A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Considering a Breakup? Read These Questions Before Deciding to Stay or Go

If you're on the verge of a breakup, asking yourself these 8 questions may help you decide whether it's time to call it quits.

1 / 8

Make a pro / con list

OK, so this isn’t technically a question to ask yourself, but making a pro/con list is a good first step when deciding if and when to end a relationship. Lauren Mackler, psychotherapeutic coach and best-selling author of Solemate, recommends listing the positives (pros) and then giving each one a weight of one to 10. Once you’ve created a list of pros, move on to the cons. According to Mackler, examples might be, “‘Poor communication,” “Conflicting values around money and lifestyle,” ‘Lack of emotional connection.'” Like the pros, you’ll want to use the one to 10 scale for your cons. If you see any of these 10 signs, your partner just might not be “the one.”

2 / 8

Is there more conflict and pain than joy and harmony?

This question seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re in a relationship it’s easy to overlook the bad times and just focus on the good, but answering this question honestly will help lead you to the right decision. “Over time, couples may grow apart, causing alienation, conflict, resentment, or incompatibility,” says Mackler, so asking yourself this question frequently is a good idea. After all, most people don’t show their true colors right at the start of the relationship. And yes, fighting occurs in every relationship, but it shouldn’t be the norm. Here are strategies for handling the most common arguments couples have.

3 / 8
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Do we have share interests and passions?

Everyone knows the saying “opposites attract,” but exactly how much opposite is too much? While you and your partner certainly don’t need to enjoy all the same movies, foods, and activities, too many differences may lead to a doomed relationship. Never being able to agree on what to do for dinner or where to go for vacation will get old real fast. According to experts, couples constantly argue over things like money, intimacy, and lack of communication.

4 / 8
Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Are there children involved?

Parting ways with a partner is never easy, but trying to end a relationship when children are involved is even trickier. (i.e. one of the main reasons people stay in toxic and abusive relationships is for their children). While navigating a breakup is more difficult with children, it can be done, healthily for all involved parties. “If you do decide to end your relationship, instead of making the other person the enemy, adopt a mindset that you’re simply no longer a fit,” advises Mackler. “This perspective lessens the drama, stops the blame game, and makes parting less painful. This is especially important when children are involved.”

5 / 8

How will we divide our shared belongings?

This is more of a logistics question to ask yourself, but equally important when contemplating the right time to break up with someone. Maybe you have a dog, or a house, or combined finances? Addressing and thinking about issues like these before pulling the plug will lead to a smoother breakup and transition out of one another’s lives. Ever wonder why you and partner aren’t on the same page?

6 / 8

Have we both tried to fix the relationship?

Have both you and partner exhausted all options? Have you gone to couples counseling? Sought relationship expert advice? And most importantly, do you both even want to fix the relationship? If the answer is no, then it’s definitely time to break up, but if you’re not quite ready to throw in the towel, you and your partner should consider trying to amend the broken relationship. “When there is consistently more conflict and pain than there is harmony and joy—and you’ve tried everything you can as a couple to identify and resolve the root causes of conflict (including getting professional help), then it may be time to consider parting ways,” says Mackler.

7 / 8

Will I be happier without my partner?

This is an easy question to ask yourself, but very hard to answer honestly. And it’s easy to justify why staying with a partner is the right thing to do (maybe you have kids, maybe he’s sick, maybe your parents love her), but it takes real courage to admit that you’re no longer happy. And guess what? You deserve to be happy in a relationship. If you can imagine your life improving without your partner in it, then you might want to consider ending the relationship sooner rather than later. If you experience any of these 9 other signs, your relationship might be heading for a breakup.

8 / 8

Is the relationship toxic?

When you’re in love, overlooking your partner’s shortcomings isn’t that difficult to do…after all, love is blind, right? Well, if you’re in a toxic or abusive relationship, it’s time to dump your partner immediately. Do you constantly fight? Do you feel unsafe around your partner? Is your partner abusive? According to Mackler, people stay in abusive relationships for a variety of reasons such as, “fear of being alone, loss of financial security, concern for their children’s welfare, overwhelm about logistics, guilt, or reluctance to leave the familiarity of their comfort zone,” however, if you experience emotional or physical abusive you must get out. Here are 23 eye-opening things experts wish you knew about domestic violence.