cartoon heart holding a question mark | how to know when it's time to break up

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—Jordyn, New Albany, Indiana

Romantic relationships can be lovely, and they can also be stressful. In the beginning, there are often over-the-top happy times; your partner may seem perfect. You can’t stop thinking about them, and you want to spend every waking moment with them. Then things begin to settle in, and you start to get to know more about the person and they about you. Some of those things include parts about the person you may not like so much. Your relationship may not feel quite as exciting as it once was, and that is absolutely normal.

Deciding to break up is something you have to determine within yourself. Is it that you realize that you and your partner don’t have much in common and there’s not much of a friendship there? Is it that you notice things about their behavior that really bother you or are a deal breaker for you? These are signs that perhaps the person is not the best fit for you. It might have been great for the moment but is not something you want to carry forward.

However, it could be that you need to have a conversation with this person to let them know how you are feeling. Sometimes communicating what it is you are looking for or what you are struggling with in the relationship can make all the difference. Maybe you want to suggest that the two of you try doing different activities together. Perhaps take the pressure off a little and spend less time together to see if you miss having them around. Giving the relationship time to grow into something better might be what you need to turn things around.

If after a month or so you still feel the same, it may be time to call it quits.

Remember, it’s important that the relationship adds something to your life. So never feel bad if you have to break things off, especially if your instinct is telling you that something about the relationship isn’t right for you. Just try to be honest but kind about your feelings when you talk to your partner about ending the relationship.

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