Breaking up with someone can be a really simple decision to make—maybe they cheat, or you do, and that's just it. But it can be fucking difficult at times, too. Even after you've tried everything to make it work, you can still have that feeling of uncertainty. Unless they've actively done something terrible, or your relationship is unhealthy, people often feel guilty for wanting to end the relationship.
Here, 12 women explain how they knew it was time to call it a day with a serious partner.
- "When I looked at him one day and realized I liked it better when he wasn't there, because I wasn't stressed out about his mental and physical health, something he never took personal responsibility for. I needed a partner, not a child older than me. I needed someone I was attracted to, spiritually, sexually, and emotionally and I just didn't feel that way about him anymore. He's not a bad guy, he just wouldn't and couldn't get his shit together. And after four and a half years together, I just wasn't about resigning myself to being a caretaker at 24." – Via Reddit
- "When we were in the home-buying process and all of my home needs and wants kept being superseded by [theirs]. I negotiated for a compromise over and over but was dismissed every time. I realized my needs, both in a home and in the overall relationship, came dead last. Things unraveled from there." – Via Reddit
- "I had been dating a really great guy for years, and over the course of some months realized he wasn't who I pictured growing old with, and that's all there was to it. We got along great, but we were still pretty young and I didn't feel in my gut like he was it—there was something missing that I couldn't put words to, even though we had by all accounts, a healthy and happy dynamic for the most part.
It made the breakup so much worse because he didn't understand why I felt this way. I wished I could've pointed to something he did, or something about him that showed me things were wrong, but I couldn't. It sucks because nobody had ever told me that sometimes there isn't necessarily a catalyst or a specific thing that makes you realize things aren't right, so I felt—and still feel—really guilty that I couldn't give him a better explanation or some sense of closure. Sometimes it's just not right." – Via Reddit
- "I think on some level I always knew. But I was still young and worried about the idea of being single, so I stuck with it. Crunch time came when I went away for the summer and basically just didn't miss him at all. [I] spent a lot of time reflecting on things away from everything familiar with a group of people I became very close friends with. Broke up with him on my return. I don't regret it as such, and I firmly believe if I'd chosen a different path (aka not being with him or breaking up sooner) certain wonderful events in my life wouldn't have then happened the way they did. But I do kinda look back and think...wtf was I thinking, y'know?" – Via Reddit
- "I broke up with my first real boyfriend because he made a comment about buying me a necklace for my 18th birthday. It was a semi-expensive (but very expensive for a 16 and 19-year-old) necklace that we saw window shopping. He said he would save up and buy it for my 18th. I remember stuttering something about how he was planning to go to university the next academic year. He responded that he was going to the local university because I will be doing A levels and he 'obviously' was going to stay around for me. The realization that he was apparently basing such big life decisions around me and was so serious, and made me feel like I was going to throw up." – Via Reddit
"When he told me that he only wanted to be with me for the rest of his life, and I honestly felt sick and panicky at the thought of that. We were just too incompatible to continue to work on our relationship and move forward." – Via Reddit
- "I was having an argument with my ex (I don't even remember what it was about now) and I said, 'It's not about winning, it's about us understanding each other and working it out.' And he just looked at me in utter disbelief and said, 'Of course it's about winning!' It really hit me why we struggled so often; I saw us as a team and he saw me as his adversary." – Via Reddit
- "When I had a thought that I wouldn't want him to be the father of my 'future children.'" – Via Reddit
- "When I accepted I no longer enjoyed our time together enough. I liked him as a person and friend still, but we weren't close friends and we weren't compatible to be close friends. That needs to exist in a relationship IMO. I remember one week I realized I contacted my best friend far more and wanted to see her more than I wanted to see my ex. I'm sure he felt the same." – Via Reddit
- "When we started college and I joined a student society, and he became very possessive because he didn't like me having a social life outside of my school and family. We lasted a little under a month after that because that's how long it took me to realize he really wasn't going to have a change of heart." – Via Reddit
- "I had known for a while but was denying it in order to keep everyone else happy. I didn't fully believe I could do better, but met someone who was what I thought to be so far 'out of my league.' [It] made me realize that nobody is out of anyone's 'league,' that it isn't even a real thing, and that I could do better for my life in so many ways. I didn't cheat on him with this better person, but this other person did in a way help me realize my own self-worth." – Via Reddit
- "My ex wanted to marry me, and I genuinely couldn't see a future together. Anytime it was brought up, it felt like I swallowed a stone. We argued like a cat and a raccoon over a lot, even the minor stuff, and there were too many incompatibilities and inconsistencies between us to envision longevity. I knew if I married him, it would be like us willingly shackling ourselves to anchors. Sounds harsh, but I couldn't see either of us being happy, or even close to it down the road." – Via Reddit
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.