To dump or not to dump is the question we must answer!
One of the toughest things most people face in a relationship is deciding when to cut your losses. In fact, for most of us, relationships have become part of our identity. Our names come with the word “and” attached. We find that comfortable in many ways. To be sure, as soon as we get into a relationship, we want out, and as soon as we get out of one, we want in. It’s a ridiculous cycle, filled with regret, and wondering if we made the right decision, not to mention the self-doubt that comes from seeing the sort of whore he shacks up with to get over us. (Face it honey, they are always whores…even when they aren’t) The whole thing leaves us wondering just staying put isn’t the best decision we can make. We console ourselves with platitudes like “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, or “Everything happens for a reason”, but in the end, we know that’s all a bunch of bulldookie, and that the real problem is that we won’t commit ourselves fully to keeping or ending the relationship.
So then, how do you know what to do? It’s simple. Follow these three basic rules of new relationships and you will never find yourself in a quagmire again:
Firstly, if a relationship is not the easiest thing you have ever done in your life for the first six months, run (don’t walk) to the nearest exit. Relationships are hard work. However, in their infancy, they should be fresh, vibrant and exciting. You should feel as if you have met “the one”. When the phone rings at 3 a.m. your heart should skip a happy beat forcing the weariness from your eager body, because you know it’s him. An all nighter under the stars should be spontaneous and leave you more breathless than tired. Your day dreams should be filled with thoughts of ballrooms, champagne, caviar, and dancing. When you think of him, your should scream the word “Finally!” The entire romance industry is about the newness of love. In the end, we know that champagne and caviar truly ever only becomes fish sticks and beer, but for the moment, for those brief six months, a new relationship should lie to us and tell us that this one is different. If that’s not the case, Run!
No matter how sad, the infancy stage of a relationship must end if there is ever to be maturity in your relationship. That’s why rule two is so important to follow: If the second six months of your relationship is not filled with arguments, and doubts, and the unmitigated desire to throttle him, Run! It takes about 6 months for people to truly begin to settle down enough in a relationship enough to be themselves. This is the period in time in which he starts to fart openly and to look to you for approval after a “good one”. He’s likely been in the bathroom brushing his teeth while you pee by now, and you have met each other’s friends and parents if they are nearby. If you haven’t complicated matters by moving in together, one of you has a toothbrush at the others’ house, probably yours because your place is nicer and not likely as filled with embarrassing roommates that want a crack at you when he’s done.
It’s gotten comfortable, but his jokes have grown tired. Your eyes have started to roll back in your head when you hear someone offer him stimuli for the smart Alec remark you know is coming. You secretly wonder why his mom didn’t kill him at birth. This is the period of time when you feel like his arm trophy. You know for certain he’s not listening to you, despite his irritating ability to regurgitate whatever it was you just said, with a tone in his voice that says, “I’m on my last life. Just let me kill this Saxon warrior and get to the next level for God’s sake!” You are at your wits’ end, and so is he. Fast food take-out and watching him play on his X-Box is not anything even close to the splendor filled nights at the local dinner theater that you knew would make themselves manifest just three short months ago. Never mind that you don’t even know where any dinner theaters are. He promised you dinner theaters damn it and dinner theaters you shall have! (Or there will be hell to pay!) To be fair, he didn’t actually promise you dinner theaters. He just led you to believe he was different than the others, and now you have learned differently. This was not in the brochure! Relax honey. Take the time to have the arguments. When people fight, they are most themselves and you will soon know exactly what sort of man you have allowed into your life. In fact, if there isn’t a consistent fight happening during the second six months of your relationship, someone simply doesn’t care enough to fight. He’s not that perfect, and neither are you! If you aren’t fighting, Run!
The third rule of relationships, and likely the most important, is this: if after one year of dating, you have not come to the end of the first fighting phase and gotten to a place where you have accepted that he’s not who you thought he was, but that there is something worth keeping, Run! Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “fixer up opportunity” when it comes to men. You have to assume that nothing about him will ever change. If at the end of that first year you are not absolutely certain that you can’t live a day without this big idiot sharing your life, Run! The only time people ever waste time in a relationship is during this phase. It’s the hardest time to let go, to be certain, because you have invested so much, but no amount of hoping for the good old days or hoping that a little addition to your lives, or hoping that new job, or moving in together will change the fact that you had a lovely dance, but the band has stopped playing. It’s sad and it hurts, but the fact is that things either fit or they don’t. There’s nothing wrong with him. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just not the right fit. Chin up darling! There’s some other guy out there begging to adorn you with promises of champagne and caviar, so put on your best ball room dress and put out your dance card. The first six months is gonna be a blast! Happy Dancing!