Deciding to break up with someone is exhausting. The emotional toll of deciding to end a relationship can take weeks (or even months) to sort through. It may involve pro and con lists, harsh reality checks and teary consultations with close friends.
But even after the decision is carefully made, there might still be second-guessing.
Did I do the right thing?’ What if he or she is the one? Am I being too rash?
The afterthoughts of a breakup can be torture. It’s hard to deal with the guilt after we hurt someone we love, or at least someone we used to love. Making peace with your choice can be difficult.
But there are some circumstances when breaking up is more than likely the best decision you can make, for both yourself and your partner:
1. If one of you has cheated
Cheating is a very hurtful thing to experience, and can be very difficult to own up to. It’s true people make mistakes, and part of loving someone is being able to forgive. But when trust is broken this way, it becomes almost impossible to repair.
Every relationship is different, and there are countless reasons why people might cheat. But the outcome is usually the same.
The betrayed party feels angry, humiliated and rejected. The guilty party might feel confused, ashamed and desperate to make things right.
Many couples choose to view cheating as a challenge their relationship can overcome. But as much as we may want to make it work and move on, the consequences of disloyalty can haunt a relationship indefinitely.
One mistake can completely change the dynamic of a relationship and make it a burden, rather than the blessing it once was.
Cheating is also an indication that something is off in the relationship, or the cheater is unhappy. Trying to stay together simply becomes a distraction from the underlying issues.
Breaking up could be the best way for the betrayed partner to heal, and for the offending partner to come to terms with what was done.
2. If your partner puts you at risk
From "Scandal" to "The Vampire Diaries," dysfunctional relationships are glamorized on television as a passionate, intense adventure. But there is nothing glamorous about being with someone who is literally dangerous for your health.
Someone who is struggling with a personal problem, a psychological disorder or an addiction might love you. But he or she probably lacks the capacity to love you the way you deserve to be loved. Allowing yourself to be mistreated for the sake of love is not helping anyone, least of all you.
Sometimes, you have to practically weigh the situation and make the choice that will be best for your well-being, despite the way you feel. This is especially true if your partner is manipulative, verbally rude or physically abusive toward you.
All the love in the world is not worth staying with someone who harms you in this way. If you want to end the relationship but are too afraid to leave, or if you feel stuck in a cycle you just can't seem to break, please seek professional help.
3. If you’re in an LDR with no hope of being together, ever
Long distance relationships are touchy. Some people manage to make them work, while others avoid them like the plague. But one thing is certain: LDRs are not meant to last forever.
At some point, the end goal is to be together and share your everyday lives. Long distance relationships are, by nature, a temporary strategy.
So, if you find yourself in an LDR with no chance of reuniting in the foreseeable future, you may simply be delaying the inevitable.
Any relationship with no realistic future is a romantic dead-end. The relationship is going nowhere, and in reality, it's a waste of time. It might be incredibly difficult to end this kind of relationship, since people in LDRs usually feel very strongly about each other, especially as they want to try long distance in the first place.
But by ending your long distance limbo, you can free yourself from the perpetual sadness of being so far away from each other.
Who knows? By going your separate ways, maybe one day, you will find yourselves together again.
Until then, cut your losses and move on.
4. If it’s obvious you want very different things
Relationships require sacrifice, but sometimes, we blur the line between sacrifice and sabotage. If your relationship is making you choose between the person you love and your own hopes and dreams, it’s possible you will grow to resent the person you love for making you choose in the first place.
Sometimes, our deep desires push us in different directions. It might be hard to go our separate ways. But at the end of the day, relationships end, whether or not you choose to chase your dreams. So you might as well risk it.
Trust your paths will cross again if it’s meant to be. In the mean time, live your life true to yourself, or you might end up blaming your partner for the chances you didn’t take.
5. If your gut tells you it’s the right thing to do
We all have intuition, although women tend to be more gifted in this department.
We might not have any proof our partner is cheating, or is a potential threat to our well-being. But if we have to stop and wonder about it in the first place, our gut might be trying to tell us something.
Never ignore your inner voice. Paying attention to it can save you a lot of grief.
If you have a nagging feeling something is not right, and you find yourself seriously considering breaking it off, do not fumble or hesitate because you don’t think you have "a good enough reason." Your intuition is all the reason you need.
Of course, every relationship is different.
At the end of the day, only you can decide if breaking up is the right thing to do. We should always want to work at our relationships and give them our best shot. But sometimes, all the work in the world won’t change the fact we’re better off flying solo.
It takes courage to leave the comfort of a relationship, and it’s heart-breaking to hurt someone so close to us. But if you know, deep down, that ending things is what you must do for the sake of yourself and your partner, take the plunge.
It could be the best decision you’ll ever make.