How Do I Know When It’s Time to Go?
you start dating or first get involved with someone, everything can
seem pretty exciting. You might feel nervous, happy, or even like you’re
walking on air. You’re probably checking your phone a lot and wondering
when you’ll get a chance to see that person next.
this feeling lasts for a long time, or changes into something that’s a
little more settled, but still great. More often, though, a relationship
eventually runs into some problems, and we start to wonder if we should
When Things Get Rocky
important to know that this happens to everyone, no matter how old or
young they are, or how great the romance might look from the outside.
It’s just part of life. The issue could be something as minor as not
really liking the same books, movies, and music, something as serious as
abuse, or a lot of other things that fall in between.
course, no relationship is perfect. It’s normal to have to disagree, to
have conflict, and to have to work on things. But there should still be
a lot of good times and happiness in every dating relationship, or it
really isn’t worth it.
how do you know when it’s time to end a relationship and move on? This
question can be really hard to answer, especially when you feel love or
at least strong affection for the other person. Often, we’ve built up a
lot of special memories and feel emotionally close to him or her. We
might feel like “We can fix this, if we just….” , or wonder if we just
haven’t “worked hard enough.”
the other hand, maybe friends are telling you to break up, or your
family doesn’t like the relationship. Or another part of you may be
telling you that it’s just not right. At the same time, the idea of
breaking up might feel pretty unpleasant. All these feelings can be
confusing--especially if the relationship has gotten physically
intimate, or if your partner is really clear about wanting to stay
the end, it’s up to you. However, if you’re feeling uncertain, there
are some questions you can ask yourself that might help you make that
Questions To Ask Yourself: Is it Time to Break Up?
- Are the two of us feeling pretty happy a lot of the time, or is it mostly drama, disagreement, and fighting?
- Are we usually able to productively work things out when there’s a problem?
- Do we have most or at least some of the signs of a healthy relationship…or not?
- Do I still look forward to seeing and being with my partner?
- Does being with this person make me feel good or bad about myself?
- Am I focusing on the past and the memories and “the ways things used to be” to convince myself to stay?
- Are there are any signs of abuse? Do I feel safe with this person?
- Am I staying with this person because I’m afraid of what will happen if I break up with him or her?
- Am I staying with this person because I don’t want to be single?
How to Break Up
you’ve decided to break up, be respectful of your partner when you do
so. If nothing else, think about how you would want somebody to break up
- Be honest, but not unkind
- Try to avoid holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or other “big dates”
- Break up in person-- not by text, social media, on the phone, or through another person
- Don’t create drama in your social circle
- Make sure your partner “gets the picture”
- If there is abuse and you’re concerned about your safety, follow these guidelines
After the Break-Up
when you know it was the right decision, moving on after a break-up can
be hard. It’s normal to be sad and feel nostalgic. Allow yourself time
to grieve, but after a while, make an effort to get out and socialize,
hang out with friends, and do new things. Don’t spend time trying to
find out what your ex is up to or trying to get him or her to talk—give
each other some space. After a while, it’s possible that you’ll be able
to be friends again, if that’s something that seems right. Time really
does heal all wounds.
remember that no matter how the relationship went, you probably learned
something from it. Most likely, you’ll remember this relationship for a
long time—both the good and the not so good. It’s part of your unique
life experience: your life story.
By Carol Church, lead writer, SMART Couples, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida
Love is Respect. (2015). Make it work…or let it go? Retrieved from this page
Girlshealth. (2015). Breaking up. Retrieved from this page
Corinna, H. (2016). Should I stay or should I go? Retrieved from this page
Courtesy of University of Florida UF/IFAS Extension. For more relationship articles, visit