How do we Break Up

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
Every time I try to end my four year relationship with my boyfriend he makes me feel bad and i take him back or we decide to stay friends and end up getting back together. The problem is no matter how many times we get back together we fight again i simply don't think it was meant to be. How do I break up with him and keep from going back? Advice
Someone once said that sometimes breaking up is like knocking over a soda machine - you have to rock it a few times before it really goes down. A relationship only works if both people actively work on it together, but it sounds like this relationship just has serious issues that aren't being addressed. But it also sounds like he's afraid of being alone and would rather cling to something not-right instead of risk being without anyone at all.

If you keep having the same issues, you really aren't talking about them and addressing them. So maybe part of the problem is that he just isn't seeing the issues and therefore realizing either that the relationship SHOULD end or how to fix it. So I would sit down with him and have a real, serious talk. I have advice on staging talks like this on the website. And really lay it on the line. Be fully honest and get him to be fully honest too. Explain all the things about the relationship that aren't right and get his opinion on things. Not in a "you do this wrong!" sort of way but in a "We can't agree on chores" sort of way.

And then ask him what can be done about the issues. Maybe with all the issues on the table he'll agree that it just can't be fixed. But maybe with everything finally in the open you guys will find some ideas for addressing them *together*. So set down goals and tasks of what you BOTH will do to handle these goals. And then keep track of them. If you, even after all of that, can't meet the goals, then it's pretty clear when you tell him you want to break up that it wasn't meant to be. But you never know, maybe with a real talk and real goals, it might work ...

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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