Stay or Leave in Southgate

  • Posted on November 28, 2016 at 5:58 am

Dear Christine,

I keep wondering if its it worth it to stay in this relationship.  My partner, who I’ll call Anna, works constantly!  And then when she does have free time, she’s too tired to do anything fun.  There’s no time for us!  To top it off, Anna can’t stop herself from constantly telling me what to do and how to do everything better. I mean, she corrects me about EVERYthing, like cooking cleaning, singing, dancing, sex, money etc. Anna is a  know-it-all personality and the worst yet, is she never tells me “good job!”  Always, she tells me, I should have done it her way, instead.  I’m going crazy!


Stay or Leave in Southgate

Dear Stay or Leave,

There’s a lot I don’t know about you and your relationship, like how old you both are and how long you’ve been together.  I’m assuming you are both adults and have been together several years.  That means you both entered into this relationship freely.  And you have been together long enough to know that you are partnered with a smarty-pants.  Commitment doesn’t change personalities, but those characteristics that drew you to her may well be the ones that are pushing you away now.

It’s important to figure out what is your bottom line in this relationship.  What would end the relationship?  What would be a deal-breaker that would cause you to break up?  Do you know what her answers to those questions are?  They are important.  There’s a lot of things we are willing to put up with in a long-term relationship, so long as they are not deal-breakers.

For example, my wife and I have differing definitions of the house being “neat”.  However, neither of us would end our relationship over things being “too neat” or “not neat enough.”  I have met a couple that broke up over one being too messy (not sorting the mail soon enough, not keeping her car clean enough) that the other gave her an ultimatum:  Clean up or move out!  That couple broke up.  Another couple broke up because one was offended by germs.  When the one would put a grocery bag on the counter to put away the contents, and not clean off the counter with bleach when finished, the other couldn’t tolerate such behavior.  They also broke up even after several months of couple’s counseling.

There’s no right or wrong in relationships.  There is tolerance for a great deal that occurs.  And there are non-negotiables:  those things you cannot tolerate or those things you must absolutely have, to make the relationship work.  Decide if Anna’s know-it-all ways are the last straw for you or not.  If the answer is yes, communicate your concerns to her, including that this is your deal-breaker.  Maybe both of you can communicate honestly and openly.  Maybe you can both decide if working on compromise is worth it, or if either or both of you has reached your limit.

Couple’s therapy may be helpful to facilitate the communication and negotiations that need to occur.  Good luck, and let me know how it works out for you.
Christine Cantrell, PhD




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