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After nearly 4 years of being in a serious relationship, last year I made a tough decision to end it.

Throughout the last year too many people badgered me with too many ignorant, snide opinions that were unhelpful. Whenever someone would bring up my significant other in a conversation, it was like violent diarrhea — I knew it was coming but didn’t have time to do anything about it before the words came spewing out.

“What do you guys even talk about?”

“He’s too old for you.”

“I bet you’re just hanging onto him until you meet a better guy.”

Here’s the thing I learned about taking relationship advice – the best thing someone can do is pass down some general wisdom. At an individual level nobody is qualified to give situational counseling because:

  • Someone else is an outsider hearing one perspective. Unless that person witnessed what happened, the advice that comes back would change depending on how you told the story.
  • You and your partner know yourselves and know each other better than anyone else. Unless someone else was present for every private, intimate conversation you had with your partner, that person would not understand your relationship dynamic enough to give helpful advice. If you don’t understand the business model, then you can’t consult.
  • You and your partner have a stake in the game, others don’t. So while you are sent into a war zone, they’re just standing on sidelines waiting for you to report back. At the end of the day, you and your partner will feel the loss and pain from your decision. So do it on your timeline, and do it when you feel ready.
  • It’s really none of anybody’s business.
  • There is no right or wrong in life. We all have different personalities, different goals, different interests… same goes for relationships. We all look for different traits in a partner and have varying levels of tolerance for what we can put up with. Define your own goals and values, and even if they’re unpopular, make decisions in line with what you want.

Think of relationships like a journey of self-discovery. At any given point during this journey, you have a choice to continue on or turn around and quit. Rather than focusing on arbitrary milestones that are measured in years, dollars, or age, remember that the focus is having fun with learning about yourself together with a close partner. And when the time is right, you will just know.

March 2018

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