How to Decide Whether to Break Off a Long Term Relationship

Differences in life goals can lead to breakups among young couples.
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Having a relationship can be rewarding and exciting, but you may also encounter periods of frustration and unhappiness. While this could be a temporary lull, it could also be an indicator that your relationship has run its course. Only you can determine whether it is time to break up, but there are several things to think about before making this decision.

1 Potential Fixes

If you are trying to decide whether it is time to break off a long-term relationship, first determine if your problems can be fixed. If you and your partner struggle to communicate, you can work on that. If you are upset about something specific, calmly address the issue upfront. This will keep you from stewing over an issue you believe your partner should already know, according to Psychology Today writer Karen Salmansohn in the article, "Should You Break Up or Make Up?" In other cases, you and your partner may be spending too much time -- or too little -- for your relationship to grow.

2 Warning Signs

Some signs may indicate that breaking up could be a good idea. If your partner regularly insults you, hits you or tries to isolate you from family and friends, it is wise to get help from a trusted adult immediately, according to the Santa Clara University Wellness Center article, "20 Relationship Warning Signs." Addiction to drugs or alcohol, violent outbursts that involve throwing objects, jealous or controlling behavior and issuing threats or ultimatums are also warning signs.

3 Growing Apart

Some relationships simply run their course as couples go through high school and college. If you both value different things or have developed widely different interests, it may be a sign that it is time to move on, according to the KidsHealth article, "How to Break Up Respectfully." In other cases, you may grow attracted to someone else or no longer enjoy your relationship. It is also possible that you want to be single again and your boyfriend or girlfriend hopes for a more settled, serious relationship. If you feel that these differences cannot be resolved, it may be time to move on alone.

4 Other Considerations

After evaluating your relationship, you may find that your biggest motivator for staying together is fear of hurting your partner. If the only thing holding you back from leaving is external pressure to stay together or because the relationship is familiar and comfortable, it may be time to leave, according to KidsHealth. While breakups are rarely pleasant, they do not need to be cruel and hurtful. Make sure that you are certain of your decision and practice what you plan to say ahead of time, according to's article, "Breaking up with Kindness and Respect."

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.