A few red flags to consider.

By Kaitlin Menza
May 01, 2017

It rarely takes just one fight or one personality trait to end a relationship. More often, a breakup occurs because several of those fights or behaviors are piling up, leaving one or the other person feeling like they’re stuck in the purgatory of a tough decision: should I stay or should I go?

When he meets with a couple, relationship expert Kyle Zrenchik, Ph.D., of the Relationship Therapy Center in Minnesota, evaluates whether he’s dealing with what he calls hard or soft problems. “Hard problems are the three As: abuse, addiction, and affairs,” Zrenchik says. “What makes hard problems so distinct is that they are antithetical to human thriving. They just really degrade the quality of a person or the quality of a relationship over time.” Soft problems encompass everything else: disconnection, painful feelings, dwindling sex, petty arguments, broken communication, and the million other things that lead to breakups. But which ones are hurtful enough to maybe mean it's time to end things? Only the person in the relationship can decide that, but here are a few guildelines to consider.

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