How to Break Up: Leaving an Unhappy Relationship (for men and women)

Breaking Up: Hard to do
Breaking Up: Hard to do

Ending a Relationship: How to Know When It's Time

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know when to leave a relationship. Perhaps things aren't great, but they're not too bad either. It's easy to sit on the fence for a while and just let fate take over, but it's better to make a deliberate choice to stay or go. When making this decision, an important question to ask yourself is, "Is this relationship unhealthy?"

Unhealthy relationships follow identifiable patterns. Though circumstances always vary from couple to couple, they are often characterized by:

- Frequent arguments
- Frequent criticism on either side
- Inability to tolerate the other's personal quirks
- Intolerance of the other's friends or family
- Unfair expectations
- Hyper-sensitivity by one or both partners
- Intolerance of occasional lapses of attention
- Psychological problems that lead to behavioral ones
- Inability to address conflicts in a mature fashion
- Excessive jealousy and mistrust
- Extreme insecurity or major obstacles involving low self-esteem
- One or both partners have addictive or destructive tendencies
- Few, if any, mutual friends
- One partner gets easily upset over unimportant or petty things
- Excessive clingy-ness
- One or both partners feels as if they are "walking on eggshells" much of the time
- Difficulty discussing feelings

This is by no means and exhaustive list, and just represents some of the traits that characterize an unhealthy relationship.

Your significant other is supposed to be a source of comfort in the world, not a persistent source of stress and anxiety. If your relationship offers no sense of peace or safety, it's time to end it. If the problems escalate to physical or emotional abuse, the need to breakup is even more urgent.

Leaving Your Unhappy Relationship (for men)

If you ask friends (or Google) for tips on How to Break-Up, the typical advice goes like this:

  • Be sensitive to his or her feelings
  • Shift the reasons towards you instead of blaming them ("It's not you, it's me.")
  • Do it in person, and not through texting or email
  • Communicate from the heart and then give them space

These are great tips, but they don't tell you how to get over the obstacles keeping you stuck.

You don't need to be told not to break-up over email. You're just overcome with guilt, have a lot of fear based around how your partner will react, and are searching for a way to break up that minimizes pain and hardship for you both.

Maybe your partner is dependent on you, or has no idea that you're planning to leave, and you're scared she's going to completely flip-out. You can't stand the thought of devastating her, but at the same time, you're dying to get your freedom back.

The best break-up advice I can give you here is this: You have permission to go.

Heartbreak is part of life, and your partner agreed to that possibility when she pursued a relationship with you. There are no guarantees in love, and deep down we all know that all the promises in the world can't change the fact that humans sometimes have a change of heart.

Sometimes relationships go sour. Maybe things were good at first, but then your partner revealed herself to be clingy, jealous, manipulative and controlling. Maybe you're stuck in a codependent relationship. Again, you have the choice to move on to a better life.

You CAN'T stay with someone out of a pity.

A relationship is a choice: You can break up with anyone at anytime, and for any reason. It doesn't matter if you've been together 10 days or 10 years -- there's always the possibility that one partner will choose a different path.

Michael Freeman, M.A.

How to Leave a Relationship (FOR WOMEN)

How to Leave a Relationship (FOR MEN)

How to Break Up: Tips for Finally Having "The Talk"

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