Ending a relationship can be a devastating experience. The longer you are with someone, the more disruptive it can be. Whether relationships are good or bad, we come to rely on the other person’s presence in our lives and without them it can feel scary and unknown. Making the decision to leave a relationship can take a long time. Finding the courage and the conviction to finally end things isn’t easy and takes a lot of nerve.

Nobody dreams of entering a marriage that will end in divorce, however the reality is that 1 out of 3 marriages will result in divorce. Does this mean that our society takes marriage less seriously? Or does it mean that we are less willing to continue in unhealthy relationships? One thing we do know is that women initiate divorce more often than men, which could mean that women feel more empowered to leave their marriage than they did 30 years ago.

1. You feel completely isolated

You notice that you see your friends less frequently, and when you do you don’t feel the same feeling of connection that you once did. People who once held an important space in your life and offered you valuable guidance seem to have lost their value. Even when you are with friends or family you find that you still feel isolated and alone. Feeling isolated amongst those with whom you once felt close could be a sign that you have lost trust or faith in those around you. If your partner has subtly undermined your close people it is more likely that you will feel this way. Having relationships that you once valued being undermined is a sure sign that your partner doesn’t have your best interests at heart, or feels jealous of your other close relationships. It may be time to analyse the reasons for this and assess whether your partner respects the people with whom you feel connected.

2. You are constantly second guessing yourself

Even if it is a simple task such as buying groceries for dinner or choosing a restaurant for a meal, you notice that you worry about making the wrong decision. Your mind goes back to all the times that you have made the wrong decision and you feel afraid of disappointing your partner. You remember a time when you were confident in yourself and your choices, but you can’t seem to find that part of yourself anymore. If your partner has told you too many times that they feel upset or disappointed with your choices, then perhaps it is no longer about your choices, but about their standards. If your relationship has damaged your self-esteem, this is a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship, which requires some deep reflection and hard work.

3. You keep reflecting on times you should or could have left

If you find yourself reminiscing about a time when it would have been simpler to end the relationship, but now feel stuck because your lives are too intertwined, this could mean that you actually still want to leave. Fantasising about having the strength, resources or conviction to leave the relationship is a sign that there is an underlying desire to leave, or at the least, take your power back within the relationship. If you reminisce about times when you were stronger then it means that your gumption may have been weakened. Healthy relationships foster strength and self esteem, and if you don’t feel this, then it could be time to reevaluate the relationship.

4. You feel that nothing you do is ever good enough

You try as hard as you can to do things in a way that will please your partner, yet no matter what you are still criticised. Even though you feel as though you are doing your utmost to create a good life or a happy relationship, it seems your partner often finds a reason to let you know why it isn’t enough. Once you are at this stage, it is very difficult to ever see that you could be in an unhealthy relationship, and accepting that you aren’t good enough has become second nature. Deferring to your partner constantly about whether you are making the right choices, only to find yourself being put down could mean that there are detrimental dynamics taking place in the relationship.

5. You lie to those around you about how the relationship is going

You notice that when you talk with friends or family, you are often talking the relationship up, even though you know in your heart that things are dire. You look back on communications with others and struggle to see the truth in what you tell them. If you are covering up the dysfunction within the relationship, this is a sign that there may be no returning from this kind of dynamic. If your partner is adamant that discussions about the relationship remain private and only between the two of you, then you know that having something to hide is damaging. Healthy partners encourage their loved ones to create spaces to vent or discuss the relationship in an honest way, so if this isn’t happening, it could be a sign that the relationship is moving towards some very harmful undercurrents.

While the signs above are meant only as a guide, most of us know in our hearts and our guts when things are bad for us. There may be a multitude of reasons why leaving a marriage is unthinkable including financial ties, children and other mutual responsibilities. Making sure that you have the strength and resources to cope in whatever situation you choose is vital, but staying in a relationship that is destroying you from the inside out could be detrimental. Seeking professional help or talking honestly with trusted confidants could help you to see the truth of the situation and know what the nest best move could be.

Original article can be found at Your Tango.