In relationships, there are always things you’ll excuse. Those not-such-a-big-deal-could-maybe-change-that-but-whatever kind of things. For instance, his style of facial hair or his inability to remember to put the toilet seat down. As your relationship progresses from casual dating to blossoming love, this list inherently gets longer. There are two obvious reasons for this: first, you learn more about the person and with that comes more of their less-than-savory bedside habits. Second, when you love someone, you focus on that love and the minutia will be just that; unimportant. Isn’t love beautiful like that?
Yeah, it sure can be.
And then sometimes it isn’t. Reality sets in. Try to look out from behind your love goggles, just for a minute, and give your relationship a fair assessment. Are you putting up with things you shouldn’t be? Are you compromising too much for the sake of making things work? We all do this and let things slide, potentially too far. And that’s when disaster strikes.
Enter disaster: I broke up with a man I loved over text message. If you’d like to discredit me here and now, I wouldn’t blame you. It was ugly to have gone down that way. It was certainly not my intention.
So what happened? A series of “putting up” rather than doing what I should’ve done: to give up. I overlooked his negative behavior and let my resentment pile up. And, in a moment of weakness, I lost control over my thumbs.
But, there’s hope! You can cut ties before it’s too late, before you drunk-text break up. Here are six telltale signs that you might want to give up and not put up with your boyfriend.
1. You can’t easily get in touch with him, even though he lives in the same city.
Maybe he believes that phone calls are a nuisance or an inconvenience. He’s not a talk-on-the-phone guy unless it’s imperative to a plan. He answers when you call, sometimes. He calls you back, eventually. Your significant other should always be reachable by you. You say, “I love you,” and swap bodily fluids on the regular; he should answer the phone, or at the very least, acknowledge your call in a timely manner. How challenging is a quick text to let you know he’ll get back to you? Note that it is also a flag if while he is a sometimes-answerer of your phone calls, you never see him hit ignore on a call from his mama.
2. The last time he called you beautiful was the day you met.
He tells you he fell for you because of your confidence and you shouldn’t need “validation” from him. Even after hours of hair, makeup, manicures and money spent to look great for a cocktail party you’re going to together, he can look at you and say only, “Do I have to wear a tie?” Even the most confident people need ego-stroking, especially from the person they’re stripping down for. Yes, you know you’re pretty, but that doesn’t mean you should put up with never hearing it. A healthy relationship is a partnership – you make each other feel good, even if it’s stating something that they ought to know already. If he’s missing the chance time and time again to lift you up, there’s going to be a bigger problem.
3. “But we have such a good time when we’re together!”
Then when you’re not together, he’s not there for you. You want to be forgiving and he did have a sort-of-good reason why he never called you for the week you were away: a friend of his was mugged and you were gone for your Grandmother’s funeral. He’s very busy and why would you want to hear from him? You have major life changes and super sucky moments and where is he? Excuse-land. This guy is only in it for pleasurable experiences – don’t ask him to be there in good and bad, that’s a bummer. Give up girl. Give up.
4. The only reason he stays nourished is because his mom keeps his fridge stocked with food.
After every visit, she puts meals in the freezer for him to eat in her absence, and this along with seaweed snacks is all he lives on until she visits again. This may be a sign that he can’t take care of himself (will he be able to take care of you? What about children?). It could also be a sign that he has an unhealthy attachment to Mom. Will another woman ever measure up? Are you up for that challenge? Remember: Mom calls and he answers, you call and he maybe answers. Throw in the dishtowel!
5. He is set in his ways and won’t adapt but a smidge.
You are straightforward with him about what you need and he hears your concerns. He can even agree that relationships are about compromise, but rather than trying to meet your needs himself, he suggests you seek out the things he doesn’t provide in others. If it’s a shoulder to cry on or an afternoon cuddle session, he would rather you cheat on him than ask him to mix up his routine.
6. He lets you break things off over text message.
Your first real fight. Nasty things are said and you tell him to delete your number. He actually does. A mutual “give up” has occurred.
All of these scenarios sound a bit obvious, don’t they? But any one or combination of these could happen in your relationship and you may very well say, “ok, well, let’s still stick it out, let’s still try, he told me he loves me, he told his mom he loves me…”
It’s because the relationship is still providing you some value, some pleasure; you have an attachment to it, maybe to him. But all you’re doing is settling and justifying and potentially missing the opportunity to meet someone who will give you the time of day.
So after not one, but all six of these things occurred for me with my ex, I cracked. I hastily drunk-texted. It took that moment of weakness (followed by weeks of strength in practicing zero communication) in order for me to let go and fully give up.
I learned that giving up doesn’t mean losing hope for love. Instead, I let go of a relationship that wasn’t healthy for me. Saying no to him was saying yes to surrounding myself with love I could feel. It was making room in my life for someone who wants to give partnership a real try.