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How to know when it's over?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Short version: How do you know when a relationship is worth saving, and when it's just time to move on?

I've been with my girlfriend for almost five years now. The first year we were in the US and close together, and then we lived about an hour apart in the UK, and for the past ~three years we've been living about five hours apart by train. It's been ups and downs, but at the moment I feel like it might be the end.

There have been rough patches - most notably when we split up before moving to our current cities. I was going through some bad times emotionally and we couldn't communicate about it, which led to many problems. However we got together again a few months later, and it was good again, but then we had to deal with only seeing each other every other weekend.

There are so many issues now - some of them to do with the distance, some with her and some with me. Everything seems to be exacerbated by the distance. The smallest problem is amplified into a big thing between us. We have so many silly digs and hangups that have built up over time. What I really noticed was when she was away for a couple of weeks recently, and I found I enjoyed the time alone.

I'm really starting to think it's time to end it. There are so many good things about us too, but the more I think about it, the more I think it isn't worth saving. Up until I've been telling myself it doesn't matter how bad it gets - as long as we make it through this patch (we have another ~1.5 years of our PhDs left), we can fix it when we move together. We've both assumed we'll be together for a long time to come, if not forever.

I guess one of the biggest things that's stopped me reconsidering is that she's such a large part of my life - how could I face changing my entire life? But I feel like this has come at a time when I'm reconsidering a lot of things about my life. I don't want to feel like a passenger in my life, I want to be leading it. If anyone has any way to relate to this, I'd be grateful to hear your advice. How do you know what's worth saving, and when it's just time to move on?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think that you need to have a big think to yourself and see if you can imagine the two of you together in 10 years time married with children. Or at 70 enjoying retirement together. If you can't then you've probably got to the point where your relationship has come to a natural end.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    When you had the time apart it might be as much that you enjoyed the lack of conflict as it was that you enjoyed being away from her as such. If a relationship is becoming tense and argumentative, for whatever reason, then of course it feels good to have a break from that. It's not necessarily a sign that you would miss the other person a huge amount if you were to break up.

    Your fears are understandable, it's not easy to lose someone who has been an integral part of your life and your routine for so long, even if things haven't been the best. You are suddenly left with a million gaps in your life that you need to fill, and until you do so then you are bound to be floundering. I would suggest that you weigh up the good against the bad and see which list has the most entries in it. It could well be that the distance is making it so hard, and after coping with that for so long it might be a shame to give up as you near the finish line. However, it could also be that the distance and other factors have corrupted the relationship beyond repair. If you feel that you get more bad feelings than good ones from the relationship then arguably it's time to consider moving on. Just don't let fear of having to adjust be a factor in your decision. You can cope with breaking up, we all can. It's hard but we get past it.

    My concern would be that if you think it probably IS time to move on, and you don't do anything about it, she might actually beat you to it. If she is the one to call it a day you might be left with a whole different set of emotions. It's amazing how we try to cling to something when it's taken away from us, even if we didn't really want it anymore. I've been in this situation and I wish I'd been the one to end it myself when I knew it was over. Losing that sense of validation and self esteem can really confuse your feelings and make it ten times harder to get over.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you both very much for your replies.

    Stu - I don't feel like she would end it with me, at least not for a long time. She's put up with a lot of crap from me, to the point where it's probably affected both her self esteem and how we get along. I completely understand what you said about the relationship being corrupted beyond repair, and that's one of the big questions I'm trying to answer.

    Wyetry - For so long I've been used to the idea of being with her forever, despite the problems. There was a time when the commitment scared me, but I passed that and just accepted that this was how it would be. Now I feel like I've become too comfortable with the 'plan', and I really need to figure out what I want.

    The other major doubt I have is that we have some fairly deep differences in our attitudes to life. She is very optimistic and idealistic in most situations, whereas I'm much more a realist. She finds some things immoral that I don't. I don't know whether these things can reconciled, or if they'd become worse over time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm in the exact same boat as you Wooooooah.
    It's difficult, and i'm just as lost :/
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think questioning it does mean it's probably over.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi wooooooooah,

    There seems to be a lot going on in this relationship. You mention small fights, big fights and perhaps communication problems linked to what you were going through in the past. This time, have you been able to speak to her your doubts? Or even your concern about the fighting?

    As Stu147 said
    When you had the time apart it might be as much that you enjoyed the lack of conflict as it was that you enjoyed being away from her as such.

    If conflict often happens, evidently the space will help. Perhaps if after speaking to her not much gets resolved, taking a break to see how you both feel could help? Even though you live apart, time to think with little contact could give you a real idea of being away from her.

    Good luck *hug*
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for all your replies. It's over now. I think Melian hit the nail on the head - at least it feels that way, with hindsight.
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