Hard Relationship Truths

Knowing if and when to end a relationship is one of the toughest things about relationships. Part of the problem is that every relationship is different, so no amount of relationship advice will apply to each situation (except, perhaps, Plato’s “Know thyself”). We’re also not exposed to a lot of healthy, realistic models for ending relationships; pop culture is full of dramatastic break-ups after which the lovers realize they’re miserable without each other so they get back together (or self-destruct, or destroy each other; you see where I’m going with this).

Learning to face hard relationship truths can help mitigate some of these problems. I was pleased to discover a convenient list of hard relationship truths in a Captain Awkward post that is, on the surface, about managing a difficult non-monogamous relationship. However, there are also these gems, on which I encourage everyone to meditate:

  • You can have really good sex with people who are not good partners for you.
  • You can find people who are really great partners for you in every way…except the sex doesn’t work and you will forever be unsatisfied.
  • You can really adore someone but be unable to create a happy life together.
  • Things don’t have to get “objectively bad” for you to break up. “I could be happier” is a perfectly fine reason.
  • Only you can decide what you need and what you want to do about it.
  • If you decide to end a relationship (or one gets ended for you), it will suck for a while, but time will mend you eventually. Yes, even you.

These are, of course, open to debate and discussion; they’re not written on stone. But I think that even simply pondering these statements and deciding whether you agree with them might help you figure out some of your basic relationship values. And knowing what you believe to be true about yourself and the world you inhabit is the first step in becoming better at relationships.

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About Jeana


Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.