When is the right time to end a relationship that has lost its spark?

Maybe you’ve gone through it yourself, or maybe a friend or relative has, but sometimes a relationship ends, not for any huge dramatic reason, not with screaming matches and shouting, but simply because things have fizzled out.

In many ways ending a relationship mutually after the spark has gone out is far more difficult than if things had finished with a bang. You still consider your ex as your best friend, you still crave the comfort that comes from being with them, but suddenly they’re not around any longer.

There’s no anger or hatred, making it even harder to comprehend why things are over. Telling yourself again and again that “it’s for the best” sounds great on paper but it doesn’t help with the loneliness or the uncertainty.

So how can you know when a relationship is repairable and when it’s best to end things? It’s inevitable that in a long term relationship you’ll both become more comfortable and relaxed with each other – but when does it become something to be concerned about?

Certain signs – though they might not signal the end of a relationship – are alarm bells that things might not be quite right. One big warning sign is a lack of physical attraction. Over time we get used to our partner, their traits and looks, but we should still be able to recognise what it was they drew us to them in the first place – that little flicker of attraction that set things off.

Another indicator that should prompt you to take a step back and think about where your relationship is going is a lack of meaningful communication and interaction. The stresses and chores of everyday life can lead our conversations to become mundane and practical, which is of course a fact of any long-term relationship. But do you still feel comfortable bringing up deeper issues with your partner – how you’re feeling, what’s upsetting you, what makes you happy? If you don’t consider your other half as someone you can open up to any longer, maybe it’s a sign that certain elements of your relationship are faltering.

Of course, every couple has their ups and downs and goes through phases of not being as passionate or engaged as they once were. Why not take the time to think about what has changed between you, and focus on possible ways of reigniting that lost spark? Something as simple as dressing up and going out for dinner instead of getting a takeaway in front of the TV can be enough to make the two of you realise just how good you are together.

There will be difficult moments in every relationship. The key is knowing when something is worth fighting for or when it’s best to move on. That’s easier said than done in many cases, but remember that you’re the one in charge of your own happiness – nobody else.