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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

When to Break Up

Dear Readers,

A week or so ago I got this comment on a post:

Anonymous said:
Dear Bro Jo,
... In your opinion what falls into the category of a good reason to break up?

And I thought it deserved it's own post, so here goes.

Dear Anon,

Great question!  Here are:


Casual Group Dating age (pre-mission for guys, pre-high school graduation for girls) – everything.  

You shouldn't be in a Serious relationship at this point.   At all.  I don’t care how “cute” other people think it is, how supportive or encouraging your parents are, or how common it is where you live, exclusive relationships at a young age lead to 1) temptation, 2) drama no pre-adult should invite into their life, 3) missed social opportunities, and 4) confusion and control you don’t need when you’re still trying to figure out who you are and what you want.

Serious Single Dating (post mission for guys, post high school for girls, adulthood required) – assuming that you’re actually IN an exclusive relationship (you've been Out On Several Dates, typically kissing and holding hands is happening, and you've either had “the talk” or you both spend so much time with each other you just know, you know? – then these are reasons I think it’s okay, even advised, to break up, and to do so right away:

1.  You discover any of the things in:

(See HERE for the link), which include:

a.       Absolutism – they’re never wrong, they boss you and everyone else around

b.      Abuse – of any kind, toward any living thing, including themselves

c.       Addiction – if it’s repented of, in the past, and you can live with their history, fine, but NEVER hang around waiting for them to get over it; safely in the past is one thing, no other situation is worth the risk

d.      Anger – everyone gets upset, but this is about How they deal with being angry; if they don’t deal with life’s trials well, or they’re just mean, get away

e.       Apathy – won’t work, won’t participate, a real downer

And the bonus 6th A . . .

f.        Attitude – theirs is bad, or yours and theirs, at least about the big stuff, isn’t the same, this is going to be a long hard road

2 .  You realize that:

a.       They’re No Fun - you don’t enjoy being around them much, no particular reason, you’d just rather be by yourself, or with anyone else, than with them.  There are people out there for everyone, and if you can’t stand being around this one, for whatever reason, go find someone you like being around, and let them do the same.  Understand, even couples like Sister Jo and I, who hang out a lot, don’t spend every moment around each other – as you learn with your family, roommates, and mission companions, no two people get along All of the Time, but if you don’t like being around them all or most of the time, move on.

b.      You Can’t Trust Them - they’re not who they pretended to be, you get a bad vibe, or you learn something that they can’t answer satisfactorily.  Trust is the most important ingredient in any long term relationship, and absolutely required for a positive marriage.  If you’re invested in this person, you should give them a chance to explain, but if you don’t buy it (let the Spirit Guide, and maybe get some input from some great friends or family) you’ve got to get them out of your life.  Now. 

c.       You’re Attracted to Someone Else – looks will change, personalities don’t.  If you can’t stop thinking about that other person now, it’s not going to get better later.  Best to cut this person loose and let them find someone who actually values, likes, and wants to show them some physical affection.  Just remember, if you’re being shallow you may really live to regret it.

3.   For whatever reason, Temple Marriage is just not in the foreseeable future.  Look 1 year ahead.  If you’re serious with this person and you just can’t imagine being sealed for Time and All Eternity within 12 months (not to say that it will happen for sure in that time, but you just don’t see it) then both of you need to move on, no matter how great each of you thinks the other person is.  If they’re so great, and you’re so great, and everything is great, stop dragging your feet. 
A word about that last one:  it includes missionary service and other things that may make a 1-year separation into a 1-year + non-dating situation.  Too many possible great Eternal Companions can pass your way in one year, and If you’re blinded by sticking in an unlikely situation the chances of you being in No Situation are very high.

Remember, like auto parts, relationships only have two directions, if they’re not growing they’re dying.

I'm not ready to say that this list is complete, but I think you get the general idea.

(I'm sure we'll see a bunch of comments from readers who have either great reasons of their own - and perhaps some lame reasons, too - to a bunch of justifications to why I'm wrong on the above, so stay tuned!)


Laura said...

Along with the temple marriage not being in the future, this goes for if the person you want to marry simply won't be able to marry you in the temple. Yeah, in the US some marriages work out where they get sealed later. But not all do. That is dangerous wishful thinking, to be honest. But if you have the temple as your ultimate and only goal (I did), then it may be reasonable to break a few hearts along the way. I'm glad I ended up doing that. One person was unworthy at the time. One person refused to join the church (he was chasing me though, I had to break his heart). And one person just didn't see it as a priority (that time it broke my heart). I found a guy better than I ever could have imagined because I did not sacrifice my goal for someone with a lesser goal.

Anonymous said...

What about if you can't stand kissing them? You gave it a try and it was just completely awful and would rather never have to do that again.

Bro Jo said...


I think it depends on why.

Bad breath . . . chapped lips . . . too sloppy . . .

That stuff can be fixed.

Perhaps neither of you are particularly good at kissing. That can improve with time and practice.

If it's something like you just don't find them attractive . . . at all . . . that can't be fixed, and you probably need to move on.


Kissing is not the end-all be-all in any relationship. While I myself am a big fan, lots of cultures don't kiss at all. Many happy couples never kiss.

Hope that helps,

- Bro Jo