Five Signs that Indicate a Relationship Has Ended and Five Things to Do About It

Dr. Liza Varvogli
4 min readMar 10, 2024

As a psychotherapist I see the brokenhearted very often. They come in armed with tissues; if we have a zoom session I offer them tissues virtually, as a small gesture of understanding, connecting, and being on their side. As people start talking about the breakup, they always bring up the fact that it was unexpected, that they didn’t see it coming, that it happened “poof!” just like that, the works of an evil magician who, instead of pulling rabbits out of their hat, pulled a final decision “we’re over! Our relationship has ended.” And as much as I feel for every single one of my patients, I know they are wrong in just one thing: the relationship didn’t end suddenly. Perhaps they didn’t notice the signs; perhaps they saw them but conveniently ignored them; or they gave an alternative explanation as to avoid a painful truth. Of course, I’m not writing this to point a finger or play the blame game; what I’m trying to do is a bit practical and share five common signs indicating that a relationship is over and five practical ways to deal with it.

The first and foremost thing here is the concept of “gradually,” meaning that things started changing and you decided not to notice. It’s not as if you woke up a fine day and found yourself in a messed up situation; things started building up but you ignored the signs. Why? But, because it’s inconvenient, of course!

Lack of Communication: Communication breaks down significantly or becomes nonexistent. Conversations are superficial or limited to practical matters, and there is little to no emotional connection or engagement between partners.

Emotional Distance: There is a noticeable emotional distance between partners, marked by a lack of intimacy, affection, and empathy. Partners may no longer confide in each other or seek emotional support, and there is a general feeling of detachment or indifference towards one another.

Repeated Conflicts: Conflict and tension become a regular occurrence in the relationship, with little to no resolution or efforts to address underlying issues. Partners may find themselves constantly arguing or bickering over trivial matters, and there is a pervasive sense of resentment and frustration in the relationship.

Loss of Interest: One or both partners exhibit a loss of interest in the relationship and may actively seek out distractions or alternative sources of fulfillment outside of the relationship. They may withdraw emotionally or physically, showing little enthusiasm or investment in spending time together or nurturing the relationship.

Future Plans Disappear: Discussions about the future, such as making long-term plans or goals together, no longer occur. Partners may avoid conversations about their future together or express uncertainty or ambivalence about their commitment to the relationship. Or they may talk about the future but from their point of view, not including the other person. The sense of shared vision and mutual investment in building a life together diminishes significantly.

What to do after a relationship has ended

After a relationship has ended, people often go through a period of emotional upheaval and adjustment. Here are five things individuals can do to cope with a broken relationship:

Allow Yourself to Grieve: Give yourself permission to grieve the loss of the relationship. It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness. Allow yourself to feel these emotions fully without judgment or suppression.

Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family members, or a therapist for emotional support and guidance during this challenging time. Surround yourself with people who care about you and can provide empathy, validation, and perspective as you navigate through the healing process.

Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or spending time in nature. Take care of yourself by eating healthily, getting enough sleep, and practicing self-compassion.

Reflect and Learn: Take time to reflect on the relationship and identify lessons learned from the experience. Consider what worked well in the relationship, what didn’t, and how you can grow from the experience. Use this opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth, and focus on building resilience and self-awareness.

Focus on Moving Forward: Shift your focus towards the future and embrace new opportunities for growth and fulfillment. Set goals for yourself, whether they’re related to career, personal development, or relationships, and take proactive steps towards achieving them. Allow yourself to let go of the past and embrace the possibilities that lie ahead.

But most of all, remember to DO YOU.

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Dr. Liza Varvogli

Ph.D. in Psychology| Harvard-trained| Psychotherapist| Stress Management Professor|Parenting & Relationships Expert|Meditator|Positive thinker|Solution-oriented