Five Guidelines to Help You Know When to Break Up

I frequently get emails and comments from women wondering if they should break up, and how to know when a relationship is not working.

Of course there is no one-size-fits all answer, and each relationship is different but here are five guidelines that may help.

Five guidelines to help you know when to break up

  1. If you are in an abusive relationship you are going to continually be hurt emotionally, physically, mentally, sexually or all of the above. Typically the abuse will escalate and increase so holding onto the idea that the relationship will improve is just prolonging the pain. It is not always easy to leave an abusive relationship so I encourage women in this situation to get help and do everything you can to be safe. Leaving a relationship can be a dangerous time so please get help to protect yourself. You will know when you have had enough. I hope this awareness comes sooner rather than later.
  2. Men (and women) are not perfect and we are all on a journey of learning and growing so the expectation in a relationship should not be one of a perfect, mistake free partner. On the other hand, it is important to have boundaries and to establish in your own mind what is or is not acceptable. The problems often come when a woman doesn't abide by her personal standards, allows a man to treat her inappropriately or disrespectfully, even cruelly. It may be a good idea to take some alone time and contemplate what is really not tolerable for you.
  3. Is your relationship out of balance? Do you feel you are giving and giving and getting little in return? Sometimes women keep trying to keep an unhealthy relationship alive when in fact a man is taking advantage of their hopes. Some women feel they must work harder and harder to be loved but the result is being more and more disrespected. So, ask yourself, is the relationship balanced? Are your concerns, needs, and desires of equal importance to your partner?
  4. Do you feel you are giving up yourself to remain in the relationship? If you feel your relationship is drawing out the life in you, if you feel your energy is being sucked out of you, most likely the relationship is not one worth keeping. A partner should be one who brings out the best in you, who supports and cares for you, who give you kindness and brightens your life, not one who seems to weigh you down thwarting your very life.
  5. Finally, listen to your gut. I know I repeat this over and over but it is important. You know deep down inside if a relationship is not healthy, if it is harmful to you, if it is hurting your soul and spirit. LISTEN. Notice those nagging feelings, acknowledge those whispers that come to you. There is no reason to remain in a relationship that is harmful to you. You do not need to come up with excuses to remain and you do not need to pretend the relationship is something other than it is. LISTEN to what you know.
My wish is to keep women safe and to support them as they move away from relationships that are harmful and unhealthy.
You do not have to remain in an unhealthy relationship nor do you have to have a man to be whole. In fact, being in a hurtful relationship doesn't help you in any way but actually damages your self esteem and self worth!

If you are with a great guy who treats you well, then working on a relationship is a good idea however, if you are with a not-so-great guy who treats you poorly, it may be time to rethink the relationship!