Love, Self

6 Undeniable Signs It's Time To Break Up

Photo: Unsplash/Caju Gomes
Should I Break Up With My Boyfriend (Or Girlfriend)? How To Know When It's Time: Girl wondering what to do

How do you know when to break up with someone?

I've been in this spot where I've asked myself, "Should I break up with my boyfriend?" — so I know that finding the right answer is really tough.

In one relationship, I went back and forth for months about whether or not I should dump him before — to my shock — he finally broke up with me.

Even though I should have been happy and relieved that I didn't have to do the dumping, I was horrified that he beat me to the punch. Oddly, I had a really hard time getting over it.

After all, it was quite clear that while I was slowly building my case for breaking up with him, he was actively constructing an escape hatch of his own.

RELATED: 8 Unavoidable Signs It's Time To Break Up (Even If You Still Love Him)

Deep down I was hoping that the boring relationship we were in would magically transform into the relationship I wanted, even though I was actively ignoring several really big red flags that were signs we should break up.

If you're asking yourself (and all your friends) if you should break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, here are six ways to know when it's time to break up.

1. He's abusive.

If you're in an abusive relationship, it's definitely time to go. You should not have to protect yourself from him by walking on eggshells, worrying that he's going to snap at any moment.

I know that saying "dump him" might be easy to say but harder to do, but the thing is, you owe yourself a chance to have a great relationship without fear.

If you're experiencing any type of abuse from your boyfriend, don't pass go, don't collect $200; it's time to dump him right now.

It will not get better. It will not change. You cannot hold out for things to improve.

I don't want to scare you, but these things escalate and I don't want you to become a statistic before it's too late. You can do it, you are worth it.

2. You have widely different life goals.

Do you feel like you could seriously live without getting married? Does he desperately want a further commitment from you, but you just don't feel like you can give it to him, or vice versa? Does he want kids and you don't, or vice versa?

Even if you love someone with all your heart, it isn't fair to stay with them in circumstances where either you or the other person would have to compromise entire life goals for the relationship to work.

Some compromise happens in all relationships, but too much compromise on the big things leads to crushing resentment.

Part of loving someone is letting them go if you can't meet their needs. I feel for you deeply if you're in this spot and I know that you have the courage to make the necessary changes to meet both of your needs.

RELATED: 6 Signs Your Relationship Is Over & It's Time To Break Up

3. He cheated.

Cheating is tough. On one hand, you might desperately want to repair the relationship, but on the other, be so angry you can barely be in the same room without wanting to rip his head off.

If you've found out that your partner was unfaithful, it is an individual choice to decide what to do. You can forgive and live in fear that he'll do it again, or you can dump him and wonder what would have happened if you had stayed.

It's a really horrible situation to be in, but I've always leaned toward leaving. If someone is cheating, your relationship was over before you even found out, probably.

Not only should you break up if your boyfriend cheated on you, but if you're thinking about straying as well. Do you look at every guy who crosses your path and think "Oh, delicious!"? Have you gotten close to or cheated on him in the past?

This is a strong internal signal that it's time to go. Often people cheat because they desperately need to make a change but they aren't stepping up to the plate. If you've made this mistake or are on the verge of making it, please just let him go; it will be better for both of you.

4. He doesn't respect you.

Do you feel like your boyfriend doesn't respect you? Does he continually not do what he says he will? Does he make jokes at your expense that hurt your feelings?

Often, disrespect is really hard to recover from once it begins. Do you really want to live the rest of your life with someone who doesn't have proper respect for you?

Life is both too long and too short for this kind of nonsense.

RELATED: If You Feel These 7 Things, Your Relationship Is Over (Or Should Be)

5. You've lost that loving feeling.

Have you stopped feeling attracted to him? Do you feel like you're living with your brother? Do you hope that he won't come near you or initiate sex because you never seem to be feeling it?

Have your attempts to re-ignite the spark just fizzled out? Has he stopped wanting to have sex with you?

You owe it to both of you to have a sexual pairing on top of an emotional one. Examine whether there might be medical reasons why you both are having trouble in the sack, but keep in mind that compatibility waxes and wanes.

My genius mother always told me that problems start in the bedroom and travel outward, not the opposite. I've found this to be largely true.

When one or both partners aren't into having sex or they have incompatible sexual needs, the relationship is hard to maintain. Examine whether this is happening in your relationship.

6. Your gut tells you that your relationship is over.

I'm a big believer in following your gut feeling.

If you have that nagging feeling that it's time to break up with your boyfriend and you just aren't having your dream relationship, then you probably should either work on changing the relationship or ultimately leaving it.

This idea is really subjective, so here's a method that I use to determine whether a gut feeling is really genuine or based on a momentary emotional response.

In a moment of quiet, close your eyes and visualize a time you were really happy with your boyfriend. As you go back to that time, let yourself strongly relive that memory. Spend a few minutes vividly bringing back the visuals, smells, tastes, sounds and feelings from that time.

Let the memory fade and then open your eyes. Does the nagging feeling return? If the doubt that this is your forever relationship comes rushing back, it is probably time to make a change.

As always, the decision to end a relationship is a really difficult one.

I realize that it's easy for me to say dump him, but much harder to do in practice. If you decide to make the leap, understand that it is for the best. You can't get your dream life while continuing to settle for less than you deserve.

If it is finally time to go, find out how to break up neatly and gracefully here.

RELATED: 5 Reasons You Need To Give Up On A Guy Who's 'Not Sure' About You

Elizabeth Stone is a relationship coach who helps women turn their love lives around. If you end up in dead-end relationships with men who don't make you feel loved, get to the bottom of it with a free copy of her e-book, Why Men Lose Interest.