19 Signs Of A Broken Relationship That's Worth Saving

You may not be ready to give up... and honestly, you may not need to.

Young couple having relationship difficulties. Woman sulking, man talking. StockLite / Shutterstock

When any relationship starts to fall apart, you can be left wondering if it's time to break up or if it's worth trying to fix the broken pieces.

While love isn't the only thing that's necessary for a relationship to stand the test of time, it does mean something. And giving up on someone you truly love may leave you heartbroken for years to come.

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Signs of a Broken Relationship

1. There's no trust left.

Trust is at the very core of a relationship. It's the foundation you two build your relationship on, and if it's broken, especially if it's been broken several times, you won't be able to get it back.

If one of you was unfaithful, the other will likely find their thoughts wandering if you come home from work a little late just once. They'll inspect your shirt, if you smell like perfume or cologne, if there are any traces of lipstick, and they might even try to break into your phone to assure themselves you haven't been texting or calling someone else.


When trust is gone, both of you are prone to this kind of toxic behavior, so it would be best to take some time to heal and find someone else with whom you have a blank slate.

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2. You're not excited to see, talk to, or be with them anymore.

You see their name pop on your phone, and suddenly, you're filled with dread.

You don't look forward to them coming home and you'd rather just find something to do so you have an excuse not to engage with them.

This is more than just losing "the spark" between the two of you — you've gone and lost the entire essence of what made your relationship special, and the warm, compassionate, loving feeling that was binding you together, back when you stood on solid ground.


3. You don't envision a future with them.

When you look ahead five or ten years, or at the rest of your life, you definitely don't see yourself with them. If you can't imagine a future with your partner, chances are, you're on your way out of having anything with them now, or ever.

Lasting, long-term relationships involve making plans together to include one another in each other's lives in a way that grows over time.

When planning for the future in a relationship that can go the distance, each of you should account for the other one and consider how they'll fit into those plans and usually want their input so that that person genuinely feels like they're included and their considerations are being taken seriously.

4. You have different ideas about what you want in life.

Let's say one of you wants to have children and settle down in the suburbs three states away where they have better chances of getting promoted within their company.


You, however, are certain you don't want to have children, and you love the rhythm of living in the metropolitan city where you currently live. To top it off, you're blissfully happy at the boutique firm where you currently work, and you've worked hard over the last several years to climb to the top, putting in countless hours week after week. Your job is your baby, as far as you're concerned.

When you can't agree on important life decisions like whether to have children, where to settle down, and how to support each other in your careers, the relationship is ultimately doomed. If not now, it will eventually fall apart.

signs of a broken relationship

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5. Their presence drains you instead of energizes you.

The people you need in your life and who, ultimately, should stay in your life in the long run, are the people who give you energy and revitalize your spirit.

Your partner should inspire you to be the best version of yourself and be part of what gives you the strength and drive to conquer your goals and ambitions in life.

If emotional exhaustion from your partner leaves you feeling drained, unmotivated, and detached, they aren't adding value to your life — but detracting from it.

6. The intimacy is gone.

Physical touch, including gentle pats on the back, hugs, and holding hands, is important to maintain a healthy, lasting relationship.


Of course, if you haven't been intimate in the bedroom or you're no longer interested in participating in intimacy with your partner, this is a huge red flag that the passion and closeness that had bound you to your partner at one point is dead.

A sexless relationship devoid of any romance isn't anyone's picture of what they want for the long haul.

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7. All you do is fight.

Constant bickering and fighting is an indication of unmitigated criticism, defensiveness, and contempt, three of the most destructive relationship killers.

It's especially concerning if you constantly fight over the same things, which may even be relatively small or inconsequential.


This is symptomatic of a larger, underlying problem that will take a lot of work to resolve, if it even can be resolved.

8. You're too over the relationship to bother fighting anymore.

If you're at the point where you don't even care about the relationship enough to fight with each other anymore, much less fight for your relationship, your relationship is officially doomed.

You might be waiting it out, even sabotaging the relationship by deliberately doing things to bother or antagonize your partner and passive-aggressively get your ticket out so you can be single again.

You probably already feel in your bones that the connection between you is lost and you're not ready to pull the trigger and officially end the whole thing. But it's time.


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19 Signs Your Broken Relationship is Worth Saving

1. You don't want anyone else.

When your practical side starts reminding you that there are plenty of other fish in the proverbial sea, you instinctively tell it to be quiet.

You don’t want to think about all the other great candidates out there — even the wealthier, more attractive, kinder ones.

You don’t want to be reassured of your market value, either. You’d rather things in your relationship just go back to the way they were.

2. The thought of them with someone else makes you sick.

When you picture your significant other hooking up with someone else, it makes your stomach turn and the hair on your arms stand tall, but not out of jealousy or possessiveness.


It sickens you to know you’ve lost something so precious — the safe, loving intimacy that once defined your relationship — and you desperately want that back, even if you’re not quite ready to do what it takes to resurrect it.

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3. Being single doesn’t sound appealing.

Even if it means you get to hook up with the guy you’ve been crushing on at work forever. Or that you can finally go crazy on Tinder.

4. Getting revenge seems foolish.

You entertain plenty of doubts and vengeful thoughts, but once you think your hypothetical plot all the way through, you quickly realize how dumb it would be to drain the bank account, cheat, or ransack the apartment out of anger.


Exacting revenge on someone you care about won’t feel good.

5. You can’t imagine living with anyone except your person.

After all, your wardrobe wouldn’t look quite right hanging next to anyone else’s — a ridiculous thought, maybe, but whatever.

6. You can’t imagine traveling with anyone but them, either.

Your bras and underthings can’t be packed in a suitcase with anyone else’s — another ridiculous thought, maybe, but you’re OK with that.

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7. You'd rather be bored with them than excited with anyone else.

Lately, hanging out always seems to end in fighting, but there’s no one else you’d rather waste time with.


You want to binge-watch Netflix with your boyfriend or girlfriend, even if things are too contentious to risk deconstructing television plots.

8. You never take your fights 'too far.'

No matter how nasty the arguments get, you still hold back the hurtful stuff. Something always stops you from going to the pitch-black place from which there’s no turning back.

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9. You still like the way your partner smells in the morning.

And not just because their scent is wonderfully familiar.

10. You respect your partner as a human...

Even if you hate their guts right now.


11. You’re still physically attracted to them, too.

You just might not want to be intimate with them right now. You’ll have to, of course, eventually — when it’s time to make babies.

They’re the only reasonable option for mothering or fathering your future children.

12. Even now, your partner manages to make you laugh...

Reminding you that your inside jokes are awesomely resilient.




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13. You're still proud of them.

When you watch your significant other interact with strangers or acquaintances, you can’t help feeling a sense of pride for being associated with them.

There’s value in being on the team and you know it on some level.


14. As terrible as things are, you feel happy when your partner gets good news.

No, you’re not that good of a person. But your vicarious pleasure could be a sign of undying affection.

15. You know exactly how they are feeling at any given time.

No bad stretch seems to blunt your ability to intuit your significant other’s moods.

16. You're not out there flirting with other people.

You never turn your “I’m available” light on all the way up when things get shaky.

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17. It doesn’t make you feel that good when strangers hit on you, anyway.

If anything, being hit on reminds you how hard it is to find someone worth holding onto.


18. You know how much work it will take to get back to 'the good place' — but the work doesn’t scare you.

You’re willing to do whatever it takes, even if you’re not quite ready to start yet.

19. You never forget 'the good place.'

When you think about your first few months as a couple, the blissful, early relationship feelings rise up from somewhere deep within to tickle your heart, reminding you that they’re still there, waiting to be re-lit.

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Mélanie Berliet is a media executive and author who works as SVP and Group General Manager of the Home & Design team at Dotdash Meredith, overseeing Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Southern Living, Martha Stewart Living, and more.