Person letting something go

How to Know When to Let Go: Love & Relationships

When it comes to relationships and finding love, most of us strive to lead happy, fulfilled and healthy relationships. Sometimes, however, during our pursuit of happiness and love, we overlook and don’t want to see the often negative signs or red flags that are so obviously glaring at us, and telling us that it’s time to let go and move on.

You may even turn a blind eye to any warning signals or believe that things will change and get better if you just make it around this next corner…or over that hurdle…or through this rough patch.

If you feel like you or someone you know is in this position, then this article is for you. 

Female couple looking at each other

Reasons to let go of your relationship

1. You don’t feel like you can be yourself

You constantly find yourself doing or saying things that you normally never would or that just don’t sit right with you. This could be because of several reasons, some of which may include a fear of being judged or misunderstood by the person you’re with. As a result, you often feel drained after having been around them, as you just can’t be yourself.

2. You have unmet needs

You don’t feel supported and you barely feel like you’re appreciated.

We all have different needs and wants, and although you should be able to meet some of these yourself, some can only be met by your partner. If you’ve communicated these over time, but nothing in terms of your partner’s input or effort has changed or they are unable to meet them, it may be time to consider letting go.

Other signs are that to have your needs met, you’re turning to someone else – a close friend or family member. Maybe this is because you already know that your partner won’t be able to meet what you need or you don’t feel comfortable asking them. This could be because you feel intimidated by their potential reaction or you don’t have a good level of communication, neither of which are indicators of a healthy relationship.

3. You feel lonely

If you feel like you have to weather all the ups and downs alone, this may be a sign that something in your relationship needs to change, as you may feel like you’re not able to rely on the support of your partner. To a certain extent, this ties into having unmet needs.

4. Your partner is disrespectful or abusive

Any kind of abuse or blatant disrespect for you, your boundaries and what you care about are signs of an unhealthy relationship. If this is the case, you should consider leaving your partner (if it is safe for you to do so) and/or seek professional advice.

Actions can and often include being criticised or feeling fearful of what they will say or do. You find that being around them makes you nervous or You’re always on high alert, as you’re constantly gauging how they will react.

5. Your relationship is marked by much dishonesty and resentment

Whether through cheating and disloyalty or through constant little white lies, no relationship can thrive and be healthy, if one or both partners aren’t being honest with each other. 

Growing resentment is another sign of a relationship that’s potentially in trouble. Resentment often leads to frustration and is often associated with many other emotions, such as anger and disappointment.

Both dishonesty and resentment erode away trust and feelings of companionship in any relationship or friendship. Learning to deal with these issues by consciously addressing them is one way of trying to work things out.

6. You’re hoping things will change

Even though you’re working on your relationship together, you feel like nothing is changing or improving – yet you still have hope and hold out.

You’ve tried different scenarios: reading up on how to improve your relationship online, talking to friends and family and asking for their advice and have maybe even sought out couple’s counselling. The end result: you just don’t feel like any progress has been made. All the issues that led you to this point haven’t become any smaller and you feel like you’re just treading water. Of course, every situation is different and requires its own time to heal or change, but if the feeling of hopelessness persists, it may be time to have a serious conversation with yourself and your partner and learn that some things can’t be fixed.

If this is you, you may realise that you live more in your memories than in the present moment.

7. You want different things

Perhaps, at the beginning of your relationship, you and your partner’s visions for the future aligned, were very similar, or you felt like you could make it work. With time, however, you’ve come to realise that you’ve both changed and grown in different directions.

What’s more, you may feel that your relationship is holding you back. Either from being who you want to be or doing what you want to do. In a healthy relationship, both partners should be helping each other achieve their goals and shouldn’t be actively stopping or hindering you from professional or personal development or success.

8. You’re making excuses for them

And not just once…You find yourself making excuses for them regularly – whether they’re late to an event that’s important to you without so much of an apology, or to your friends and to yourself for their mood and the way they treat you. 

If you often find yourself defending or excusing them, but don’t really know why, it may be a sign that it’s time to let go or, at least, talk with your partner about how you feel.

9. You don’t discuss relationship problems or communicate with each other

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. 

If you feel like you’ve gotten to a stage in your relationship where either or neither of you is willing to invest the time and effort to work things out, you may have to realise that it’s time to let go of what you once had.

You may also feel that your relationship has become one-sided, where it’s only you who is investing the time and energy to make things work or compromise on decisions.

How to let go

Whether you’ve been in a long-term relationship or have only been dating for a few months, letting go is never easy. Even if you’re both unhappy, you may find it difficult as being in a partnership offers you some level of comfort, security and familiarity. Additionally, you may find the idea of starting over quite daunting or intimidating.

So, how can you learn to let go? If you feel like you’ve reached a point in your relationship where letting go is the best solution, but you’re still unsure, talk to someone who you feel close to who isn’t your partner. You may find that in talking things through with a friend or family member, you gain more clarity on the situation and how to go about it.

Every relationship will have good and bad sides to it. Reflect on both and consider what you learnt in all situations – what are some lessons that you want to take with you? Realising where either of you made mistakes and owning your own will help you avoid them in future.

Give yourself a deadline. This may sound harsh, however, by setting yourself a date by which you want to have talked and discussed the issue with your partner you’re holding yourself accountable and will be less inclined to make excuses and push the decision back.

Finally, figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Especially, if you’re nervous about how they will react or are unsure of how it will come across. Writing your thoughts down ahead of time will allow you to clarify everything you do and don’t want to tell them.

To round it all off, here is a final tip by Jay Shetty on how to let go: “You will never regret a conversation or a relationship where you lead with love, where you converse with compassion and where you really connected with empathy”.

Try to keep all of this in mind, if you feel like you’re in between a rock and hard place and are unsure what to do. Talk to someone you trust and take your time to figure out what is best for you, your health and your future.

If you’re interested in learning more about love and relationships, sign up to the Lovedoc waitlist and be the first to get a sneak peek at the app and hear about launch updates.

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