Knowing when to call it quits in love is difficult – in fact, it can feel downright impossible. The truth is, however, that sometimes men and women make it more difficult and confusing than it needs to be. Understand that over-thinking anything can make a decision more complex. In this way, you can actually run interference in your own life. It’s a good rule of thumb to remind yourself that you should never get in your OWN way in making a decision. You should simply use your judgment and make the best decision possible.
How do you use good judgment in deciding when it’s time to leave a relationship? My friend Dr. Bethany Marshall, a Beverly Hills and Pasadena psychologist, wrote a book about how to handle this issue. That book, Deal Breakers, can provide a thorough guide to this navigate this problem. However, there is one main factor I will offer as a good stepping stone.
One of the best ways to make sense of the past and learn from it is to detect patterns. If you’re unhappy in your relationship, how long have you been unhappy? Let’s go a step further and look at what makes you unhappy to see if there’s a pattern. First, are the issues behavioral (he comes home too late, disrespects you in public, etc.) or are the issues more reflective of personality traits (she lies to you, is overly dependent, etc.)?
Determine if there is a consistent pattern that is making you unhappy, and then determine whether the main problem is a behavior or personality factor. There is no time limit I can tell you that is healthy – no set measure that says give him “3 months to change or else!” However, the more conscious you are of the patterns - and whether they reflect behavioral or personality issues – the better you will be able to make a decision based on sound judgment. Sometimes when we can articulate the problem more clearly, we can have a better idea about how to proceed in the future. Most importantly, we can have a better sense of whether we see the problem remaining or changing.
In the end, remember that we have only one life to live that we know about. My hope is that you live this one as happily and fully as possible, and that you find a loving relationship that lasts.