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It is generally agreed that relationships are hard and require work, but expectations can blur the line between finding a compromise and holding on to a relationship bad for you. How do you know it's time to break-up with your man? We have the list.

Sally looks at her watch and sighs inwardly. It is time to go home after a week of field work but as she packs up her bags, gloom hangs over her spirit. She isn’t looking forward to going home, and the thought of seeing Brian, her live-in boyfriend of four years, fills her with dread. She still hasn’t decided if this discontentment with her relationship marks the end of an era or it is simply a temporary glitch in their courtship.

Sometimes a woman just knows in her heart of hearts when it is time to pack up and leave. Other times, the writing on the wall is just not legible enough.

Relationships are not always easy. There will be ups and downs (hopefully more ups than downs) but sometimes a girl has to be smart enough to know when to walk away. What times are those? You may ask. We came up with a list.

Walk away when:

...the fists are raised

The minute a man raises his hand at you is the time to get out. And quick.

Earlier this year, Kenya met Jennifer Mwende, a victim of her husband’s barbaric act of chopping off her limbs. Many women have been injured by violent partners and many more have lost their lives. In fact, according to a Demographic Health Survey in Kenya, 45 per cent of women aged between 15 and 45 have suffered some form of violence in the hands of their partners.

According to mental, emotional and social health site, the most telling signs of an abusive relationship is fear of your partner. The way a man handles his emotions is very important. If he throws things around and likes to throw punches too, let him seek help for his anger issues away from you. Walk away at the first sign of violence. Better safe than sorry, right?

... girl in the mirror shows cracks

Mary was quickly transforming right before her friends’ eyes. The smart, confident woman who was in charge of her life was quickly becoming a recluse. She no longer spoke up at work meetings, had handed in her resignation letter. She was no longer interested in after work plans with her colleagues, something she previously lived for. Becky, her best friend could only identify one variable in Mary’s life - Mark, the man she was dating.

While not as discernible as physical violence, emotional abuse is just as bad. “Emotionally abused women may second-guess themselves so much that they feel as though they have lost themselves in a hole,” says Psychologist Steve Stosny in the book Love without Hurt.

Emotional abusers can be charming at the beginning but slowly begin wanting to control and isolate their victims. Walk away before he strips your essence as a beautiful confident woman.

...he picks and chooses

When two people decide to be together, it is in full cognisance of their differences and what they bring to the table. He should know if sometimes your job takes you out of town, or that you are a single mother and that your children are part of the package. He should know that you don’t plan to quit your job for anything. Lay all your cards on the table, as he should too. If you both want to make a go at it, it is with full acceptance of each other’s cards.

Compromises can be made but in full agreement. You shouldn’t want to change each other. Of course growth of an individual is encouraged but taking on a grown individual as a pet project to mold is no one’s right.

Otherwise, walk away if you can’t agree. After all, you really don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t accept you fully. You will find the yin to your yang, just not yet. In the words of Christina Yang in the TV show Greys Anatomy, don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He is very dreamy, but he is not the sun. You are.

...he repeatedly violates your trust

You know how parenting experts ask that you honor promises to your child? That keeping your word to them inspires trust, confidence and fosters a great relationship with you as their parent? Well, the same applies to a relationship.

Being with and hoping for change in a man who constantly violates his word and your trust is akin to flogging a dead horse. After all, a man is as good as his word. If he can’t be faithful to you, he has to go. If he keeps backing out on his word, clearly he doesn’t treasure you enough to avoid repeatedly hurting you. And sometimes, as much as you want it to work out, you have to accept that things will always stay the same and by God you do deserve better.

...there is more pain than joy

Things change, people change, but one thing remains true - that you are responsible for your own happiness. A relationship should not cause you pain, rather it is a thing to be celebrated, a cause for joy. Yes it won’t always be fireworks and excitement. In the real world it isn’t. But if you feel dread, panic, frustration, dealt with broken promises many times, shed tears, are unhappy, then it is time to close that door.

“Don’t hang onto something that causes you heartache. Don’t do if for your friends, to save face or because you feel that you have invested too much time in it,” says Gretchen Rubin in her best-selling book The Happiness Project.

...he puts in zero effort

A relationship takes work. Lots of effort. It needs to be nurtured, just like a baby. That means time has to be put in. By both of you. You both need to commit to it. When you are the only one putting in the effort into the relationship, it leaves you feeling drained and empty, and you begin to feel resentment. If voicing your concerns doesn’t work, walk away.