by Liberty Stembridge, Relationships Columnist
Published in Relationships on 8th October, 2019
Ending a relationship, especially a long-term relationship, is hard, at least for most people. When you've invested a lot of time, emotions and commitment into building a relationship with another person, choosing to let that go are often painful and difficult.
Not all relationships are meant to last, however, and sometimes we need to take a long hard look at whether or not the relationships we're in (be they romantic or platonic) are worth it, and if there are any signs that they should be let go.
Being in a relationship should inspire you to grow and change in positive ways, but sometimes it doesn't.
Some partnerships leave you feeling pressured to change your personality or lifestyle in a way you don't really want to, either because your partner is directly pressuring you, or you're feeling a less direct pressure to fit in. This ultimately isn't good for you, and it's a sign you should let the relationship go.
A common pitfall in relationships is to find yourself trapped in a neverending loop of hoping and imagining a better future when you're not really enjoying the present. The temptation to hold off and wait for things to get better rather than "giving up" is strong.
However, this type of thinking is ultimately warped and unhelpful. In reality, you should be able to enjoy the present with your partner, even if you are having some issues. Waiting for the day that they magically become a good partner and your relationship is suddenly fixed only prolongs the inevitable.
It's easy to be there for someone when they're happy. It's easy to be supportive of your partner's achievements, goals and dreams because they are positive steps forward.
It's a lot harder to be supportive when someone else is going through hard times. Nonetheless, everyone does at some point, go through rough periods and it is in those times that the strength of a relationship is tested.
If your partner is unsupportive during your difficult times, it's probably time to end the relationship.
Light banter, teasing or mockery is fine and normal in a relationship. Feeling disrespected, underappreciated, undervalued or ashamed on a regular basis is normal. If your partner dismisses your concerns regularly, you may even be a victim of gaslighting, which is a sign of abuse.
A relationship is meant to be supportive, loving and ultimately beneficial for both parties, allowing you to grow in an environment where you feel safe. If this isn't the case for you, you may need to seriously reevaluate your relationship.
A healthy relationship is one where you can truly be yourself, without having to hide or mute your true self for the sake of your partner. Even if you don't always share the same likes, interests or hobbies, your partner should be supportive of your passions, regardless of whether they want to join in with you.
Watch for signs of your significant other monitoring your online activity, checking your phone or trying to otherwise exert control over who you see or talk to. Although jealousy is a normal emotion that often crops up, even in healthy relationships - when left unchecked it can get extremely toxic. Ultimately, if your partner is trying to control your life, it isn't a healthy relationship.
Have you ever had a friend who's a completely different person when they're with their partner? Maybe it's different mannerisms, a different way of speaking, or maybe they seem more subdued, or aggressive, or argumentative.
Of course, the way you act with your partner isn't going to be the same as the way you act around your parents, but nevertheless, if you are radically changing your personality with your partner as opposed to when you're with your close friends, for example, this may be a sign that your relationship isn't that healthy.
Oftentimes our closest friends are the ones with the greatest insights into our relationships, since they know us well, but have a much more objective view - getting their input can be invaluable.
In a healthy relationship, you don't spend all of your free time with your partner. Sure, you might spend a lot of your time together, but ultimately you need to have your own social life outside of your relationship, not only for your own mental health, but the health of your relationship too.
If you find that your partner is actively trying to isolate you from your friends and family, or guilt-trip you into spending more time with them when you'd like to go out and socialize, this is a major red flag.
One of the major features of a functional, healthy relationship that can stand the test of time is the ability to visualize a future together, one that you both equally want and look forward to. Ultimately, a mismatch in desires is going to end up with one person being.
Sure, compromise is possible, but not for everything - so if you don't agree on the big stuff, it may be time to pull the plug. If your partner wants to travel the world on a sailboat for the rest of their life, but all you dream about is working on your career and starting a family, then you have a fundamental problem.