I like Sophia Benoit from GQ. Her prose doesn’t descend to the levels of most first-person journalism you’d read in EliteDaily or Elephant Journal.
This piece, simply called “When to Walk Away From a Bad Relationship,” is something I wholeheartedly endorse as one of the few dating coaches who believe it’s better to find an easy relationship than it is to double down on fixing a broken one.
With the exception of at the altar, or during sex, there’s no wrong time to break up with someone.
Money quote: “Let me set you straight: With the exception of at the altar, or during sex, there’s no wrong time to break up with someone. Everyone feels pressure to pick the “right” time, or even a good time…There’s no magical time when your partner is going to like being broken up with. Within reason (e.g., don’t call them at work or tell them while you guys visit their parent in the hospital), once you decide you want to break up, your best bet is as soon as possible.”
Yup. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who told me that they are in the process of breaking up with someone and that this process may take a few months.
I usually correct them by saying, “You can hang up on me right now, call him, and be broken up in less than a minute.”
To which, of course, there is no defense – only the shameful silence of someone who knows she CAN act, but won’t do it.
Continues Benoit, “Until you two are married with kids, you can leave at any time. You can leave even if you’ve only been dating for a month. It’s very easy to convince yourself that you haven’t given someone a “fair chance,” but you probably have. Firstly, “a fair chance” is an arbitrary benchmark that no one can help you define, and also: You are not required to give anyone more of your time. It’s perfectly fine for a small moment to be a deal breaker, especially if that small moment points to the fact that this person is cruel or manipulative or disingenuous.”
I made a million mistakes as single guy, all of which prepared me for this unusual, made-up career, but the one thing I never did was stay with someone for too long. I as I wrote in Believe in Love, the second I knew it wasn’t right was the second I broke up. Which gave me ample opportunity to learn about myself, dating and women instead of doubling down on a dead-end relationship the way so many people do out of fear, inertia, loneliness or a lack of confidence.
So let’s hear it for breaking up. It may not be pleasant, but it’s a useful skill to have when you don’t want to waste your life on the wrong person.
Do you pull the trigger quickly? Do you stay too long? Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.