By David Wygant

This is a really tough article to write. When is it time to call it quits with your significant other? Is it when you have exhausted every single avenue, when you have reached a point of diminishing returns in the effort to make your relationship and love work?

Once a relationship goes down the he-said, she-said route or it starts to look like a standoff at the O.K. Corral, despite many lengthy, late night conversations, it’s time to bring in the heavy artillery. If you’re not seeing eye-to-eye and you’re acting defensive and resentful of each other, then you need to sit down with a professional. You need to talk to someone on the outside, someone not invested in the relationship. I’m talking about a real professional.

Love Advice: When to Break Things Off

As a relationship expert, I am a firm believer in therapy, especially marriage or relationship counseling. A few hours with the right person can save you months, even years, of emotional duress and stress. After all, if you’re struggling, a miracle isn’t going to happen out of nowhere. Your significant other isn’t suddenly going to say, “Yes, I see your point exactly. I understand everything now!”

Related Link: Dating Advice: What to Do When You’re Not His Priority

I’ve been down this road too many times. It’s beyond frustrating. You think to yourself, “Tonight, I’m going to rephrase the conversation. We’re finally going to communicate and realize we both just want to be happy.” So you come home, and you discuss things in a constructive way, but as usual, your partner gets triggered, acts defensive…and the shit hits the fan.

If you’ve got kids in the mix, it makes it even harder to call it quits. But if someone doesn’t understand you or recognize your love language and has stopped trying to make you happy, then you need to get help immediately. If the help doesn’t work — if you’ve been to a counselor and you’re still banging your head against the wall — nothing’s going to change. It’s time to figure out the best way for you to move forward separately.

Most people don’t change. They won’t. They resist it and instead buildup a steady flow of resentment towards you. Resentment is the poison pill for relationships and love. Resentment is the opposite of trying to make someone happy, the opposite of compromise, the opposite of trying to change for the sake of saving the partnership. Once resentment finds its way into your relationship, it’s the beginning of the end.

Related Link: How to Move On After Heartbreak

People only change when they desire change. You can’t wave a magic wand over somebody and make them change or see how you feel. If we could, there would be no divorce, no separation. People would simply evolve and grow together. Like many of you, I wish I could wave a magic wand over my ex and make her the person I want her to be. I’m sure she’d love to magically make me into the perfect person for her too.

So if you’ve exhausted all avenues and you’re both full of resentment, then and only then, when you’ve done everything you can, it’s time to call it quits.

David Wygant is an internationally-renowned dating and relationship expert, author of the book Naked, and speaker. Through his boot camps, personal coaching, and his website, his love advice has transformed the relationships and love of hundreds of thousands of people from every corner of the globe. 

For more expert dating advice from David, click here