When to call it quits

dr phil

The widely held belief about the modern world seems to be that people call it quits too easily and that instead of working on a relationship they prefer to start a new one. That may be true about many men I know but to be honest among women I’ve seen the contrary. Inspired by all the  attempts of females unhappy with their guys but still trying to make someone love them back or keep up the interest, I decided to write this post.

When to call it quits obviously depends on the situation. If we’re talking about initial interest or dating I’d say as soon as possible. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve lost in my life trying to keep up the initial interest in people. Most of them weren’t even particularly fascinating. The like or dislike is often based on such a shallow thing as looks and sexual attraction. If it’s not working early on just let it go. There’s no point in trying to make something not compatible work. The sooner you let go the easier you’ll move on. A good relationship can be a wonderful thing that’s a source of happiness and strength in life and not drama. It’s also not supposed to be a struggle, especially not in the beginning.

What about more established couples? If you keep fighting about your favorite type of toothpaste it’s really not a big deal. On the other hand if your fights include serious matters such as difference of opinion on whether or not to have children or the way in which the partner is spending money they may be potential deal breakers. My personal example is a partner who was out of a job for a prolonged period of time but wasn’t looking for a new one and was too proud to accept just any offer that others found for him. For months he let me pay for him and eventually I realised that regardless of how many ads I’d send him and how many times I’d get upset about his inertia, the situation was likely to never change. Of course leaving someone after a year or more even when it’s justified and feelings start to fade is difficult. I was emotionally unwell for months to come but at the end of the day it’s always worth it. When in doubt ask yourself two questions: Am I happy? and Is there a chance that I ever will be happy with that man?

Last but not least, there’s a thing that I know only from second-hand experience and I hope never to experience myself, namely, divorce. I don’t think that they happen only to people who weren’t a strong match with their partner or who weren’t committed to the relationship enough to keep working on it when not all was going well. I’m sure many people genuinely believe that they met the one, they got married and at some point things somehow go wrong and they become different and more importantly less compatible people than they used to be. If people reach a point when they’re miserable, no attempts to improve the situation help and the only positive thing left between them are memories and maybe sex, it’s time to call it quits regardless of marital status.

To sum up, for some people the end of a relationship is the end of their life and I wish you all find such a person. If it’s not the case, I think that the time to call it quits is when we’re happier without our partner than with him for a prolonged period of time and most importantly we don’t see our future with them anymore.

Dear Rinsers – What are you thoughts on the issue? Are you the type of person to cling on to a relationship for as long as is humanly possible or do you know when to call it a day?


  1. Even if you aren’t the type of person who clings onto a relationship for dear life. You do need to put in some effort and not give up at the first sign of trouble – at least then, even if it does end you know that you gave it your best short.

    From my experience, problems arise when you stick around hoping that the other person’s behaviour will change. It almost like you expect a miracle to fall from the sky. I think it’s also hard giving up a long-term relationship because you’ve already invested so much time in it (and time is precious esp for the ladies).

    I’ve experienced the jobless bf issue as well…I think it’s a very much a symptom of our time and circumstance (particularly in South Africa). But the truth is you can’t waste your life wishing for someone to change – they rarely do. It’s better you just walk away and often the best you can wish for that person is that they will find someone who, for whatever reason, can tolerate their flaws.


  2. “Relationship Bliss” is tenuous if both parties aren’t getting something from the union. Bliss is cyclically transitory over the length of the relationships term, and isn’t always present for both, which calls us to be patient at times, tolerant at others as long as someone is getting some type of benefit from the process. When no one is gaining something…there’s not enough there to hold things together?

    Liked by 2 people

    • This reminds me of my favorite saying about a long marriage. They asked an older man who had been married for 60 years what the secret was to a happy marriage. His reply was “we were never out of love with each other at the same time”. There are times when your heart is so full of love for your partner and others when you roll over in bed and think who is this person and why am I here? It’s always the little things that remind us and bring us back to our roots of where the love story began

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your comment. I agree! Things are sometimes not perfect in long term relationships but one has to remember that occasional bad days are not the end of the world. It’s how the relationship makes us feel overall that matters.


  3. I almost missed this post …glad I didn’t. I am not sure if I agree or dis agree with your thoughts. I see both sides. I do think people give up way too soon in relationships/marriage. 3 months and done? divorced after 2 months ? how is that possible when you are still learning each other. I was married once before for 30 years when I realized we were done…and I totally agree on one comment it shouldn’t be a struggle early on…I met some one once that it was struggle just to arrange a date so …I wished her well and moved on even thought she insisted we could be right for each other …If we struggle to make a date we would struggle period…

    Liked by 1 person

    • How many two month marriages do you know? The shortest I know was 7 months and that’s because the husband hit the wife. That’s unforgivable. Other than that I see people staying forever in miserable marriages that were not good relationships at the first place. I don’t really see people giving up on marriages that makes sense just because there are some problems. Instead of that I see people who give up on marriages because they attempted to make the relationship work by marrying someone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly I do know 2 and 3 month marriages and it took them more time to get undone…aka divorced . Many do give up on marriage they move out and on some cases move on to other relationships even thought legally they are still married. If you are married to someone and you move out and you are not together it’s over. Take the next step and make it legal that it is over so you can move on free and clear.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I guess maybe these people don’t want to fully admit to themselves that the marriage failed so they postpone the divorce. My friend who was abused and left her husband after 7 months also stayed married for one more year just because she couldn’t cope with what actually happened. She only started dating again when the divorce proceedings started, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Most people who marry for all the wrong reasons postpone leaving the marriage when it’s clear it’s time to go. Usually there is no benefit to stay when it is ear there is no reason to.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No one wants to be a failure and admit that they were wrong. What they don’t understand is that the price of being right is too high to pay.


  4. Couple of comments in long term relationships when you split even if it’s not working you go through a grief reaction it’s a bereavement for what was and what might have been and all the time effort and emotion you have invested.

    I think also that in the first flush of lust the differences are sweet and quirky and as the relationship changes then habits, views and behaviour can begin to grate if they are very different to the other persons. Perhaps we hope to change the other (which we can’t). Or as we both continue to grow and develop it is in different ways and the differences become too wide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. From my experience when long term relationships go wrong it’s because we want to change people and even if we don’t we see that we differ a lot and we potentially grow in opposite ways. I think it’s quite difficult to remain objective and not to go into a relationship when we already have feelings for someone. This is why I find it crucial not to engage if you see bad signs. Once you’re there it takes much longer to get out and usually you need to fall out of love before you have enough strength. Especially if you have certain issues dating is an exercise in self-control. Even if you attracted to someone but you know they’re not right you can’t engage. Till eventually you meet this person that is good for you and then you can slowly but surely get into a relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

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