"Should we break-up?"
Four words, two answers: yes or no.
We get it, you're on the fence. It's a difficult decision to have to think about, let alone do. Maybe it's a thought that's crossed your mind one too many times – and most of the time: that thought gnawing at the back of your head? Yep, that's your gut trying to tell you something.
Should I stay or should I go? If you still don't know, it's most probably a go.
It's easier said than done, we know. You were both madly in love, believing in the concept of "forever" – and now suddenly, you're not even sure you'll even make it to tomorrow.
Now is the perfect time time to step back, objectively observe, and self-reflect. How do you really know it's time to actually break-up?
With the help of relationship counselor, psychologist, and Couple Goals author Lissy Ann Puno, we've come up with 5 statements you should watch out for; 5 important signs that your relationship has officially run its course.
And by tension, we don't mean the sexual kind – it's the anxiety-ridden kind that builds up in your shoulders, grips at your heart, and makes it harder to breathe.
You're not comfortable and relaxed around him/her anymore. You're on high-alert at all times, extra wary of your words, your actions, and to an extent, even your own thoughts – and it's exhausting.
"This happens when there's a lack of emotional regulation in your partner," Lissy Ann explained. Emotional regulation is a person's ability to control, inhibit, and modulate their emotions in a given situation and in a socially acceptable way.
"There is so much unpredictability, to the extent of feeling anxious and agitated around the person."
Ask yourself: Do you feel like an argument is waiting for you at every corner? Do conversations turn into disagreements every time? Does everything you say almost lead into a full-blown fight right away? Do you feel like you're on edge and always mentally preparing for war? Are his/her reactions disproportionate to what was said or done?
Lissy Ann warned that if there is an "overall and constant negativity about the each other, about the relationship, about life, and about each other's worldviews," it might be best to stop and think about what's best for your well-being.
A relationship is supposed to be a safe space and a haven – if it feels otherwise, then the relationship may no longer be healthy for you.
"My partner is supposed to be my best friend, my confidante, my 'other half' – but why do I feel so lonely?"
This detachment happens when there is longer a solid connection between partners, Lissy Ann said.
"There is no more investment or effort being put in the relationship," Lissy Ann said, which may explain the lack of care, time, and communication the other partner may feel, which eventually leads to sadness and feelings of aloneness.
The inital "spark" may keep your relationship afloat for the first few years, sure, but any long-term relationship needs constant effort and time to flourish – whether that be romantic, platonic, or familial. Both partners have to continously put in the work, because if one falters, so will the relationship.
Fights and arguments are normal in any relationship – but once the bad begins to outweigh the good, it's time for a check-in. Is conflict prevailing over love? Has your relationship turned into a constant power struggle over one another?
"When love has faded and disillusionment steps in, that's when you need to break-up," Lissy Ann advised. Got enough red flags to last a lifetime? Don't throw them away; look at them and see if it's a white flag you should be raising instead. Most of the time, it is.
What a couple decides to do during conflict is just as important. Do you communicate, or do you blame? Has your warm heart been replaced by a cold shoulder?
"If you lack effective problem solving skills, and instead use criticism, blame, defensiveness and the 'silent treatment' in approaching problems and issues, then that's not healthy," Lissy Ann said. It's 2020, guys – who even has the time for mind games anymore?
If you feel like you've forgotten who you are – what you stand for, your likes, dislikes, or even what makes you happy – you might be feeling scared... as you should. Lissy Ann said that this "loss of self" happens when you no longer feel accepted in your relationship; when being your true, complete self doesn't feel right anymore.
"It's an unhealthy relationship when you feel that your self-esteem has lowered since being together," Lissy Ann said. If your partner spends more time belittling or criticizing you, both physically and emotionally ("Tumataba ka na ha!" "Ang OA mo, you're too sensitive"), rather than uplifting or supporting you – it might be time to go *NSYNC and say bye bye bye.
A partner who nitpicks your faults, scrutinizes your flaws, and passes harsh judgment will definitely cause feelings of unworthiness. Being derogatory leads to deteroriation, and deteroriation means that you will no longer feel important, valued, or prioritized in the relationship.
Other signs to watch out for, according to Lissy Ann: If you feel manipulated to be or do things that are not acceptable to you, and if you feel "gaslighted." Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation done by a person who feeds you doubt and guilt, making you question your own memory, judgment, and feelings. Gaslighting denies and denies, until you eventually believe that it's "all your fault."
You're basically clutching at straws at this point – clamoring for a sliver of light in a relationship that's turned dark, a sweet word in a partnership that's turned sour, or clamoring for a breath of fresh air in an environment that's suffocating.
"A relationship is unhealthy when unhappiness and discontent prevail in the overall relationship," Lissy Ann said, adding that an important factor to note within yourself is a lack of fulfillment. Are you not able to do what makes you feel good anymore? Have you stopped trying to achieve your goals for yourself?
When unhealthy ways of coping replace your prior ambitions, hobbies, and interests, do yourself a favor and see yourself out. Have you succumbed to drinking, smoking or isolation in times of stress, instead of reaching out to your friends or exercising, as you'd usually do?
"When your ways of coping begin affecting your overall function and personality, that's unhealthy," Lissy Ann said. It's best not to risk temporary happiness for permanent pain, especially if you're already feeling stuck in an "unhappy, toxic space" all the time.
Life is too short to spend it crying over someone – frankly, he/she isn't worth it.
Everyone deserves a healthy, happy relationship – one that makes you feel accepted, loved, safe, happy, and fulfilled – a relationship one can only welcome into his/her life once a toxic one is seen out. – Rappler.com
If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.