When To Call It Quits

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Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips, the one-day a week when I dispense useful, actionable and empowering tips!

I’m not a quitter. Not personally and certainly not professionally. People come to me when they need hope - a cheerleader – someone to fuel inject them with possibility. But every now and then, a client (or a friend…or my sister) shares a story about a relationship and it becomes profoundly clear to me that the solve involves ending the relationship.

Knowing when to end a relationship is one of the most important adult skills you’ll ever acquire. Here are 5 tips to ensure that your relationship doesn’t pass its expiration date.

You Don’t Trust Your Partner. Trust comes from within. It comes from the belief that you can handle whatever your partner does (to you). We cannot predict our partner’s behaviors, and the idea that our ability to trust is somehow predicated on our ability to do that is a HUGE misnomer. I can’t tell you with 100% certainty where my wife is at this moment. I don’t have a honing device on her. So if you don’t trust your partner, you’ve got some individual work to do in therapy. I suggest you end the relationship and stop torturing your partner into believing that they can behave their way into your trust. It doesn’t work like that - unless your partner has legitimately done things to cause you to lose trust – in which case it still doesn’t work like that because you will likely never trust them again.

Your Partner Has Potential. Your partner is not a brownstone fixer upper. He/she is (hopefully) a fully formed human being. You need to inspect your partner before you commit. If your partner isn’t who you want him/her to be today, end the relationship. Sure, people change and grow over their lives, but you’re going to ruin your partner’s if your happiness is contingent on that happening.

If You Could, You Would Tap Your Partner’s Phone. You don’t think it’s OK for the government to do this, but you think it’s fine to jump on your partner’s phone the minute they exit the room.  If this sounds at all familiar, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got some work to do on yourself. If you’ve ever looked at your partner’s phone without their consent, you’re in this group. The title of this was intended to make you laugh – not disqualify you because you’re not quite as freaky as the subtitle suggests.

You Can More Easily Identify What Your Partner Does Wrong Than Right. Unless your partner is a significantly fucked up individual, this is a YOU problem, not a partner problem. Either way, it’s time to pull the plug. If you fall into the latter group, you’ve become habituated to focus on what they do wrong. This can be corrected, but it involves a lot of work on your part and if you have any authentic feelings for the poor soul who has made a commitment to you, consider shielding them from you while you do this work.

Breaking Up Would Mean You Have to Move Out Of The City.  I’m a New Yorker. I get it. Rents in NYC are so insane that New Yorkers are notorious for cohabitating sooner than they would under reasonable rent conditions. It doesn’t make it a legitimate reason for postponing a breakup. Don’t be a rent slut. You’re worth more than that.