5 Brutally Honest Phases Of Realizing Your Relationship Isn’t Meant To Be

Sometimes, relationships can end seemingly out of nowhere. One day, you're happily coupled up; the next day, you're single and maybe even sad. But usually, there is some kind of quiet build-up behind the scenes and below the surface, where one or both of partners is going through the process of realizing your relationship isn’t meant to be. And man, is it brutal. Falling in love may be absolutely is amazing, but falling out it is the worst.

When I've found myself in the end stages of a relationship, I spent a lot of time trying not to admit it, first to myself and then to my partner. But just like the way the heart wants what it wants, the reverse is also true. When a relationship is not meant to go the distance, it can happen in a big explosion of fighting and separation, or by a slow processes of growing apart. Regardless of the kind of breakup you have, you will probably have a lot of the same emotions. It's actually a lot like the process of mourning — or I guess in this case pre-mourning: You go through stages that ultimately lead to acceptance. Is this starting to sound familiar? Here's how it usually goes.

1Denial

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Realizing your relationship is not going to go the distance usually isn’t something that happens in one moment. There may be a moment of clarity at some point, but it’s probably been simmering for while — whether you wanted to admit it or not. There has been something not quite right in the relationship, like maybe it's a growing distance or a lack of attraction. You realize you’ve stopped imagining a future with them, or that you want different things in life, but you're not ready to fully reckon with what that means for your relationship right now. So instead of confronting the problems, you push those feelings down, and hope they will fix themselves.

2Anger

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The problems are getting bigger and harder to deny. You haven’t addressed it directly, but they're starting to affect the relationship. Maybe you’re fighting more and communicating less. You may no longer want them to touch you. And you’ve started getting on each other's nerves so you start finding excuses to spend time apart. You still have hope that this is just an rough patch and the relationship will pull through it, but it’s getting harder to tell yourself that.

3Bargaining

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OK, there is no denying it now, the gap between has begun to widen. In fact, you’ve even started talking about it (or fighting about it). You try to work on the relationship and maybe even call in a professional. But in your heart, you know it's not going to work out, and all your friends who have been watching this for awhile agree. It’s time to get out because, if you’re honest, your emotional needs are not being met.

4Depression

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Listen, just because you realize a relationship is not meant to be doesn’t mean it's not going to hurt to see it come to an end. So, you’re already pre-mourning the break up, even if you haven’t finally taken that last step to leave them. You've also started imagining what a life post-breakup is going to look like. How do you untangle your lives? If you're living together, who will move out? You've gotten closer to ending the relationship, but there is still a part of you that isn't ready to let go, even if you're stuck with a broken heart.

5Acceptance

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It may be bittersweet, but you've finally fully accepted that as much as you may care about your partner, they are not the one for you. It's time to take that next step and move on. You stop lying to yourself, you partner, and your friends. It’s not easy, but by letting go and accepting the hard truths, you will finally be free.