15 Important Things to Consider when Ending a Long Term Relationship.

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Length of Americans' relationship status in 2017, by age.

Number of long-term relationships in Poland 2019. Source: Statista

Number of long-term relationships in Poland 2019. Source Statista

The stats on long term relationships in America seen in the above survey from Statista paints a rather uninspiring picture when it comes to long term relationships among the younger age group. Although when compared to Poland (as seen from the second chart), one could say that America isn’t doing too bad after all.

While there could be several reasons for this rather uninspiring picture, a discussion of those reasons will be left out of this article. For now, we want to help you understand the dynamics of long term relationships and why as promising as they are, they still come to an end. This article will also cover the important questions of the things to consider before breaking up from a long term relationship, and when you should actually take that step of ending a long term relationship.

You might also want to read our related article on When should you give up on a relationship.

Why Do Long Term Relationships End? 11 Reasons Why Long Term Relationships End.

Long term relationships are the stuff fairytales are made of because we all want love to last forever. Loving long term relationships are a source of inspiration for all of us, like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson‘s 33 years of marriage which they celebrated recently. But like recent long term breakups like that of Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce after 27 years of marriage shows us, even long term relationships sometimes come to an end.

And the burning question that always arises is, why do these long term relationships come to an end? Does this mean that all those years meant nothing to the parties? These are some of the questions that ravage our minds when we hear of the breakup of long term relationships. But the answer isn’t always so black and white. Several factors can cause a long term relationship to come to an end and the following are the top 11 reasons why long term relationships end.

1. Lack of deep and meaningful communication.

Effective communication that is deep and meaningful is critical to the continued success of any relationship, and especially a long term relationship. What tends to happen though is that the longer partners stay together, communication tends to suffer and get neglected. The danger of this is that in the long run, it would negatively affect the relationship because the partners ultimately become strangers and before long the relationship hits the rocks.

And if you feel like there isn’t much to discuss in your long term relationship, let our article on 35 Interesting topics to talk about with your girlfriend help you out with ideas of ever-fresh communication ideas to keep your long term relationship going stronger and stronger.

2. Infidelity.

Nothing crushes and ends a long term relationship like infidelity by one of the partners.

Nothing Crushes and Ends a Long Term Relationship Like Infidelity by One of the Partners.

Infidelity in long term relationships tends to hurt differently and harder because of the length of time the partners have been together and how much they’ve both emotionally invested in the relationship. It is very rare for two partners to continue in a long term relationship where infidelity is discovered.

You may like these related articles on What to say to someone who cheated on you and Signs your husband is cheating with your friend.

3. Mismatched goals and long-term plans.

Imagine after 20 years together, your partner tells you they want to sell all that you’ve both worked for together and move to Afghanistan or maybe a rural community in a developing country. If you are not at that point in your life and have ambitions of climbing up your corporate ladder, for example, is that a sacrifice you want to be asked to make? Is that fair on either partner? You get the picture. In these circumstances, it might be a hard ask for either party to compromise for the other. It is such hard situations where goals and plans suddenly become mismatched that also tends to lead to the end of some long term relationships.

4. Monotony and little to no fun between the couple.

This is another unhelpful relationship habit that ultimately spells the end of some long term relationships. Couples get so busy and have little to no time to enjoy each other’s company and have fun like they used to do when they first met and fell in love. Slowly but surely, each starts to lose interest in each other and maybe one or both partner’s eyes start to drift to others who may be more fun. And bam, the relationship is headed for termination.

5. Incompatibility.

This can be incompatible temperaments and personalities which have no hope of ever being reconcilable. Or differences in sexual compatibility where each party has different sexual drive, desires, and passions that are at polar opposites and one party feels sexually starved and/or frustrated. These are crucial incompatibilities that would affect the possibility of a long term relationship continuing.

6. Family.

Members of either partner’s family can put a strain on a long term relationship if they become too involved and overbearing in the marriage. For example, an overbearing mother-in-law could damage a long-term marriage if she always affects the decisions made in the marriage.

7. Little to no sex between the partners or unexciting sex life.

Sex is a big deal and an important aspect of any relationship, even a long term relationship. If the partners start to neglect each other in the bedroom, it’s only a matter of time before one or both starts to look outside the relationship for sexual satisfaction. And once that happens, the relationship will almost always end.

8. Unbearable actions on the part of one or both partners that lead to irreconcilable differences.

So say, for instance, one of the partners has a very bad temper that leads to them hurting the other partner. Or perhaps one of them has low self-esteem that always leads to them not trusting the other. These traits would always bring out the worst in the relationship, hurt one or both partners, and lead to irreconcilable differences.

You may like this related article on What does it mean to have low self esteem?

9. Unresolved conflict and issues over a long time.

Where the partners in the relationship don’t have healthy ways of resolving conflict and resorting to sweeping issues under the carpet, it is usually a recipe for disaster. Before long, these unresolved issues would come bubbling to the surface and erupt like a volcano.  And the consequences are usually the end of the relationship.

10. Lingering doubt and absence of trust.

The absence of trust and doubt by either party would invariably bring a long term relationship to an end. The lack of trust could either be because of past actions on the part of one of the partners or due to low self-esteem.

11. Taking each other for granted and growing apart.

This is another notorious reason that leads to the end of long term relationships. Once the parties start growing apart or taking each other for granted, that long term relationship is headed for a break-up.

Deciding Whether To Break Up – 5 Important Things To Consider Before Breaking Up.

Breaking up from a long term relationship isn’t a decision to be made lightly especially because a lot of time and emotion has been invested in the relationship. Before you make the final decision on breaking up or not, it is important to consider these 5 things.

1. Are your reasons for wanting to leave the relationship deal-breakers or things you can both work on fixing and still be able to stay together?

This is the first and most important thing to consider. Do some serious soul-searching and first understand what your reason(s) are for wanting to end the relationship. Once you have pinpointed exactly what your reasons are, ask yourself if these reasons are deal-breakers that you cannot compromise on, or whether you would be willing to work things out. Remember that this is a relationship you have invested considerable time and emotions into.

2. How important is your partner to you and can you imagine a future without them in it?

How much do you love your partner and how much do they mean to you? If you can’t imagine a future without your partner then perhaps you shouldn’t be in a hurry to end the relationship particularly if the feeling is also mutual and they are willing to work things out.

How much do you love your partner and how much do they mean to you? If you can’t imagine a future without your partner then perhaps you shouldn’t be in a hurry to end the relationship particularly if the feeling is also mutual and they are willing to work things out.

It would be a different ball game if your partner is also no longer committed to making the relationship work.

3. Your partner’s disposition in the relationship and your willingness to continue putting in the work to make the relationship work.

There’s no point fighting to keep the relationship alive if your partner is no longer interested and no longer putting in the effort needed to keep the fire of love burning. You also don’t want to be flogging a dead horse. Thus, if your partner is no longer invested and committed to the relationship, it may be time to call it quits.

On the other hand, it could perhaps be you who is tired of continuing to put in the effort to make the relationship work.

4. Would leaving the relationship make you better off in the long run?

This is an especially important consideration for long term relationships that are abusive or toxic. If you have a partner that is always putting you down and making you doubt your self-worth or an abusive partner, whether physically or otherwise, then you are better off without them.

5. Is a breakup really the solution or can less drastic measures be adopted that would provide a better solution?

This is the final important thing to consider. Again, given the length of time and emotional investment made into the relationship, it is important to give this serious consideration. Sometimes, spending a little time apart or going for a couple’s counseling would provide the needed solution that would not only save the relationship but also ensure that you both don’t live with regrets later.

When To Leave A Long Term Relationship – 10 Crucial Questions To Ask Before Ending A Relationship.

And if considering the 5 things above still does not help you in making up your mind, ask yourself these 10 important questions. Your answers to all of these important questions are all the indicators you need to know when to leave a long term relationship. Do not ignore the answers to these questions, as it may not be in your best interests in the long term to ignore them.

1. Is the relationship becoming a drain?

If the relationship is starting to feel more like a draining chore that you dread, it may be time to hit the end button.

If the relationship is starting to feel more like a draining chore that you dread, it may be time to hit the end button.

2. Do you find your partner more irritating than fun?

If your partner is starting to irritate/annoy you almost all the time and you are always snapping and yelling at them, it is definitely time to ask yourself why this is so. Do some serious soul-searching because if things continue that way in your relationship, it won’t last much longer.

3. Do you spend more time fighting than enjoying each other’s company?

If you can’t remember the last time you had a peaceful conversation that did not degenerate into a fight, ask yourself if your constant fighting is more a symptom of a deeper underlying problem in the long term relationship that may or may not be able to be fixed.

4. Are you growing together or does it feel like you are going in different directions and growing apart?

Does it feel like your partner is slowing you down and you have both become different people over the course of your relationship? And maybe you have tried to discuss this with your partner without success, you may need to consider whether you want to continue knowing that your partner will only keep dragging you down and it would likely not get better.

5. Does your relationship feel like it’s heading nowhere?

No one wants to be in a relationship they can clearly see is headed nowhere. This question is particularly relevant in a long term relationship that isn’t a marriage. If you want to get married and you can clearly see that your partner has no interest in marriage and would never head there, you will need to decide whether you want to continue with it with such knowledge.

And if you are not sure if your boyfriend for instance will marry you, check out our helpful article on 13 Significant signs your boyfriend won’t marry you.

6. Do you start imagining what life would be like without them in it?

This one is a scary sign that you probably should be considering drawing a curtain on the relationship.

7. Are you starting to have doubts in your guts about your compatibility and how you feel about them?

Once you start to have any doubts in your guts about whether you still love your partner or think they are compatible, it would be unfair to your partner to continue to lie to them that you still feel the same way when you know that you don’t.

8. Does your partner feel like an option you’re settling for because you don’t have what you would consider your perfect partner?

Keeping someone else in a loveless relationship where you are with them because you don’t want to be alone, is both selfish and unfair. Once you know that you are with your partner because they are just one of the options you settled for to avert loneliness, it is only fair that you end the relationship.

9. Do you find that you are starting to emotionally cheat on your partner or find another person more attractive and appealing than your partner?

Emotional affairs are as hurtful as affairs that involve physical intimacy. If you can’t work on your relationship to fix the reasons why you find yourself looking outside the relationship for emotional succor, it is best to end the relationship for both your sakes.

10. Are you always unhappy or find that you are sad and generally moody around your partner even when they’ve done nothing wrong?

This is another alarming red flag that it may be time to call the relationship quits. Your partner should be a source of joy and not sadness.

Ending Long Term Relationships – 6 Effective Ways on How To End A Long Term Relationship.

It can never be easy ending a long term relationship. Given the length of time and emotions invested into it, we understand that it can be very difficult and almost near impossible to end a long term relationship. And yet you know in your gut/heart of hearts that you are no longer happy or getting fulfilled in the said relationship.

As hard as it may seem, the length of time of a relationship should never be a reason to stay on in the relationship if it is no longer working or has reached its sell-by date.

1. Decide on what you want to do and be clear about it.

Write it down if need be so that it helps you think through the decision in more detail. And this means that you would have thought through your reasons and why bringing the relationship to an end is the best decision to take.

2. Have a heartfelt discussion with your partner.

It is best not to just drop the bombshell on your partner on your way out. Have an honest conversation with your partner months in advance of bringing the relationship to an end. Try as much as possible to explain why you have reached your decision.

It is advisable to make this conversation more about you and how the decision is based on how you feel without trying to cast any blame on your partner. This is because once you start on the blame footing, your partner will become defensive and the conversation may move from a civil one to a tirade of arguments. And once it degenerates into a tirade of arguments, the conversation and eventual outcome will never end well.

3. Consider getting expert third-party advice depending on the nature of the relationship and the eventual break-up.

For example, if it is a marriage and you are considering a divorce, it would be important to seek legal advice about the legal implications of the divorce for both of you and the children. It would also be good to seek sound financial advice if you both invested financially, whether in a marriage or a civil partnership. If there would be a need for PR management, also engage a good PR firm.

4. Try and have an amicable and smooth breakup where possible.

It is important to maintain civility especially for more committed long term relationships like marriages and civil partnerships. Civility becomes even more important if there are children involved.

5. Maintain a healthy distance and cut off from them for at least a year.

This time apart is important to help you both heal. Remember that this was a long term relationship and the healing will not happen overnight. Whether you want to believe it or not, there would be a little animosity or tension after the break-up. And thus, the time apart would help ease such tensions and/or animosity and help each party to heal well.

You may have to be as drastic as unfollowing your partner on all their social media handles so that you are not constantly reminded about them and reliving the hurt.

6. Keep busy and surround yourself with good friends.

A post-breakup period is a critical time to be surrounded by good friends and loved ones and to keep busy. The latter keeps your mind occupied and away from the pain and hurt as much as possible. Friends and family provide succor and support to deal with the pain and hurt.

Check out this good article on Benefits of surrounding yourself with good friends.

Frequently asked questions.

1. How do you break up with a longtime girlfriend/longtime boyfriend?

Once you have answered all the important questions listed in this article and decided that a break-up is the best solution, follow the 6 steps listed in the last section of this article.

2. How to know when to end a long term relationship?

Knowing when to leave a long term relationship is important so that you are not stuck in a relationship that would not be in your best interests in the long run. Once you find that your answer to the 15 things to consider listed in this article is leaning towards ending a long term relationship, then it is time to bring the said relationship to an end.

3. How to decide to end a long term relationship?

Take the 6 steps listed in the last section of this article once you’ve decided to bring the relationship to an end.


Long term relationships by their nature are not easy to bring to an end. There are always many factors to consider, chief among them being the time commitment and emotional investment. But ultimately, when a long term relationship has reached its end, there is no point forcing it to continue.

Asking one’s self the 15 important questions listed in this article will help in deciding whether a long term relationship has reached its end and should be terminated.

Following the 6 steps listed in the last section in bringing the said relationship to an end would ensure that there is less friction and both parties part on amicable terms.





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