In today’s culture of talk show therapy and self-help books, looking at our relationships through the filter of dysfunction has come to be the norm. Too often, women expect their men to be broken and try to change themselves to compensate for his shortcomings.
Reality Check: There IS such a thing as a healthy relationship. A man should not be a “project.” Sometimes you just have to throw the bum out and start over.
No, you shouldn’t give up at the first sign of distress. Working on relationship problems works for some people, but it’s worthless for others. There has to be something worth working on to begin with.
If “working on it” means you put up with his crap until you become numb to it while he says “sorry” a few times every day, then it’s time to consider other alternatives.
Breaking up can be a positive and proper solution to a failing relationship. If the Titanic is sinking, nothing you can do will hold it up. And if you throw it a lifeline, it will just take you down with it.
So, is breaking up the right thing to do? Do some soul-searching, and consider the following questions:
1. What is the mood of your relationship?
Before you do anything else, just think about the way you feel. Not about him, but inside yourself.
When you’re together, do you still have fun and feel the excitement? Those first-month bubblies aren’t going to last forever, but you should still have a positive response to his arrival.
If you feel a sense of foreboding, like the Darth Vader music should be playing when he enters a room, something is amiss.
Ask yourself if you would still want to hang out with him if he were just a friend. Is he the kind of person you like to be around?
Think about the friends you’ve had for many years and the ones who have come and gone. Which list would he be on? Does he have the same qualities as the friends you keep?
2. Do you have common goals and interests?
Relationships can last quite a while on sex, comfortable boredom and laziness. We’ve all sat through a slicing-and-dicing infomercial because we were too lazy to get up and get the remote, and some relationships outlive their usefulness for similar reasons.
Most relationships are entered into with less information and research than we use when we buy a used car, so we shouldn’t expect them all to go perfectly or last forever.
For a relationship to succeed in the long term, both parties have to be headed in the same direction toward common goals, and they both have to enjoy the ride along the way. So, ask yourself some questions:
- Do you want a penthouse while he loves the country?
- Does he enjoy the activities you enjoy?
- Is he on a career path that is compatible with your lifestyle?
- Can you be yourself and speak your mind without fear?
3. Do you want him to change?
A man can change some of his habits, but he can’t change who he is and you can’t change him either. Maybe he’s everything you ever wanted, except he’s lazy and messy, or he never considers your feelings, or he hates all of your friends and never wants to go out, or he likes to play with other girls.
Guess what? He’s NOT everything you want, and he never will be.
“Fix the things that can be fixed, but
accept reality when it’s not working.”
4. Do you cry almost every day?
If you can almost schedule your crying jags on your daily planner, then you’ve got some serious problems. He’s a half hour late and you feel it starting to come on. Now he’s an hour late, and you hold back the anger but can’t hold back the tears.
Do you want to live like this forever? You don’t have to. You have the power to make a change.
5. Do you trust him?
Trust is basic to the foundation of a relationship. If you’ve stopped believing his excuses, find yourself snooping through his cell phone, pockets or computer, or if you just can’t trust him to have your back or help you out when you need him, you might want to look for a guy who makes you feel secure in your relationship.
6. Does the relationship feel one-sided?
- Do you feel like you’re doing most of the heavy lifting?
- Does he make you feel loved when you have your clothes on?
- Does he say “I love you” outside of the bedroom?
- Does he remember special occasions?
- Are you a priority in his life?
- Does he often “need some space”?
Maybe it’s time to give him plenty of it.
7. Is the relationship too broken to survive?
If there has been physical abuse or ongoing emotional abuse, get out now while you still have some self-esteem. If he punches your father, drops the F-bomb on your mother, screws your sister or robs a 7-11, it has to be over.
If you can’t get over his infidelity, or if you can’t forgive yourself for your own unfaithful act, it might be time for a fresh new beginning with someone else.
You may both be fine people, but some problems just can’t be repaired. Get out from under the black cloud and start over.
8. Is the relationship growing?
- Do things seem to be staying in one place?
- He still can’t tell you he loves you?
- He still can’t come home after work even one day a week?
- Do you hear a lot of promises but see no real results?
- Are you ready to take things to the next level but he isn’t?
It might be time for the curtain to fall on this relationship.
Yes, breaking up is hard to do, but it should always be on your list of possible choices. Love is a two-way street, and a relationship has to balance the needs and happiness of both people.
How you feel about him is not what matters. What matters is how you feel about your life and your relationship that brings happiness and fulfillment.
Fix the things that can be fixed, but accept reality when it’s not working. Your happiness depends on it.