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8 Signs It’s Time To End The Relationship

8 Signs It’s Time To End The Relationship

Relationships are important – to each other, to our families, to our friends, to the people we care about. There comes a point in romantic relationships when things become serious and it becomes an actual Relationship, one where the idea of spending your life with this person and crafting your life together is a valid and understandable continuation of this relationship. When that isn’t achieved, the question becomes, ‘why not?’

Ending a relationship is no easier with age and experience, but sometimes we become so caught in patterns and schedules, the comfortable grooves of our lives, something as disruptive and jarring as ending a relationship can seem too much effort and fuss, even when we’re not at all happy. If you’re feeling as if you’re stuck in this place, searching for signs as to whether or not to break up, check out the list of go-to signs we’ve compiled for when it’s time to bite the bullet and end the relationship.

1. You don’t trust each other any more.

Trust is one of the most important parts of any relationship and when you lose that, it’s almost certainly time to end the relationship. The signs your relationship has gone through this is simple – you find yourself questioning the other person’s motives, abilities and reasons all the time. Everything from why she’s acting so nice to you, to how much you trust her to take something that is important to you and respect it.

If there’s mutual distrust on either side, it can lead to absolute crumbling of the relationship and the foundations it was built on, causing jealousy, anger, possessiveness and other negative feelings to leak free and poison the already tenuous relationship. Hitting this point is very hard to come back from and one of the reasons it might be right to end the relationship.

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2. You realize you have different values.

We all have our own values that are important to us – security, freedom, a conservative family, a liberal family, an open marriage. Whatever your values are, that’s fine, but when they begin to rub uncomfortably against your significant other, it might be an early warning sign all is not right in paradise and it might be time to end the relationship.

Every relationship has a process of compromise, negotiation and assimilation of your partner’s values into your life, but sometimes values are too distinct and different to ever be reconciled without a drastic compromise that will likely cause a rift as one of you struggles against what you really want and what you’ve decided you must become in order to fulfill the other person’s needs. If this is a serious problem in your relationship, it’s best for both parties to end the relationship and move on.

3. You no longer make plans with him or her in mind.

This one ties deeply into the idea if you’ve slowly been pushing your significant other out of your life psychologically, it’s time to actually remove them. We all make plans for the future, even if they only go so far as the next few weeks or month or so, and your significant other should always be considered as a part of them, even if the plans don’t directly involve him or her.

No longer making plans with your partner in mind is one of the major signs it’s time to end the relationship – if you’re not making plans with your significant other in mind, he’s no longer a big part of what you hold dear. If you’re subconsciously seeing him in a transient way, i.e. as if he’s not a permanent fixture or a solid part of your life, then you’ve already psychologically let go and are just treading water. End the relationship so both of you can move on.

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4. You no longer have any fun.

Relationships are supposed to be fun, and joyous, and if you’ve lost that from the relationship, it might be time to end the relationship if you find yourself unable to retrieve and reawaken the sense of fun you no doubt once shared with your significant other. Days have become dull, every attempt at excitement or some happiness-inducing activity is met with malaise or a general distaste for something that breaks you out of your routine. Nothing kills so much as endless, anodyne routine, and that’s the same with relationships.

A relationship should be responsible and grown up as well as fun, so there should always be a balancing of both sides. Being responsible and able to cut loose means you have the best of both worlds. If you’ve grown tired of the relationship, you’ve got to realize life is way too short to be with someone who doesn’t appreciate the same sort of fun you have, and if you’ve had this discussion more than enough times without gaining any compromise or leeway, it might be right to end the relationship.

5. You fantasize about life with someone else.

Everyone fantasizes – it’s a part of human nature, the ability to dream and creatively envision that which may or may not have been, or all that could have been, in either a positive or negative way. However, it begins to negatively affect your relationship when you cannot channel your energies into being in a relationship with your current significant other, instead choosing to daydream about a life with someone else – or, more honestly, anyone else.

This isn’t the same as having a little pleasant daydream about Liam Hemsworth or Kate Upton or Laverne Cox, and then going on in your daily life. The kind of fantasizing we’re talking about here is the persistent, half-serious daydreaming about someone who’s caught your eye and whom you could seriously see yourself sharing a life with. Maybe it’s the cute co-worker who always sits next to you and shares snacks with you, or the barista at the coffee shop who knows you by name and gives you a special smile. If you’re going down this route, then perhaps you’ve already given up on your relationship psychologically and emotionally, and it might be time to end the relationship you’re currently in.

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6. You can’t see a future with him or her.

The most important point of being in a relationship is the idea of creating a future together, shaping and designing your life you are actively choosing to share with your significant other. If you cannot imagine a future with this person, then it brings about the question about why you are in the relationship to begin with and why you’re choosing to remain in a situation with which you have little emotional investment.

That isn’t to say having casual relationships are stupid or pointless – they can be fun and an enjoyable experience – but if you’re in a full-on, long-term relationship with someone, the idea of spending the rest of your life with this person has to be a large contributing factor to the relationship. If you’re not seeing or wanting to envision a future with this person, then it’s time to end the relationship and move on.

7. You can’t get excited about the idea of marrying this person.

Marriage isn’t for everyone and that’s okay, but a way to assess whether or not it might be time to end the relationship, is to look to a possible future and imagine yourself getting married to your current partner. Not just the idea of marriage, but the whole shindig. The physical act of marriage. Chances are if you’re at the end of your relationship’s path, the idea of marrying this person and consigning yourself to potentially years of marriage with him or her sends a cold shiver down your spine and makes you feel absolutely terrified.

Getting married is a bit of an extreme circumstance, perhaps, but the idea of any form of strong, serious commitment with a person can induce feelings of panic and fear, and might be a strong indicator and sign it’s time to end the relationship. Things have run their course, maybe, and while it’s nice to cling to the idea of changing and getting over it, it’s not fair to the other person who might be more committed and ready to take that step where you cannot just yet.

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8. You realize he or she has become a stranger.

The final nail in any relationship’s coffin is the realization the person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with is a stranger to you. Sure, you might have the memories and feelings you still do for this person – the weekend away, how you told him you loved him – but who he fundamentally is to you has drastically and perhaps irrevocably shifted and transformed.

You don’t have the same ideals, the same dreams, the same supportive bond to each other you used to have. He is not the person you fell in love with, the person you shared a relationship with, and can you really continue a relationship on that? It’s impossible, untrue, and unfair, both to yourself and to the other person involved. Finding yourself lying next to a stranger who you used to call your one true love means you have to end the relationship, or spend years in regret and lying to him and yourself about what you really want. Life’s too short, after all.

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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