breaking up is hard to do

Reader B. E. asks:

I’ve been in a relationship with the same guy for a long time. How do you know when it’s over, or the best it’s ever going to be?

Dear B.E.:

The fact that you’re asking me this at all makes me think it’s over. I do have a friend who says, “If the grass is greener on the other side, water your fricking grass.” However, I am definitely not an advocate of staying in a relationship because it “could get better” or “there’s nothing better out there”.

Our culture is so couple-obsessed that it’s hard sometimes to realize that you don’t have to be in a relationship. It is far better to be single and slightly lonely than in a crappy relationship and really lonely.

Repeat after me: I do not need to be in a relationship to be happy.

The fact is, if you’re consistently unhappy in your relationship, things have to change. And it is far more likely that getting out of the relationship will change things, rather than waiting for the relationship to change.

Remember, it is impossible to change someone else. If he’s a workaholic, if he’s emotionally unavailable, if he’s a mooch, he’s probably going to stay that way. Same goes for the ladies. We all have our personality quirks, and if those of your partner make conditions unlivable… well then, it’s time to split up.

At the same time, if your own personality quirks are incompatible with your partner’s, you’re going to have a problem. Sure, you can try changing. But that’s no fun. Don’t go changing. (Unless it’s a serious personality flaw. But really, it’s the little ones that get us, ain’t it?)

Don’t get me wrong; I am all for working on a relationship. If it’s just a “rough patch” because of extenuating circumstances (a death in the family; financial hardship; unemployment; finals time at school), then there’s a good chance this, too, shall pass.

But sometimes you get to a point in a relationship where the bumps are more like unscaleable mountains. A lot of times you’ll feel uncomfortable or unhappy and your significant other won’t see a problem. This does not mean there is not a problem. In fact, it means there’s a really big problem — you don’t see eye to eye.

Don’t stay in a relationship just because you don’t think it can get any better. Trust me, it can always get better. If the relationship is what’s keeping things from getting better, then yeah, you need to get out of it.


3 Responses to “breaking up is hard to do”

  1. 1 Kerrie
    June 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Oh Kat, why couldn’t you have been writing this advice about 5 years ago? A few years of my life wouldn’t have been wasted. 🙂

    • June 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

      That is exactly what I told a friend of mine… don’t waste years of your life wondering if it could be better. Yes, it could be. Somewhere else. Rawr.

  2. June 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Very good advice Kat! I think before you can be happy in a relationship you have to be happy with yourself. And for the record – the grass is most certainly not greener – examples: http://www.notcomplicated.wordpress.com

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