Learning when to end a relationship is one of the most difficult things I have had to do. Growing up, I was somewhat of a serial dater. I absolutely had to be in a relationship all the time, because I really enjoyed the feeling of companionship. I didn’t have the best taste in women, however, and was constantly receiving unwanted relationship breakup advice from my friends and family members. In general, I was good humored about it; I knew the were just trying to help me end a relationship that they thought wasn’t good for me. Nevertheless, I would hardly ever take their relationship break up advice. I would stay in pretty unhealthy relationships for far too long.
When I was 20, I was on my own without dating women for about six months – something that was rare for me. My relationships were not working, and I knew that I had to get to know myself and my needs before I could be with anyone else again. One of my friends, a good guy who had tried to give me relationship advice before, was going through a tough time with his girlfriend. He thought that he should try once more to make it work, but listening to his description of her I knew it was over. I gave him the same relationship breakup advice that so many people had given me before: if you think that things need to change and she won’t even talk to you about making the change, there’s nothing else you can do; the relationship is over.
When my friend pointed out the irony of me giving this advice, I really had to ponder. I suddenly realized that I knew the difference between a good relationship and a bad relationship, and I even knew when to break up. I could give sound relationship break up advice, but for some reason couldn’t hear it when other people gave the same advice to me. I was finally learning
These days, whenever I am having relationship problems, I sit down, have a drink, and talk to myself as if I were someone else. I know it sounds strange, but it works; I give myself the relationship break up advice I would give to a friend in my position. Sometimes, I realize that I really can save the relationship but other times, I understand that things are too far gone. Maybe the girlfriend and I don’t have very much in common, maybe she has done something very hurtful and feels no need to make it up to me, or maybe I’m just not ready for the level of commitment she wants. Either way, I have learned to break things off at the right time.