Introduction: How to Not Break Up
If you're looking for a frivolous Cosmopolitan article you are in the wrong place. Does anyone really think they can repair a relationship with 23, 52, or 75 sex moves? 75!!! Hahahaha!
Seriously, there is a very real solution here. But it is tough to do and almost all of popular culture will be aligned against you if you do it.
If you are out of options -if you have tried everything and failed- then I hope you will try this iron-clad tutorial. You have no reason to trust me and that's fine. But trust the logic below. If you don't see any wisdom in it then stop reading.
Step 1 is for married people
Step 2 is for unmarried people
Step 3 is what you have to do to fix your relationship
Step 1: For Married People: Divorce
If you're not married then skip to step 2
A very old, very wise patient named Evelyn told me once that she had a trick that prevented divorce in 100% of marriages.
"If you want to avoid getting divorced," she said, "all you have to do is never sign divorce papers. Every divorce has been caused by someone signing divorce papers."
Is that too simple? Yes.
Is it wrong? Nope.
Should you follow that advice? If you don't want to be divorced.
Will it work? Every single time.
You might ask, "But my girlfriend cheated on me! Isn't that a deal breaker?"
Brother, she should be ashamed of herself.
"I can only take so much. He treats me like garbage."
I believe you, sweetheart. You are more valuable than that. He is wrong to treat you like that.
But should you get divorced over it? I can't speak for you. But we can address some of the reasons people get divorced and I'll tell you my answer.
Reason My Answer
Not in love-------------------------------------Don't divorce
She cheated------------------------------------Don't divorce her
He's in jail------------------------------------Don't divorce him
She moved out--------------------------------Don't divorce her
He's violent-----------------------------------Move out, call the police, send him to jail, don't divorce him
I'm in love with someone else------------Don't get divorced
You don't have to-
-see each other
-like each other
-trust each other
-or be in love to stay married. If your goal is to someday have a relationship that has all these things then divorce is the opposite of what you should do to get those things. Divorce only guarantees that you never achieve those things with the person you once loved enough to get married in the first place. It only makes them finally impossible with that person. But if you are willing to divorce over those things then you were wrong to have gotten married in the first place. Sorry. Proceed to Step 3.
Step 2: The Should-I-Get-Married Test
If you are already married then you should skip this step.
People seem to get married on a dare. They are like, "I've loved you for a year. You're wonderful. That must mean we should get married." And then, "If you don't also think we should get married then you don't love me as much as I love you and we should break up."
This is stupid. Getting married is not a way to prove you're in love. All it does is subject your love to a risk of failure equivalent to a coin flip. No one thinks they're the half who gets divorced.
Let's test whether you want to get married when the divorce rate is 50%.
1. Get a coin
2. Pick up your cell with your left hand.
3. Flip the coin with your right hand. If it's tails, smash your phone.
You didn't smash it. What did that phone cost you? Is it more or less valuable than your love? It would be a better exercise if you could smash it against your heart. At least then it would hurt. But you can just get a new phone today. You won't even lose your contacts (like you would after a divorce.) *Sad face.
You might be thinking, "Why would I risk my phone on a coin toss just to prove your stupid point?"
Why then would you risk your love on a coin toss just to prove it is real.
Don't misunderstand. I am married. I love being married. My point is that you are usually better off not getting married so be sure you don't toss that coin unless you can honestly answer these questions:
Would you stay married if you and your spouse no longer-
-see each other?
-like each other?
-trust each other?
-love each other?
If the answer to any of these is that you wouldn't stay married then you are not ready to be married. Aww, and you though you were. Poor kid. But stick with me because Step 3 will save your relationship, guaranteed.
Step 3: Step 3
If you want to not break up then you only have to do two things:
-Get over yourself
1. Make Love.
I don't mean sex, I mean literally creating love. This is key to understand. Love is not a feeling, it is an action. The feeling you think of as "love" is what you get when someone acts loving. That is "joy", not love. Joy doesn't last though. So make love. Do loving things.
The way you do loving things is by being kind, almost a servant, to your partner. People are always saying, "I give and I give. He just doesn't meet me half way." Well, there's your problem. You should always feel like you're giving more than 50% to the relationship. Meeting halfway is just barely holding on. You need to guarantee overlap.
Think about that. If your boat is leaking 100 buckets an hour and you are each bailing 50 will your boat ever rise in the water? No. You will never stop bailing, the whole relationship, and you'll both want to jump ship. Exhausting.
Even if your partner doesn't seem to appreciate your efforts, make them anyway. Answer every cruelty with kindness, every hurt with gentle words. This can not fail, even if the relationship ends. At least you will walk away with confidence that you are a kind person without bitterness and baggage. Then walk into the next relationship with all your kindness skills honed and your eyes wide open to see the next sonofabitch a mile away.
You're worried that if you act loving then you will be a doormat but then you wonder why your relationship sucks! Being a doormat is a modern invention. It used to be called "kindness" and "being humble".
2. Get over yourself.
The enemy of happiness is self-esteem. It is a radical idea that could not be more unpopular in our culture, but there it is. Get rid of all your self-esteem and kill it dead if you want to be happy. The popular lie is that you have to love yourself to love anyone else. But loving yourself happens to be the opposite of loving other people. Love is dependent on you putting another person's needs before your own. The loving husband steps in front of the danger. The loving mother feeds the baby first. The loving father sacrifices his weekdays and his weekends. The loving wife honors her husband. None of that is possible if those people esteem themselves higher than the ones they love.
Self-worth is completely different. Your worth, like the worth of a potato or a diamond, is predicated on the value given it by other people. Having an accurate appraisal of your worth is good and healthy. Just like it is good to not buy a potato for the price of a diamond. I hope your worth is high.
Self-worth is how valuable people find you, most often based on how valuable your actions are to other people. You get to choose your actions, good or bad. Self-esteem is based on how valuable you think other people ought to find you, regardless of your choices. The self-esteem industry bases this this on how we look, which is mostly not a choice. Self-esteem says, "You deserve better treatment because you think you are awesome. Do whatever you want to your partner." Self-worth says, "You deserve the treatment your actions earn. Be kind and good to your partner."
Which one of these two philosophies would create love and which one would just consume it?
Which kind of person are you more attracted to?
You will never be happy if you are always focused on what someone as great as you is owed just because you're you.
Watch "The Rainmaker" starring Burt Lancaster and Catherine Hepburn if you want to understand the difference between self-esteem and self-worth.
That's it. Just do those two things.
Keep in mind that this isn't a tutorial on how to win at relationships. Succeeding at saving your relationship can feel an awful lot like losing at times. But it works. And it will make you a better person.
Please write in the comments. I would love to hear your opinion about where I am wrong or right with my advice.
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.