What are some good reasons to end a relationship?
December 28, 2007 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Lately I have been thinking about ending my six-month relationship with a guy but cannot find a good reason to do it.

On the surface, I seem to have a normal relationship with him. When we meet, we watch movies, cook and go ice-skating. We seem not to have a lot of common interests but that doesn’t bother me very much—because I primarily look at the relationship as a way of de-stressing and relaxing. Our sex life also seems to be fine ---though I think that he wants more sex than I do.

I just feel like this relationship has had its run and now it is time to call it quits. I do not wish to settle down at this stage of my life (I am 27) and feel like I should date other men before I take that step. I am also not sure about what kind of relationship will suit my temperament, lifestyle and personality and I am hoping that dating will be a good way of determining that too.

I have discussed this with a few people in the past few days and they have all tried to dissuade me from doing it by giving the following arguments. First, they say that it will really hurt when I end it and then I will know how much I love him. And I agree that it will hurt—just thinking about it makes me very sad--- but then again, I think that that is not a good reason not to end it. Any major life change hurts initially but then people get used to it. Unless I can find reasons to be with him, I see no reason to continue. Second, they say that if I break off, I may end up being lonely. But then, I think that unless I try, I will never know. Finally, they say that eventually I will have to settle down with someone and I cannot keep ‘playing the field’ all my life. But then I think that I will settle down when I want to.

I am thoroughly confused about why I want to end this relationship and also if it is advisable to do it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
posted by Ria to Human Relations (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Do him a favor. Break it off. He deserves someone whose heart is in the relationship.
posted by JimN2TAW at 11:39 AM on December 28, 2007 [9 favorites]

"I just feel like this relationship has had its run and now it is time to call it quits."

You've said all you need to say there. Don't settle just to settle. And as JimN2TAW said, he doesn't deserve to be strung along in that manner.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:43 AM on December 28, 2007

You don't need a good reason (or any reason, for that matter) to break a relationship off. It seems that you're not committed to making this relationship work, and not interested in finding such a commitment, and all of that's fine, but it's a sure sign that it's time to end it.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 11:44 AM on December 28, 2007

Best answer: I just feel like this relationship has had its run and now it is time to call it quits. I do not wish to settle down at this stage of my life (I am 27) and feel like I should date other men before I take that step.

That's reason enough. Relationships don't have to end in scandal or drama; sometimes they just fizzle out or fade away. If your heart isn't in it, it's not in it. Believe me, if there were reasons to stick around, you wouldn't be feeling like this. Break it off and explore your options. You might regret it, you might not, but it sounds like you want to learn some things about yourself or about life, and either way this will help you accomplish that.
posted by boomchicka at 11:44 AM on December 28, 2007 [3 favorites]

1. Bite the bullet and break the relationship off. No relationship is absolutely perfect, but if you are disinterested in him at this point that is going to get worse and turn into resentment.

2. "more inside" is your friend.
posted by edgeways at 11:48 AM on December 28, 2007

Do it before New Years and do him the favor of letting him be a wounded bunny on NYE so that some gal from the party fucks his brains out.
posted by rhizome at 11:57 AM on December 28, 2007 [7 favorites]

End it sooner rather than later. It is a risk, for the reasons you detail, but so is all of life.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:01 PM on December 28, 2007

1. You want to date around, and that sounds like a good idea. You're not sure what kind of relationship you want, and you are correct in believing that dating a variety of people is an excellent way to figure that out.

2. You're sad about the idea of ending it with him.

Why not see if he's open to the idea of continuing your relationship while you also date other people? Tell him that you don't want to end it with him, but that you feel you want more experience dating a variety of people.

There are plenty of people who maintain multiple simultaneous relationships, with full knowledge of all involved. Read up on polyamory for more info. (FAQ) You don't have to approach it from that light, of course, you could just say that you would like to keep seeing him and date other people too. If he doesn't want that, then there's a good chance he will end the relationship for you, saving you the trouble of figuring out how to do that.
posted by cyber druid at 12:02 PM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing"

'nuff said. If he doesn't curl your toes, that is enough of a reason. I really don't see the point of staying with someone just to stay with them or have a relationship. Really, what is the point of that? It's not fair to either one of you and while you are in "eh" land with this guy, your better match might just cross your path and then that will be mighty awkward. Don't cling to someone out of fear.
posted by 45moore45 at 12:03 PM on December 28, 2007

I am thoroughly confused about why I want to end this relationship and also if it is advisable to do it.

You don't sound confused. You sound like you don't have answers that make your friends agree with you, but your friends aren't dating the guy, you are. It's nice that they care about you being lonely, but this is totally your call.
posted by desuetude at 12:07 PM on December 28, 2007

nthing all of the above. break it off.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:19 PM on December 28, 2007

What's to be confused about? The reasons you present for staying in the relationship - your friends think you will be sad and lonely, and you don't want to hurt him - are terribly reasons for staying. This really isn't hard: do him, and you, a favor and break up with him. He deserves better, and so do you.

(also, it's perfectly possible to not be lonely when single, just like it's possible to be lonely when you're with someone.)
posted by rtha at 12:21 PM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Go with your instincts. The three reasons your friends supplied are all based on fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of being alone, and fear that this relationship could be your last chance before you degenerate into old maidhood. Fear, while a useful emotion, is not a good reason to continue something that isn't working.*

Oh, and regarding cyber druid's suggestion of polyamory: I'm sure it works for some people, but wouldn't that be a better idea when you actually loved being around the guy, instead of looking for reasons to ditch him? It sounds like you're saying "meh, he's great and all but 6 months from now I wouldn't miss him if he fell off a cliff today." Do him a favor and end it now. Then you can both be happier 6 months from now.

*Unless it's fear of being alone on New Year's. In which case, tell him January 1 or January 2.
posted by Happydaz at 12:21 PM on December 28, 2007

Best answer: Whatever you do, don't make it his problem. And by that I mean, be honest with him, and do it quickly. Don't give him a reason to break up with you, and don't be unfaithful to him. Don't let it get that far. Passive-aggressive breakups are way worse than a simple "I think we should break up because the magic is gone." or something similar.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:22 PM on December 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

Shoot, I just re-read your question, and it's not "are my friends' reasons good?", it's "what good reasons are there for breaking up?" Here's a few: Not loving the other person as much (or more than) yourself. Not liking the person anymore. Realizing the other person is boring. Realizing that you aren't attracted to the person anymore. Falling for someone else (this is not always a great reason to abort, though.) Incompatibility with basic beliefs (shall we have children, etc). Realizing that you don't want to marry the person (if getting married is your end-goal for dating.)

Oh, and here is another terrible reason that some people use for staying together: "We have so much history together." Yes, shared experiences are great, but a wonderful past does not make up for a crappy present (unless the past gives you reason to believe the prior good stuff will repeat itself.)
posted by Happydaz at 12:30 PM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just to be contrary, I'm going to suggest that you stick it out. Stay in a "meh" relationship, eventually slide into a boring and dutiful marriage. Give birth and allow your children to share in the mutual tolerance that you and your spouse have for one another. Half-ass your way through middle age and retirement, and when he finally dies you may be able to find someone in the retirement home who floats your boat. Or keeps it barely afloat, whichever.

Well, okay, I'm a lousy contrarian. Do what you know needs to be done.
posted by tkolar at 12:30 PM on December 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

We seem not to have a lot of common interests

AAANNNDDD there's your reason.

I have had to break up with perfectly good men back in my single days and it is definitely no fun, but I was right to do it. And as for the other side-when guys broke up with me I rarely wanted them back for the reason that if they didn't want ME I didn't really want THEM.

It's time.
posted by konolia at 12:58 PM on December 28, 2007

Best answer: First, they say that it will really hurt when I end it and then I will know how much I love him.

Well there is your problem. Your friends give shitty advice. If you don't know how much you love him now why would you love him later? Sure, you might later mistake regret for love. But that isn't the same thing.

Get back in the dating pool. You have given yourself enough reasons to move on and are just looking for validation.

Happy hunting.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:11 PM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This feeling you have, of wanting to get out there and just "find out" or "see what it's like"? It's probably not going away. If you're having this generalized kind of gut feeling, and it's not due to a specific crush on someone new, then you're probably, on some level, just "settling" for this fellow. (Not that getting a specific crush on someone new doesn't sometimes serve as an alert that one's settling, just that there are a lot of other issues involved when one gets a crush on someone while already in a relationship—and if getting a crush on someone meant a relationship was automatically "settling" or "meh," well, we'd have some societal problems to contend with.)

It also sounds like you're not really communicating with each other, and perhaps not even being honest with yourselves, about your wants, likes and dislikes. It seems like you're both kind of "going along, getting along"—and while that's good enough, and it might seem at times, to you and your friends both, like a safe, conflict-free existence, it's really not the way to go.

Passion in a relationship is worth waiting for.
posted by limeonaire at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

One of those things I think is hard to really believe, even if we know it's true, is that we have no moral obligation to stay in a relationship if it doesn't continue to make us happy. Relationships don't have to end in spectacular fights. You're clearly no longer into it, so end it, and do both of you a favor. You don't need another reason.

And find some friends who give better advice, sheesh.
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:44 PM on December 28, 2007

Oh, and don't worry about being lonely. You may be lonely, you may love being single again, but either way you don't want to be one of those people who always has to be in a relationship.
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:51 PM on December 28, 2007

Best answer: I admire you for thinking about ending a relationship that you can handle but isn't serving you. That's something I have trouble with.
Consider a fable (based on a true story): A woman dedicated her life to the flute, becoming a world-class concert performer, spending the majority of her waking hours practicing, playing or doing something related to the flute. After decades of this, one day she rethought the question: "What do I want from music? What do I want to do with my life?"
And it wasn't the flute.
She put it down and walked away.

Just because the attachment, even love, for something is there...if it doesn't serve your life, then it has to be let go. Perhaps it can remain a part of your life in a different way, but don't let the attachment due to the past keep you from moving forward.
posted by Furious Fitness at 3:45 AM on December 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks guys, for all the advice. You have been a great help!
posted by Ria at 3:52 PM on December 30, 2007

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