Over the past decade, I’ve gone through my fair share of breakups.
I’ve ended relationships with women I’d once thought I would marry. I’ve had partners leave me for other men. I’ve left otherwise good relationships because it was “good” and I felt I deserved “great.”
When I think back on some of my breakups, I wonder what it would have looked like if I’d stayed. When I think of others, I wonder why I didn’t end the relationship sooner.
And after going through the romantic ringer, I’ve realized that the biggest (relationship) problem facing men today is that they don’t know how to filter out bad matches and enter into relationships with women who would fit well into their lives. They have no idea how to know when it’s time to break up, and they stay in terrible relationships for years.
In this article, I will reveal the 11 signs you should break up with her, so you can stop wasting your time and mental health and create space for a relationship you would be a “hell yeah” about.
Looking back, I realize that every time I unnecessarily suffered (and by extension made my partner suffer) through months or years of a bad relationship…
…It was because I was ignoring one or all of these signs.
This article is by no means meant to be taken as gospel. I can’t tell you what is right or wrong for you and your relationship. I don’t know the nuances of your romantic life, and even if you see all 11 of these signs in your relationship…it could still be a relationship worth saving.
All I can do is share my experience and the experience of the hundreds of men I’ve coached throughout the years.
These signs are not commandments. Simply suggestions to help you navigate the difficult journey of answering the question, “Is the relationship over?”
1. You Aren’t Happy With Your Girlfriend
The first and one of the most telling signs you should break up with your girlfriend is simple.
You aren’t happy inside of the relationship.
I know this sounds obvious and almost self-evident, but I’ve seen countless men stay in toxic relationships for years (in some cases decades) because they weren’t willing to face the facts of their relationship.
When there aren’t any specific problems with your relationship…
…When there’s no flagrant abuse, manipulation, infidelity, or disrespect, it can be easy to stay in a toxic relationship that doesn’t serve you simply because it’s “not that bad.”
It’s easy to b.s. yourself and believe the lie that it’s “just a phase” or “I’ll be happy as soon as…”
But you know as well as I do that “as soon as” never comes.
Sure, even the healthiest couples still fight and argue from time to time. It’s normal to have periods where one or both of you is struggling, emotionally drained, and unable to show up fully in the relationship as the person they need to be.
However, these couples still enjoy spending time together. There are bouts of unhappiness. But the overarching tone of the relationship is still one of happiness, love, and contentment.
So if you’re wondering, “is it really over?” the first step is to take an honest look at your emotional state.
Are you happier in your relationship more often than you’re unhappy?
If the answer is “no,” you don’t need other reasons to break up.
Your emotional and mental health and overall well-being must always come first.
And there’s no shame in dumping your girlfriend for the sake of your happiness. You don’t owe love or commitment to another human simply because they love and are committed to you. If you know that you aren’t happy in your current relationship (and haven’t been for some time), ask yourself two questions:
- Am I unhappy because of my partner or because of the way I am showing up inside of my relationship?
- Is my unhappiness something that could be solved with a specific behavioral change (e.g. if she supports you more, stops abusing substances, exercises more, has sex with you more frequently, etc.)
By answering these two questions, you’ll gain greater clarity on the exact causes of your unhappiness and, more importantly, whether the best solution is to end the relationship.
2. You’ve Been Doubting The Relationship…for a Long Time
Every couple experiences periods of doubt. This is simply how the human brain is wired.
No matter how intimate your relationship is, or how mind-blowing the sex is, it’s normal to ask yourself from time to time, “What are the signs you should break up? Should I break up with my girlfriend?”
In a healthy relationship, this question will quickly answer itself as her small acts of love, kindness, and compassion remind you why you fell in love with her in the first place.
However, when you find yourself constantly asking “should we break up?” over a period of months or even years, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong.
It’s important to realize that you don’t experience different emotions–like doubt, guilt, fear, or depression–haphazardly.
There is a reason you are doubting your relationship and a reason you are Googling “Signs you should break up with her.”
In some cases, it might be a sign that you aren’t getting your needs met and need to do a better job of communicating them to your partner. Or, it could be a sign that you’ve stopped investing in the relationship and need to start showing up as a better husband or boyfriend.
However, living in ambiguity for too long is a dangerous state to live in.
It can quickly lead to emotional burnout, exhaustion, malaise, and depression. If it isn’t dealt with quickly and effectively, it can wreck your relationship and destroy you as a man.
If you’re currently having doubts, as hard as it may be, it’s important to discuss them with your partner. Make your concerns known and express your discomfort and confusion.
The only way to resolve ambiguity is radical honesty.
What’s most important is that you share your truth and work from there, even if your truth leads to the end of your relationship.
3. You Can’t Get Your Needs Met (Even Though You’ve Tried Many Times
One of the most definitive patterns that will help you determine when to break up with your girlfriend is when, despite your best efforts, you are unable to get important needs met inside your relationship.
It’s important to point out that this is only one of the signs you should break up with your girlfriend if you have actively tried to get your needs met through direct communication.
If you have been sitting on the sidelines and remaining silent about your needs (or worse, using passive-aggressive communication) then this is not one of the reasons to break up.
It’s a sign that you need to step up as a grounded man and clearly communicate exactly what you need from your partner and why it’s important to you. Even (and especially) if voicing those needs makes you feel uncomfortable.
However, if you have been voicing your needs–whether they’re sexual, emotional, or financial–for months on end to no signs of improvement, this is one of the definitive signs you should break up.
All healthy relationships come from a place of mutual benefit. And every person has specific needs inside of their relationship.
For some people, it’s regular and exciting sex. For others, it’s emotional support and encouragement. And for others still, it’s an intellectually similar partner who can challenge their ideas and stimulate their minds.
Whatever your needs are, own them, while also listening to hers.
Feel no shame in making your needs known and heard. After all, they are your needs and apart from what you need for you to be happy and fulfilled inside of a relationship.
If, after numerous conversations and months of effort (on your part) your girlfriend is unwilling or unable to meet your needs, it’s up to you to take a stand for yourself and end the relationship. If she can get away with not meeting your needs for too long or she throws a fury of excuses at you and storms out of the room whenever you bring your needs up, then over time she will not see you as a strong man but a weak man she can control.
Get your needs met and work to meet hers, otherwise, neither of you will be happy. The best thing to do if needs cannot be met for both of you is to break up and find someone else who can meet your needs.
4. She Avoids Problems within the Relationship Instead of Working On Them
Life is hard.
There’s no escaping it. Every day is filled with challenges, confusion, uncertainty, and frustration.
It’s the nature of human life. We are all caught in a never-ending cosmic struggle against increasingly complex and important problems.
And your relationships are no exception to this rule.
No matter how much you love and adore your partner, no matter how attractive she makes you feel or how incredible your sex lives are…things will get hard. You will have problems.
As such, one of the easiest ways to answer “is it really over?” is to look at the problems inside of your relationship and ask yourself a simple question:
Is my partner willing and able to face these problems WITH me? Or is she avoiding them?
Every relationship has problems. But, by their very nature, problems inside of a relationship cannot be fixed by one person. Because both of you cause these problems.
For example, if your girlfriend is financially irresponsible and spending all of your money, guess what?
It’s not just her fault. YOU failed to show up as a grounded man, set healthy boundaries, and respectfully enforce those boundaries when broken.
But the inverse is also true.
Whatever problems you are having in your relationship, she has a part in them.
Whether she has toxic habits, differing values, or unreasonable expectations, she is contributing to problems just as much as you are.
And if she isn’t willing to work with you to resolve these problems, this is a valid reason to break up.
It’s like being stuck on a boat in the middle of an ocean with someone who won’t help you row the other side, you’ll be spinning in circles.
No matter how much effort you exert, you get nowhere.
5. You Don’t Have Fun Together and Cling to Good Memories of the Past
One of the most uncomfortable (but unavoidable) signs you should break up is that you and your girlfriend no longer have fun together and look more like roommates to the outside observer.
You had some good times, great times even, but those are now a distant memory.
And every time you find yourself wondering how to know if you should break up, your mind immediately jets off to the past, reminiscing about the good times while ignoring the bad times and challenges that are staring you in the face.
Relationships offer more than just sex, watching Netflix and eating dinner together.
They help us grow. They magnify the human experience (because everything–including the bad–is better when it’s shared). And they create fun adventurous times.
If your relationship today is no longer fun and joyful. If you aren’t excited about the times you get to spend with your partner and the adventures you get to share tomorrow…there’s no reason to continue down the path to nowhere.
Granted, no relationship will be all fun and games all of the time. But if you can’t remember the last time you got butterflies in your stomach for a fun night out, you and your partner laughed until your bellies ached or smiled until your cheeks hurt, it’s time to start asking yourself what this relationship is really about.
6. You Have the “Grass is Greener” Mentality
Do you find yourself drifting off into daydreams wondering what it would be like to date another woman?
Do you ever look at other couples and envy their connection and intimacy? As you try to answer the question “is it time to break up” are your thoughts immediately drawn to other women in your life or exes from the past?
Despite what we’ve been told our entire lives, there’s nothing inherently wrong with fantasizing about other people. Most modern studies are showing that traditional monogamy is nothing more than a societal construct. It’s not a “natural” relationship dynamic.
But there is a fundamental difference between engaging in sexual fantasies about other women and actively fantasizing about a reality in which you are dating other women without your partner.
And when this pattern becomes the rule instead of the exception, you need to pay attention and listen to yourself.
In a healthy relationship, you don’t spend hours each day thinking about how amazing it would be to date someone other than your girlfriend. You don’t romanticize and fetishize other women, imagining that they will somehow be these perfect snowflakes capable of fulfilling your every whim and want.
And if you find yourself, despite your best efforts inside of your existing relationship, falling prey to the “Grass is greener” syndrome, you need to pay attention to that pattern.
It could be that you really do have a good thing but simply don’t have enough dating experience to know if it’s what you really want.
Or, as is more often the case, it could be that your incessant fantasies are indicative of a bigger problem and are one of many signs you feel you deserve or could do better, and ultimately, you should break up with your girlfriend.
7. Your Closest Friends and Family Support a Breakup
When you can’t determine how to know when to break up, one of the fastest ways to find the answer is by getting an objective set of eyes on your relationship from the people closest to you.
Specifically, by turning to your family and close friends for advice.
It’s important to note that you should not break up with your girlfriend solely because of this sign.
Your friends and family may not share your values or have any relevant experience that would allow them to help you make the right decision.
Just because your alcoholic Uncle Larry (who’s been divorced three times) thinks you should break up with your girlfriend does not mean he’s right.
However, if you have family members who have been happily married for decades or friends in good relationships, it’s worth checking in and being open to what they have to share.
Your friends and family are not as attached to your relationship as you are. Usually, their biggest concern is for your happiness, regardless of what relationship facilitates that happiness.
And if you notice that time and time again the people closest to you–and more importantly, the people you admire–are telling you that it’s time to end things or that you could do better…
…You can take it as a strong sign it’s time to end your current partnership and seriously analyze why you’re still with her.
8. Your Major Values Are Different
Of all the signs you should break up with your girlfriend, this is both the most important and the most difficult to accept.
You can find someone who is incredible…
The sex is out of this world. You laugh together endlessly. You have an amazing time whenever you see each other. You connect deeply and love fiercely.
But if your values are misaligned, it can never last.
If she wants a family and a house with a white picket fence and you want to gallivant across the globe, traveling to exotic locations and exploring every inch of the world…it won’t last.
If you value financial freedom, business success, and legacy, and she’s a free-loving hippy who would rather spend her days smoking pot and dancing through fields of flowers, it won’t last.
No matter how amazing you are as a couple or how much you love one another, where there is misalignment in the things that really matter to each of you, no relationship can stand the test of time.
Friendship is best suited in this case.
9. You Believe You’re Settling at Your Core
To answer the question, “should I break up with my girlfriend”, you must first ask an even more important question.
Do you believe you are settling with the woman you are dating right now?
When you think about your partner, do you feel like she’s “out of your league”? Do you feel lucky that you get to date her? Do your friends joke about you and say things like, “How did a guy like you end up with a girl like her?”
Do you feel like you’re simply settling for what’s immediately available out of scarcity? Do you feel like you could do better and have a more fulfilling relationship (but are too scared to break up with your girlfriend to go and find a new and better relationship)?
Beyond mere physical attractiveness (which, despite what our politically correct culture says is important and nothing to be ashamed of desiring), do you feel like you are settling for a woman who simply isn’t at your level?
I’m going to be blunt.
Life is short and you only got one shot at this thing we call life (at least that we know of).
And to ignore this uncomfortable reality and suffer through years of a mediocre relationship is to waste the most precious and finite resource you have–time.
Right now, I want you to ask yourself:
“When I’m an old man in my final years, looking back at my life…will I regret having spent so many years with the person I’m with today?”
Will you wish that you had not settled? That you’d found someone who fit your life and fulfilled your needs sooner?
If the answer is “yes” and even if you struggle to say “no”, then these are clear signs signaling it’s time to breakup.
You need to face the fear, have a tough conversation and start rebuilding your life.
For both your sake and hers.
10. You Fight More Often Than You Enjoy Your Time Together
As we’ve already established, fighting in a relationship is normal.
The fact that you had a single conflict shouldn’t have you Googling, “how to know when to break up with your girlfriend.”
Disagreements are not only normal, but they are also inevitable.
In fact, some studies have shown that relationships that are too positive (meaning there are 100 positive interactions for every one negative interaction) are just as unlikely to last as relationships that are too negative.
However, if your relationship has become nothing more than a nonstop free-for-all filled with shouting, name-calling, and profanity-strewn rants…it’s time to start considering the question “is it time to break up” more seriously. Unresolved conflict, unmet needs, and broken boundaries don’t get better with time; they get worse.
Granted, every couple goes through bouts of prolonged disagreement and fights which can even be healthy at times.
But, it’s up to you to look at your relationship as objectively as possible and ask yourself two questions.
- Are the fights and arguments we’re having necessary, productive, and respectful?
- Is there an end to these disputes in sight?
If you’ve been fighting about money for months but have both agreed to make changes in your spending habits and work routines, you don’t necessarily need to end the relationship.
But if you and your girlfriend find a new reason to fight every single day–and the fights are unproductive, disrespectful and demeaning–it may be time for your relationship to come to completion.
11. You Are Avoiding the Pain of a Breakup and Hiding Out in Safety
And now, we arrive at perhaps the most common and difficult sign of all.
The one with which men often struggle with most profoundly: the avoidance of pain and uncertainty.
You did not find and read this entire article by accident.
You are reading it because you have a problem…and you want to know whether it is terminal or solvable.
But many of you reading this aren’t looking for answers. You’re seeking reassurance.
You know what you needs to be done. You’ve known for weeks, maybe even months or years. In fact, you’ve probably already made your decision.
Now…You simply want to make sure it’s the right one.
You came here because you’re scared. Scared to end it… to move on… to start again… to risk the “best you’ve ever had” without knowing if you’ll find something better.
But most of all… You’re scared of hurting her. You’re scared of the pain you will both endure when you utter those dreaded words, “This isn’t working for me.”
If this is you if you know what must be done but simply cannot muster the courage to do it because of what it might do to her.
Then allow me to reassure you…
Every day you stay with her knowing that the end is near is a day that you are compounding the pain of the inevitable for both of you.
You are making it harder for her and harder for yourself. Your lack of resolve, your weakness is hurting a person you claim to have loved and stunting your growth as a man.
So, if you are waiting for the ‘right time’ and that time is now. Today. Before anyone gets hurt any more than they’ll already be.
Have the courage to do what is right. To make the hard choice and own your decision.
I understand it won’t be easy, but you’ll be better at it in time. I promise.
This guide should be seen neither as absolute nor final.
The items and circumstances I have shared with you, grim though the prognosis may be, are not always fatal. People change. They grow. They push themselves to hold onto love and do what it takes to resolve their differences.
So do not take my word as gospel. Merely as guidance to make a better decision. Combined with your intuition, the intimate details of your relationship, and the successes and failures of others, it is up to you to decide if your relationship is worth continuing or fighting for.
Any union can be salvaged when both parties are willing to work hard.
But you must first answer the question: “Is this relationship worth the effort it will take to fix, or am I better off moving on to something new?”
And unfortunately, I can’t give that answer to you directly.
It is a discovery that you and you alone must make. It is a part of your growth as a man.
But I hope this guide has provided a valuable resource as you chart your path toward this discovery.
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