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Sex with Dr. Jess


January 25, 2018

What Are The Signs When It’s Time to Break Up?

Are you and your partner fighting over just about anything these days? Are you noticing too many red flags which leave an unsettling feeling in your stomach? It may be time to call it quits with your significant other. Here are a few signs a relationship has run its course (regardless of gender):

1. Your spouse is hiding money or has set up a “secret” bank account.

They may also change their mailing address for important documents (e.g. bank statements, mortgage statements, life insurance policies) to their work address or relocate these documents away from your home.


2. You no longer recall happy memories fondly.

Think back to a fond memory like your first date, an early encounter or your honeymoon. Do you or your partner taint these memories/stories with negative or critical thoughts (e.g. She was late for the wedding as usual, He couldn’t even relax on our honeymoon)? If so, it’s likely that you need to work on your affection and kindness toward one another.

3. You’ve stopped having sex and you aren’t working to resolve the issue.

Of course there are couples who agree to abstain from sex and if you’re both on board, this can be perfectly healthy. If, however, you want to have sex and you’re in a “sexless marriage”, you need to work to resolve the issue. Research shows that happy couples have to work to be compatible — sexual compatibility doesn’t just happen on its own.

4. You’ve stopped fighting.

Some people gauge their relationship success by the prevalence (or lack of) fights, but research shows that happy couples don’t avoid conflict. If you used to fight over core (important) issues and you can no longer be bothered to do so, this may be a red flag.


5. (At least) one of you has stopped having meaningful conversations.

You might still discuss the business of your relationship (e.g. kids, finances, schedules), but if one of you has shut down and is no longer having deep conversations that address feelings, it’s not a good sign.

6. You’ve already told friends and family that you’re thinking about calling it off.

What You Can Do in Response:

1. Be upfront and talk about it. Raise your concerns. Be honest about your vulnerable feelings (e.g. fear, insecurity, sadness). Relationships can be repaired in many cases, but if you hide your authentic emotions (e.g. withdraw to avoid feeling vulnerable), you’re more likely to exacerbate the problem.

2. See a counsellor/therapist who can facilitate a discussion about the state of your relationship. Even if you’re certain that you plan on divorcing, a professional can offer support to help you communicate your needs, discuss concerns and create a plan of action.