Love—perhaps the single most wonderful, yet complicated thing life has to offer us. We all hope to fill that gaping void; to discover that missing puzzle piece; to find that special someone to walk through life with. And when we do, we’re elated—we rejoice in the love and the happiness that it brings us. Only sometimes, that love (and the happiness it brings) doesn’t last.
Instead, it dissipates or is overshadowed by much larger issues that threaten the entirety of the relationship. But our determination and desire for a happy ending cause us to stay, whilst wondering if it’s the right decision. Can we fix this? Or are we beyond the point of no return? Unfortunately, it’s often hard to tell; there are, however, a few tell-tale signs that your relationship is no longer salvageable, according to mental health professionals:
1) You keep breaking up and getting back together.
“One way to know a relationship is doomed is that you’ve already experienced a pattern of breaking up and getting back together,” explains Michele Moore, licensed professional counselor, certified coach, and relationship expert. “This roller coaster tends to indicate that there are issues that may never be resolved, and you are both attempting to put a square peg in a round hole. This is especially damaging when one party is constantly pressuring the other to reconcile and the latter person continues to give in, only to end the relationship again a short time later.” So, while you may have hope that this time it will work out, continuously breaking up is a tell-tale sign that your relationship is likely beyond repair.
2) You’re afraid of your significant other.
“A relationship is beyond repair if you feel frightened when you hear your partner come home,” says relationship expert and dual-licensed mental health professional Kryss Shane. “Whether the fear is based on past physical abuse, past sexual abuse, or from the emotional abuse that can result in a fear of what the partner might be mad about today, it’s time to get out.” It can be difficult to determine emotional and mental abuse, but if your partner constantly puts you down, makes you feel inadequate, or regularly manipulates you, you are likely in an unhealthy and harmful relationship—one that needs to come to an end.
3) Your bond or feelings have dissipated.
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Mary Fisher says, “apathy that doesn’t budge,” is oftentimes a deal-breaker. “It’s normal to go through periods of apathy, but if it feels like the status quo, it might mean that your basic bond with each other is too far gone,” she explains. “I almost never see couples recover when one partner’s basic attachment to the other has dissolved.” Apathy is simply the lack of feeling—of passion and emotion and concern. So, if you find that you’re apathetic toward your partner or they to you, that may be a sign that the love you once had has faded and it’s time to go your separate ways.
4) Your relationship is tainted with toxicity.
“You begin by answering this basic question—is this a toxic relationship or person? If the answer is “yes,” it is time to call it quits and get out before it only gets worse, which it will,” explains Psychotherapist and Relationship Coach Toni Coleman. She goes on to say that, “most people know in their gut that a relationship is beyond repair, but they stay due to fear of being alone, of not finding someone else, or even convenience—and they end up with much deeper regrets over the lost time they can never get back.” Therefore, it’s important we listen to our hearts and those gut feelings—that we stop denying what we know to be true and get out of that toxic relationship.
5) One or both of you aren’t willing to make an effort.
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, licensed clinical professional counselor, is optimistic that most relationships can be salvaged; however, both partners must be driven to make it work: “I have seen relationships that other professionals have deemed irreparable come back from the point of no return. It ultimately depends on whether there is a willingness on both ends to commit to making an effort,” he says. “I believe one should always make an effort as most problems are salvageable if both people are willing. It isn’t always easy, and it can take time to repair, but if there is a will, there is a way.” Slatkin reminds us that it’s ultimately up to the two individuals involved and their willingness to repair their relationship. If they’re both driven to make it work and willing to make necessary changes, then the partnership can be salvaged.
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