Should I Break Up With My Girlfriend? Understanding Your Relationship

Updated February 2, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Deciding whether to break up with your partner may feel confusing. You might feel a desire to stay if the relationship improves and are unsure how to decide when to walk away. Or you could be ready to move on but are questioning your judgment.

When you're romantically involved with someone, you may have several "what if" questions. For example, you might ask yourself:

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When you're romantically involved with someone, you may have several "what if" questions. For example, you might ask yourself:

  • What if I wasn't with them?
  • What if I had more time to do the things I want?
  • What if I'm more compatible with someone else?

Many people want healthy and long-lasting relationships, and considering a breakup may cause them to feel uneasy. On the other hand, a breakup can sometimes be the most beneficial option and can cause feelings of relief. Asking questions can help you understand your desires for yourself, your relationship, and your future.

In this article, we'll discuss ways to navigate these questions so you can make an informed decision.

Evaluate Your Own Feelings

If you’re wondering whether you should break up with your partner, it could be a sign that your needs aren't being met. It may help you to analyze your emotions and consider various angles. Outlining the pros and cons of breaking up versus staying together can be helpful.

Remember that caring for someone else's feelings does not mean you should push your own aside.

Questions to Consider:

Are You Happy?

If you're unhappy in your relationship, think about what has changed to make you feel dissatisfied. Consider partaking in activities with your partner that bring you joy, such as a scheduled date night. Or, if you’re unhappy with your personal life, find ways to practice self-care on a day-to-day basis.

Do You Enjoy Spending Time With Your Partner?

Any relationship can have ebbs and flows in the levels of enjoyment felt together. At the beginning of a relationship, often known as the “honeymoon stage,” many people are eager to spend time together and enjoy each other's company. As time goes on, the honeymoon feelings may start to subside. However, if you’re feeling less enjoyment for a prolonged period, it may be worth addressing.

Often, day-to-day responsibilities can restrict the time you can spend with one another. A lack of time to connect may make your time together feel forced. Addressing the problem with your partner can help you find ways to spend time together again.

On the other hand, if you’ve grown apart or don’t feel the same way for your partner as you used to, talking to a neutral third party (such as a therapist) or journaling about your feelings may help.

Are You Having More Disagreements Or Fights Than Before?

As the newness of a relationship wears off over time, many people may find it challenging to hide their frustration or anxiety. These feelings can lead to disagreements, which may strain the relationship. Talking to a professional may help you understand these feelings, and couples' therapy is often an effective option.

Have They Done Something To Hurt You?

If your partner has done something that hurt you, unresolved feelings may contribute to your concerns. If it is safe to do so, talk to them about how you feel. Even if you have already decided to break up, talking through your feelings may help you find closure.

In the case of abuse, it may be best to avoid the conversation unless done through therapy. Remember, you do not have to have a conversation or forgive your partner if you do not feel safe doing so or if your boundaries are not respected.

Do You Picture A Future Without Your Partner?

If you've reached a point where your future thoughts do not include your partner, it may be time to consider a breakup. It's normal to have goals independent of another person. However, if you're in a relationship with someone and can no longer picture them in your future, it may indicate that you no longer wish to be with them long-term.

Do You Have Enough In Common?

While no two people are exactly alike, shared interests, habits, and values may help a relationship grow. Sharing values is often considered more important than sharing external interests, but both may help a couple connect.

A study found that shared values affect marital happiness and individual well-being inside a partnership. As you evaluate your feelings toward your partner, consider what you have in common and what you don't. Do you have enough similarities to outweigh the differences?

Do You Have Similar Goals For The Relationship?

It can be frustrating to realize that your partner does not have the same long-term intentions as you. Communication is often a valuable tool when getting aligned on goals. If you feel that your partner has not shared their relationship goals or that the goals don't align with yours, it may be a reason for your concerns.

Conversing with your partner in a non-confrontational way may help. Ask them what they desire from the relationship long-term and if they feel fulfilled. You may find that they have the same concerns as you.

Be prepared to discuss your thoughts and feelings during the conversation. Set boundaries if needed.

Perhaps you're struggling to have the conversation without arguing or feel your needs aren't being met. In that case, trying to have the conversation in a safe, therapeutic environment (such as online or in-person couples therapy) may be beneficial. Certain therapists are trained to help couples strengthen their communication, which may be helpful if you don't know how to improve interactions on your own.

Tips To Remember:

If you’re struggling to determine whether or not you want to stay in your relationship, below are some actionable items that may help you move forward.

Don't Forget About Yourself

When a relationship feels strained, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. While feeling this way, you may neglect self-care because you're trying hard to fix the relationship. However, caring for yourself may improve conflicts in the relationship as well.

Eating well-balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising can all contribute to your physical and mental well-being. Spending time alone with the intention of self-care and understanding may also help you process your emotions and think about what you want. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Going for a walk
  • Journaling about your thoughts and feelings
  • Partaking in an exercise like swimming, hiking, or going to the gym
  • Drawing or involving yourself in a creative hobby
  • Starting a new project
  • Going for a long drive to listen to music or think about your feelings
  • Partaking in a mindfulness exercise on the go

When surrounded by distractions or conflict with your partner, it may be challenging to make critical decisions. Studies suggest that taking time alone to focus on self-care is beneficial to mental health overall. Doing so may help you return to your partner with a refreshed mind and a decision about the state of your relationship.

Connect With Others

Whether you've been mistreated or are unsure if this is the right relationship for you, it can feel lonely. Your support system can be helpful in alleviating feelings of isolation. Studies show that close interpersonal relationships have long-term positive effects on mental health for many individuals. Connection with others can also remind you of who you are outside of the relationship, which can bring new ideas and solutions to the table.

If you feel safe confiding in close friends or family, talk to them about your thoughts and feelings inside and outside the relationship. Keeping communication open may help you feel less overwhelmed. Be sure to ask your support system if they are available and comfortable discussing these concerns. Having someone to listen to you and encourage you without trying to influence your decision one way or another can be beneficial if it is available to you.

Seek Outside Help

No matter who your support system includes, there may come a time when you feel like you need support and advice from a neutral third party. In this case, seeking the help of a therapist could be beneficial.

A 2022 study found that couples who received counseling over a video call with a therapist experienced improvements in mental health, relationship satisfaction, and all other outcome scores over time. The study suggests that online therapy is a viable and valuable method for couples that is just as, if not more, effective than in-person therapy. If you're unsure if you're ready to break up with your partner, couple's therapy may help you solve relationship conflicts. If you decide to end this relationship, a therapist can help you evaluate how to go about it and care for any difficult emotions that arise.

Some people may feel awkward about opening up to a professional face-to-face, and online counseling can help eliminate that barrier. BetterHelp has a network of licensed professionals with experience treating individuals with relationship concerns. BetterHelp has devoted its sister platform, ReGain, to serve couples. The licensed therapists on these platforms may be able to help you work through the questions you're asking.

Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Sabrina is helping me so much through my breakup and I am so excited for her to help me along my journey of self love and discovery. Thank you for helping me detangle my inner problems, and guiding me to the end of each and every string!"

"Pamela has helped me become the person who I wanted to be after my breakup. She helped me see the light in the dark, and showed me that who I am is enough."

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Takeaway

While no one necessarily enjoys a breakup, sometimes it's inevitable. Evaluating your feelings and considering your future goals may help you decide what's best for you. With the right tools, making a decision for your relationship is possible. Take the first step today.

FAQs

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