General Question

quiethand's avatar

Would you bail on a relationship that's not working?

Asked by quiethand (38points) June 26th, 2008

It’s often considered a commitment issue to have had a lot of relationships, though I find that each is an experiment and it takes time to find how deeply compatible we are. This seems to challenge more traditional values and creates emotional problems.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Why would you stay in a relationship that isn’t working?

peedub's avatar

Uh, yes.

lefteh's avatar

I think what he’s asking is if you’d bail out as soon as things got bad, or if you’d stick it out for a while to see if things got better.
If that’s your question, I wouldn’t bail immediately. I have a history of sticking around and hoping things get better. If they stayed bad for months, though, I’d get the hell out.

susanc's avatar

”.... that isn’t working”? What about YOU doing some work? Do we consider that? Do we even know what that is in a relationship? Do you want me to write a little tiny essay on Repair Behavior?
Lefteh’s post makes me think you guys all leave it up to fate or something. Pfft.

wildflower's avatar

I think it’d be hopelessly optimistic, perhaps even unrealistic, to think you can have a relationship without a rough patch or two.
Having said that, if you reach a point where you can say “it’s not working” as more than a statement of temporary frustration, then it is time to move on.

lefteh's avatar

@susanc: No, not really. I don’t leave anything up to fate, seeing as I don’t believe in it. When I say “hope it works out,” I mean “hope we can work it out.”

marinelife's avatar

In our culture, I think as a rule we bail too soon. There is no perfect relationship.

That said, there is not enough information here to craft a suitable response. Have you talked about the issues? Have you tried couples counseling? If your partner is not willing, have you tried counseling yourself (sometimes that can help a lot).

The one exception I would make to my response is if there has been physical or emotional abuse. An abuser will not change on their own. It is best to get out then immediately.

jrpowell's avatar

Not working wasn’t defined. Did someone cheat? Did they forget to replace the toilet paper? Those are two very different situations. I would pack my stuff and leave in the first, and I would replace the toilet paper without saying a word in the second.

lefteh's avatar

I’d like to say I’d leave in your first situation, but my past suggests otherwise.
Perseverance can be your worst enemy.

Randy's avatar

If it’s not working, then wouldn’t sticking around be a waste of time?

jrpowell's avatar

One would think that.

And I am talking about boyfriend/girlfriend. Getting out if you know it sucks is the right thing to do. It would be different if you were married. That would raise the bar of what I would tolerate and try to work through.

If we are dating I won’t really put up with that much.

Randy's avatar

My thoughts exactly. I just assumed that’s how everyone looked at relationships. The bar gets raised after marriage, but that’s what the boyfriend/girlfriend stage is for.

susanc's avatar

Excellent. Thank you all for clarifying. I’m happy now.
your ma

Knotmyday's avatar

If you’re asking if I’d leave because we had some disagreements, absolutely not. Make-up sex is just so darn good.
If you’re asking if I’d leave because she stole from my mom, hit on my next-door-neighbor, or kicked puppies; then yes, yes I would.

quiethand's avatar

Wow. This is the first question I’ve asked here and the perceptive abilities of you all are impressive. It wasn’t a precise enough question, as I was trying to delve into something more general, but that isn’t necessary helpful. First, I am not talking about a marriage or engagement necessarily… more like the exploratory phases that lead up to the willingness to take a risk together. Secondly, when I say “not working”, I mean discovering something like a difference in belief systems that will be difficult to surmount, or a personality issue that is a deal killer. I do assume that working hard in relationship is a given, particularly if you ARE married. but in the early innings, I’m wondering how far people go to see if things might work.

Many thanks.

scamp's avatar

Welcome to Fluther. I hope you are able to find someone who is compatible with you. It’s better for you to find out now if things aren’t right than in a divorce attorney’s office. I think you are doing the right thing.

marinelife's avatar

@quiethand Welcome to the collective. Thanks for the clarification.

I think that it is important to hang in during the earlier stages, because there are a lot of miscommunication and misunderstandings in the dating world.

I can think of twice when my husband and I almost broke up while dating. Once he had invited some of his friends to my apartment. I had never met these people. One of the guys’ cars broke down, and he asked if he could sleep on my living room floor. My then BF had something he had to do early the next morning, and he blithely left leaving me to host a potential ax murderer alone!!! I was furious. We talked it out, though, and he got my point, and I got his. He knew his friend was OK, or he would never have left him there. I wish he had told me that, but just the fact he thought about it made it OK for me.

There are, of course, some things that are personal deal breakers. If, for example, your faith was a vital part of your being, it probably would not make sense to date someone who did not share it.

On the other hand, I knew a woman who was lovely, smart, funny, just one of the greatest people I ever met. I could not see why she was not in a relationship. Over time, as I got to know her, I found about “the list.” She had such a detailed picture of her ‘perfect man’ that no human being would have had all the characteristics or been able to live up to it. If a guy missed one thing or broke one rule, she dropped him. She also yearned for love and marriage and children to the exclusion of all else, which gave off some seriously hampering vibes.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

don’t kid yourself if it ain’t working.
Its broke for a reason.

quiethand's avatar


Thanks for the welcome. I’ll expand a little further. In my experience, people usually have relationships with who they think the other person is, or want them to be. Then they make them wrong when they don’t adhere to these largely unspoken expectations. The process of owning our programming, and then elevating the pieces we really feel attached to to agreements I feel is a necessary part of the relational evolution. Making conscious and explicit our expectations, to the extent possible, I believe reduces drama and misunderstanding about the bigger issues. Of course, no one is perfect, nor even behaves imperfectly in a perfect way. We screw up. We forget. We contract when we’re supposed to expand. It’s all part of the organic nature of our beings.

I suppose where I find the greatest trouble, getting back to the original question, is around the issue of trust. Trust is automatically reinforced by keeping agreements, which is part of why I’m such a big fan of making expectations into agreements. But going further, I feel that trust is the precursor for any relationship of real intimacy.

Without agreements, we can’t say someone violated a trust… only an expectation, and we have the opportunity to decide whether it fits for us or not. For me though, while I don’t think I have something as explicit as the list referred to, I do have a set of issues that contribute to trust-building that are absolutes for me to participate, and not just during the honeymoon phase. If honesty gets sketchy when things are established, and it’s not just a vulnerability surfacing, I find it really hard to accept.

Anyway, I guess what I’m probing here is how others feel about the early to mid stages of a relationship; how they employ such litmus tests; whether they just treat things lightly, just trust feelings, or have a real set of standards that they do or don’t make explicit for their partner.

Thanks again,

marinelife's avatar

Hmm, you are a great addition. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking. My immediate response is that I think of trust as the other way around. Trust is something that builds slowly through the revelations of real intimacy and through shared experience.

susanc's avatar

Making expectations explicit and coming to agreements – brilliant.

A kind of corollary: my husband was a stoner and would forget some of
the agreements we made in moments of clarity. In response I got very rigid about keeping my own agreements – modeling – “See, this is how I want you to do it, this is how people ought to behave.” Didn’t work too well.
Just made us both angry. Little by little I began to forget to do small things I’d said I would do. “Oh hell, sorry, I forgot, I’ll go do it now.” “Nah, it’s fine, don’t worry about it.” This gave us both a lot of relief: HE could model LETTING THINGS GO. Our new agreement became: We can both be a little unreliable. And this is no betrayal.

quiethand's avatar

Beautiful… though it begs another question about stoners…. have to start another question about that!


Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther