Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

10 Reasons to Leave a Relationship

How to know when it's time to go.

Key points

  • If a couple has stopped talking, their relationship has stopped growing. In fact, it may be dying.
  • The longer one partner stays codependent, the harder it will be for them, their partner, and the relationship to heal.
  • When there’s too much pain to overcome in a relationship, most people leave.

You can always find reasons to leave a relationship if you look hard enough. But it’s the obvious reasons—those that might be right in front of you—that should help you make your decision.

  1. Abuse. If you are being abused physically, emotionally, verbally, or financially, get a lawyer and get out. The only time an abuser gets it is when there’s a serious consequence.
  2. Serial infidelity. If there has been an affair and you have worked through the painful process of rebuilding your relationship, and then another occurs, you’ve done your part and now it’s time to go your separate ways. For some, one affair is a relationship breaker.
  3. No communication. If you have stopped talking, your relationship has stopped growing; in fact, it may be dying. If there’s nothing left to say, and you’re just upset with each other all the time and you’ve tried counseling, talk about your other options. Sometimes people just can’t live together any longer.
  4. Alcoholism or drug addiction. Addicts do not have relationships—they have hostages. The longer you stay codependent, the harder it will be for you, your partner, and your relationship to heal.
  5. Chronic arguing. If you are constantly in each other’s face and angry, and if you have tried therapy, you may just have too many resentments to get over. When there’s too much pain to overcome, most people leave.
  6. Your partner won’t go to counseling. If either one of you wants couples therapy, you both need to go. If you choose not to, you are saying you don’t want to work on the relationship. And without proper work, any relationship will die.
  7. Not being nice. If either one of you is not nice to the other most of the time, it’s a sign that there are deeper issues affecting you both. Many people can deal with someone being constantly mad at them, and many cannot.
  8. When someone won’t accept your children or pets. If your partner hates your kids, there are going to be constant battles. The same goes for your animals (which are like children for many people these days). If your partner dislikes someone or something you love, it’s just going to create discord. Either fix it or get out.
  9. When emotional blackmail is a way of life. If your partner belittles you (in private or public), lies, makes you feel that you are the “crazy” one, and continues to bring up past issues, he or she is trying to control you in a very negative way. That isn’t a relationship; it’s emotional terrorism.
  10. If your partner says he or she wants to leave, and there is nothing you can do or say to change this, it’s over. Let him or her go, and move on with your life.

As with many things that are painful, breaking up is much easier said than done. But the sooner you push forward, the sooner the emotional discomfort will end.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today
5 Min Read
Although the bonds in a friendship contribute greatly to the friends’ well-being, it is not uncommon that the bonds decrease with time.
More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today