As Pat Benatar once wisely sang, love is a battlefield. Although it can be worth it to put your all into keeping a relationship alive, sometimes it’s time to wave the white flag. You shouldn’t see that as anything close to a failure! Instead, breaking up so you can find someone who’s right for you means you’re brave, empowered, and a whole host of other flattering adjectives. And keep in mind that most of the items on this list are by no means set in stone—these things vary from couple to couple. But no matter what, the following 16 signs you may want to break up are definitely worth paying attention to.
1. If sex seems as appealing as having your next five dentist appointments in one go.
Every long-term relationship has its ups and downs. There are times when you want to spend a lifetime having sex with this person, only taking quick breaks to refuel. Other times, your libido packs up and goes away on sabbatical, leaving you the opposite of turned on. (Where does it go? Maybe on a restful spa trip? One can only guess.) But if the thought of having sex with your partner makes your skin crawl, or your libido is only interested in other people, the base attraction that’s necessary to keep a relationship going may have left the building.
2. If they won’t support you in front of their family or vice versa.
I had a friend whose relationship was the romantic equivalent of a puppy cuddling an infant: almost sickeningly adorable. The only issue was that her boyfriend’s family refused to meet her because she happened to be of a different race than them. Out of fear of alienating his loved ones, my friend’s boyfriend never pushed them to open their minds or got honest with them about how much the relationship meant to him. Even though my friend was head over heels for the guy, she called it off because he couldn’t back her in that vital way. After a certain point, the feeling that he was ashamed of her was too painful for love to be worth it. Of course these situations are complicated and can have many root causes beyond race, but standing up to your family about the person you care about is usually a non-negotiable.
3. If they’re abusive.
No one deserves to be in an abusive relationship, whether it’s physically or emotionally.
4. If it’s not that extreme, but they always seem to be stuck in mean mode.
When someone constantly makes you feel bad about yourself (even without meaning to!), they’ve got to go. Being single is better than being with a person who drags you down rather than lifting you up to be your most badass self, which should really be one of the major benefits of being in a relationship.
5. If your goals in life are complete opposites.
Say your partner wants to live in the heart of a big city while your ideal future home is the most Pinterest-perfect countryside barn. Compromise is always an option, but when you have wildly different ideas for how you want life to go, one person might have to give up too much of themselves to truly be happy.