Should I Break Up With My Girlfriend? Understanding Your Relationship

Updated February 7, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Deciding whether it may be time to break up with your partner may feel confusing or conflicting. While the prospect of having a breakup conversation can be intimidating or make you feel uneasy, ending a relationship can sometimes be the most beneficial option in the long run. In other cases, the problems you’re facing may be worth working through together. While only you can decide whether you should break up with your girlfriend, the tips below may help guide you in evaluating your feelings to make an informed decision that answers the question, “Should I break up with my girlfriend?”

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Ask yourself these questions to evaluate your feelings

If you’re considering a breakup, you’re likely experiencing a host of different emotions. That’s why stopping to identify and weigh them carefully can be a good practice to start with. Before it’s time to say, “I broke up with my girlfriend,” you have to decide whether that’s the direction you’d like to go in. Consider the following questions to gain insight into how you really feel.

Are you happy?

If you find that you're unhappy in your current relationship, think about what has changed to make you feel dissatisfied. If you feel disconnected, you might consider partaking in activities with your partner that bring you joy, such as scheduled date nights. Or, if you’re unhappy with your personal life, you might find ways to practice self-care on a day-to-day basis. If it’s a deeper issue that doesn’t seem possible to resolve, it could be a sign that it’s time to end it.

Do you enjoy spending time with your partner?

Any healthy relationship can have ebbs and flows in the levels of enjoyment felt together, especially after the honeymoon phase has ended. When you first start dating someone, you’re likely eager to spend lots of time together and enjoy each other's company. As time goes on, those feelings may evolve into a less thrilling but more stable connection—or they may disappear altogether if you begin to feel you’re not right together.

Often, day-to-day responsibilities can restrict the time you can spend with one another, which could make you feel distant from your partner. If this is the case, you could work with them on finding ways to carve out more time together. On the other hand, if you’ve grown apart or don’t feel the same way for your partner as you used to, it might be worth reevaluating the future of your relationship.

Are you having more disagreements or fights than before?

If you’ve noticed that you and your partner are disagreeing about your future together or getting in fights more often, these instances could represent red flags. Doing your best to open up a line of calm, intentional communication with them could help the two of you figure out why this dynamic has appeared. From there, you may decide that it’s something you can work on together or with a therapist, or that it’s time to move on.

Have they done something to hurt you?

If your partner has done something you consider wrong or that hurt you, unresolved feelings may be contributing to your concerns. If it’s safe to do so, you might talk to them about how you feel. If your resentment isn’t communicated and resolved and begins to fester, it may become increasingly difficult for you and your partner to get back to a healthy place. 

In the case of abuse, it may be best to avoid the conversation unless done through in-person couples therapy. Remember, you don’t have to end things with an in-person conversation or forgive your partner if you do not feel safe doing so, or if they do not respect your boundaries.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in any form, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for immediate support, advice, and assistance.

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Do you picture a future without your partner?

If you've reached a point where your future thoughts do not include your partner, it could be a red flag that indicates it may be time to consider a breakup. It's normal to have goals independent of another person. However, if you can no longer picture your partner in your future or are more interested in a future with someone else, it may indicate that you no longer wish to be with them long-term and that choosing to break up may be best.

Do you have enough in common?

While no two people are perfectly aligned, having similar interests, habits, and/or values may help more fulfilling, healthy relationships grow. Having the same core values is generally more important than having the same interests or habits, but all of the above may help a couple connect. Consider one study that suggests that having the same values can affect marital happiness and individual well-being within 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—so if you feel that your partner has not expressed their relationship goals or that their goals don't align with yours, it could indicate incompatibility.

Tips to consider when deciding whether to break up

If you’re having trouble determining whether or not you want to stay in your relationship, below are some strategies that may help you as you work through this decision-making process.

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 working hard on trying to mend the relationship. However, it’s important generally to take enough time to care for yourself along the way—which may even help improve conflicts in the relationship, too.

Eating well-balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising, for example, 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 could include:

  • Going for a walk or a drive
  • Journaling about your thoughts and feelings
  • Finding a creative or artistic outlet
  • Making new friends and connections
  • Partaking in a mindfulness exercise

Caring for yourself may help you think more clearly so you can make the right decision for you in regards to your relationship. Research suggests that self-care can help decrease stress and increase overall well-being, so prioritizing activities like these could be useful as you move through a challenging time.

Lean on family and friends

Whether you feel you've been mistreated or have been unsure for a long time as to whether this is the right relationship for you, it can feel lonely. Leaning on your support system can be helpful in alleviating these feelings of isolation. Studies suggest that close interpersonal relationships can have long-term positive effects on mental health, so confiding in friends or family about how you feel and what you’re going through could help you feel better and even give you new insights into your relationship that you hadn’t considered.

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Seek outside help

No matter how robust your support system, there may come a time when you feel like you need advice from a neutral individual. In this case, seeking the help of a therapist could be beneficial. If you choose to end your relationship, a therapist can help you decide for yourself "How should I break up with her" and address any difficult emotions that arise as a result. If you’re still not sure, they may help you sort through the emotions related to the situation so you can come to a decision you feel good about.

Some people may feel awkward about opening up to a professional face-to-face regarding their emotions or relationships, which is where online therapy can represent a useful alternative. With a platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging from the comfort of home instead of traveling to a physical office for appointments. Research suggests that online therapy can be as effective as in-person sessions in many cases, so you can typically choose the format that works best for you. See below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people who have sought their help for similar challenges.

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."

Takeaway

Deciding whether it may be time to break up with your girlfriend can be difficult. Evaluating your feelings and considering your future goals may help you decide what's best. With the right tools and careful consideration, you can make the decision that’s right for you.

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