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MEN&WOMEN: Signs that your relationship is already broken

Sunday February 10 2019

You rarely know exactly when you’re sure you want to break up with your date.

You rarely know exactly when you’re sure you want to break up with your date. ILLUSTRATION | IGAH 

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You rarely know exactly when you’re sure you want to break up with your date. The idea takes shape gradually, until it seems to have always been there.

By then, you wish you’d taken the decision earlier, and not wasted so much time! Because even the pain of breaking up is nothing compared to being in a relationship that just isn’t working. So how can you see the end coming sooner?

Maybe the thought of leaving is triggered by the realisation that you’re being abused, or any sort of violence. Or something more subtle, like endless corrosive comments. Or maybe it’s you who wants to hurt your partner. You can’t stop attacking their self-esteem, or even raising a hand to them.

Abuse is often specific to a couple, and will end with the relationship. So you’re not bad people. But you do need to get help and figure out what was going on.

Perhaps you don’t trust your date to be faithful. If there’s even a tiny doubt in your mind, you need to move on. Of course, your partner might be blameless, and it’s you with the trust issue.

Get help to figure all that out before starting a new relationship.



It’s hard enough to leave, even when there are big issues like these going on. But more often it’s a whole host of far smaller things that say you should have broken up already.

Like if you’re endlessly fighting over the stupidest things. Or if you keep bringing up old arguments that should have been settled ages ago. Or you don’t mean it when you apologise. Or avoid working issues out. Or ultimatums have started slipping into your fights: “If you don’t … then we should split up …” You’re trying out the idea of moving on.

You probably no longer look forward to sex. Talking on the phone has started to feel like a chore. Your partner isn’t the first person you think of to tell good news.

Maybe you’re embarrassed by them. Or your friends still don’t like them. Friends and family rarely like a new date right off. But if it’s been a while, and the important people in your life still haven’t warmed to them, try to understand what they’re seeing that you’re not.

By now your partner’s constantly annoying you, and you can’t explain why because they’re doing nothing wrong. And that’s setting them off, so they’re always asking you why you’re upset. Even when you’re not. They’ve begun to sense the break up’s coming, even before you do, and they’re every bit as uneasy as you are. Or even more so.

Chances are you’re fantasising about being with other people. Or picture your future without them. Feelings like that can sneak up on you unexpectedly, like when an opportunity means a relocation, and you suddenly don’t want your partner to go with you. Even though they want to.

Or sometimes there isn’t a reason. But you just know …