So. You and your beau are strugglin’. To quote Lane, the actual name of my driving instructor, you have “passed the point of no return.” What was once rainbows and butterflies (thnx Maroon 5) now needs some compromise (again, great lyrics). Maybe it’s just an awkward phase, or maybe, just maybe, it’s time to call it quits. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but *GASP* not everything works out in the end. If you’re wondering whether this is merely a rough patch that requires a little extra TLC or whether it’s time to break up, here are five very important and super scientific questions to help you discern whether or not your relationship is heading down the tubes.
1. Are you always talking about the future?
Statements like, “When we’re married,” and “I’m going to make sure our children, little Imogen (please don’t name your daughter Imogen) and little Desdemona (PLEASE don’t name your daughter Desdemona), start with ballet before they start taking drama classes!” should be erased from your vernacular for the time being. You need to appreciate the time you’re spending together in the moment. Sure, future plans are important; it’s essential to find out whether or not your boyfriend believes in core values like a woman’s right to choose and have her own savings account (trust me), but it’s very easy to fall into the trap of “Someday…” and can be incredibly detrimental to your current happiness. Would you be focusing so hard on the future if the present was really so great? Girl, if you ain’t happy in the now… you ain’t got the partner you’re supposed to have.
2. How much yelling is happening?
If your answer is anything other than “None. No yelling is happening,” then you need to stop, drop, and re-evaluate (that’s the saying, right? #firesafety). Your partner should not yell at you. That’s not an okay thing for someone to do to you ever. You should not be raising your voice, either. You are both adults, you both learned problem solving skills in preschool (YES YOU DID, DON’T ARGUE WITH ME), and you are both capable of talking out your issues. TALKING, I SAID. TALKING. (CAPS LOCK IS NOT YELLING.)
3. Are your current problem solving skills applicable to life’s bigger issues?
Speaking of problem solving skills, take a second to reflect re: what you’re fighting about right now. Say for instance you told him he had a pimple that was ready to pop, but were mistaken, and when he popped it it started to bleed and he got angry with you (totally made up incident… maybe). Take a second. Ask yourself two questions. A) Is this person’s perspective on life similar and/or complementary to mine? B) What happens when legitimately serious issues arise that we are expected to deal with side by side? Life is real long, babe. It’s impossible to have any concrete ideas about what’s going to happen to us on this planet we call home (cue the Philip Glass music), and if you are already bickering about trivial issues, you will simply not be able to withstand the curveballs life is going to throw at the two of you. It will be far more bearable to face these issues alone, or with someone who is demonstrably on your team.
4. Is it a good relationship or just good sex?
We can all get addicted to the D. Or the P. Or the DP (I am foggy about the details of this latter option). Don’t get it twisted. You really can have great sex with most people when you care about them. You will find this again. You will. Hey: I promise. Yes you will. Besides, pizza is still pizza at the end of the day, am I right?
5. Do you feel equally supported in the pursuit of your individual goals?
Everybody has their own strengths, for sure. Where your talents ebb, his or hers might flow and vice versa. Over the course of a relationship there will be definite power switches and undoubtedly times where you are not as successful as your partner. However, if you get the general sense that your path in life is much more productive and promising than your beau’s, this could be a problem. What are your partner’s goals? Does he or she even have any? If you find yourself constantly skeptical of the trajectory of your partner’s ambitions, this is a pretty big sign that something is off. After a long day of hustlin’ at your job, workin’ t’wards your dreamzz of being the big-haired country singer you’ve always wanted to be, you are allowed to be bored to tears by your partner’s inaction. Tbh, I’m not sure how many fruitless discussions about “project ideas” a person should really have to humour. Girl, you work so hard! It’s time to find a person who wants to contribute to the world. Get out while you can!
DO YOUR FRIENDS EVEN LIKE HIM THO? They know you so well. If you’ve chosen to surround yourself with people who truly care about your well-being, they know when the person you’re dating is no longer contributing to your growth. And if you don’t trust their opinions, then maybe it’s also time for new friends (curveball).
I can’t tell you enough how fine you’re going to be (For real. You’re going to be damn fine.).Ifyou need to, take yourself away from a situation that is not working for you; it will only make more space in your life for positive influences and events. Eventually you’ll look back on this time with fondness (again, I pinky promise it’s not as bad as you think) and will be able to reminisce with nostalgia but not regret about that sad comedian/weird musician/transient foreigner/fill in your own blank you dated that one time. You took a risk on an unfamiliar relationship option, and you gave it your all. That’s admirable and great. Just don’t let yourself get stuck in something that’s no longer working!
Go and be free! (or… like, I don’t know, go read a book or something. YOU GOT OPTIONS!)