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When to call it quits?

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  • When to call it quits?

    It's sometimes difficult to know when to end a romantic relationship, and for what reasons. Dating can be a challenge, and finding someone worth investigating is a feat, in itself. Then, doubts and possibly the realization that the person isn't what we thought they were, or maybe the relationship isn't fitting quite right, can leave us wondering whether to hold on and see what happens, or stop wasting time and move on.

    I was single and dated off and on for many years after my divorce. I finally met a wonderful man and we've shared an incredible year and a half together. It's a great fit for me. It's been so easy a transition with him, as we're compatible on all the big stuff, yet different enough to provide some challenges, and it keeps things interesting along the way. I've learned so much with him. We do have some goals, however, over the next few years, that may take us in different directions. When I first realized this, I thought it's time to end it. After my overthinking brain went about 5 rounds with that, I stopped. There's really no reason to make a change now. We're having a great time, we're happy and things are working now. Possibly, in the future, we'll decide this isn't forever. And I'll deal with that then. Or, we'll decide to merge our paths, but that's to be determined. So is it wasting time?

    On the other end of the spectrum, I see my friend in the early stages of getting to know someone, where I so frequently found myself not too long ago. She met a man a month or so ago. She doesn't know if she likes him, she thinks he likes her. She finds some of his habits annoying already, and wonders if she's wasting her time. It seems there's a lot of the superficial being considered, rather than really getting to know who he is. I've encouraged her to hang in there and let some of the nervousness go by, and see if there's anything of substance there. Is it wasting her time, if she's already annoyed by silly things?

    In marriage, many people hold on for years, often, for the sake of the kids. They sacrifice their happiness, even their health and well-being to provide what they believe to be a stable home for their children. When is it time to let go?

    Do same-sex couples encounter these same hurdles? I've noted that the same-sex couples I know seem to have less of the initial difficulties that I've encountered. There seems to be a more honest approach from the beginning, and fewer attempts to put a square peg in a round hole, so to speak Is this generally true?

    What do you think? When can a person confidently let go of a relationship?

  • Originally posted by atskitty2 View Post
    It's sometimes difficult to know when to end a romantic relationship, and for what reasons. Dating can be a challenge, and finding someone worth investigating is a feat, in itself. Then, doubts and possibly the realization that the person isn't what we thought they were, or maybe the relationship isn't fitting quite right, can leave us wondering whether to hold on and see what happens, or stop wasting time and move on.

    I was single and dated off and on for many years after my divorce. I finally met a wonderful man and we've shared an incredible year and a half together. It's a great fit for me. It's been so easy a transition with him, as we're compatible on all the big stuff, yet different enough to provide some challenges, and it keeps things interesting along the way. I've learned so much with him. We do have some goals, however, over the next few years, that may take us in different directions. When I first realized this, I thought it's time to end it. After my overthinking brain went about 5 rounds with that, I stopped. There's really no reason to make a change now. We're having a great time, we're happy and things are working now. Possibly, in the future, we'll decide this isn't forever. And I'll deal with that then. Or, we'll decide to merge our paths, but that's to be determined. So is it wasting time?

    On the other end of the spectrum, I see my friend in the early stages of getting to know someone, where I so frequently found myself not too long ago. She met a man a month or so ago. She doesn't know if she likes him, she thinks he likes her. She finds some of his habits annoying already, and wonders if she's wasting her time. It seems there's a lot of the superficial being considered, rather than really getting to know who he is. I've encouraged her to hang in there and let some of the nervousness go by, and see if there's anything of substance there. Is it wasting her time, if she's already annoyed by silly things?

    In marriage, many people hold on for years, often, for the sake of the kids. They sacrifice their happiness, even their health and well-being to provide what they believe to be a stable home for their children. When is it time to let go?

    Do same-sex couples encounter these same hurdles? I've noted that the same-sex couples I know seem to have less of the initial difficulties that I've encountered. There seems to be a more honest approach from the beginning, and fewer attempts to put a square peg in a round hole, so to speak Is this generally true?

    What do you think? When can a person confidently let go of a relationship?
    I think that too often people let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If I applied that to my working career, I wouldn't have had one. I would have had a series of jobs and maybe few of them would have been good. When I look at my parents, I see a lot of good but not much really perfect. They didn't let that get in the way of a marriage that lasted almost 60 years. When someone in a relationship has an annoying habit, there are two people that can work on it, the person who has it and the person who it annoys. Sometimes, with a discussion, the person who has it confesses that they really want to change it but they don't even know that they are doing it when they do it. A bit of "you are doing it again" can help them work on eliminating it or surpressing it. Of course, the person who finds it annoying can also work on lowering their sensitivity to such a trigger. People who stay together in long relationships often ignore triggers that would drive others up the wall.
    I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
    ...
    Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

    From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

    Comment


    • I suggested a couple options to my friend about how to address the annoyance. I don't think she has the nerve to do or say anything, which, I pointed out, is a problem in itself. It's something very simple and doesn't require a confrontational conversation.
      He is a drummer, and in the car, he taps his hands on the console. I suggested she just gently put her hand on his, and say, maybe with a wink, that she'd love to hear him play very soon, but he's not on stage just yet Or, just grab his hand and hold it and say something like, "this sounds, and feels, much better" it's flirty, and isn't hurtful, but sends a subtle message that it's obnoxious...
      I think the fact that she is reluctant to risk even a minor confrontation over something so trivial, is more the issue, than his drumming habit
      I agree though. When each person gives a little, it goes far toward making that a bonding experience rather than something that brings division. I think, for me at least, when I see that the other person is making efforts, it is inspiring to me. It makes me want to be more forgiving, and also makes the annoyance seem less bothersome, in addition to making me want to put in additional effort.

      Comment


      • I think that as long as you want to be there with that person while you are with them, there is no “wasted” time in a relationship — no matter what happens in the future.

        In your friend’s case, if she’s already annoyed and can’t get past the superficial stuff, she is likely wasting time because she’s not putting forth the effort to really give it a go (and sounds like she won’t, or is looking for a reason not to, or is too afraid to). Like jns pointed out, people often let the perfect be the enemy of the good and no one is perfect. We ALL have little habits that annoy the crap out of people.

        I could look at my past relationships as “wasted time” because they didn’t work out, but while I was IN them, I was in them — and that time wasn’t wasted. Did I break it off and move on when things weren’t working and I knew for certain there was not a future I wanted? Yep, and I didn’t look back — but I still gained valuable experience from those relationships and that certainly was not wasted time.

        The thing is, while you have goals that may ultimately take you in different directions, you don’t know what the future holds — circumstances can change (or maybe they won’t), but as long as you’re happy, right now, it is not wasting time. The future will play out as it will later on, and you take that one day and one decision at a time when it does.

        As far as knowing when it is time to let go, that gets trickier to answer. In my own marriage (it’ll be 19 years in Sept.), there have been times when it crossed our minds over the years. I wouldn’t say we remained together for the kids’ sakes, but because there was something worth trying to save — even if it was hard as hell. But in the end, we weren’t sacrificing happiness to “keep the family together,” we were making our way back to happiness. We are not perfect people and we both have our stupid BS and annoying habits. But we also bring balance to one another.

        Then again, I know some people who did stay together “for the children” and they were miserable – divorcing as soon as the kids were grown. In those cases, divorce probably would have been the kinder thing for everyone.

        Comment


        • I think if your friend is in the early months of getting to know the man and he's already "annoying" she's with the wrong man. Everyone has annoying habits. If it irks her now, it will just get worse. There are so many people in the world she would fancy who are never annoying. Does she want to spend the next 30 years still telling him to "stop doing that"? I think she shouldn't limit herself. If she wants better, she has to let this current man go and move on to someone else she doesn't find like chalk on a blackboard.

          Sometimes the person has to accept one or two flaws from a partner: whether same sex or anything else. There are hyper criticial people out there I could not date. I don't like people nagging me or being "honest". If my fake-fiance found me irritating and always complained, I would end the engagement. I wouldn't tolerate being criticised and all that gubbins. But - hey - I'm a Sagittarius.

          As for ending a relationship confidently: you'll never be completely confident about doing that. There are no guarantees in the world that we will meet someone right for us. There can be near-rights and near-misses, but cupid's arrow is not always obvious. Any relationship ending is hard. This is true for even same-sex couples. The truth is, if you're unhappy in your relationship then there is no point flogging a dead horse: move on even though it is scary and uncertain.

          Comment


          • Ahh, this is hard, atskitty2! I think your situation is different than your friend's situation, as you've been in the relationship for a longer period of time. There's less to lose and it's usually easier to cut things off earlier on.

            I think everyone probably has different dealbreakers and it's hard to say when to end a relationship otherwise if it's not related to something major. Ultimately, though, I think it depends on whether or not you feel like the relationship is worth the time and energy; every relationship is work, but it just depends on whether you're happy and willing to put in the work.

            A simple anecdote I've heard about making decisions is to flip a coin (say 'break up' is heads, 'stay together' is tails) and see if you hope for one side over the other. I know it's hardly fool-proof, but I've found it's sometimes helpful.

            Comment


            • The guy my friend was dating apparently sensed her disinterest, and asked her if she'd like to continue dating. She avoided the question, and that was his answer. At least that's what it sounds like from her account of the conversation.

              I don't really have a desire, or a question, about whether to continue my relationship. I'm happy with him, there's nothing going wrong. I do wonder occasionally, if there's any point, but I think that's anxiety getting the better of me, idk. Things could change over the next year, 2 years or 2 months. But for now, I'm ok.

              I think it is a good discussion point though, and that's why I made the post. Some friends have encouraged me to move on if there's no long-term potential, and that's ultimately what I want. If he was shipping off to Mars in 2 years, for a lifelong deployment, then, yeah, I'd probably save myself the heartache. But, it's unknown. What relationship do you ever know 100% where it will be in 2 years? I could change my mind...he could change his...we could decide we wanted to make choices that would take our paths in the same direction.

              With dating, I think if you have a good thing, hold onto it. See what happens.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Emily D. View Post
                A simple anecdote I've heard about making decisions is to flip a coin (say 'break up' is heads, 'stay together' is tails) and see if you hope for one side over the other. I know it's hardly fool-proof, but I've found it's sometimes helpful.
                It makes perfect sense, though. It might not be fool-proof but really if you find yourself rooting for one side over the other, that kinda tells you exactly what you needed to know.


                Comment


                • I have the same problems before divorce.

                  Comment

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