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In the Sex and the City episode, “Luck Be an Old Lady,” Samantha is confronted with a major decision regarding her beau Richard who has a wandering eye. Catching him cheating on her has only made Samantha’s paranoia skyrocket as they hit the Atlantic City Casinos for a weekend getaway. Not being able to take the “what if’s” of the relationship, Samantha throws all her cards on the table and while breaking up with Richard says, “I love you Richard, but I love me more.”

In television land, Samantha knew when to let go and what her deal breaker was, but in reality, so many other factors play a part in staying in a situation that we know is not the best for us. Letting go isn’t always as easy as proclaiming our love for ourselves and dropping the baggage on the way out. In your relationships, are you confident as to what your deal breakers are or do you find yourself compromising way too much of yourself just to be in the relationship? Whether married or cohabiting together, a relationship has its ups and downs, but ultimately, shouldn’t the ups outweigh the downs? Here are six examples of when you know it’s time to let go.

Is your relationship growing or holding you back?

Evolution is important for any type of relationship. Sure, things can get stagnant after the honeymoon phase wears off but a good relationship always keeps the pilot light on, readying for the next fire to ignite. How do you feel when you see your significant other at the end of a long day? Are you ready to curl up next to him/her or do you find other things to do at home or before going home so that you end up spending as little time as possible with that person? Ask yourself, “Are we evolving or are we on a slippery slope to extinction?”

Are you staying to make others happy?

If you are staying because you are scared of what others may think because you ended the relationship, or what might come out about you from your relationship, your priorities are seriously out of order. If you know in your heart of hearts that you have given it your all and it is time to go but you don’t want the proverbial “egg on your face,” look at it like this: people are going to talk if you stay and they know you are not being treated with the respect you deserve anyway. People are going to talk in general. Let them talk. And besides, who’s unhappy here? Who has to deal with the mess that you call a relationship everyday? Them or you? Block everyone else’s opinion out and focus on what you want.

Does this person do what they can to the best of their ability to make you happy?

When I say best of their ability what I mean is this: by now you should have some clue as to what your significant other is capable of and you should also be able to tell if they are giving it their all to fulfill your needs. Is he barely coming by anymore? Do you guys rarely go out now that you’ve been together for a while? Ladies, don’t expect a backrub if you know he isn’t so gifted in that area, and men shouldn’t expect a five-course meal when homegirl just learned how to boil Ramen noodles. Only reevaluate when you know that person could do better but is just choosing not to.

Have your arguments become something out of “Fight Night”?

Has the communication between you two become so volatile that you sometimes feel like you need a referee? Without communication, there is nothing. Nothing good can come from two people that can’t or don’t care to communicate maturely or only seem to do so ineffectively. Stop allowing your household to be one big episode of The Jerry Springer show. Ineffective communication drains you of the precious energy that you could be using on more prosperous activities.

Are you being respected?

Yes or no? Like Samantha’s matter of fact dismissal of her relationship, this one should not be hard to figure out at all. Are you being respected? If the answer is no, please leave this relationship at all costs. Nothing is more important than your respect, because a man that doesn’t really respect you can’t possibly find it in his heart to love you. Point, blank, period. While respect is a relative term, only you know how you like to be treated. It is pointless to be with someone who does not respect you the way you deserve to be respected and doesn’t treat you the way you need and want to be treated.

In the end, it’s always a good idea to leave a defunct relationship on the best terms as possible. Allow the prospect of a peace of mind to sweep over you knowing that you made the right decision but at the same time, try to be as respectful as possible to the other person in the relationship. Have the courage to leave a situation that you know in your heart of hearts is not the most ideal situation for you. You can gain courage by picking up a new hobby or old hobby or by spending time with friends that have your best interest at heart and want to support you in any way possible. Whether you are religious or spiritual, a church is always a great place to gain a peace of mind or to find a prayer partner to help you through this difficult time. Throughout the breakup process, do not waiver. Whatever your situation is, know that there is life after a breakup. Stay on the path that you know is right because happiness is a human right and anything less is unacceptable.

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