For several weeks, I have been a sounding board for a male friend that has been going through a relationship break. I am one of many he has been consulting with daily because he said he values the opinions of all his friends and also wanted a woman’s perspective. I worry and have told him that too much advice can become overwhelming. Everyday he continues to ask for advice and can’t seem to make up his mind on what to think or do because everyone has a different opinion. Also, none of us know the girlfriend personally, so all our advice is based on emails between the two of them and his side of the story. As friends, we want to help but who are we helping? For me, there have been times I would continue to ask questions because I was looking for the answer I wanted. It’s hard to hear something you aren’t ready to know. How long should we discuss our problems or stay in a relationship before we do something about it?
“Breakups are ok. Starting over is ok. Moving on is ok. Saying no is ok. Being alone is ok. What is not ok is staying somewhere where you are not happy, valued, nor appreciated, that’s not ok.” This quote caught my eye. I had to share it. How many times in our life do we let ourselves get caught up in the minutiae of a situation to the point of mental destruction? Where are the boundaries? Maybe we need to step back and value ourselves and ask these questions. Am I happy? Am I being treated with respect? Do I feel this relationship is bringing value to my life? Do we each contribute something to this relationship? If the answer is no, then as hard as it might be, maybe you need to break it off. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to drop all your relationships like a hot potato at the first sign of a problem. I believe in working through problems thoroughly with your partner or friend before doing anything drastic. Once you have exhausted those options, it may be time to realize life is short, tomorrow is never promised, and your time is a valuable commodity. If you are giving of yourself, time, energy, or love and not feeling some gratification in return, then there is a problem.
I know from personal experience it is not easy to “break it off” even when things have gone wrong. I know that when you feel you have put a lot into a relationship and potentially years, you don’t want to just let it go. I tend to hold on to relationships even when I am feeling unfulfilled. I worry I won’t meet and make new friends, or find a significant other because I am too old, or in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dating today is a bizarre and unfamiliar landscape that is scary and unpredictable, not to mention time-consuming. As we get older, we realize it’s harder to make connections, meet people, and talk about dating (that’s a whole different ball game).
Still, we must be brave and do what is best for ourselves. It’s not fair to make anyone miserable or to blame someone else for our misery.
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