Why did you break up?
December 5, 2012 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Why did you break up? More specifically, you thought you found someone you're compatible with, you guys mutually made a commitment, but yet you ended up breaking up a year or two later, or later in life. What was the reason for the breakup?

I am in a great relationship. We both talked about wanting to be together forever, we talked about all the big things that couples should agree on, we both agree that a relationship takes work, and that a commitment is a decision that each person makes. We are seriously awesome together and everything is great.

However. I've known a few people who thought that they found the person they wanted to be with forever, but ended up breaking up for various reasons that they could not foresee because either one of them changed, or they fell out of love/attraction, or they couldn't agree on something later in life that they didn't foresee when things were good in the relationship. That scares me.

I am not looking for trouble in my relationship in any way, but I want to know if there are any red flags I'm missing becauses I'm in love, and I want to know what things can possibly go wrong in the future that I just can't foresee right now. I also like to think about relationships in general, so this question is just really interesting to me either way:

Why did you (or someone you know) break up (or get broken up with) when you used to think it was a sure thing? I want to hear your stories and learn from them.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. to Human Relations (46 answers total) 80 users marked this as a favorite
Depression. It changed literally everything about our relationship. Mental health is tricky and can take a huge toll on your relationship. Be careful with that.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 5:46 PM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

Depression combined with extreme work stress / life transition stress (grad school graduation rush), combined with the realization (during the extreme stress, somewhat as a function of) that we had different short/mid-term goals, which was enough to throw off the potential long-term compatibility.

Potential solution: communicate early, communicate often. If you want to keep putting the relationship first, do it, don't just talk about it -- don't say "oh, I can't see your family for thanksgiving because I have work to do." Do work later, it'll be fine, and your relationship will be stronger, not weaker (then again maybe I'm too close -- the thanksgiving in question was a couple of weeks ago).
posted by Alterscape at 5:58 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

First marriage: incompatible ideas about how much time we should spend together
Other relationship: gross fiscal irresponsibility
Another relationship: hidden sexual incompatibility
Yet another relationship: unrealistically high expectations from life

All four had made it past the one year mark and I thought we were in good shape to go the distance. In hindsight, each time (except for the sex one) I could've seen it coming.

I recommend a book called "1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married" by Monica Leahy. Parts of it are pretty corny but it is a pretty exhaustive checklist. Pay attention to small issues that you assume the person will grow out of, yet have the potential to blossom into legitimate deal-breakers.
posted by 99percentfake at 6:01 PM on December 5, 2012 [8 favorites]

Sometimes you meet someone else or you feel like the dynamic or relationship culture you've cultivated with the other person is not what you really want and it's exhausting and burdening you. Sometimes a person who does live you isn't good at valuing you and you lose faith.

Basically, a person who doesn't value the relationship in the same way you do may end up exhausting you until you just resent them.

It's grim, so just focus on enjoying the other person.
posted by discopolo at 6:02 PM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

small resentments build over time until one day you look up and it's a mountain.
posted by nadawi at 6:04 PM on December 5, 2012 [17 favorites]

A dear friend is breaking up with the partner she married in May. They had spent a year in counseling in preparation for the wedding and seemed incredibly compatible and happy.

The underlying issue was jealousy. The partner was uncontrollably jealous with my very outgoing and sociable friend, resulting in baseless accusations, fight after fight after fight, and a drastic shutdown in sexual intimacy.

It sounds horrible, and I'm glad she's out of it.
posted by ottereroticist at 6:05 PM on December 5, 2012

Response by poster: Good answers so far, some of them I haven't thought about before, such as depression. Keep them coming! Also, if you have suggestions of how you could've fixed the problem or prevented it from turning into a relationship-ending problem, I would definitely like to hear about that too!
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 6:06 PM on December 5, 2012

I ignored key things about his character that made him unsuitable to be my husband. I convinced myself he was just slightly a better fit for me than he really was. That worked for awhile, but eventually I couldn't kid myself any longer.

So close to being the person I could spend my life with, but eventually I couldn't make the compromise.
posted by 26.2 at 6:11 PM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

You might want to check out John Gottman's stuff. He's a researcher and therapist who has studied a number of couples and tried to identify traits that correlate positively and negatively towards the likelihood of separation/divorce.
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:14 PM on December 5, 2012 [12 favorites]

My notable one was mostly just growing apart. I was very young (younger than she was) and was just not ready or willing to totally settle down. There were some compatibility issues that would probably have surfaced over the longer term, but the short version is I was 21. (This is probably one of the better situations to grow a friendship out of - we are still quite good friends, although we'll never date again.)
posted by restless_nomad at 6:16 PM on December 5, 2012

On the surface, the things that ended my marriage were factors like those described above: change of life challenges (careers, moving, etc), depression, personality changes (we got married fairly young).

I think what it really all boiled down to was a difference in how each of us prioritized the relationship and how committed we were to work through all that. One of us wanted to work on the relationship and the other didn't. One of us saw the problems as temporary and the other saw them as permanent. That's an impasse that we weren't able to resolve.

That said, I think we're both a lot happier now - I certainly am - so it wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
posted by AV at 6:18 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

This is pretty broad. There are myriad reasons couples break up and you can't plan for all of them. Especially because you can't control your partner's emotions, thoughts and actions. You will make yourself an anxious mess trying to avoid every potential pitfall.

There are big ones: MONEY, sex, child-rearing, compatibility of goals, infidelity, poor communication. And there are hundreds of books that deal with those. John Gottman and Susan Piver have good books.

Grim as it sounds, 100% of relationships end. It's a fact of life.

As for your actual question, getting off my soapbox, my first ltr ended because of (his) infidelity. There is nothing I could have done to stop him from cheating on me. He cheated because the opportunity was there (according to him). It wasn't something I did or didn't do.

My second ltr ended because we just weren't compatible in terms of long-term goals. There were some other things in the mix--mental health issues, jealousy--but it was long-term incompatibility. Which developed mid-relationship. Something else you can't plan for: your partner changing his/her goals in life. I suppose either of us could have made enormous sacrifices or squelched our dreams, but that's a recipe for massive resentment, which is poison for a relationship.

I feel like a huge Debbie Downer, but relationships and the future are unknowable. Heading off every problem at the pass takes emotional energy and you can't enjoy the present if you are worried about the future.
posted by peacrow at 6:19 PM on December 5, 2012 [8 favorites]

We wanted different things out of life. For a long time I thought that what I wanted was less important than what he wanted. I put my own dreams and ambitions aside all of the time in order to support him with his.

What made me finally leave was realizing that i would never be happy in a purely supporting role. I needed to be the star of my own life. Now I'm with someone who doesn't have the exact same goals as me - but they are complementary and neither of us is making a significantly larger sacrifice of our own goals/dreams in order to support the other in theirs.
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:20 PM on December 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

What made me finally leave was realizing that i would never be happy in a purely supporting role. I needed to be the star of my own life.

That is very similar to the way I felt in my last relationship. There was a subtle yet constant undertone in our relationship where I felt that his career was more important, his family was the one worth visiting, his interests were valid and mine were just annoying things he had no desire to participate in.

I could go on and on, but the key is, I didn't know who I truly was in that relationship, and he didn't know who he was and what he wanted. When you're not sure of yourself it's a lot harder to know what you want and don't want in others.
posted by thank you silence at 6:29 PM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

Just didn't smell right.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:37 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

After 6 years of marriage, my ex-husband took a position at a hospital that had him working 8pm-7am, seven days on, seven off. Flipping his sleep schedule on the off weeks was too stressful for him, so after a while he kept his up-all-night, sleep-all-day schedule all the time. I had a typical M-F, 8:30-5 office worker schedule. We saw each other for maybe 40 minutes a day on the on-weeks, and a few hours a day on the off-weeks.

Over the next 2-3 years, we grew apart. We got used to not having each other around. Each of us picked up interests, tv shows and online games that the other didn't partake in. Eventually, we ended up making our own separate dinners and eating them in separate rooms. There was no animosity; in fact we really got along well. We became excellent roommates.

But we knew things weren't right, and during a talk, he confessed that he loved me as a sister or a roomie, but not a wife. If he told me he preferred redheads, I'd have dyed my hair. If he said he didn't like that I gained weight, I'd have dieted. But the sister thing I just couldn't fix. We were in our early 30s by then and decided that we were too young to live forever in a marriage without love or passion.

My advice would be to work hard at making time for each other. You don't have to be up each other's nose every minute of the day (that would have driven me insane), but watch TV together or go shopping together. Just spend a set amount of time together, and make that a priority. Even if you're tired or work weird schedules.
posted by kimberussell at 6:41 PM on December 5, 2012 [12 favorites]

The previously mentioned vague "grew apart", but instigated by him moving to Tokyo.

Difference in life stages/age, but instigated by him moving to Charleston.

Personality clash, jealousy, but instigated by him moving to LA.

Another difference in life stage/age/lifestyle, instigated by him moving to Austin.

His inability to compromise or make space in his life for another person/his self-absorption. This one didn't move!

So, I guess in my case, timing and/or proximity were some big issues.
posted by greta simone at 6:41 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

The direct cause was that outside circumstances caused us to have to be long-distance for a year, during which it became apparent that he was not so good at that faithfulness thing when I was not right there every day. And to be scrupulously fair, I was dealing with terribly crippling depression and was not the world's best partner during a separation that would have been hard under the best of circumstances. It was probably a lot simpler and more comforting to flirt/date/sleep with other women than to spend his nights at home on the phone with my crying ass. And then I was the jackass who got suspicious and started reading his email. So hey, that was super-healthy all around.

Looking back a decade plus later, I think we'd have broken up anyway even if the year apart hadn't brought out our worst tendencies. We had such drastic levels of introversion/extroversion that one of us was always unhappy because we were going out too much or not enough. And we did not have good communication to figure out ways to get both our needs met. That would have come to a head sooner or later, and I probably should have noticed and paid more attention to it at the time.

But really we were just, god, so young and so without a clue about the stuff that happens after a decade plus with the same person, when you've been through the serious illnesses and the realizations that you hate your entire life path and the other person deciding whether they can buy into the new plan you have for your life, and the parental-disownings and the physical changes and the writing the wills and the "this is when I want you to pull the plug on my comatose self" conversations and the renovating your kitchen together and the, fuck, everything that my ex and I thought we were ready to commit to at the ripe old age of 20.

I'm writing this at the end of 13 years with my current partner and all of those things I just listed, and I assume if MeFi is still around in another 13 years I'll stumble across this post and laugh at myself and what I thought I knew, because it'll turn out that I still have no damn clue what I'm talking about. But I think at least now I know that I don't know everything about having a relationship, or even about having our particular relationship, because it (and we) are changing all the time. I'd say a good green flag is to be aware and open to the fact that those "big things couples should agree on" are conversations you're going to keep having, forever, because life is going to happen and one or both of you are going to have doubts about one or more of those things, and that's something you're going to have to be open to working through together.
posted by Stacey at 6:44 PM on December 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

I changed, I no longer agreed to the "terms and conditions" of the marriage because my underlying values in life had changed.

There were other contributing factors on the plate, alcoholism, long term unemployment, mild depression, extreme infidelity. things i once ignored but couldnt anymore. Just one or two of those things may have been workable but all at once with the realisation of the main reason above made it impossible.
posted by Under the Sea at 6:44 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Some things to look out for based on my past break ups:

1) How the person has told you they've handled hard times in their past. One person told me they had anger problems as a teenager when their life went down the slopes. Didn't think anything of it - it was awhile ago. When they had another devastating thing happen to them? Same reaction. Oops.

2) I know someone whose 15-year marriage ended because the person had a whole nother family hidden away somewhere. Not sure how to avoid this one.

3) Had one end because I wasn't happy with who I was and this person embodied someone I wanted to be more like. They helped me come out of my shell but we ended up clashing horribly because of it. I looked back on it and thought - that was stupid. People generally can't date themselves and this person in particular wasn't attracted to people who were similar to them. In hindsight I would have worked on what I didn't like about myself while I was single and -then- found a compatible partner.
posted by Autumn at 6:45 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Untreated depression (and unwillingness to treat), anger issues. I projected a bit - I think the best of people and did so of him. I smoothed out his weaker spots with my imagination. He projected his best self at first and couldn't maintain it after a while.

I kind of lost myself for a while - after a few years, I knew all of his favorites, but none of mine. My self-esteem had been worn down and I lost my inner light. Self-care is important.

We should have lived together longer before getting married. We should have admitted it wasn't working sooner rather than follow the path we laid out. We expected the rough patch to end, but it only got worse.

We should have kept up with separate friends. Having all couple friends was fun for a while, but was limiting in the long run.

I think we basically thought that any two compatible people can make marriage work and that's just not true. Even with all our problems, I still think we were the most compatible of anyone I've ever dated (before or since) and still, it wasn't enough.
posted by valeries at 6:48 PM on December 5, 2012 [7 favorites]

I will preface my story with a quote from the gospel of the Blues Brothers:

Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.

10 year marriage ended largely because of my mental illness; bipolar. That might not have done the deed but also had a family that didn't support the marriage. That can be big factor.
posted by JohnR at 6:57 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Little tiny, face saving, polite white lies. Little bits of nothing to cover embarrassment or smooth an awkward moment. Sweet, kind, helpful little lies.

Like lead they build in your system until you loose your mind or die.

These start with lying to yourself about how everything (literally all things, exactly every imaginable thing) is awesome (breathtaking, hopelessly enlightening and shockingly good).

Allow the truths of your life and relationship to be textured and ugly and weird and you'll steer clear of a lot.
posted by French Fry at 7:00 PM on December 5, 2012 [29 favorites]

Depression - he was very much a 'snap out of it' so I had minimal support when the depression got bad enough I started self-injuring - I also wrote this comment about the relationship. I thought the cynicism revealed an understanding of the world but nothing could be further from the truth. We also ended up with sexual incompatibility (not so much frequency as an inability to change, or adjust, or listen to me when I said I don't like my clitoris being poked) (in other words, GGG is not the same as being a considerate partner, and using sex as a bargaining tool, or bribe, does awful things to trust and one's natural sex drive) and I totally lost any physical attraction to him after he decided that hygiene was one of the things imposed on us by the stupid and the weak.
posted by geek anachronism at 7:01 PM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

A friend of mine and his wife of 10+ years are breaking up because...well, partly different life goals and partly, not sure what I'd call it, aging, I guess.

In terms of life goals, he's very dynamic and has always been the breadwinner simply because he had the guts or drive or hustle or whatever you want to call it to bootstrap himself into a decent paying professional job and is always trying to better himself professionally. She got her first job in retail at 20 and just...stopped, professionally speaking. She doesn't want to progress even in retail, like she doesn't dream of being a manager one day. She wants to go in, do her 8 hours in the customer service mines, and then come home and play video games and movies all evening. And that's it. She's perfectly content to die in her retail job. And it was sort of, you know, early-20s ennui, she'll figure it out eventually at first...but she's pushing mid-30s and still has no idea what she wants to be when she grows up...well, no, it's more she doesn't want to grow up, she wants to work survival-level entry-level retail jobs forever. The only reason she left her initial entry-level job at a chain was the chain went bankrupt 10 years later. And you can tell it's grating on him because they don't have kids and they could be living this awesome life with two professional salaries and no kid but instead he's stuck with the female equivalent of Seth Rogen in a Judd Apatow movie.

And the second is related to that, but it's really like she hit 30 and gave up. She doesn't want to go out or do anything fun. It's like she decided well, I'm an old lady now, time to never do anything except play Facebook games and watch TV until I die in 60 years. And again, you can tell it's grating on him because who wants to live like that?

I don't have advice for avoiding it, it just seems to be one of those things that happens.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:18 PM on December 5, 2012 [12 favorites]

When we met, we were both polyamorous. I assumed that as we committed further to each other, we would become monogamous. He assumed that we would always be polyamorous, even after living together or otherwise making a long-term commitment. We both got our hearts broken.

Different relationship: utter financial incompatibility, with completely different goals, priorities, spending habits and comfort levels with consumer debt.

Different different relationship: We were from different countries, temporarily living in a third country. Neither of us was willing to relocate permanently. Religious differences were also a factor.

All foreseeable, but of course since I was SO IN LURVE I didn't want to see the value/goal/need/lifestyle incompatibilities for what they were. Later, I thought the problems would fix themselves. They did not. They never do.
posted by sheprime at 7:20 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sometimes you just don't know. I was in a happy relationship for many years. Then, I wasn't. We both weren't. Was it sex? Yes, partly. Was it having different life goals. Yes, I think so. Was it money? No, not in our case. That's often a biggie, but we both were on the same page in that area. We grew apart slowly, we no longer had the same interests. We didn't like doing the same things anymore.

By the end, we were pleasant roomates with different agendas. We still liked each other, but we no longer saw a life together. I don't know what the lesson here is...sometimes you just don't know.

I do know that I was not content for a few years, but I thought it would get better. It didn't. Not that did we do anything (like therapy etc.) to address the issues. Mind you, I doubt it would've helped. It was just over. Some relationship have limited life spans. It doesn't mean they were not worthwhile...I don't regret the many good times/years.

There is a happy ending: I am in a very happy relationship now with someone I have a great deal in common with -- someone for whom I feel much more than pleasant roomate feelings.
posted by Lescha at 7:23 PM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

Kids. To have or not to have.

Everything else lined up perfectly.
posted by chatongriffes at 7:37 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Twice, 20 years and a lifetime of experience apart, unexpected crises occurred that made it clear to me that the other person was incapable of behaving as a responsible reliable adult. Common denominator=me. In both cases, in retrospect, I had settled. Low self-esteem is a lying liar. As they say, people tell you early on who they are. I am a skilled ignorer of red flags. My children have suffered a great deal as a result.
posted by headnsouth at 7:48 PM on December 5, 2012 [21 favorites]

The most important one, and the one I've tried hard to teach my kids is the difference between what people say and what people do. He talked a great game, with zero follow through. Beware the person whose favorite phrase is, "I'm gonna...", and never, "I did." Once I stopped believing anything he said, and stopped taking the blame he put on me, I just kept repeating to myself, 'prove it or it isn't true.' It gave me the strength to stand up for myself when he was all talk trying to convince me I was wrong.

Money. My husband routinely hid money and made money decisions without me. That's a deal breaker.

We separated for a few years. He went to therapy, something I never thought would happen. We live together again.

Best of luck to you.
posted by toastedbeagle at 7:50 PM on December 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

One relationship, 4.5 years: I was young and in love, didn't realize being derided all the time and made to feel ashamed of myself was wrong, and thought I'd grow thicker skin or become more capable and independent (& that one of the things preventing me from becoming more independent was the relationship itself). Also persistent emotional manipulation and not particularly consensual sex. Finally I moved across the world and soon after we broke up, though I wouldn't have said in advance that my intention was to leave him. In retrospect I'm so, so grateful that I left him when I did, and think of the relationship as abusive.

Another relationship, 6 years: Someone so lovely that I didn't pay attention to the nagging doubts about his irresponsibility, the things that embarrassed me about him from the start, his inability to deal with money, or shyness in talking about (and thus overcoming) relatively minor sexual incompatibility.

Someone recently mentioned in another thread on Ask that the nagging doubts you have about a partner at the beginning are a harbinger for the future, even if you eventually learn to look past (or rationalize) them later on. I'm pretty sure there's something important to that.
posted by tapir-whorf at 7:58 PM on December 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

Came back to agree with headnsouth. I love the saying 'When people show you who they are, believe them.' I wish I hadn't talked myself out of seeing the red flags that were in front of me. I can't say I regret my decision, because my children came out of this relationship, but it has been the hardest work I've ever done.
posted by toastedbeagle at 7:58 PM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

He spent 18 months convincing me that my previous experiences with domestically violent partners were abhorrent, he could never hit a woman he loved... and then one drunken night, proved himself to have lied.

Kinda ruined the whole trust thing for me, she says wryly.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:11 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Reasons my three long term relationships ended:

1. Depression and resentment from my partner that I had an "easy life" and he had a "difficult life."

2. We brought out the very worst in one another, but were amazing as friends.

3. Attraction on both sides petered out and we slowly became more like friends than lovers. We broke up and were both able to immediately date others since our relationship was just a friendship in the end.
posted by parakeetdog at 8:36 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I wish I could tell you. And that was ultimately the problem -- he wouldn't share why he was unhappy. He refused to share. When the problem is small, or even when it gets impossibly big -- you have to share.
posted by book 'em, danno at 10:16 PM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

Boredom. The first couple of times your partner tells a story, it's great and funny. The twelfth time, you realize he hasn't gotten any new material in ages, and that's not likely to change. You're going to hear him trot out the one about the band he had in high school, or his "crazy" college experiences, over and over like they happened yesterday. Conversations become if ... then exercises. Life gets predictable.

Passivity. Neither of you want to do the work to climb out of your comfortable rut and change your routine, and you become resentful expecting the other to initiate.

Negativity, and/or refusing to take responsibility. It starts to really grate when a partner has nothing but bad things to say about things going on in his life. Especially if he plays helpless about his role in his circumstances or his ability to change the things that are bothering him.
posted by griselda at 12:34 AM on December 6, 2012 [14 favorites]

I changed, and he didn't. Especially pernicious in the high-school-college-real-life transition phases.

But generally speaking: you want to grow together in a relationship, and it's difficult to maintain the same level of spark if one person is content to just....stagnate.
posted by Phire at 9:02 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I was depending on him too much for everything, and comparing him to past boyfriends. It was as a result of being a "serial-dater" in a string of LTRs, and it wasn't fair to anybody involved. (see this here question)
posted by moons in june at 11:33 AM on December 6, 2012

First relationship: Friends for two years in high school, then got together after high school -- long distance, ugh :( I broke up with him because I felt we did not have enough in common after all. Also, he was agnostic when we started the relationship but suddenly took a religious turn, while I'm pretty definitely atheist. The relationship lasted about a year and a half.
Second relationship: Met when I went to grad school in the US. Intense relationship of 2.5 years. In the beginning I was absolutely sure I wanted to be with him forever. I broke up with him because I was no longer attracted to him and I felt that we were too similar to be good for each other in a relationship. This was truly heartbreaking for us because we were sooooo close and dependent on each other and lived together and he was (and is) an absolutely wonderful person that I will always wish the very best for. But our faults were the same, so we would, for example, veg out on the couch when we got home, or procrastinate on something we needed to be working on or hide away from the world rather than facing it.
Third relationship: Not broken up yet and getting married soon, so fingers crossed. He is different from me, but in good ways not bad ones. On the important values we agree, but he's more likely to drag me out for a hike or prod me to do something I've been putting off. I feel that he encourages me to be a better version of myself, and I feel that I encourage him to be more spontaneous and outgoing as well.
posted by peacheater at 2:28 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

She had sex with someone that wasn't me, and then after I half-heartedly tried to patch things up, refused to work to patch things up and lamented at the fact that I hadn't broken up with her over the infidelity.

Fool me once...
posted by craven_morhead at 2:34 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Little things - snide comments about minor stuff, rolling eyes, refusal to spend time in my apartment - added up over time into something larger. Sex stopped. My picture of our future together became blurry then disappeared. I started, unconsciously I think, to build a bigger life outside my (bad) relationship.

Eventually something pretty bad happened, and when I sat down to examine things I realized there was nothing left there to save.

So pay attention to the little things. It's the foundation you need to keep things going through bad times. Make sure your partner feels loved and respected every day. And demand that for yourself too.
posted by overhauser at 6:08 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

1. whether or not to have kids. This one is the ultimate relationship dealbreaker of all time.

2. me having suffocating parent issues and that driving all of my SO's nuts, I was constantly being pulled back and forth by both sides whining that they wanted to win, and compromise between the warring parties was not gonna happen. Forced to choose, I'd pick my parents (one of whom was dying anyway, MORE GUILT) because they are/were more likely to be in my life longer than a boyfriend of X# of months. Not saying that's right on my part, because it isn't--I just couldn't take the guilt and drama that came from picking a boy first. That's one of the reasons why I don't date any more.

3. whether or not they can take care of themselves financially/jobwise if they have to. My last ex's ideal job would be a SAHM--he hated school and wouldn't go back, hated work and tended to get canned from jobs or quit in a huff, really just never liked any of the jobs he tried, wanted kids and was much more nurturing than me. However, I do not make buckets of money that we could both live off of, and I was not comfortable with him being a SAHS who blew any and all money that he got a hold of within 12 hours. If I wasn't able to support us both due to illness or unemployment, we would have been fucked. I wasn't comfortable or OK with this, and after 2 years of waiting around to see if the situation would improve, he broke up with me for being a nag. Fair enough.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:12 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here are some of mine:

Simply being too young and inexperienced to be ready to commit to either one person or a long-term open relationship.

I once dated someone who lived by a political ideology I found rigid and overly idealistic and was condescending about it. There were some hygiene issues that bothered me about the person also.

I was in an LTR with someone who allowed his parents to control him. They tried to control me as well. He also lied about issues from his past, and about other things in order to tell people what they wanted to hear.

The changes brought about by addiction and recovery, coupled with an age difference, were too much for my last LTR.

Don't date snobs, liars, addicts, or anyone whose life isn't in a good place for an LTR to thrive.
posted by xenophile at 9:15 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

1. More attraction to someone else, and we were both young and it was our first relationship, and it was long distance. One person decided to end it to pursue greener grass.

2. Cheating --> arguing --> breaking up --> one person got into a new relationship --> the end

3. One person decided after a couple of years that there wasn't a spark / feelings that it should lead to marriage. "No spark" is not something you can really fix.

4. Psycho ex + bad habits + mental health issues + me working 100 hour weeks --> us feeling distant --> one person sort of cheating --> arguing --> breaking up --> one person got into a new relationship --> the end

So a whole variety of reasons for me... no underlying theme that I can see.
posted by kellybird at 10:50 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The last relationship I was in was four years and I never saw it coming...

As unromantic the idea of money is, keep an eye out for the way your significant other handles it - ideally as good or better than you. Money is important to have a sustainable relationship - if you ever want children with this person or share bills or be able to at least have a perception of fairness.

Sometimes what people are most insecure about or what they fear will end a good relationship - they try and hide or minimalize it either intentionally or not. I still love this person but they showed me they couldn't change / I wasn't worth changing for.
posted by hillabeans at 2:17 PM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

Depression, and his unwillingness to get help for it. That seems to be a trend for a lot of people posting on this thread, unfortunately.

People with mental health issues deserve all the love and understanding in the world, but the partner playing the support role also has to feel like the depressed person is making an effort to get help. He wasn't, and he treated me very poorly as a result—to an extent that I'm a bit embarrassed/sad I put up with it for as long as I did.

He also wanted to live in a small town in the USA, while I'm a professional foreign correspondent and Asia analyst...that wasn't going to work out very well.
posted by cheberet at 10:04 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

« Older Hey! The present's down here!   |   You can't spell great without GRE Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.