By: Ellie M., Sex/Relationship Columnist
I’ve seen too many close friends clinging to relationships that were way past their primes. It’s an easy trap to fall into. You get used to your lover’s quirks, settle into habits and maybe even move in together — then it seems impossible to escape.
It may appear way too inconvenient to change the lifestyle you’ve committed yourself to, but don’t be afraid of the unknown. You might need to get to know it more than you think. So here are a few warning signs to consider when your relationship seems a little less sweet than before:
1. A chorus teacher who worked at my high school told me that the best time to break up with a person is the first time you think of doing so. Really? Well … maybe. Take the first time you consider breaking up with someone as a red flag. If your relationship keeps hitting obstacles after that, you’ll know the end is near.
2. If you hate your other’s friends or family, they hate you or any other combination of a nonmeshing friend/family group, then be worried. No matter how well you and your lover get along, that kind of clash could imply some underlying, irreparable differences. Don’t set yourself so stubbornly on ignoring them that you make yourself miserable in the long run. You deserve to be a part of someone’s entire life, not excluded from family gatherings or uninvited to friends’ parties.
3. Your partner may not give as much as he or she gets. If your relationship is one-sided and not evolving, get out of there. Being the most magnanimous partner anyone could hope to have is only OK if it’s properly appreciated. Keep this in mind if you’re constantly washing your love’s dishes or picking up her forgotten homework on your way to class, but she can’t be bothered to return a movie to the Redbox across from her apartment for you.
4. Probably, hopefully, you and your partner have to be apart sometimes. If you don’t miss him when he’s gone, think long and hard about why that is. Are you that in need of some me-time, or do you just not enjoy his companionship as much as you once did? Being independent and self-sufficient is one thing. Feeling like you’ve finally escaped that boring ball and chain is another. The same concerns apply if you don’t especially look forward to spending time with him.
5. Lying and cheating are, for most, obvious reasons to break up. One-time offenses may be excusable, but repeated transgressions don’t deserve much sympathy. If you feel like you can’t trust your partner or are constantly suspicious, ask yourself whether you’re really OK with living in that constant state of being sick to your stomach.
6. Finding yourself intensely tempted by others is a bad sign. Don’t be too hard on yourself — if someone besides your girlfriend catches your eye, that’s fine. You’re human. Even flirting just a little is harmless, but it has to stop there. If you’re seriously pursuing someone or wishing you could bed another, why are you in a relationship, again? Dwelling on your ex falls into this category. If you wanna be a playa, cut that girlfriend loose.
7. The last, most unquestionable, get-the-hell-out-of-there-now reason for breaking up with your partner is verbal or physical abuse. If your other throws punches or derogatory words at you, don’t pretend that it’s fine because it only happens every once in a while. Talk to a friend, get support from loved ones — you deserve much, much better.
In many cases, you should try discussing your relationship issues with your significant other before calling it quits. Giving your love a chance to improve, change or simply realize there’s a problem (maybe your partner doesn’t know!) can be enough to turn things around.
Most importantly, always consider your motives for being in a relationship. Are you in love (or almost) with this person or just using them so you don’t have to be lonely? Be honest. Your long-term happiness depends on it.
Send your questions to Ellie M at [email protected]