like so many of my clients were? Or would you have seen it coming?

Or, maybe you haven’t been honest with your partner about how unhappy and unsure of your future together you’ve been feeling. Maybe you‘re the one who’s falling out of love?

In any case, I know it can be really scary to contemplate a future without the person you loved (or still love).

The word ‘single’ can strike fear into the hearts of many! But, the alternative is to stay in a broken relationship – and while that may not feel as scary, it’s way worse for you – and your partner – in the long run.

So, take a deep breath, and let’s take a look together at the most common signs a relationship is over.

Vertical banner: '8 factors that impact the ending of a relationship.

What lies behind the signs a relationship is over?

The breakdown of a relationship often happens in stages. Each stage has its own signs of a breakup possibly being on the cards. The nature and the length of these stages also differ enormously from one couple to another.

Here are the factors that influence what each stage looks like:

8 Factors that impact the ending of a relationship

  1. How committed you really were at the start of your relationship – the less committed the sooner it’s likely to end.
  2. The level of your commitment, care and consideration as your relationship grew.
  3. The length and ‘intensity’ of the partnership.
  4. Your personal relationship histories – your attachments and previous endings.
  5. Your life stages and ages – first long-term love, small kids, teenagers, elderly parents, mid-life, etc.
  6. Any traumas that happened during the course of your relationship.
  7. Your personalities.
  8. Any physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse
Photo: woman staring out over the sea. '13 common stages of a failing
How to tell if your relationship is over for him or her

What stage of a relationship breakdown are you at?

Below I’ve listed the stages I’ve seen my clients go through when their relationship was in danger of ending.

Each stage has its own signs that your relationship is not what it should or could be.

13 Common stages of a failing relationship – signs your relationship is in trouble

Either one of you could be at a stage whereby you…

  1. Accept that every relationship or marriage has its ups and downs without worrying that it might be failing.
  2. Become aware that what seemed like yet another ‘dip’ is lasting much longer than normal. There’s still much you can do at this stage. You’ll find all you need to know in my article with healthy relationship tips and advice.
  3. Attempt another conversation with your partner about how you feel (women tend to do this more often than men).
  4. Contemplate, and perhaps even suggest, couples counselling (I highly recommend you get some counselling if your partner isn’t interested). You can do that too – online – see my article: Online relationship advice.
    Failing that, do consider self-hypnosis with the help of a high-quality download. For further information see my article: Self-hypnosis FAQ and downloads. Whatever your problem – there’s a download to match.
  5. Make renewed efforts to improve things because you can clearly see that the relationship is on the rocks. 
  6. Become exhausted and increasingly unhappy because of all the ups and downs. You have sleepless nights from worries about what now seems to be a failing relationship.
  7. Imagine what it would be like to end the relationship or marriage and be on your own.
  8. Explore solutions to the adverse practical and financial consequences of a breakup.
  9. Make concrete plans in anticipation of a separation when the relationship is over.
  10. Put off a conversation about ending the relationship or marriage, wondering how to do it.
  11. Pluck up the courage and disclose your intention to seek a separation/divorce.
  12. Attend counselling sessions ‘as a last resort’ (see my article on what to expect in marriage counselling).
  13. Decide ultimately: the relationship needs to end if repair attempts haven’t worked and there are clear signs it’s time to break up. (There’s a hypnosis download to help you navigate that difficult stage too).

I hope this has given you a better understanding of the signs a relationship is over. Do also read my article on how to know when to break up.

Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at theof something else. -Fred Rogers
Together, but not truly connecting and sharing? Signs that the relationship is over?

Other relationship issues and signs the relationship is over for him or for her

Whether you’re worried that your partner is about to end your relationship, or you’re the one on the verge of calling it quits, take a look at the list below for the signs he or she is no longer right for you.

8 warning signs your relationship is in trouble

  1. You don’t laugh and talk as much as you used to.
  2. One of you is pushing for more commitment than the other wants to give.
  3. One or both of you often feel hurt, let down, frustrated, angry, taken for granted, ignored – or simply bored.
  4. You live like ‘brother and sister’, or friends – without passion.
  5. Or, if you do still have a physical relationship, it’s more about ‘going through the motions’ than making love.
  6. Issues from the past keep coming up without ever getting resolved.
  7. Something just doesn’t quite gel – emotionally, physically, socially or spiritually.
  8. Disagreements escalate quickly into full-blown rows more and more often.

If any of these sound familiar to you, your inkling that your relationship is in trouble could be right.

So what else should you be looking out for?

Photo broken branches reflected in water. '14 signs a breakup may be on the cards. Which do you recognise?'
How do you know your relationship is in trouble?

14 signs of a breakup could be on the cards

All of the signs in this article are really signs that a relationship may be over, or at least that your partner may no longer be right for you. Your relationship is in trouble!

The following can all apply to either you or your partner…

1. Conversations don’t include much personal ‘stuff’

 – you have little idea what’s going on in each other’s lives

2. Complaints about the same things…

… keep coming up over and over again (see also how to stop constant arguing in a relationship).

3. You can’t come to an understanding

or agreement when it comes to important issues.

4. Feelings of frustration, anger and hurt increase…

 … whenever you try to have meaningful conversations (if you still do!).

5. You’re feeling increasingly depressed

 – if you both feel like this on account of your relationship then your feelings are definite warning signs of a breakup.

6. You’re slowly withdrawing from each other

You’re no longer confiding in each other or seeking support.

7. One of you wants a break

If you or your partner needs a break, then that is a serious sign your relationship could be ending!

8. You’re growing apart

You go out separately more often, stay longer at work and talk very little.

9. One of you is having an affair

If you happen to be the one having an affair, can you be sure your partner isn’t cheating also? If they’re being unfaithful – it could definitely be a sign that they are no longer right for you.

10. One of you is acting ‘out of character’

Perhaps you’ve not been acting in a way you normally would. Perhaps you’re being more secretive, or your partner has changed towards you and could be up to something they wouldn’t want you to know.

11. You’re arguing ever more frequently

You may even be treating each other with contempt – a sure sign that your relationship is in danger.

12. ‘Stonewalling’ is becoming common

– a total communication breakdown – ignoring each other when you’re miffed, pretending the other one doesn’t exist (detrimental to any relationship!). This definitely calls for some good relationship advice!

13. Promises are being broken

– one of you commits to being somewhere but doesn’t turn up or cancels the arrangement.

14. Being ‘nice’ has become too much effort

I’m sure you’ll agree, some of these are pretty obvious signs that your relationship is not as healthy it could be.

If you recognise any them, now’s the time to take action:

  • The best place to start? Talking to each other! If your relationship is on the rocks, a meaningful conversation will help you both figure out if it can still be saved. If communication doesn’t flow freely in your relationship, my Loving Communication Kit for Couples will help you make a positive impact today.
  • Alternatively, if you’re struggling to make sense of it all, I highly recommend you connect with an online professional relationship therapist. An outside perspective and some professional guidance can make a huge difference in how you feel and what you do next.
    For further information on how that works, see my article: Online Relationship Advice.

When is a relationship over?

If you’re not sure you want to stay in this relationship, my Comprehensive Relationship Test can help you to make that difficult decision. After that, you’re very likely to be clear about your next step.

You can take control and end your relationship or marriage – if that’s what you decide to do. Or, you might decide that it is worth fighting for. Then you’ll know which way to direct your energies!

I’ve also developed a worksheet for you to give you a really good head-start in saving your relationship…

Front cover worksheet. Dealing with your relationship problems when your partner isn't interested.

Signs your relationship is over OR
signs of declining mental health

Some of the signs your relationship is in danger or really over could actually also indicate deeper emotional and/or psychological problems – either for you or your partner.

Things that contribute to the end of a relationship can sometimes be, in their own right, the signs of depression, an impending nervous breakdown or simply stress.

These can all rapidly lead to all manner of relationship problems, not to mention personal problems too.

So, if you think you’re struggling with any kind of emotional issue (or your partner is), I’d really love you to get the help you need to overcome those difficulties right now. You can find a ton of info on my site to get you on the right track.

Or you can connect with an online therapist right away (see the Better Help box below).


If you’re worried your relationship could be over, this isn’t the time to stick your head in the sand (trust me!). 

Whether you’re the one thinking of leaving, or it’s your partner, take some time to find out what’s really going on – for both of you.

Ideally, I’d like you to get some couples therapy. For further information, see my article: Does marriage counselling work?

I totally understand if you’re feeling confused or even scared. I know that it’s a difficult time for you, so whatever happens, know that you will get through this – I’m rooting for you.

Background photo: silhouette of woman's face. Text: Need advice? Get help. Chat with a licensed therapist now.
Your problem is never too big, too small or too embarrassing to get personal advice from a professional counsellor!

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