Even the very best relationships at the very best of times can be hard work. Despite what Disney movies would have us believe, the “happily ever after” doesn’t just magically happen. Relationships mean compromise, communication and occasionally doing things you really don’t want to do to make your partner happy. The hardest part of most relationships is figuring out when to walk away if you’re wondering whether you should probably just break up.
One of the things that always clouds our vision in relationships is our heart. You hear it all the time from victims of abuse and even just people who could do better, “but I love him.” Yes, love is obviously important to a relationship, but our hearts can be dumb and who we love isn’t always what’s best for us. Whether you and your partner just need to take a little break for a while so you can both grow, reflect and change before getting back together, or if it is time for you to both go your separate ways, these indicators will tell you if it is time to break up.
Break up if … You’re not happy
Think about your life generally as well as the time you specifically spend with your partner and figure out for how much of it you actually feel happy in the moment. If you are happy all day long and suddenly get sad or angry when around your partner then that might be a clue to a bigger issue. It’s normal to have dips in our moods but if you’re not happy at least 80% of the time then you need to get to the cause of your moods — and if it is your partner then maybe it is time to break up.
Stay together if … You’re both willing to change
There are things in every relationship that will drive you crazy and there are things that are total deal breakers. If you’re both willing to work on your issues and make a bigger effort to change then your relationship will go the distance. This might mean communicating more, taking classes or seeing a therapist. You both have to be in it for it to work and if you are both committed to changing for the better you stand a great chance!
Break up if … You both want different things out of life.
If you are desperate to get married and have kids and he thinks he would rather gouge his own eyes out then have rug rats, then your relationship is doomed. You should sit down and discuss where you see yourselves going and what you want out of life and if they’re not compatible (and nobody looks like they’re going to change their mind any time soon) then it might be time to call it quits.
Stay together if … There are extenuating circumstances.
This one is tricky and actually takes a little bit of time, communication and reflection to figure out the answer, but it basically involves learning to differentiate between permanent moods and temporary bumps. Like, do you remember that episode of Sex & The City where Miranda is dating the angry guy and she thinks he will mellow out when he gets a promotion but then it turned out he was just an asshole? It’s the difference between having new excuses for the same bad behaviour and recognising when your partner needs your support because outside forces are affecting their mood. Support each other through the bad times and your relationship will be so much better in the good times. With that said …
Break up if … They are abusive — in any way, shape or form.
Now, in regards to my previous point, extenuating circumstance don’t excuse abuse. If their behaviour becomes abusive then it is time to get out. Don’t think that abuse has to be physical as well: they can be intimidating, controlling (of your outfits, your friends, your money) and emotionally or verbally abusive. The point is if you feel scared, humiliated, alone (you’re not!) or just downright miserable it is time to move along. There are lots of places you can reach out to for help such as Safe Steps, but if you’re in danger please call the police.