Sometimes, good things end. That's just the
way life is. Sometimes, bad things continue due to neglect or fear. This ISN'T
the way life should be!
I continue to tell people, the problem
isn't that there are too many divorces - there are too many marriages! So many
people hook up with partners that are (or become) unhealthy for them, then find
that they can't bring themselves to break it off - sometimes out of fear of
being alone, sometimes through convincing by their friends or family, sometimes
through concern of how they will look, sometimes through simple neglect, etc.
When should a relationship break up?
Simple: when it no longer provides benefit to one or both partners. In other
words, if you aren't getting what you want or need from being with someone, or
if you recognize that your partner isn't getting what they want or need it's
time to move on.
I've had some people say to me, "Isn't
that a little selfish - what about the person you're dumping?" To this I
answer, "How can it be good for someone to stay with a person that doesn't
want to be with him or her?" After all, how low does your self-esteem (let
alone your self-respect) have to be to want to do this? It is by far much
healthier to go about finding the relationship that works for you - that gives
you what you need, than to apathetically cling to something that isn't
fulfilling. Life is too short for this, and you deserve better.
So, how do you know when to break off your
relationship? Here are 10 signs to watch for. Note that most people encounter
one, two or more of these things periodically. However if they you're finding
that you experience more than a few consistently - over a longer period, it's
probably time to move on:
10. You no longer look forward to spending
time alone with your partner.
You may still have a good sex life (or
not!) but actually talking to your partner seems like a chore. If spending time alone with
your partner seems like a prison sentence you may be up for a parole.
9. You begin comparing your partner to
This is particularly true when other people
seem more appealing to you. We all find others - often those we don't have -
attractive. If however, you find that you're comparing specific traits - a
person's voice, their neatness, they way they carry themselves, etc., against
others; especially things your partner can't change - you should re-evaluate
8. You criticize or
"micro-manage" your partner
If you're always concerned that your
partner's socks aren't exactly right for his pants, or that she wears too much
make-up, or that he or she just can't seem to take their responsibilities
seriously, don't look at them - look at yourself. People that are in love tend
to look beyond minor annoyances to the bigger picture. If you're having trouble
doing this you may want to work on your exit plan.
7. You start trying to change your partner
Many people fall in love with people that
excite them, but find that this excitement isn't good for them in the long
term. On the other hand, they may find someone "stable" that doesn't
provide enough variety in their relationship. If you find that you're
constantly trying to convert your partner from the person you fell in love
with, it may be time to bolt.
6. You re-connect with ex lovers
It's one thing to send an ex-girlfriend a
birthday card. It is entirely another to take her out for dinner and a movie
"just to catch up". The trick here is to be honest about your
motivations. If you had the chance to sleep with him or her, would you? Are you
looking for approval or an ego-boost from him or her? Have you forgotten
why you broke up in the first place?
5. His or her jokes are no longer funny
Of course, you may have heard them 1,000
times, but people in love tend to look beyond this repetitiveness. They see
that their partner is being humorous, not how funny something is or isn't.
4. You're doing all the giving - or all the
Relationships are about mutual benefit. If
one partner is benefiting over the other, the relationship isn't healthy. This
doesn't mean that everything should be exactly balanced. For example, just
because one partner spends $50 on a birthday present, that the other should
spend exactly that amount. Nor does it mean that both partners should always
split a dinner check. If one person pays all the time, and the other doesn't at
least cook a few meals, there is something wrong - and unhealthy about the
3. You constantly find ways to include
others in your activities
Always including others indicates that
you're not looking forward to being alone with your partner. Of course, you need time
with your friends, but if you never have private time, or the only time you're
alone is when you're having sex, perhaps the problem is in the company.
2. Your friends no longer like being around
you when you're with your partner
Your friends don't have to dislike your
partner - perhaps they don't like what affect your partner has one YOU!
Consider that your relationship with your friends is at least as important in
the long run as your relationship with your partner. In fact, it may be MORE
important as they will see you as you really are, and will be there even if he
or she isn't - IF you treat them right!
1. You no longer feel good about yourself
At first, this seems like a strange warning
sign about your relationship, but think about how you felt when you first
hooked up with your partner. You felt great - about yourself and your world. If
this is now lacking where it was there before, you may want to look at your
Copyright (c) 2005, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
All rights reserved.
For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit:
P.O. Box 10702
Glendale, CA 91209-3702
Fax (818) 246-5431
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