To Break Up or Not to Break Up

The topic of relationships seems to be coming up a lot right now - maybe because it's spring. Last week, someone in my book club asked if she should end her relationship with her girlfriend. We had a really nice chat and here is a brief and somewhat simplified version of my response. * 

Whether or not to break up with someone can be a really big question (sometimes it's pretty cut and dry) and it's actually a question no one can answer except you. Here are some things to consider to help you make your decision.

What is leading you to ask the question? How long have you been feeling this way? Has something happened recently or repeatedly that is making you question your relationship? If so, what is it? Can you rank it on a scale from 1-10, 1 being not a big deal and 10 being a deal breaker? What are your deal breakers and has she violated any of them? What are your reasons for being with her? How does she make you feel on a daily basis? How would you feel without her? Is she helping or holding you back from being the best version of yourself? Is there any abuse in the relationship (physical, emotional, psychological)? (If the answer to this question is yes - please seek immediate help.)

In addition to thinking about your relationship on your own, have you talked with your girlfriend about how you're feeling? If it is safe to do so, honest, open communication might help you get some more clarity. You don't have to say "I'm thinking about breaking up with you," but you can say something along the lines of, "I'm having some doubts about our relationship. Can we talk about us?" If you want to stay with her, maybe you can work on your relationship together? Going to couples counseling together could also be an option for you.

Personally, having been on both sides of a relationship ending (being the one doing the breaking up and being the one who is broken up with), I can say that neither is preferable - at least for me. If you do decide that the relationship is not working, think about how you would like to be broken up with and if possible, try to come from a place of respect, kindness and understanding. A good benchmark to keep in mind is, upon looking back at the event some time from now, can you feel proud about the way you handled it?

Good luck with your decision and as always, I'm happy to provide more guidance if you'd like.

*(Although this was written for a same sex couple, the ideas can be applied to any couple, or any part of a couple that is asking the same question.)