How To Tell When It's Time To Dump
Being dumped is a horrible feeling. The rejection stings. The disappointment of another failed relationship crushes us. We can easily listen to the voices that tell us, “this is it. We will never be loved again.” We can spiral. Sometimes we throw ourselves into another relationship or a string of situation ships to ease the pain. We can turn to vices like drugs, alcohol, overspending, overworking. We can fill our time with anything but self love. We unknowingly punish ourselves.
The reality is that person or the timing just isn’t right. Maybe that person came into our lives to touch us in some way or we needed to touch their lives in some way. We needed to learn a hard lesson about pride, vulnerability, boundaries, selflessness, whatever it may be. It’s hard, but we have to not let ourselves fall into the victimhood of a dumpee. Believe there is someone else out there for you or choose to believe maybe there isn’t. Maybe your fairy tale ending is you living a life by yourself accomplishing your goals surrounded by your friends and your family. I hope there is more for me and I hope there is more for you, but if there isn’t, know that eventually we will get to a place in our hearts where we have accepted our fate when it comes to the love department.
In this podcast, we have talked a lot about being rejected, but what it’s like when you are the one who pulls the plug on the relationship? How do you come to a decision that will affect your life and someone else’s without having regret? How do we get to that place to where we know deep within our being that this is not going to work?
I can think of several big relationships in my life where I assured the man I wouldn’t leave him, only to in fact, leave him weeks or even days later. Why would I do this? Well, if I am having to assure someone of my love for them, we are probably not doing well and more than likely I am in denial at that time that one of us is going to have to walk away. It saddens me to think that I lied to someone, multiple people, including myself.
For me, if I am in a committed relationship with someone, I don’t want it to end. I want it to work. I am a woman in my thirties who values relationships with other people and sees everything in her life as having some kind of goal at the end. I don’t like to waste time in anything I do. I like to live every moment of my life with purpose which makes resting hard, but we digress...
When a relationship starts to get hard, we roll with it. No one is exactly like us. We have to set aside differences, make compromises, and probably a lot of other stuff that I don’t even know about as I have never been married nor do I have children.
Relationships are hard. Life is hard. Attaining goals is hard. Nothing is easy. Sometimes dumpers are just quitters, but sometimes dumpers see something either the other person can’t see or they see something the other person sees but can’t admit. Sometimes dumpers see the truth: the relationship won’t make it. For Christians, it’s confusing because there is no dating in the Bible. In Biblical times, we read about marriages. There’s no test trial. We approach every relationship wondering if this is the person we are supposed to marry, to grow with, to collaborate with, to build with in order to advance the Kingdom of God. At least, that’s what I do. Sure, maybe I can love you, but can I build with you?
This is how we make the decision on whether or not to terminate the relationship or hang in there. We ask ourselves hard questions. We ask ourselves questions not just about our possible future with the other person, but the present. What is happening now in the relationship? Are there more bad times than good? Are your differences dealbreakers? Are you repeatedly having problems communicating despite your best efforts?
This is the thing: when we have problems in relationships, we can’t just run away. It’s not mature. This is us having expectations and fleeing because they can’t be met. We will continuously have these unmet expectations on others until we change our mindset on what we should be getting out of a relationship. But are your problems stealing your peace? Are you noticing you are becoming more withdrawn because you’re constantly wondering if this is going to work? Have your conversations with your friends gone from, “He or she is so great” to “I have an eye twitch”? Are you losing sleep? Are you losing yourself to the relationship or the drama of the relationship? What consumes you the most? Are you out of balance and it’s been going on past your threshold? Then I am sorry to say, it is time to get out. And not only is it time to get out; it’s imperative you remember these things once you’re out of it so you don’t let regret spill into your mind and take over your spirit.
Don’t look at the past. Don’t dwell on how things were before they got rocky. That’s irrelevant now. The relationship has changed. We are talking about relationships outside of marriage. In marriages, I would say it’s different, but if you aren’t married, as my friend Sean used to tell me, “quit acting like you’re married”. Stop acting like a spouse if you aren’t a spouse. If you don’t live together because you’re unmarried, stop spending all your time at their house. You have your own place for a reason. Enjoy it. You haven’t made a commitment to the other person in front of God and everyone you hold dear to you. You don’t have to overextend yourself. You don’t have to stay in a relationship that is causing you distress if you aren’t married. Marriages take a special kind of work. Dating relationships don’t.
That’s kind of the beauty of it. You can have more chill. Let yourself have some chill. So we have looked at the present. Are you stressed? Are you overly consumed by the drama of the relationship? If you have checked yes, then it may be time to check out. Let’s look at the future, now. Are the problems you are having now capable of being resolved in the near future? Are you wishing you could spend more time together but currently, he’s wrapped up in a project at work or school that’s going to be finished soon? Once the project is over, you’ll get the time you want. That isn’t a dealbreaker. Here, we are looking at the relationship as going through a difficult season and not as if it’s doomed or over. Get a grip.
When we look at the future in regard to ending the relationship, we are looking at if the two of you can not necessarily sail off into the sunset together, but can the two of your lives come together and stay that way? We are looking for each person’s needs to be able to be met in the long run. The issues you are having now in the relationship: can they actually get better with time or will they continue?
How do we know?
This is this thing. WE ALL HAVE BAGGAGE. WE ALL HAVE WOUNDS. These problems that you are having...are you having them because of unrealistic expectations? Are you having them because circumstances are just kind of inconvenient for the relationship right now? Are you just kind of annoyed for whatever reason with the other person?
Or are you seeing red flags? I hate to even use the term red flags because it almost creates the idea that our partner’s behavior is threatening to our peace or sanity. Sometimes red flags are signs of abusive behavior or infidelity, but sometimes red flags are someone’s wounds taking control of the relationship. So let’s change our perspective. Is our partner hurting and we can’t help them? Are their wounds bleeding into the relationship despite anything positive going on within the relationship? When someone has unhealed trauma in their lives, they need help and it can’t be from you. You are not their therapist. You are not Jesus. You are not God. We do not want codependent relationships. We do not want to be in a relationship with someone we are trying to fix or change. Our job is to love and support. Projects are for your career, not your relationships.
So if you’re debating on breaking up with your partner, forget the past. Look at the present. Where is your peace? Is it gone? What are your problems? Are they merely inconveniences or are they dealbreakers? Are they minor nuisances or are they daily obstacles? Have you noticed you’ve been the only one compromising? Ask your friends: Do I seem less happy since I’ve been with so and so? Go to God. Pray on it. Take a day or two off from the relationship if you have to to get some perspective. Let go of how it was in the beginning. Sometimes people put on a facade in the beginning and true colors begin to come out over time. Sometimes we stay because we invested so much time or energy into the relationship and we are attached to the idea it was all a waste if we give up now. Is it truly time to dump? Sometimes only time will tell, but if it’s toxic, it’s time to take it to the dump.