18 questions to ask yourself when you’re on the verge of a breakup

Breaking up is a confusing time – your emotions are all over the place, and your heart tends to go in one direction while your head goes in the opposite. 

Knowing whether you’re making the right decision with all of that going on is incredibly tough.

But with these 18 questions to ask yourself when you’re on the verge of a breakup, you should gain some clarity on the situation.

I wish I had this list back when I was in your situation, so I hope it helps! 

Let’s dive in: 

1) How have I been feeling in this relationship lately?

When considering breaking up, it’s a good idea to take stock of your emotions. 

Because while you no doubt feel unhappy right now, it’s important to figure out if this is a temporary emotion or something that’s been going on for a while. 

2) Do I feel loved, respected, and valued in this relationship?

It’s pretty simple – if the answer is no, you’re making a good decision by breaking up

Even if you still love your partner dearly, if the feelings aren’t reciprocated or you feel disrespected or taken for granted, you’re better off on your own. 

Be honest with yourself when it comes to this question. Avoid making excuses for your partner and try to be objective. 

3) Have I expressed my feelings and needs openly to my partner?

Often, we can rush to break up if we feel things are hitting a dead end. 

But it doesn’t hurt to stop and reflect on whether you’ve actually communicated your needs to your partner in a clear and honest way

Maybe you’ll still decide to go ahead with the breakup, or maybe you’ll realize that a good heart-to-heart could sort out many of the issues that have caused a rift. 

4) What are the main issues causing problems in our relationship?

I know that when things start to break down, it’s easy to start focusing on everything that’s wrong with your partner. You might even begin to drag up petty dirt from the past.

That’s normal, but it’s also not very productive. 

What you need to do is take a step back and identify exactly what issues you have in your relationship. 

Is it miscommunication? Trust? Intimacy? 

Even if things don’t work out between you and you go ahead with the breakup, you might save yourself from making these same mistakes in your next relationship. 

5) Have we made genuine efforts to resolve our issues?

No one wants to look back in five years’ time and realize they lost the love of their life simply because they didn’t make enough of an effort to make it work.

Ultimately, this question will help you recognize your role in this, and whether there’s more to be done before you can say, “It’s over.” 

6) Is there a pattern of negative behavior that keeps repeating?

Ask this question of yourself as well as your partner. 

I did this when my partner and I were on the brink of a breakup, and we actually did identify some of his negative behavior patterns. 

He decided to go to therapy to understand where they come from and how to deal with them.

We’re still together, and things have improved. 

7) Do I believe that my partner and I can change and grow together?

If the answer is no, you can rest easy in the knowledge that a breakup is probably best for both of you. 

I, for example, decided to stay in my relationship because we were both willing to grow (individually and as a couple). That tells me we have a chance of making it work.

Without that, though, there wouldn’t be much point in holding on. 

8) Am I holding onto this relationship out of love or fear of being alone?

Ah, this is a brilliant question to ask yourself. Especially if you’re resisting the breakup.

Too often, we stay in relationships just because we’re scared of the unknown. 

But that leads to two miserable people and a whole load of missed opportunities. 

Look, being single after a long time can be daunting. But it’s also exciting. Try to focus on the positives and not just the negatives.  

9) What would my life look like post-breakup, and am I ready for that change?

Even if you aren’t, if the breakup goes ahead, you’ve got no choice.

So it’s wise to think about this question beforehand. Maybe you need to put a plan in place in terms of housing and finances. This might make the entire breakup easier to navigate. 

10) Do we share the same core values and life goals?

When things are good in a relationship, it’s easy to overlook things like values and goals. 

But when things break down, suddenly those differences are amplified. 

If it turns out you do share core values and life goals, perhaps there’s a way to make things work. Depending on the situation, of course. 

But if you don’t, then it sounds like breaking up really is the best option. It’s hard to spend a life with someone who is on a completely different path than you

Letting go would probably be best for both of you. 

11) Have there been any deal-breakers or red flags that I’ve been ignoring?

It’s not a nice question, but it’s a necessary one. 

Even if it’s too late for your relationship, reflecting on deal-breakers and red flags will prepare you for the future. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and hope to never repeat them again. 

12) Is this relationship positively contributing to my overall well-being?

Are you stressed all the time? Do you feel run down? Depressed?

A relationship is supposed to be a source of support, comfort, and love. 

Yes, we all go through rough patches. And yes, it’s normal to feel down if you’re arguing with your partner a lot.

But if you feel this way ALL the time, this probably isn’t the right relationship for you. 

13) Do I feel safe (emotionally and physically) in this relationship?

If you answer “no” to either, it’s quite telling that a breakup is necessary.

As I mentioned above, you should feel safe with your partner. Your emotional needs should be met and under no circumstances should you ever feel physically unsafe. 

If you do, don’t go through this alone. Reach out to a support group online or in your local area. Speak to a close friend or family member. 

Let them help you leave this relationship safely. 

14) What am I hoping to gain from this breakup, and are those outcomes realistic?

If you’re imagining that breaking up will suddenly transform your life into something magical and exciting, you might be thinking unrealistically. 

Breakups are transformative, there’s no doubt about it. But it takes a lot of work – self-introspection and development – to get to the good part. 

That’s why it’s good to consider this question and make sure you’re aware of the journey you face ahead. 

15) What lessons can I take from this relationship, regardless of the outcome?

Every relationship and every breakup is an opportunity to learn. Perhaps you’ve discovered new things about yourself  – good stuff, and also your limitations and flaws.

Maybe you’ve realized what you truly want and need in a partner

And above all, you can look back over your relationship behaviors and determine which are positive and worth carrying forward, and which were potentially toxic and best left in the past. 

16) Have I sought advice or perspective from trusted friends or family?

When I was on the verge of breaking up with my current partner, I spoke to a good family friend who knows us both well. 

She surprised me. She spoke so highly about my partner and how she was happy that I’d finally found a good person. 

It put things into perspective for me. I had been focusing on the petty negatives, forgetting that I’m with a man with a beautiful heart. Someone who is willing to work on himself and show up for the relationship.

So before you make any final decisions, speak to those who you trust.  They may offer a perspective you hadn’t considered before. 

17) Would professional counseling or therapy be beneficial for me or us as a couple?

I think this is a necessary question every individual and couple should consider when on the verge of a breakup. 

Because more often than not, couples break up over reasons like insecurity, distrust, and bad communication.

Not because they fall out of love

So if counseling or therapy could help resolve those issues, it’s well worth looking into it. 

18) What does my gut instinct tell me about this relationship?

And finally, listen to your intuition.

This is the best guide as your body knows what’s good for you. If your gut feeling tells you the relationship is over and it’s best to make it official, it must be for a reason. 

Reflect on that. 

And if it tells you that there’s still a chance, an opportunity to make things work, you should have a good think over whether that’s realistic and if your partner is on the same page. 

Ultimately, breaking up is never pleasant.

But it also doesn’t have to be a rash decision that will later be regretted. With these 18 questions, you’ll hopefully align your head with your heart and make the best decision for you.

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