When people come to me looking for relationship break up advice they are often asking ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ Have you been unfortunate enough to ask that before? I know I have and if you’ve ever been in a relationship then you’re pretty much guaranteed to have asked it too. It can crop up three months into a romance or three years into a marriage. In fact maybe even one of your friends has come to you looking for relationship break up advice and you’d like to be able to help. There are no fixed times when the questions arise but when they do wouldn’t you like to be ready? If you’d like to know what it really takes to make a relationship work then please read on.
Should I stay or should I go is a question quite a few of my clients are consumed by. In most relationships there comes a point when you need to decide whether your partner really has the qualities you need to stay together. Making that decision can be a very painful and confusing time as there generally isn’t a quick fix or easy answer. This is why relationship break up advice is such a tricky thing to give because a lot of the things we are taught can be contradictory.
Does it have to be hard work?
I have a friend in a fantastic relationship who taught me that if it’s hard work it’s probably not working. This was an alien concept to me. I come from a therapeutic background which can sometimes promote the feeling that if it’s not hard work it’s not worth while. Years ago I made it my mission to figure out what made relationships work and there seem to be two successful approaches.
The first is ‘don’t expect too much from your relationship and it will work out just fine!’ Some things are always going to be problematic. So what if sex isn’t so important to one of you? So what if one party can’t be relied upon to keep their agreements? So what if you never get to go on the holidays you really want to go on because your partner hates to travel? This may well work for some but it’s just not in my nature. As far as I’m concerned, good enough just isn’t! Unless of course we’re talking about the weather, I’m from the UK and you’ve gotta be realistic on this one point.
What’s great chemistry?
The second approach is to insist on great chemistry. The two primary areas are sexual and best friend chemistry. You’d think these two would be obvious but you’d be wrong. People make compromises on these points very early on and then wonder why they spend the rest of their lives wondering what’s wrong and start seeking relationship break up advice.
Abi came to me for relationship break up advice having married a man who was never that interested in s*x with her. At the time she rationalised that he was a great guy and they had lots of fun together and maybe things would improve. Well let’s throw in three kids and see how that looks. She’s now very unsatisfied. Every guy that walks by is a potential fling and Brad Pitt movies leave her foaming at the mouth. It’s actually a very painful and lonely place to be in and I know she’s not alone.
If you have great chemistry then you’ll have great compatibility. That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy all the time – that would be unnatural. It means that you’re excited and committed enough to work through the glitches as they arise rather than let them stack up – to the point where it becomes easy to set fire to that stack of resentments. Ideally you don’t wait for the relationship to have a near death experience before whipping it into shape.
What is enough?
So the biggest piece of work I have clients do in this area is design their perfect partner. You may think this strange if you’re already in a relationship- but it’s just as valid then as when you’re single. So, what would be perfect for you? The things I’d be hoping you’d focus on when you’re in a relationship would be more emotional and behavioural in quality. Once you’ve sorted out what perfect for you is you can start to ask yourself questions about your current partner. Does your loved one treat you with the level of respect you expect? Is he affectionate enough for you? Does she make enough time for you? These aren’t necessarily questions that apply to you. Ask yourself the questions that matter to you once you’ve worked out what would be ideal for you.
If twenty years from now your partner hadn’t changed in any significant way, would you still be happy as their partner? Would you consider your life together to have been more about adventure or endurance? The strange thing is you often know what the problems will be in a relationship many years in advance. The only question is when will you handle them? I often ask those seeking relationship break up advice whether their relationship stands as a warning or as an example? What about you?
The Compatibility Quiz.
Are you, or someone you know, struggling with your relationship. With 20 years of experience about what makes relationships tick I can give you a practically instant assessment of your future chances. It’s fr** and totally confidential. You can find it here.
Quick tips for relationship break up advice
Is the person you’re with ever going to be able to meet your emotional needs, whatever they may be? Or are you busy looking for bread in the shoe shop? There is a phenomenon referred to as emotional unavailability which can lead people to behave in very confusing ways. Try to keep in mind that you can’t get what just isn’t there.
If you’re entering into a longer term relationship and alarm bells are ringing you may want to pay attention. It could just be fear but you might want to talk it through with someone. Remember that romance is generally all about feelings and emotions, as you move into a relationship it becomes more about behaviour. As my Gran used to say ‘Love is as love does! Words are cheap.’
There comes a time in every relationship where you move from ‘Is this going to work?’ to ‘How can I make this work?’ Sometimes it’s not about years of therapy it’s just about getting a little education and a few good techniques about how to allow a relationship to grow in a healthy fashion.