I’m willing to bet that it comes as absolutely no surprise to most of you that the most popular day to get engaged is Christmas and the most popular time of the year to do it is between November and December. And just why am I bringing all of that lovey-dovey stuff up when this title clearly indicates that we’re going to be discussing the total opposite of a man getting down on one knee? Well, interestingly enough, guess when the most popular time of the year is when it comes to people (70 percent of which are women, by the way) filing for divorce? That, my dear, would be January.
The stress of the holiday season, compounded with so much focus on making resolutions for a new year, oftentimes is what sends husbands and wives over the edge. To them, ending their marriage at the top of the year means a fresh start. It means no longer having to tolerate what they’ve had to for weeks, months, or even years on end.
Now here’s the thing. While I personally think that marriage is several steps up on the commitment tip from dating (I also think a lot of us could be spared unnecessary heartache if we processed it this way. Check out “Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife”), at the same time, most people don’t get to the point of proposals, marriage, and possibly divorce without it, right? That’s why, in the effort that all of us can get to who and what is best for us (and also so we won’t end up wasting precious time), I thought it would be a good idea to run down a few reasons why ending the year with a breakup, may actually be what’s ultimately…best.
You’re Constantly Wondering If You’re Missing Out on Something
It’s not uncommon to use the end of the year as a time for some serious reflection. Well, when it comes to your relationship, ask yourself this — what do I like the most and what do I like the least about it? Although no relationship is perfect (because no human is), a telling sign that you’re in something that’s healthy and beneficial is you don’t feel like things are missing and/or that you keep having to compensate for certain voids or needs that you have. That’s actually one of the reasons why I am absolutely NOT team act-like-you’re-married-when-you’re-not; it’s because it will have you believing that you have to endure some of the things that people with paperwork, changed names and different tax statuses have to — and that’s simply not true.
Everyone deserves to feel like they can “exhale” in their relationship. If you feel more like you are ignoring the quiet voice in the back of your head that is telling you that there is more out there, I wouldn’t ignore it. There is a huge chance that it’s probably right.
Remember: Time Waits for No One
Semi-recently, I did an interview about if there is anything I regret about my 20s and 30s. Chile. CHILE. If you are in your 20s and reading this, let me share three things. One, you can spare yourself a lot of drama by not spending so much time trying to “prove how grown you are” instead of being open to hearing the wisdom of folks who have already been your age before (discernment tops experience, more often than not). Two, this ridiculous notion that you should be wild and reckless for an entire decade and then get around to getting more serious about life in your 30s is costing people more than they think. And three, I’m saying all of this because I know from personal experience. Because I was dealing with some childhood and adolescent-related trauma and I was stubborn and I was too smart for my own good, my 20s were really something. Because of that, I spent most of my 30s in recovery, and honestly, just now, in my 40s, is everything leveling out. Lawd. Time. Time I will never get back.
A wise person once said that when you start to value yourself, you start to value your time more. That said, another sign that it may be time to break up is if you keep wondering if you’re wasting your time or people who care about you keep telling you that you are doing exactly that. Because if there are two things that I believe, now more than ever, it’s when there’s reciprocity in a relationship, there is no need to keep tabs and if two people are fulfilled in their dynamic, they don’t wonder if they are wasting time; they are too busy enjoying their time together for it to even cross their minds.
I would hate for you to look up, two years from now, and realize that you should’ve made some shifts a long time ago because two years from now is…two years from now. Each day is just as precious as you are. Make sure that your relationship honors the time that you have. It’s supposed to.
You’ve Hit a Fork in the Road
A part of the reason why I’m such a fan of people getting relationship insights from the opposite sex is because you need people who naturally think differently than you do. For instance, while your girlfriends may be encouraging you to hang in for another year (after it’s already been several years) to see if your man is going to become who you want him to be, your male homies may be like, “If he wanted to marry you, he would’ve done it by now." And you know what? Your male friends are probably right because if there is one thing that I know about men is, what they want, they will go all the way out of their way to get it — if need be.
Sometimes, relationships need to end, not because two people don’t love each other anymore; it’s just that they want different things out of life. And sometimes, the relationship is what helps to bring them to that conclusion. You know, one of the best things about dating as opposed to being married is you can always put yourself above all else, you can always do what is best for you. If you want marriage and kids in the next few years and your man is like “I mean…maybe” — don’t over-romanticize things. Please believe that when he heard what you wanted and replied with some “meh” energy that he already sized up that he could end up losing you because you’re on two different pages. Staying longer isn’t going to change his mind either. He has to get there on his own.
Forks in the road can be challenging because you spent so much time walking through life together and suddenly you’ve got to decide if you should continue to do so or not. What I will say to that is the world is mighty big and you stand a far greater chance of freeing yourself up to see what other possibilities there are than to “hang right” with him and just…hope for the best. Besides, doing that, more times than not, isn’t really about love. Far too often, it’s actually about…fear. This brings me to the next point.
Fear, More than Love, Is Keeping You
You’d be amazed, how many clients have told me that on the day before their wedding, they knew that they were making a mistake to get married (check out “What Should You Do If You Feel Like You Married The Wrong Person?”). Shoot, my own mother said that about my father and my brother’s dad. And I wrote an entire book that touched on how that led to layers of pure bullshishery for all parties involved. That’s why I totally believe that the opposite of love is not hate (one definition of hate is “unwillingness”) but fear. Nothing about love moves in fear. Love is courageous. Love is bold. Love is also holistically beneficial. Fear, on the other hand, typically overthinks. Fear creates anxiety, worry, and doubt. Fear creates clinginess and neediness. Yeah, love and fear are polar opposites, pretty much in every way.
I’m pretty sure that, at some point, you’ve heard that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. Sometimes, when I reflect on that, I think of fear from the angle of being a mirage. It can play with your mind so much — yes, even in a relationship — that you’ll talk yourself into staying stuck in something because you think that leaving will totally wreck your life when that’s simply not true. Oftentimes, when we get the nudge to move on, the universe is letting us know that all that we needed to get from a person, place, thing or idea, we’ve received and to remain would be to do it/them and us a huge disservice.
Love? Love is calming and reassuring. Fear? Fear gets us to freak out in our decision-making process. When it comes to your relationship, which side of the fence are you on? Trust me, on this, there is no middle ground; riding the fence is simply impossible (if you’re honest with yourself, that is).
You Keep Looking to Him to Do More than YOU Are Doing for You
There are needs and then there is being needy. The first is healthy. The second, not so much (check out “Are You In Love Or Are You In Need?”). The reason why a lot of people are so needy in their relationship, though, is because there is some part of them who thinks that it is their partner’s job to make up for where they lack within themselves. What I mean by that is, say that you don’t think very highly of yourself. Rather than take some time to be alone to get a grasp on why that is the case, you decide, “I’ll just get a boyfriend and then constantly nag him to affirm me, give to me and make me feel good about me.” What about that sounds like a healthy relationship or something that a healthy person wants to get involved in?
I’ve had relationships in the past where, because I didn’t love myself very much, I expected the men in my life to make up for it. That’s not only unfair, it’s pretty unrealistic too. When you’re in something that’s good, your partner is going to reflect back to you how you feel. Yes, they will be loving, respectful and giving. However, not tp the point where they are being these things more than you are. You know, I know a man who, when his now ex-wife wanted to call their wedding off, he told her that he had enough love for the both of them. If you just said “aww” to that, I’m shaking my head because that is some seriously dysfunctional and codependent ish.
No one has enough love to make up for the love someone else lacks. Besides, that’s not their job. The job of a partner is to support, encourage and reaffirm what you already know about yourself as you do the same thing for him. If all of this is completely foreign to you, that’s another sign that breaking up, at least for a season, so that you can get clear on how you feel about yourself, may just be the best thing.
Feelings Are Superseding Facts
Following your heart is following your feelings and feelings tend to be quite fickle. So no, I am not a fan. Lord, the amount of drama (and even divorces) that could be spared if people focused on facts. Facts are rooted in what actually exists. Facts are based on reality. Facts are about acknowledging the truth. When it comes to your guy, feel how you feel yet don’t make major decisions without considering the facts — what exists between the two of you, the reality about the two of you, the truth about the two of you. And if those things are totally contrary to your feelings…you already know what I’m about to say. Even if you don’t break up, get some space to really ponder and process THE REAL because a relationship that is approached based on only feelings and no facts is problematic, at best.
Honey, I know. This definitely ain’t no Hallmark holiday rom-com kind of piece. Yet if you want to live the kind of life that is full of what you truly desire, it’s important to get out of scripted movies and into the real world. Ending the year with a breakup can be hard; still, it’s much harder to be right here, this time next year, with no progress. It’s your heart. Your time. YOUR LIFE. Please, sis, choose wisely.
And while you’re single (not married), that always means choosing you — most of all.
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