Throughout life, as we evolve, our relationship also change. As you shift, you may be identifying which relationships to keep and the ones that are no longer a priority for you.
You may be thinking about a romantic relationship, friendship, committed relationship, or long distance relationship. This can be a process.
Normalizing that some relationships are no longer beneficial in your life can be necessary to build a healthy support system.
Healthy relationships will shift throughout your lifetime as your priorities may change. As life events occur, it may make some relationships impossible or uncomfortable.
Think about possible outcomes as well as your intentions as you navigate which relationships to keep in your life.
There are many reasons to let go of friendships or relationships with loved ones.
You don’t have to maintain relationships with family members who make you feel unsafe or don’t respect your boundaries. You can surround yourself with people who love and care about you whether they are a new friend or loved one who has been in your life for a long time.
You also don’t have to be reckless or impulsive with cutting out relationships.
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Sometimes, you may need to speak up before you break up with someone in your life.
If you are consistently putting in more effort than another person, it may be time for a temperature check in the relationship.
Interpersonal relationships naturally ebb and flow, so it’s okay if you are putting in more effort sometimes.
If you feel like you are always the person steering the ship, you may need to let go of the relationship.
You may be surprised at how quickly things fizzle if you aren’t the one setting up the plans.
It is okay to let things naturally fade away. Not every relationship requires a dramatic closure or closure at all.
If a person is not respecting your boundaries repetitively, it may be time to move forward from the relationship.
Healthy boundaries may become easier to set once you begin this process.
Being part of an unhealthy relationship can make boundaries difficult and emotional intimacy challenging.
It’s okay if a person doesn’t get your new boundary the first time, and if they consistently ignore your boundaries, it may be time to cut off the relationship.
If you are unsure about whether a relationship feels meaningful to you, you can ask yourself these 3 questions:
1. Do I feel heard?
If you don’t feel like someone is listening to you and consistently interrupting you, it may be time for a formal conversation.
If you have had a conversation, and the actions of the person are not changing, you may need to move forward.
Being in relationships that allow you to be heard are essential for your mental health.
2. Do I feel seen?
Showing up as your authentic self is important in your relationships.
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If you feel like you are playing a role rather than being yourself, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.
If you have always played a role in a friendship like a fixer, hero, comedian, or something else, it’s time to fire yourself from playing that role. This is a sign of a toxic relationship and can cause stress for both people.
It’s okay if you slip into a pattern once in a while, and if you are not able to be yourself, it’s not worth it.
If you haven’t talked about it yet, you may be surprised at someone’s response and you may not.
Both are okay for you to know whether the relationship brings value to your life.
3. Do I feel loved?
You are enough. If you are in relationships that feel unfulfilling or unloving, it may not be the relationship for you. Relationships are not perfect, so identify your expectations.
If you aren’t feeling loved for a short period of time, that doesn’t mean you need to end a relationship. It means that you can reevaluate how you show up in the relationship.
Conflict will arise in any relationship.
Having a conflict doesn’t mean that you are not loved.
As much as you deserve healthy relationships in your life, you are not going to navigate them perfectly. Looking closely at your patterns to see how you can make changes can be helpful.
If you find yourself playing a certain role in relationships, it may be time to replace the habit.
If you are in a relationship like a marriage with children, this can complicate the situation, however, doesn’t have to make it impossible.
Gaining perspective through marriage counseling, couples therapy, and relationship therapy can be helpful.
You don’t have to make impulsive decisions when it comes to a relationship.
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Extreme thinking can be a result of dysfunctional patterns, so look within yourself first.
You may be in the process of navigating relationships, especially after the pandemic when people had to make much more of an effort to come together.
If you find yourself drifting away from people naturally, that is okay. If you are isolating yourself, think about ways to connect again. A clinical therapist can help.
You may identify as an introvert, and relationships are still part of improved mental health. Humans need connection and companionship.
When things become too tricky to navigate by yourself, there is help available. A professional like a clinical therapist can help empower you to use the tools that are already within you, and you are worth it.
Written by: Randi Thackeray, MA
Clinically Reviewed and Edited by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC