No matter where we go or what we do, this is the question we get asked over and over:
How do you know when it’s time to break up?
It never fails. And usually they want us to give them a very specific list of conditions that must be met in order to pull the plug. It’s almost as if they need someone else to give them permission to break up. We’ve all been there. Struggling with doubts. Wondering what we really want. Questioning whether or not we are hanging on to a relationship because we don’t want to be alone…or afraid that no one else is going to come along. While we can’t tell you what to do, we can point out that the fact you are even asking whether you should breakup is a pretty good sign that you might need to rethink your current relationship and move on. But no one else can make up your mind for you: you have to decide.
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to help you know whether it is time to break up:
1. Do you bring out the best or worst in one another? Are you a type A person and he is more laid back? Are you kind of a messy person and he is extremely neat? Are you social and he is not? Just because you have major differences like these doesn’t mean your relationship won’t work. But if you find yourself constantly pushing him to be more organized, efficient and methodical—and all you do is fight. That is NOT bringing out the best—it’s nagging and conflict. If this dominates your relationship and you feel picked on, criticized or the need to constantly mother him…well, it might be time to move on.
2. When you think about your relationship do you feel anxious or peaceful? Are you always walking on eggshells? Are you constantly fretting about your relationship, where you stand, what the future holds….? If so, it’s not a good sign. Work backwards and try to pinpoint the reasons why you feel this way. This can help you uncover the areas of stress and concern. For example, your boyfriend is always getting in fights with people around him—his neighbors, coworkers, family etc. If so, you’ll realize that anxiety you feel might be stemming from his anger issues or short temper. And if you want to spend the rest of your life walking on eggshells, making excuses, justifying his behavior to your friends…..then stay.
3. Have you repeatedly thought of breaking up and then talked yourself out of it? Think about why you have stayed. This will help you identify the specific reasons and you can take an honest look at whether they are valid reasons. For example, you didn’t want to break up because you didn’t think anyone better would come along. Or you were afraid to be alone. Neither are good (or fair) reasons to stay with someone.
4. If you could walk away with no repercussions, negative feelings, financial implications, doubts, difficult conversations or regrets, would you? This will pretty much tell you all you need to know.
Breaking up IS hard to do. But as we always say, if you are stuck in a relationship with the wrong person, you might miss out when the right person comes along. Are there any other questions that you think might help you make your decision about whether to break up? Do you agree or disagree? We’d love to hear from you! Anne & Jen