“Should I Break Up?” The ONE Question You Need to Ask

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 My boyfriend and I have been together for three years. Over the last eight months or so we’ve spent more of our time together fighting than doing anything else. Something seems to have changed, but I don’t know what. Sometimes I feel I never understood him to start with and this relationship has been a colossal mistake. Should I break up?

Should I break upPhoto by Love is the key

Pooja from Thane is not alone. All relationships hit lows, and we’re often kept guessing which ones can be worked out and which ones can’t.

“Should I stay and work it out, or should I break up?” If you’ve ever been in a relationship, that question has probably crossed your mind more than once. Today’s post is an exploration of that question.

Fortunately, there’s just ONE question you need to ask yourself to know exactly what to do. That question is:

“Is this relationship giving me what I need from it?” You stay only if the answer is, “Yes.”

But what does it mean to “get what you need from your relationship”? Here are the top four indicators.

#1. Is communication easy? Even during fights?

One of the surefire signs of a fulfilling relationship is ease of communication.

All couples fight.

During fights, do they call you a “&*^%”, “^$$#”, “****”?

Or they catch you completely off-guard every time by throwing your shortcomings – which you confessed to them at a vulnerable moment – back at you in a cruel way?

Do they shout their lungs out?

Or they catch you completely off-guard every time by citing incidents from the past which apparently annoyed them, but they never told you at the time?

Fighting, and making your displeasure clear to the other person is natural. It happens in every relationship. You fight, but even when you fight you don’t have any problem understanding each other (even each other’s displeasure).  

But if you feel manipulated, baffled and accused in completely unexpected ways all the time, there’s a communication gulf between the two of you. Somewhere you don’t understand each other, each other’s language, each other’s thoughts, expectations and needs.

If you don’t understand them, you’re most likely not fulfilling them.

#2.Does their vision of the future look alarmingly different from yours?  

On one of those rare occasions when you’re not fighting and yet talking, they announced their dreams of living and working in different countries throughout their career.

Your heart sank.

You remembered how you whispered into each other’s ears your dreams of settling down back in your quaint little hometown, in the initial days of your relationship.

Should I break upPhoto by Gizo

This isn’t sounding like the old him/her you knew. Somewhere along the way the needs and wants from life have changed – their, or yours.

A relationship is not about one of you fitting into the other’s journey. It’s about figuring out your journey, and finding someone who shares it. More or less. So, if you have very different needs from life as of today, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.

#3.Whenever you’re alone with your partner, do you wish other people were around?

Communication has broken down, and you’ve come a long way from each other. Emotionally. The alone-time you both so looked forward to is now something you both dread. Alone-time now looks like nothing more than an opportunity for Apocalypse-time.

You don’t have anything to talk to each other about. If you try, it ends in an argument.

You’re judging each other all the time, waiting for signs in their behaviour which validate your newly formed set of negative expectations.

If you prefer being with others more than with each other, it’s time to assess things very carefully.

#4. Are you always critical of each other?

His mannerisms come across as obnoxious to you. He looks at you and thinks, “I could get a so much more beautiful girl.”

Worse – you compare each other with others. In your mind, of course.

Even worse – you try to change them. You well-meaningly suggest how they should become a better person.

And before you know it this has led to yet another nerve-racking fight.

Forgiveness thy name is love. All of us have flaws. But if you’re in love with someone you’ll look past them – even find them cute. And so, if irrational displeasure at almost everything your partner is and does has crept into the relationship, it’s more a sign of the relationship wilting than some real new shortcomings you both have magically developed.

There are dozens of signs – small and big – to look for, when it comes to deciding, “Should we think things through once again?” Over to you…

21 thoughts on ““Should I Break Up?” The ONE Question You Need to Ask”

  1. “Whenever you’re alone with your partner, do you wish other people were around?” Geez that’s so creepily familiar…sent a chill down my spine…

    1. Shruti – I’ve been there myself. With my husband.
      The good news is, we worked it out. And you can too. :) How – is the topic of many future posts to come.

  2. ..catch you completely off-guard every time by throwing your shortcomings – which you confessed to them at a vulnerable moment – back at you in a cruel way? – that’s my wife’s favourite. This is increasing distance between us. I can’t talk to her freely without worrying about how she might use whatever I say against me sometime in the future.
    Any suggestions???

  3. Are you always critical of each other?? That’s a sign that we should break up? Are you sure?
    No one is perfect and I think it’s very normal for two people who’re together to find faults in each other and criticize and fight and then kiss and make up.

    Just like the dude/dudette with zero flaws doesn’t exist, the one who finds their partner 100% perfect doesn’t either.
    Either that, or they’re daydreaming and are in a very initial inebriated stage of their relationship.

    1. You’re bang on Neha – just like the Mr./Ms. Perfect doesn’t exist the Ms./Mr. You’re Perfect doesn’t exist either.
      However if you read carefully you’ll find what I’m saying is not that perfect couples find zero flaws in each other, but that they love each other with each other’s flaws. Like I’ve mentioned – we all know people who find their partner’s snub little nose/loud way of talking/clumsy dancing cute.
      If however, everything that your partner is or does – every little characteristic mannerism, way of talking, even the way they look – come across as annoying to you, you might have to do some soul-searching and see how much of the old feelings are still alive.

    2. Just like the dude/dudette with zero flaws doesn’t exist, the one who finds their partner 100% perfect doesn’t either.

      Thanks for this line. It’s a learning for me as i was searching for perfect match, and confused with current girlfriend as i am not seeing butterflies in me.

  4. Very interesting post Sulagna. I really liked it :)

    While I was reading this, I was getting reminded of the arguments I have with my boyfriend and how despite all the ugliness I get jittery with the thought of breaking up! For me the first point you mentioned came as a solace. This relationship, inspite of all the flaws is giving me what I need; peace of mind :)

    Beyond that, I wanted to say that I have always felt, that the concept of accepting each other as they are is a little over rated. People get together, they like each other and think that this is what they wanted from a partner. Their expectations from each other are set at that moment and they freeze it. We all know that overtime things change, situations change, people also change and there isn’t anything wrong about it. However, our expectations remain glued to that instant. At this point, they feel that the cause to fall out of relationship should be the fact that they cant accept each other as partners anymore.

    I feel that this is not the best approach. Laying out expectations in the open is not wrong. Telling your partner what troubles you about him/her, and giving him/her a chance to see if that is alterable is not wrong. Imagine a wife getting bugged by the thought that her husband leaves the wet towel on the bed and other such things. And she goes on to think that her husband is not what she can accept because he is careless, irresponsible, not what she wanted. However, if she tells him that her expectations from a husband are such and such, they might be too much, but she has to be honest. And then both of them can sit and discuss how much adjustment is going to come from each side.

    Well, I realize I may be talking about an idealistic situation here. A fantacy world where communication is so easy and smooth between couples. But yes, communication is the most important element in nay relationship.

    1. “Their expectations from each other are set at that moment and they freeze it.” That’s a unique thought Vibhuti. As you’ve said – we build a mental picture of our partners at the very initial stage, hold on to it as long as it gets re-affirmed by our experiences, and then start force-fitting them to those expectations if and when our partner starts changing.
      However, even if the person doesn’t change, often our initial impressions of them may have been too idealistic, too overlook-the-bad, which leads to disillusionment later.
      When I say re-evaluate your relationship, it doesn’t always have to end in a break-up. As you’ve so rightly pointed out, communicating actively is key. First step is to clarify what were your expectations from your partner and which ones are not getting fulfilled in the current scenario.
      It looks like a single sentence but unfolds like a traumatic never-ending blame game.
      The strength of understanding between a couple is tested at this stage if and when they attempt to have an open discussion about their disappointments. The key to avoiding yet another turmoil, of course, is to be conscious of this possibility.
      It’s great to know that you’ve found happiness in your relationship and congratulations to you and Mr. Lucky! :)
      Thank you for the really insightful comment. Keep them coming. :)

  5. Break-up, This world never come in mind, Well Break-up means you’re hearing someone, If you just wanna Break-up with your partner. I think Self-analysis is the first step to stop a breakup.

    1. Hey Vivek…by “hearing” do you mean that the idea of break-up has to be planted in your mind by someone else? You’re really really lucky in that case Vivek, ’cause most couples of this world have had doubts about their relationship at some point of time or the other. I’ve myself felt it so many times – with the guy who’s now my husband! Since then things have changed – he has changed, I have changed, the situation has changed, and we’ve learned more about each other and each other’s needs. And things have turned around. It’s hard to imagine for me today where he and I were less than a year ago.
      Doubts will be there from time to time. The key is to be conscious and think clearly. Self-analysis – as you’ve so rightly pointed out. And then, of course the first step is to see if the relationship can somehow be saved. But as we all know, all relationships are not meant to be. All relationships are not right, ’cause they sap the energy of both the people instead of enriching them. Those are the relationships you should think out of.

  6. If at all do i ever get close 2 a female…i m never ever going to talk to her about my weaknesses or something wrong i have ever done…though i have never done anything wrong or disgraceful as yet… while reading this article i had (mentally) gone into d ‘flash back of my life’ … its so true-people keep things close to their hearts & use it at times when v actually expect them to empathize with us… its a very well written article…written by some1 who has been there & seen it…some real manifestation of feelings through d words being used is happening here… period.

    1. Thank you for your appreciation Swapnil. :)
      I know the feeling. :(
      Not letting your guards down till they’ve earned your trust – as you’ve mentioned – is one of the first rules. However in the unfortunate even that it does come to the point where such incidences of shocking manipulation are common in the relationship, you need to take a step back and just relax. The golden rule of defeating manipulators is stop taking them seriously.
      “They’re accusing me of xyz? Let them.”
      “They’re calling my family xyz? Let them.” Just smile, turn your mind away, and refuse to participate in the mudslinging .

  7. I want to share a testimony of my life to every one. My name is Christabel Lugard from USA, I was married to my husband john smith, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady called Mary, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don’t know what to do until I met my friend miss Lina and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr Kalakuta who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 3 days. Miss Lina ask me to contact Dr K. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by two days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband.
    It’s surprising but such things do happen. I wouldn’t have believed in it either if it hadn’t happened to me. :-)

    1. Thanks for sharing your story dear. While it’s hard to accept that whatever this Dr. Did had anything to do with your husband calling you back, I’m glad you’re happy now. :-)

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