You’re having doubts about your long-term relationship. Your eyes are starting to wander and everything your partner does — both the good and the not-so-good — gets under your skin. The legendary Neil Sedaka pop song tells us that “breaking up is hard to do” — but is it? Are these reasons to move on, or are they reasons to work things out? Basically: Are you sure you want to break up? Before you do anything rash, see where you fit on the following checklist points.
You’re down more than up
If, in terms of your partner, you’re responding with more negative emotions and thoughts than positive ones overall, that’s a clear sign that your relationship is no longer healthy. Be mindful of how you feel; vocal, too. Don’t make passive excuses such as “things will get better with time” or “we’re just in a rut.” A good relationship should bring out the best in you, not the worst.
You’re putting out “feelers”
Flirting with guys at bars, online, at events, etc.? It’s OK, as long as your intention isn’t to exchange contact info and develop some sort of emotional (or sexual) relationship. It’s one thing to friendly flirt, it’s another to “line up” someone as a just-in-case. That said, this is something that a lot of us do when a break up is on the horizon (even if we’re not conscious of it); if this is happening to you, ask yourself why.
You’re walking on eggshells
You shouldn’t have to lie to your partner about where you are/who you’re with/what you’re doing, etc. Walking on eggshells prevents you from being yourself. Not good.
You haven’t considered what mistakes you are making in this relationship
To continue the music metaphor from the introduction: It takes two to tango. We often examine our partner’s behaviour and place blame on them for their actions (or lack thereof), unaware of how our own behaviours and (in)actions contribute to same. Be mindful of the energy you’re putting out. Are your issues actually about your partner, or are they personal?
You have (or are getting) cold feet about commitment
Subconsciously, people put up walls and develop cases of “cold feet” when it comes to commitment. It’s a protective mechanism. When you fall head over heels for someone you can see spending your life with, it’s counter-intuitively tempting to run away, or sabotage the situation, if only because it seems too good to be true. If you are experiencing major relationship doubts, assess whether you are simply feeling that kind of big-picture fear, or whether you truly want to separate from this person.
A FINAL WORD: FINALITY
This isn’t part of the checklist, but it’s worth mentioning. If you’re going to end things, be true to your word and cut all ties. If you can’t imagine not having this person in your life, or think you might drift back together after a break, then why break up? Table your concerns with your partner and try to work on them, instead of impulsively breaking up simply because it’s what you feel you should do in the moment.
Jen Kirsch is a relationship expert, columnist and blogger. For quick tips and tricks, follow her on Twitter @jen_kirsch. Read her posts every Tuesday on Slice.ca.