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10 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Already Over According to a Certified Sex Coach

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
An unhappy couple looking for warning signs that their relationship may be over.
As a certified sex coach, I've met many couples who didn't realize their relationship was in trouble. They often argued, showed little interest in each other's lives, and had no shared plans for the future. Where love once burned passionately, a profound disconnect had taken its place.

Whether you've been together for years or recently connected through an online dating site, I get your desire to keep the flame alive—challenges and all. I also admire your commitment to toughing it out, but sometimes, leaving can lead you to what you've always wanted.

Being so close can make it hard to see your connection's true state. Is it time to move on? Here are 10 clear signs your relationship is over.

» Ready to explore new connections? Check out our best specific dating sites and apps.

1. You Want Different Things

A partnership doesn't always need to be serious. Some may prefer casual dating, while others are looking for commitment. This can lead to confusion, especially if you're trying to navigate the dynamics of an age gap relationship.

Or, your partner may want a non-monogamous relationship where they date multiple people simultaneously. But if that's not for you, you must communicate your expectations and boundaries.

You should also have open conversations about your future aspirations, like career and family plans. If your goals don't align perfectly, you need to compromise and negotiate to reach a space where both partners feel content.

2. You Don't Feel Seen or Valued

You don't have to share identical worldviews or interests, but you need to understand and appreciate each other for who you are. If you often feel undervalued or unseen, this can cause long-term dissatisfaction and even lead to a breakup.

Feeling acknowledged and valued drives human behavior, and it's reasonable to expect your partner to fulfill this need in your relationship. If they don't, it could be a clear sign that your love is fading.

Distracted man and sad woman sitting on couch.

3. You're Trying to Find Excuses

If you often make excuses to avoid spending time with your partner, it could be a red flag in your failing relationship. A strong desire to evade your significant other often correlates with reduced satisfaction for both of you.

Reflect on your commitment. If you consistently find reasons to avoid quality time together, it might be kinder to let them click with someone who truly wants to be with them. This can lead to more fulfilling and satisfying connections for you and your partner.

4. You Feel More Like Friends Than Partners

You need to distinguish between romantic intimacy and companionship in your relationship. If the spark has faded, and you feel more like close friends than lovers, openly addressing this shift is important. This includes recognizing any lack of sexual attraction.

While research often separates sexuality and relationship quality, some aspects of unions are linked to sexual satisfaction and overall happiness.

But don't dismiss the chance to reignite the romance through effort and communication. Many couples have successfully rekindled their passion by working together and being attentive to each other's needs and desires.

» Find out how to tell if you're dating a new partner for the right reasons.

5. Your Relationship Is Causing You a Lot of Pain

We all make sacrifices in our relationships, but they shouldn't consistently make us unhappy. If the stress in your partnership disrupts your work or other activities, it could be a clue that your relationship won't last.

You deserve a connection that brings you joy. If you suspect you may be dating someone who is narcissistic or abusive, you need to leave ASAP.

Turning to friends, family, or professionals for support can guide you in making the right decision. Their external viewpoints can provide clarity on whether you can salvage the situation. This is especially important if you're dating someone with anxiety, as they may occasionally struggle to meet your emotional needs.

6. Ongoing Conflicts Just Won't Resolve

If you're constantly arguing over the same issues, it could stem from fundamental differences in your personalities and goals. Even if you both promise to improve, some problems may persist because they're ingrained in your identities.

While people deserve second chances, repeatedly enduring mistreatment isn't healthy. You need to assert yourself when necessary.

But rather than escalating arguments, work on active listening and finding compromises. For instance, if you often disagree about how to spend weekends, discuss your preferences calmly and find middle-ground activities that you both enjoy.

Frustrated woman on couch being yelled at by partner behind her.

7. You Don't Have Time for Each Other

You've got to make your relationship a priority, even when life gets busy. Spending quality time together and nurturing your connection should be intentional, regardless of how hectic things are.

Here's how you can maintain an equilibrium:

  • Work-life balance: If you and your partner have demanding jobs, try to schedule quality time together. For example, plan a weekly date night to reconnect and enjoy each other's company.
  • Family and friends: If you have a close-knit group of friends, ensure you still spend time with them while nurturing your romantic relationship. Plan gatherings where your partner can bond with your friends, too.
  • Personal interests: Keep up with your passions and hobbies. For example, if you love playing a musical instrument, set aside time to practice or join a local music group. This helps you preserve your individuality and happiness while staying committed to your relationship.

8. You've Lost Trust

Research suggests that resolving conflicts with low-trust partners can be quite disruptive. If you're still upset about something your partner did long ago, it might signal a deeper issue. While relationships can heal from betrayals, it takes a sincere apology and a lot of effort to make things right.

You can try revisiting the conversation with your partner to see if the relationship can recover. But the choice to rely on them again is yours alone. Rebuilding trust after infidelity is challenging and often requires external support.

Going to couples therapy or counseling is a good start. Having a neutral third party to guide conversations about the affair can make a big difference in the healing process.

» Don't let these 10 common misconceptions of cheating confuse your feelings.

9. You Have a Connection With Someone Else

If you're in a monogamous relationship but develop feelings for someone else, you need to decide whether these feelings justify sacrificing your current relationship. To help make this decision, ask yourself these questions:

  • How would I feel if I never got to experience this connection?
  • How would I feel if I explored it but it didn't work out?
  • What does this person offer that my current partnership doesn't?
  • What would I miss about the relationship I'm in now?

The choice is yours, but be fair to your partner. Some couples realize they're more suited for monogamish relationships. In this arrangement, they're mostly monogamous but occasionally open to intimate experiences with others. They may have specific rules, like an annual opportunity for encounters outside the relationship.

Frustrated man and sad woman looking at wedding ring sitting on couch.

10. You're Trying to Change Each Other

Healthy relationships thrive when there's a deep comprehension and acceptance of each other's core characteristics. Instead of attempting to reshape your partner's fundamental nature, focus on understanding who they really are.

Openly express your needs and desires without expecting them to transform completely. Encourage an environment where you can share your thoughts and feelings, fostering mutual respect.

Support each other's personal growth instead of constantly trying to change one another. If your efforts involve controlling behavior or a lack of respect for their autonomy, this may indicate toxicity in your partnership.

Moving on From a Dying Relationship

Prioritize your emotional healing by giving yourself time to process your feelings. Reflect on your past relationship through journaling and seek guidance from a therapist for self-discovery. This can help you prepare for healthier future partnerships.

Your friends and family can be a valuable support system during this transition. Explore new interests and hobbies to rediscover your identity and boost your self-confidence. When you're ready to date again, you'll be well-prepared for a fulfilling and lasting connection that brings you happiness.

» Open to new romantic possibilities? Sign up for EliteSingles or Zoosk.

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and Brown University graduate in Cognitive Neuroscience and Gender and Sexuality Studies. In addition to writing for Top10.com, Suzannah written for major publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. Weiss' writing about feminist issues and sexuality has also been discussed on The Today Show, The View, and C-SPAN.