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7 signs that it's time to break up
Are you wondering if it's time to break up? Here are some important reasons you may be right. - photo by Wendy Jessen
Navigating relationships can be pretty difficult. One minute you're in love, and the next, your boyfriend or girlfriend does something that makes you question everything.

Most of us have likely been in a relationship that has gone south. Disagreements or personality differences can make the relationship rocky, but does that mean it's time to break up? Maybe so, given that " ... research shows that a large majority of Americans (64 percent) have themselves gone through the breakup of a long-term relationship." (

How do you really know when it's time to break up? Are there valid reasons to run in the opposite direction? If your relationship has one or several of these problems, you may need to end it sooner rather than later.

Your girlfriend or boyfriend is not supportive of your goals

A major part of a relationship, especially a marriage or one that is heading toward marriage, is supporting each other. If you have a goal such as schooling, jobs, creative paths, etc. that your significant other is not supportive of, you may need to look closely at the rest of the relationship. Long-term romantic relationships generally lead to getting married, but if they don't want to help you achieve your goals, you'll be missing the person who should be your number one cheerleader. And they will more likely be a roadblock to your future.

You can't trust your significant other

This is a huge red flag. Trust is one of the most important factors in a relationship. If you suspect he's lying to you about where he's been or how he spends his time, he probably is. If you can't trust your girlfriend or boyfriend, you're always going to be suspicious, and that will hinder your relationship.

He or she cheats on you

If you think cheating is a "one-time thing," you're more than likely wrong. Cheating is habitual. If you can't be loyal when you're dating, you won't be loyal after you're married either. The reason for cheating has very little to do with you, and everything to do with the cheater. Nothing you do is going to make him or her stop that decision has to be made by him or herself.

You have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused by your partner

If you are being abused in any form in your relationship, you need to LEAVE -- NOW. You don't deserve to be hit, yelled at, raped or belittled. Relationships demand mutual respect and love, even if you have occasional arguments. Do not think for a minute that you deserve to be abused or that it's your fault. Find a friend or family member who can help you escape this terrible situation. Do not be fooled into thinking an apology is the end of abuse. It WILL happen again.

You don't share the same major life goals

If you want a family and she doesn't; if he doesn't want marriage and you do; or if any of your most important life choices don't line up, the two of you may not be a good match. One of you will always end up disappointed and unfulfilled. You can't change someone to bend to your will and you shouldn't have to sacrifice those things that are most important to you.

Something just doesn't feel right

Listen to your own inner voice. If it's telling you something is off, or doesn't feel right, that's probably the case. Maybe it's not really love or perhaps you feel like you're settling out of fear that you will be alone for the rest of your life. Maybe there is some other unknown factor that your intuition is trying to warn you about. We have our intuition to protect us from potentially dangerous situations. It's best to listen to it even if you can't see a valid reason right now.

Your values don't line up

Maybe you have a strong moral character while your significant other takes a more "anything goes" or "whatever makes me happy now" approach to life. Some things can be worked around or you can come to a mutual agreement about, but others cannot. Many seek those with similar religious beliefs to find common ground. It's necessary to discuss values that are important in your life. If you don't share common ground, or at least respect for the other's values, the relationship will not work out in the long run.

Romantic relationships can come to an end for a variety of reasons. Others can work through differences and build a stronger relationship together. However, you need to feel loved, supported, safe and have mutual trust, love and respect for each other. Even though breaking up is hard, living an unfulfilled life is worse. Find someone who really is your better half.
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