6 Signs Your Relationship Is Irreparably Damaged

When you love someone so bad, you will do just about anything even keep arguments, fights, drama, conflicts etc., going just to have some kind of contact. At this point even a toxic, destructive and pain-filled relationship is better than no relationship at all.

Even those of us who know in our gut that there is really no chance keep spinning our wheels. Today we’re over an ex and want a new life without them… tomorrow we want them back… then the next day we want to move on. This can go on like forever!

Hard at it may be to accept, moving on — as in it’s over, find someone new — is sometimes the only option left in a relationship that has been irreparably damaged.

But how do you know a relationship is irreparably damaged?

  1. Your ex sees and treats you like an “enemy” or “evil” person and reacts to everything you say and do with suspicion.
  2. Thoughts and memories of the relationship still hurt so bad that anything that was good or positive about the relationship pails in contrast to all the bad and negative things that happened in the relationship, at the time of the break-up and post break-up.
  3. Criticism, suspicion, resentment, put downs, mind games, power struggles, threats, drama/conflict, hostility, distrust, misunderstanding (and in some instances abuse) is the “normal” and only mode of interaction between the two of you.
  4. Something terrible happens to either of you and the other feels “vindicated” even happy; hearing that the other is suffering, sad or not happy is good news.
  5. Something good happens to either of you and the other somehow feels like it’s not fair; hearing that the other is happy or has had some success/achievement feels like something has been taken away from you and given to someone who does not deserve it.
  6. Distrust and mistrust runs so deep that being seen as still caring and/or still having feelings for the other (which used to be all you wanted the other to know and feel) is now a weakness – and a bad thing. Things are so bad that you can’t trust your ex to act in your best interest or do what’s right by you (and your ex may feel the same way).

Under these conditions, re-establishing a “normal” relationship is not only very difficult but close to impossible. The longer the destructive dynamics goes on the worse the relationship gets, and the harder it will be to rebuild any kind of “healthy” relationship.

Occasionally, a seemingly damaged-beyond-repair relationship gets another chance, but only if and when the destructive dynamics is stopped, both parties take time to heal and grow before attempting a reconciliation and if and when a collaborative reconciliation strategy is used to resolve the issues that create the destructive dynamic, re-establish trust and credibility, and re-introduce warmth and good feelings.

Cultivating good feelings and friendship to counterbalance the damage and hurt from the cumulative effect of constant misunderstandings, anger, suspicion, distrust, resentment, power struggles, defiance, hostility etc., is a critical part of reconciliation in these types of relationships.

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41 Comments

  • My ex ended our 3 year relationship because she “lost the feeling of love”, thought of me as a best friend rather than lover. She said it was because we haven’t spent much “couple” time together and I wasn’t there when she needed me the most. We are now good friends and message each other daily (I initiate contact mostly) and have dinners together. In fact, we will travel together for a short trip. Do I have a chance of getting her back?

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    • I think so, and the reason I think so is because the break-up didn’t break the bond you two have. You remained in each other’s lives because you genuinely care for each other.

      BUT that’s not enough to get back together. Getting back together will depend on what you are doing to bring back that “lost feeling of love”. The feeling will not just come back on its own, it has to be cultivated and nurtured.

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  • I finally contacted my ex and asked if we could talk by phone. He called right away. We talked for about 38 mins. He said he still thinks about me and apologized for his role in the breakup. I told him I wasn’t always the girlfriend he deserved and working on myself so that I do not do the same thing to the next guy. He thanked me for reaching out and said we should keep in contact. Do you think we still have a chance? We’ve only been broken up for less than 2 months and there was no angry words or anything during the breakup.

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    • It’s too early to tell, but so far it’s a good start. Now it’s about how you move forward.

      I’ve seen relationship with so much potential for reconciliation go bad so quickly because of wrong assumptions and jumping into premature conclusions.

      Take it slow.

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  • I agree with this article. Being hurt in a relationship can be difficult, but to walk a way from someone who doesn’t love you back is harder. I love her with all of my heart, with everything that is me, but she doesn’t.

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    • You probably have heard the saying “You can’t pick the person you love.”

      The feelings of love will probably always be there. But it doesn’t mean you have to pursue them or push them on someone who has made it very clear that they don’t love you. The best you can do for yourself is accept that she doesn’t feel for you the way you feel for her, and that is okay.

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  • I know that there is no future for us but my heart keeps aching for him. I feel still so connected to him that I can’t seem to move on no matter how hard I try. I hate myself for loving him so much.

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    • May be you should stop trying so hard to “move on” and allow for the grief process to complete itself naturally. Sometimes when you try so hard to run away from how you truly feel, your emotions overpower you and make you feel like you are trapped.

      Allowing yourself to feel all your emotions including those you don’t want to feel gives those emotions a healthy outlet.

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  • What about if your ex contacts your after no contact for 5 weeks and you are the one who initiated no contact and he says “I just don’t want things between us to be awkward”, what does it mean? I am still very much in love with him but this seems like he’s trying to appease his conscious so he can move on. Is this a lost cause?

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    • It could mean what you say… but it could also be his way of trying to re-establish contact.

      It’s hard to tell from just one sentence… and without background information on why the relationship ended, how it ended and what kind of person your ex is.

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