Cupid's Pulse Article: How to Determine the Expiration Date of Your RelationshipCupid's Pulse Article: How to Determine the Expiration Date of Your Relationship

By Allison Pescosolido, M.A. and Andra Brosh, Ph.D.

When you think the milk in your fridge has gone bad, you look on the side of the carton for the expiration date.  If the date of expiration has passed, you simply toss it in the garbage, and buy a new one.

Relationships can also have expiration dates, but unfortunately there is no stamp on your partner’s forehead that tells you it’s time to move on.  As a result, many people stay too long in a sour relationship, which can be toxic and damaging for everyone involved.

Sometimes the last breath of a dying relationship happens early on, like with Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries.  In other situations it comes much later, like with Al and Tipper Gore.  Deciding to stay in a relationship or get out is complicated.  While there are no hard and fast rules about when it’s time to leave, here are a few tips to help you finalize your decision:

Related: When Is It Time To Break Up

1. Have a bottom line: Be very clear about what you are willing to accept as part of your relationship.  Ask yourself if you are sacrificing your own integrity to save the relationship, and decide on what you are willing or are not willing to live with going forward.  For example, once Sandra Bullock discovered that Jesse James was a serial cheater, she knew that the time had come to move on.  She quickly separated and began a new life on her own with her adopted son.

2. Know thyself: Knowing if a relationship is healthy can be tricky, especially if you don’t have any good role models to draw from.  Many people know that their loves lives aren’t happy, but can’t really figure out why.  Happiness comes from within, and knowing how and when you feel happy will help you decipher if it’s you or the relationship that isn’t up to par…or maybe both.

Related: How Do You Know When It’s Time To Call It Quits

3. Trust your gut: If you know in your heart of hearts that the relationship has not felt right for a long time, trust your gut.  It’s easy to rationalize away the negative to avoid confronting what you don’t want to face.  Telling yourself lies so you don’t have to leave will prevent you from making a rational decision.  Look at the whole picture, not just the one you want to paint for yourself.

Allison Pescosolido, M.A. and Andra Brosh, Ph.D. are experts in Divorce Recovery and starting over. They co-founded Divorce Detoxâ„¢, a full service center to transform the lives of individuals transitioning through divorce. Both have advanced degrees in the field of Psychology and are certified Grief Recovery Specialists®. Andra and Allison are proactively changing the stigma of divorce on a national level by treating divorce as an opportunity for personal growth and a new life. The Divorce Detox programs transcend traditional forms of treatment by providing the tools, support and guidance for efficient and lasting results.