Wondering when to break up can be confusing. After all, there was some reason that you two got together. Even if the relationship started with sex, something kept you going back for more, and after awhile it wasn’t just the sex that kept you connected to each other.
Relationships have cycles. Sometimes there are easy, fun, high times. Other times it feels like a total struggle, and you wonder what ever drew you to that person in the first place.
If you are in a long term relationship, chances are you are not having the level of passion and sexuality you first had. This is not unusual. All relationships have a series of cycles of moving closer, drifting apart, and hopefully reconnecting.
If you are someone who is committed to growth, you may have to fight the impulse to quit when things get tough. Or boring. Or confusing.
You need to talk to your partner about what you need, and what you feel is missing. In short, you first need to fight for your relationship. But if you have tried everything, you’ve had the conversations, and there have been no changes, then this may be when to break up.
How do you know if it is time to move on?
How do you know if you are not just quitting because you are bored, or someone else’s grass looks greener to you? You need to be very honest about these questions, and recognize your own patterns.
If you are someone who gives up when things become sticky, then you need to recognize that you may be someone who runs for the exit sign too soon.
Or if you are someone who stays in a dead-end relationship forever, without making any progress toward getting what you want, you may want to gather up your courage to leave.
One way you can help yourself to know when to break up or stay is to literally weigh out the pluses and minuses on a piece of paper.
Take a piece of paper or notebook and draw a line down the center of the page. On one side write: “Advantages of staying together.” On the other column write: “Disadvantages of staying together.” As simple as this sounds, it can be a very profound exercise, if you answer honestly.
Don’t just put down all the bad things about the person. Because this just keeps your thinking lopsided, and actually traps you in the “down energy.” Balance is actually liberating for the mind and promotes clarity. Make sure to really go back and think about the positives that drew you two together in the first place. Write about the positive characteristics and qualities. Even if you are angry, or feel empty, or hopeless – force yourself to remember what it was that made you first fall in love with this person.
To really know if it is time to break up you need a balanced frame of mind. That is what will allow you to move forward in either direction. If you are just focusing, or even obsessing, about the negative things about your partner, you actually can become locked in to this negative vortex.
Once you have really honestly worked at coming up with both the positives and negatives, you can begin to feel your mind opening up to the best possibilities for you. It will give you more power to leave, or the willingness to stay if that is what is best for you.
Your list may look numerically lopsided on the page, but you want to evaluate these items in emotional terms. For example, you might have a long list of bad habits “He leaves the toilet seat up, his socks on the floor, dishes in the sink…” and so on. But the good qualities such as “He makes me laugh, he pays the bills, he tells the truth, he fights the good fight, he cares about dogs…” These carry a big weight, and need to be recognized and honored for their importance.
The main question you need to ask yourself is: “Is this long term relationship bringing me more pleasure or more pain?”
This is not because you are both having a bad day or a bad week. But if you are having a bad year together, it is time to honestly soul search with this question.
What are the positive reasons to stay together? Do you feel there is a basic love that is still alive? Do you care for and respect each other? Do you support each other to be your best? These are reasons to stay and work through the doldrums.
When to break up is when the negatives far outweigh the positives.
Or is there any abuse going on? If you are being abused – physically, sexually, emotionally, verbally, and spiritually – then it is time to leave the relationship, no matter how long you have been together. Or at least to begin working on a plan to leave.
Assuming there is no abuse, then the question is: “Do I have the energy and willingness to do what it takes to make this relationship work?” You may feel that you still do, but your partner doesn’t. If you have tried giving all your love and caring, and you are not getting any in return, these are signs that now is the time when to break up and move on.
How you break up is very important. Please read our article on Break Up Etiquette. There is a right way to do this. You want to take the high-road. Do not hurt the other person any more than is needed.
Choose your time to tell the person, and the way you choose to tell them. Do it in person! You need to find the kindest possible exit, and even to some degree to discuss and understand what that would look like to your partner.
But bear in mind, if they do not want you to leave, they may take the low road, or try to talk you out of it. Stick to your truth. Be nice, be fair, be good, but if it is time to go, if this is when to break up, then you know what you have to do!
Be brave. If it is time to move on, and the love is gone, or it is flat, the truth is that ending the relationship can set you both free to find love again. Take your time. This is not a game for speed freaks.
We offer a half-hour consultation for $45 by Skype or phone, if you need help sorting out your issues and getting to clarity. This is a time to get help from love experts. But don’t let the advice of friends or family throw you off your track. This is a time to get clear about what is really true in your heart. Even well-meaning friends and family can’t know what is inside your heart.
Love is for the brave. Love is about being true first to your own heart, and not staying to prevent someone else from experiencing the pain of your departure.
Go to Ending A Relationship
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