Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

10 Signs It’s Totally Over

Today’s guest column is written by Lauren Dupuis-Perez who blogs at I’m Better In Real Life.

My husband and I often spend some of our weekend wrapped around each other in bed, listening to back-to-back episodes of “This American Life.” Recently, their Valentine’s Day special – all about the things we do for love – got me thinking. While listening to different people’s experiences and the crazy (albeit endearing) things they did, I couldn’t help but cringe — spoiler alert: the majority of the stories on the show don’t end well — and by the time it was over, I was throwing my hands up in frustration because, “Ugh! Didn’t they know it was over WAY before then?!”

I have gained a copious amount of knowledge and wisdom about when to let go because I am, in fact, that biggest hanger-on-until-my-hands-are-bloody person. If you tell me, out loud, that the relationship isn’t working, I’ll do my best to fix all of the “holes” and drag it out another six months. Is distance making us both completely insane? That’s just a small challenge that any real romance can withstand! You make me cry more than you make me laugh? It’s probably my fault for being so emotional.

I’ve learned so much about what not to do, I figure it’s my feminist duty to give it to you straight and save you from making similar mistakes. To that end, here are my 10 Signs It’s Totally Over:

1. If you have the strong urge to hire a private investigator because you think he might be cheating … your relationship is already over (and the truth is, he most likely is).

2. If you feel the overwhelming urge to read his diary/journal/personal and private emails/
text messages/etc., it’s because: a) you don’t trust him, or b) there’s something you can’t
ask him out loud because you’re not going to like the answer.

3. If it’s been a lot of years and the conversation about marriage just hasn’t come up (no hypothetical time line, no assertion of “yes, someday”, but zero-zilch-nada), and you’re unsure why: It’s because neither of you really wants to marry the other one, even if everything seems perfect at the moment, and you should MOA.

4. If you have gone on more than three dates with someone and you are angsting over whether or not to text him something fun, invite him over, or plan another activity with him because you aren’t sure if he likes you: Either you need to clarify what’s going on so your head doesn’t explode OR he doesn’t like you as much as you like him. The good ones make it exceedingly clear.

5. If you have to renew your vows every year in front of others, then you need to be convinced the other person is in it to win it. Or you’re trying to convince yourself.

6. If you can move away and don’t care whether or not your partner comes with you, then you haven’t found the right person yet.

7. If you don’t like who you are when you’re with your partner, then it’s certainly already over. Ditch the crazy, irrational, mean, or embarrassed feeling (and the one who makes you crazy) for something better.

8. If he doesn’t believe in marriage and you do, stop wasting your time. Even though you love him, the end result is not going to change.

9. If your partner punches holes in the wall, or if your neighbors call the cops because they think there is a domestic disturbance… there is. Physical intimidation is never acceptable, even if the victim is the drywall.

10. If you are banking on your partner changing, if you say to your friends, “Oh, he’ll come around!”, if the person who he is RIGHT NOW isn’t someone you would like to be with in 5 or 10 years, then the relationship is over. Don’t waste your energy on someone you’re with because you’re hoping he will change.

What have you discovered along your relationship journeys? Is there any tidbit you’ve put in your back pocket to use at a later date?

*Lauren Dupuis-Perez is a writer living in the Bay Area with her husband and pet frog. She writes every day at I’m Better In Real Life, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. She would love to hear from you!

 

 

26 comments… add one
  • avatar

    evanscr05 April 4, 2012, 12:19 pm

    I love everything about this list.

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      evanscr05 April 4, 2012, 1:17 pm

      “10. If you are banking on your partner changing, if you say to your friends, “Oh, he’ll come around!”, if the person who he is RIGHT NOW isn’t someone you would like to be with in 5 or 10 years, then the relationship is over. Don’t waste your energy on someone you’re with because you’re hoping he will change.”

      I would also add that if you ever find YOURSELF having to change just to be in the relationship, then it isn’t the right one for you. I live by the rule (and this applies to more than just romantic relationships) that you either take me or you leave me, exactly as I am.

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      • avatar

        Emma April 5, 2012, 11:55 am

        I don’t know, I think sometimes changing yourself is good. If being with your partner makes you want to be a better person, then changing yourself is something that’s worth doing.

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        evanscr05 April 5, 2012, 2:04 pm

        Well, I think that’s a given. We should all strive to be the best person we can be. I just mean if you start to change your likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. just to be able to stay in the relationship and not because you’re truly interested, then it’s unhealthy. For example, I’m a cat person. Don’t like dogs. Don’t want one and will never own one again. Just my personal preference. I didn’t want to date a dog person and feel like either I have to come around to liking dogs just to be with this person or that they should have to stop liking dogs and become a cat person to be with me. We all have preferences that we shouldn’t have to stop having just to be with someone. If you want to change it, that’s one thing, but to feel like it’s a necessity in order to be with them, that’s the kind of stuff I mean.

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  • avatar

    bethany April 4, 2012, 12:33 pm

    I think that’s a pretty good list.

    The one thing that I would add from my personal experience is that if you’re constantly doubting the relationship and where you stand in it, it’s probably already over (or might have not ever really existed to begin with!)

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    • Will.i.am

      Will.i.am April 4, 2012, 12:54 pm

      Bethany, you are so right. Even from just a dating standpoint. If you doubt, ask, and if they dodge the question or dance around the answer, than their answer/action is how they really feel.

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      • avatar

        ktfran April 4, 2012, 1:47 pm

        I feel this kind of goes along with #4. #4 is so true for me that I have to actively stop doing it and just go with the flow.

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didnt April 4, 2012, 12:34 pm

    This is so, so, so good!

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  • Tracey

    Tracey April 4, 2012, 12:56 pm

    Perfect! This is going up on my fridge and my Facebook page.

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  • avatar

    Di April 4, 2012, 1:16 pm

    This list is my last relationship. It just seems that it boils down to compatibility, trust and commitment.

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose April 4, 2012, 1:23 pm

    When I finally realized #7, I knew it was time to break up with my boyfriend. It’s great to be “me” again!

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  • avatar

    Renee April 4, 2012, 1:26 pm

    “5. If you have to renew your vows every year in front of others, then you need to be convinced the other person is in it to win it. Or you’re trying to convince yourself.”

    Yes, Our wedding anniversary is acknowledged/celebrated, not reenacted.

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    • avatar

      Lemon Pie April 12, 2012, 5:49 pm

      The exception to #5 is if you are greedy and just renewing your vows yearly for the presents.
      (Looking at you, my Aunt J and Uncle B!) Maybe the present-mongering actually brings you closer ?

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow April 4, 2012, 1:35 pm

    4. If you have gone on more than three dates with someone and you are angsting over whether or not to text him something fun, invite him over, or plan another activity with him because you aren’t sure if he likes you: Either you need to clarify what’s going on so your head doesn’t explode OR he doesn’t like you as much as you like him. The good ones make it exceedingly clear.

    ^This is something I’m going to keep in mind now that I’ve been thrusted back into the dating scene.

    6. If you can move away and don’t care whether or not your partner comes with you, then you haven’t found the right person yet.

    ^This is what my ex said when we broke up. 🙁

    9. If your partner punches holes in the wall, or if your neighbors call the cops because they think there is a domestic disturbance… there is. Physical intimidation is never acceptable, even if the victim is the drywall.

    ^and THIS was my abusive ex. DEFINITELY move on from this.

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    • avatar

      ktfran April 4, 2012, 1:51 pm

      CatsMeow –

      About this time last year, I got back in the dating game. #4 was hard at first, because I started over analyzing everything. I mean everything. Should I text? Shouldn’t I? Why isn’t he texting? Anyway, it’s hard, but I’ve learned to chill out. Not worry. And try to have fun.

      Good luck dating!

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  • SweetsAndBeats

    SweetsAndBeats April 4, 2012, 1:42 pm

    5. If you have to renew your vows every year in front of others, then you need to be convinced the other person is in it to win it. Or you’re trying to convince yourself.

    Well, if I had a boatload of money, I might want to have another wedding every 5 years or so. Weddings are fun!

    7. If you don’t like who you are when you’re with your partner, then it’s certainly already over. Ditch the crazy, irrational, mean, or embarrassed feeling (and the one who makes you crazy) for something better.

    This one has been big for me. Be it gaslighting or having your buttons pushed or even just not having much emotional control around them, you shouldn’t be in that relationship.

    I’d also like to add one: If you’re happy to be with your SO in private but embarrassed to be seen with them in public, definitely MOA. It’s never going to get better, and both of you deserve better.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 4, 2012, 1:43 pm

    Um, okay. My flippant initial thought upon reading this was “well, duh…” I mean, yeah, normally, I would snark and crack that these ten things should be pretty well damn obvious to everybody on the planet… But then, I remember all the incredible silly letters I read on here day after day, week after week, and suddenly realize that — yeah, this kind of list really needs to get out there more. This kind of good common sense has simply been lost on much of the next generation… It probably has a lot to do with poor parenting and role models… Seriously, how many of these last few generations even have parents that still talk to one another civilly, much less remain married? There’s the REAL problem.

    No role models whatsoever…

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    • SweetsAndBeats

      SweetsAndBeats April 4, 2012, 1:51 pm

      I personally never had parents who showed me such boundaries or priorities, and they never talked to me about what constituted a healthy relationship. And then, television shows on The N and such always showed that “love conquers all” and “he’ll change for you if he really loves you” and never addressed such issues as emotional abuse. My generation – 20-something’s – really didn’t have role models.

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      • Lili

        Lili April 4, 2012, 2:05 pm

        Agreed! But sadly I don’t think even excellent role models can prevent people from doing dumb things in relationships. I’ve had friends constantly self sabotage relationships because they don’t think they will ever find what their parents have.

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        Anna April 5, 2012, 3:24 am

        Same here. The relationship advise I got from my parents was “you will never have a relationship with a man.” My parents are still happily married and have been for 37 years, but they oddly expected all their children to stay in the nest forever. My 38-year old sister still lives with them and my 32-year old brother just moved out about a year ago. I ran like hell when I was 20, and my middle sister did the same when she was 18.

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      kare April 4, 2012, 2:13 pm

      Even my friends with happily married parents make these mistakes. Oh to be young and naive.

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    • avatar

      SweetPea April 4, 2012, 3:11 pm

      My parents gave me an excellent example of how people should treat each other. They were/are seriously great parents and great spouses to each other.

      That, unfortunately, didn’t stop me from putting up with and living through some of the above garbage. I mean number 9… I lived through that on a regular basis (the holes being punched in walls ,getting screamed at, borderline emotional abuse). I definitely knew better than that. I can’t blame my parents. I can call it low self-esteem. Or just that I was too stubborn to call it quits.

      Either way… I learned my lessons. Sometimes we just have to go through things and be at that rock bottom point to really “get it”.

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  • avatar

    Taylor April 4, 2012, 1:49 pm

    Yep.

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  • avatar

    Samantha April 4, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Thank you for number seven. That moment when you realize you’re not crazy after a break-up is one of the most freeing and vindicating feelings.

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      Lauren of Better In Real Life April 4, 2012, 1:04 pm

      This is totally it. TOTALLY. So many times I’ve felt like a total wackadoo until I’ve been set free. That deep breath feeling, even if you’ve been dumped is a big sign.

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  • avatar

    tamera jane April 4, 2012, 1:01 pm

    Yessss. It’s SHOCKING how many of these women ignore, especially in SF, where finding a decent guy seemed impossible at times…

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