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RELATIONSHIPS: Knowing when it's time to break up

Most of us don’t agonize terribly over breaking up with someone who is a thoughtless, disrespectful, or otherwise unappealing a-hole.  We tend to make the decision easily. Then after efficiently planning the timing and location of the breakup, we wash our hands of the whole mess and head out for cocktails with our girlfriends.

But it’s a different story when we are considering breaking up with that awesome person whom we legitimately care about, respect, and appreciate.  We wallow in horrible self-doubt for months or even years leading up to the decision.  Our mental iPod constantly shuffles through all the usual questions:  A quality person is exactly the type of person we are supposed to be with so what is wrong with me?  All my friends love this guy.   Am I capable of loving a quality person?  Am I so shallow that I have the perfect guy on paper and I’m still not happy?  What if I breakup and then have to settle for someone who’s not up to my standards?

You already know the answer.

But what does every friend tell you when you say all these things?  Actually, most friends will tell you the exact right answer…the answer even you have probably told girlfriends when they needed advise on the same topic.  The problem is the stakes feel too high when you are in this predicament so you don’t listen.  Maybe seeing it in black and white will help.  The answer is, “It doesn’t matter how this person stacks up on paper.  If deep down, you are not really in love, you must break up!” 

True love is the answer.
It’s true.  True love that is.  Billions of people stack up great on paper but they don’t all belong together.  True love is always the intangible wildcard of compatibility.  If all we needed was a general scorecard alignment on looks, interests, career, etc., then no one would ever need to date again.  The giant marriage computer could simply match up the spreadsheets and marry off the whole world in one day. 

No faking.
So after all the compatibility factors check out, there is still one giant hurdle every relationship has to confidently cross.  L.O.V.E.  Initially, when the compatibility factors do seem to check out, we are easily fooled into thinking it’s a done deal….now we just fall in love and the next phase of life begins!  Sorry senorita.  You can’t fake the love part.  If that part never arrives, the next phase is the dreaded breakup.  The longer you wait, the harder your wicked little brain will make it for you and the poor sucker who you simply don’t love no matter how many law degrees he has. 

Turn off your mental iPod
So one afternoon very soon, find a quiet spot, close your eyes and block out all of the compatibility factors.  Turn off your mental iPod (or place it on pause).  And ask your self one question:  “Am I truly in love with him?”  If the answer is no, do not pass go.  Go straight to breakup.

Then head out for cocktails and prepare for the next adventure.

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