Dead-ends: That end of a road from which you can’t go any further.
There are a lot of dead-ends in life. dead-end roads, dead-end jobs and, perhaps the most painful of them all, dead-end relationships.
While all relationships are vulnerable to dead-ends, long-term relationships have the tendency to run the risk of continuing for long even when they should end. Indeed, according to some studies, dead-end relationships outnumber actual working relationships.
The topic of why people stay in long-term relationships, even though the relationship is no longer working anymore, has often been discussed, but one reason is thought to be due to the attachment that is formed over the years spent together. In many cases, we like the stability that a relationship offers – and we are afraid to be alone.
While every relationship waxes and wanes over time, if you suspect that you are in a dead-end relationship, it is a red flag that you should not ignore.
Signs you are in a dead-end relationship
There are many tell-tale signs that you’re in a dead-end relationship. If, even a few of these signs apply to you, it may be time to step back and evaluate your relationship. Although it will be difficult, every person should value his or her time and realize that a relationship which does not bring value to your life is not worth being a part of.
1. You’re not happy
This is a big one. Do you find that you’re not happy? Even more importantly, do you feel that you would be happier outside this relationship? You may even be more than simply unhappy; you may also feel sad and you may find yourself breaking down at various points.
2. You have a feeling that something isn’t right
Do you have a feeling that something isn’t right in your relationship? That it may be time for the relationship to end but you don’t want to accept the idea? If this has been a persistent feeling, it is not something to ignore.
3. The bad times outweigh the good
Do you spend more time arguing than actually enjoying each other’s company? Do you argue about the future? Do you discuss the future at all? All of these issues are signs that you may be in a dead-end relationship. Further, do you try to fix your partner or does your partner try to fix you? If you argue about the same issues over and over, things aren’t likely to change in the future. Are you willing to accept that? If not, it is time to move on.
Another related sign of a dead-end relationship is one in which you find yourself getting angry at everything your partner does– perhaps even unreasonably angry – when in the past you would have let things go easily.
4. The relationship has “changed” (And not for the better)
Apart from an increase in fights, other dynamics in your relationship may have changed, too. Perhaps there is more distance, which could manifest itself in a lack of physical intimacy. You could also simply spend less time with each other, and you may even prefer to spend time with your friends instead.
If you recognize a lot of these signs in your own relationship, it may be time to accept that you’re in a dead-end relationship and take steps to move on. You want to part on good terms and create a solid foundation so that you can both move on in a healthy way.
Tips on how to end a dead-end relationship
1. Be honest with yourself first
After spending a significant amount of time together, it can be difficult to take the first step towards ending a relationship. If you’ve been struggling with the relationship for some time, or your partner has been unable to meet your needs, be honest with yourself and know that it is in your best interest to move forward. Once you commit internally, don’t question yourself. Don’t re-evaluate your decision.
2. Discuss things face-to-face
First and foremost, you should never end a relationship via email, text or any other electronic means. Although 33% of people have been broken up with via technology, according to a survey by Lab24, this does not create a strong foundation and can lead to problems down the road.
3. Consider the time and place
Although you may be tempted to rush into a conversation to get it over with, you should have control over all the possible variables that could potentially disrupt your talk. In short, put some thought into selecting a location that allows for an extended period of time, free of any disruptions.
4. Be 100% forthcoming and honest about your feelings
Research has suggested that taking the open confrontation approach to breaking up, in which the partner is forthcoming and honest about their feelings, caused the least amount of stress. This approach was more effective than placing blame on yourself or trying to end things gradually. Once you have committed to moving on, commit to it 100% and see it through.
Of course, just because it’s best to be direct and honest, it doesn’t mean that you should be harsh or put blame on the other person. There’s a balance that you should strive for. At the same time, don’t make promises you can’t keep just to make your ex feel better. It is important to be firm and stick to your ground.
5. Halt communication (temporarily) post break-up
Although it may be tempting to continue getting together as “friends,” this only creates confusion for both people in the aftermath of a breakup. Doubt may begin to seep in. If you live together, make arrangements to move out.
After you have committed to moving on, halt all communication for a month or so, to allow time to process everything.
6. Take care of yourself
Fifties.com found that it can take 18 months for (divorced) partners to move on. The point is that it will take time for both partners to move on – give yourself time to heal from your relationship. After all, this is the only way you will eventually be able to move on and find yourself engaging in other things. If you are feeling guilty about ending a relationship, then don’t. It’s in the best interest of both the parties. Take care of yourself, and be sure to have a support system in place.
After you’ve given yourself time to heal, you may want to try a matchmaking service this time around.