By Amy Cook for Hope After Divorce

When is it okay to end a relationship and love? People differ in their reasons for staying or leaving, but most agree that partnerships should be over when they damage your physical and/or emotional well-being. While we don’t know the reasons behind the surprising celebrity divorces of Patrick Dempsey, Hilary Duff, and Mandy Moore, we do know that there were longstanding issues that required these famous couples to make a change. If your relationship is giving you stress, depression, or a weakened immune system, it might be time to evaluate whether your love is toxic and needs a change too.

How to Know When to End a Relationship and Love

Stress: Trying to maintain a relationship in a “fight or flight” state of being will surely break down your body’s ability to function normally. Anxiety, high blood pressure, and added stress to your heart compromise your health.

Related Link: Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams File for Celebrity Divorce After Six Years of Marriage

In a June 2013 article titled “How Relationships Can Make You Sick” and published on Healthgram.com, the author references a study conducted at Ohio State University where researchers discovered married men and women who struggled with ongoing concerns about the stability of their relationships and love had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The study also found lower levels of T-cells, which help fight infections.

The research concludes, “Those who were the most anxious about their marriages had 11 percent more cortisol and 11 to 22 percent lower T-cell levels than those who were less anxious. The lead researcher said the results are most likely linked since increased cortisol can reduce T-cell production.” Partnerships plagued with poor communication, jealousy, deceit, fear, anxiety, and conflicting goals all run the risk of creating a chronically stressful environment.

Depression: He may be “killing you softly with his song,” but he is doing some pretty serious damage with his words and actions too. A relationship clouded with mistrust or emotional abuse takes a toll on the partner’s emotional and physical well-being. When negativity leaves cracks in a person’s spirit, depression fills those empty spaces.

Related Link: Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie Announce Their Separation 

In her article “5 Ways a Bad Relationship Can Make You Sick,” relationship expert Marcelina Hardy writes, “When you are arguing with your boyfriend and feeling sick, you don’t love your life. Your love should be something that enriches you. It should make you smile in the morning and feel grateful at night. It should be what lowers stress rather than create it. For these reasons, take steps to improve your relationship, so it doesn’t make you sick. If you’ve tried to solve the problems and it’s just not working, it may be time to consider how much you really need this person in your life.”

If you are sustaining a relationship and love with a partner who is overly critical, constantly suspicious, possessive, or physically violent, it could be making you sick. An unhealthy relationship invites feelings of hopelessness, a fear of abandonment, and a feeling of loss for unfulfilled goals or any hope for happiness.

Dating Advice: It’s Time to Break Up

Weakened immune system: One of the advantages of being in a healthy relationship is a euphoric energy that fuels your day. When depression invades your enthusiasm for life, it affects your lifestyle choices. Exercise becomes a burden, and healthy eating becomes a distraction. Before you know it, you are facing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, and a compromised immune system that is unable to ward off infections and disease.

“Unhealthy relationships can be like that,” writes licensed professional counselor and registered nurse Suzanne Jones in her article “Is Your Relationship Making You Sick.” She elaborates on this dating advice: “Sometimes, in an effort to be supportive and helpful, we find ourselves drowning in unrealistic and endless demands. We can’t bear the thought of hurting this person or letting him down, so we try and try to make adjustments to salvage the relationship. We go to extraordinary lengths to keep this person happy. We sacrifice our peace and happiness for theirs.”

Related Link: How to Be Mindful When It Comes to Relationships and Love

“In an effort to be patient and helpful, we may be putting ourselves in harm’s way,” she adds. “Like the rescue of a drowning person, we are at risk when we get too close and tangled up in an unhealthy person’s problems and issues. These relationships can turn us into a physical and emotional mess.”

Throughout the years, love has been blamed for a number of things. Sometimes, it stinks, hurts, and even bites. At times, people have been accused of giving it a bad name. However, a healthy, strong, solid, and positive relationship isn’t like that. It enhances your life and improves health. If the love you have in your life contributes to stress, depression, or a weakened immune system, it’s time to reevaluate and consider whether you need to make a change.

For more information about and articles by our Hope After Divorce relationship experts, click here.