Is My Relationship Over? Or Does It Just Need Work?

Here are 5 Tell-Tale Signs That Your Relationship Isn’t Going Well and That It May Be Time to Move On

Do you sometimes find yourself wondering if your relationship has run its course, and maybe it’s time to call it a day, end things and move toward what’s next for you?

After investing the last 40 years coaching and mentoring thousands of people all over the world, I’ve been asked several times,

“Mary, I feel like my relationship has lost its spark. Do I stay with this person? Or should I break it off?”

If you’re asking this same question of yourself now, I can relate! I’ve been there myself.

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My first husband and I married very young, and had two small children right away.

After many years of marriage and several years of marital counseling, it became very clear to me that things just weren’t working.

We didn’t have the skill set to communicate effectively in a way that we both felt heard and respected.

So, we decided to pursue a different kind of professional help to support us in co-parenting our little boys going forward, even though we decided we weren’t going to be together anymore.

We signed up for a new kind of counseling program that lasted 30 days.

And, the program went so well for us, that the 30 days turned into 21 more years… and two more children together!

But years later, we found ourselves in the same spot as before – wanting to divorce.

Sometimes relationships are simply meant to come to an end, and that’s okay.

During those 27 years together, we spent a total of nine years in therapy working on constructive ways of serving the relationship as well as ways of assessing if the relationship was or was not working.

In fact, it’s because of those nine years of getting help that I knew when it was time to leave.

Between my years in couples’ therapy, the ending of my own marriage, and the coaching and mentoring I’ve provided to others for the last several decades, I’ve identified…

The five tell-tale signs that it may be time to end a relationship

1. You’re in some kind of danger

First and foremost, if you’re not safe in your relationship, you need to leave right away. This may include immediate physical danger to you or your children, or danger in a more subtle form.

relationship danger

For example:

Perhaps your spouse has a gambling addiction or has racked up mountains of credit card debt. These behaviors truly put you and any children you may have in a very risky and unstable position.

So before anything else, get yourself into a safe situation – go and stay with a friend or family member, for example – and then consider your options from there.

If your safety is compromised, your relationship isn’t serving you whatsoever.

2. You don’t share the same core values

Perhaps one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t. Or you have dramatically different religious beliefs that inform how you live your lives.

Consider what’s most important to you in life and how you’ll feel when you lay your head on your pillow for the last time. What will you be glad you invested your time and energy in?

Then ask yourself if your partner feels the same way. If not, you may not want to share the rest of your life journey together.

This isn’t to say you have to share the exact same interests and passions – everyone is a unique individual. But if your values aren’t aligned, you may not ever be entirely fulfilled by this relationship.

And the truth is, sharing different values doesn’t make either of you wrong or bad people!

It can just sometimes makes you a poor fit for one another.

3. You’re not heading in the same direction (or are even on the same road) when it comes to your goals and dreams

Again, you and your partner are going to have your own unique goals and dreams, which is part of what makes any relationship interesting!

But do your individual goals and dreams help fuel each other’s? Does your partner’s pursuit of their dreams help yours come alive? If you’re both doing what you love, you’ll bring even more energy and joy to the relationship.

And do you have some shared goals and dreams?

You don’t have to have all the same goals and dreams, but some have to align if you’re going to build a future together. Do you both want to own a home or to travel the world, for example?

Ultimately, do you see yourself in the same place, each doing things that create a thriving, flowering relationship? If so, wonderful. If not, it’s may be time to move on.

Perhaps you’d love to be in the deeply-fulfilling relationship of your dreams

This does NOT make you greedy or ungrateful for what you DO have.
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4. You know deep down that you’ve left no stone unturned

If you do make the decision to leave the relationship, be sure that you’ve tried everything possible to make things work with your partner.

how to know if relationship is over

In some ways, it’s easy to leave, but the questions and regret that may come afterward can be terribly difficult.

You don’t want to be in a position years later where you ask yourself, “I wonder if I could have tried harder?”

After you leave, the opportunity to work on and save the relationship will most likely be gone.

Oftentimes, it helps to give yourself a 90-day window before making a decision. Commit to being fully present in and working on the relationship for 90 days, giving it your full energy and intention. After those 90 days, you’ll have a much better idea of where you stand and what to do.

So right now, ask yourself, “Have I truly tried everything I can to salvage this relationship?” If you have, it may be time to move on.

5. You’re in an emotionally-centered place when it comes to ending the relationship

Make sure that when you do end the relationship, if that’s what you choose to do, that you’re doing so out of an emotionally-centered place within you. There’s no anger, there’s no resentment and there’s no blame.

Recognize that you have a right to be you and that your partner has a right to be them.

Wish the other person well, without anger or resentment.

Wish them happiness and do what you can to have an attitude of gratitude about your time with them, however ready you are to leave.

If you leave without bitterness and resentment, you’ll be able to live your life much more freely and joyously moving forward.


It can be a very difficult decision to leave a relationship

Ultimately, you always have the choice and power to do what is best for you.

Making difficult choices that ultimately serve your highest good will foster a more expansive existence for you and help you continue to make good choices in all all areas of your life.

Remember that many relationships can be repaired and strengthened with the right mindset and dedication.

But at the end of the day, you are the judge of what’s best for you, and if it’s time to move on, then your life will grow and blossom when you do.

Would you love to experience more compassion and gratitude in order to cultivate a happier, healthier, more abundant life? If so, here’s my FREE gift to you!

Would you love to increase the level of abundance you currently experience, and not just financially, but in ALL areas of your life… so that you can do what you want to do, have what you want to have, give what you’d truly love to give… and have a much freer, fuller, and more expansive experience of being ALIVE?

If so, I highly encourage you to download my free “Grateful: Happy, Healthy & Wealthy” guided audio meditation now! >>


Categories: Abundance

Comments (21)

  • When there is danger as described in video like addictions to spending , alcohol etc. isn’t it responsible for other spouse to get the help needed for addicted spouse? At the same time 26 years and 9 years in therapy is a valiant effort to make things work! I am approaching this number of years and I am in that the place of allowing my spouse to be who he wants to be and live a happy life separate from our marriage but he isn’t ready to let go. I feel like I am trying to convince him that our core values do not match as I do not feel secure in the relationship …

  • I love #4! Have you left no stone unturned.
    I have put my heart into mending things, learning things, and giving him what he needs to thrive. However, I have come to see that each time I do, the more I give, the more he takes. In other words, there is no reciprocity. 😢 and one of the worst things is that he neither honors nor respects me, and does not make me feel safe & cared for.

    One of my learning opportunities came from John Gray’s newest book 📖 Beyond Mars and Venus. The author clearly says that a husband’s primary role in a relationship is to make his wife feel safe as well as cared for & about. Once I realized that was a problem, I then had s book about narcissism fall off a library self in my path (true story – Promise). The more I learned, the sadder I became though I was still determined to try. Then along comes Christina Northrup with her book about Energy Vampires and her talk where she said there’s no fixing it and there was no childhood injury, they are just the way they are. 🤦🏼‍♀️

    So now, 18 years and 5 kids later, here I am filing for divorce for a second time …. of course I had to give him a second chance along with my therapy generated 18 page hand written letter of what WE need to work on and it got worse not better. Sigh 😔
    So now I’ve moved from #4 to #5 wishing us each well in our separate paths and hoping that he will at least try to maintain a regular presence in his kids’ lives (4-16 years old), but knowing I’ve got this thing now like I’ve always had it in the past. 👍🏼🎉❤️
    Thank for the clarity 😊

  • Lesley Kasimatis

    I agree with all you say but I personally couldn’t break my marriage vows.I have been married to someone who fits in with everything you’ve sensibly pointed out,and who would have been happy to divorce me,as long as it didn’t cost him anything!!
    I have two wonderful daughters,one who respects my religious beliefs and another who considers me a pushover,perhaps even a coward! After 53 years I don’t think about that divorce but long for a few years of freedom to do what ever I want.

  • Hi, Mary—wonderful video. Actually, my marriage has gone thru many ups and downs over the years after 6 children together with my husband of 38 years and a myriad of life challenges. We are still together!

    What I will say is that these steps you present can be applied to all intimate emotional relationships. Thank you for that. I am specifically thinking about a very close therapeutic relationship with a healer who was in my life over 3 years during an amazingly intense time in my life. It all went south terribly quickly and had I known the earlier stages of your program, I would have been able to proactively leave the relationship before it came to such a sad and unpeaceful closure. Thank you,

  • Vicki Jung

    As always I learn something new from Mary all the time. Been following her since you/she was in Oregon at the church! Very wise woman. Helps me help my clients, as I, too have worked for 35 plus years in the field of mental health counseling!

  • Hugo Hernán

    Necesito ayuda de gente amiga. Saludos cordiales!.

  • Steen Skytte

    I would just thank you for sharing your story, and your 5 wise steps to analyse if our relationship is over. I live in a marriage where we have 20 years aniversery this year, with ups and downs, and where we kind of live separate lives, though respectIng each other, but with separate bedrooms. I do agree that sometimes it is better to split up than staying in an unfruitful marriage where there are no love and care are over.

  • Peggy Sturgeon

    I got everything out of your video and teLly made me realize I have to move forward and let things go. It really made alot of sense and hit home for me. It was really eye opening for me.

  • I need The Power of Gratitude

  • Thanks, your ideas are right on, more people need to look at a relationship like this. I feel one of the biggest fears is that no one wants to feel like a failure, so they keep trying. Like you say try not to leave stones Unturned.

  • Willie Pool

    I experienced the same road at the end of 2017. I is not easy but you can find happiness being alone and single.

  • I have been with my husband for 20 years of rollercoaster abuse so I found an avenue and left but he just follows and refuses to let me blossom. I have been in my own apt with my 2 kids. Lately, I feel that the more he follows the more numbness and unfeeling come from me.

  • Hi, Mary
    Anthony Ford i enjoy ur presentation i am on
    the same path, i notice this were happening
    after i were sent to the hospital, thing’s started to change in our relationship i feel
    like i am a stranger in the house i keep the
    house clean, mop the kitchen and wash the
    dishes if not they’ll be in the sink until
    the next morning i cannot get her do anything she comes and sleep all nite at the computer that’s it she’s hi and goodbye sometimes we’re not comparable and
    has never been i start feeling after we
    married i’ d talk with her everything is
    fine all i would hear i notice the little
    thing’s in the house it started to pushed further away from her, it nags at my heels
    it not getting any better know i am at a
    crossroad with my life i’ ve made up my
    mind to go we’ve no children i thank the
    good Lord for that, i am waiting for my
    change it’s coming sooner than she thanks.
    This was very enlightening for me today, i
    really thank u for that info to help me on
    down the road a little further.
    May u continued to spread the message of
    hope and goodwill for all of us who are
    suffering through our troubles of life woes.
    I thank u so much for those encouraging
    words, and continue on with the good news
    of sharing this info with the world we
    need this info so much.
    i thank u and ur family best wishes’
    DR. Anthony,

    • Sorry 😟
      Know how you feel a bit.
      Since I started staying home,
      it’s like my husband could only
      work & sleep.
      I have homeschooled our 5 kids
      8 years now and when I hear a
      comment like “you’ve never taught them
      anything,” I know he knows nothing and
      cares nothing for me. I & his children are
      a burden to be managed 😢
      Please know you are sent loving, kind regards and prayers for healing & hope 🙏🏻

  • Mary,
    My husband was hit by a hit-run driver in 2000. He was doing really well until we got hit by another at a stop sign…needless to say we were rear ended, complications set in, he has fallen many times and become negative. I work to release blame; or negative feelings to the Quincy Police and the hit-run driver as well as ourselves for any blame in not receiving a successful lawsuit against the restaurant owner and police dept. We still talk and enjoy each other’s company. But I am looking for a more rewarding relationship..hugging,kissing..his hands are twisted and he is in a lot of pain.

  • Linda norell

    This video made me feel that I’m not alone and I’m not crazy for being so confused. I know we don’t belong together but after 20 years it’s hard to make that decision. These are some really good guidelines and the one about blame and being able to be ourselves is not a bad thing. He deserves to be happy just as much as I do

    • There’s a book I saw at B&N called Should I stay or Should I Go. If I recall correctly, it has a checklist.
      I have stayed 18 years, knowing for the last 8 that he is a depressed, narcissist with chronic pain & emtional attachment issues (he can’t). My sticking point is that he is a good provider and I prefer to be home with my children.
      Now I am divorcing as he has started to lash out verbally at my 2 daughters and though I am able to talk my way through his gaslighting (the stuff he says to try to make me think it’s me & that I’m crazy), they do not have the experience nor the resilience that I do. A mother must protect her children or the cycle will continue on into future generations.

  • Great video at a perfect time in my life. I filed for divorce because we have different core values and we are choosing to have a different life experience. Friends and family are painting my wife as the victim and chalking it up as a mid-life crisis for me because we seemed happy on the outside. It is refreshing to hear that I do not have to apologize to anyone for wanting more from my romantic partner…especially my wife.

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