My boyfriend and I disagree on something major, and it’s making me think that I should break up with him. But when we’re together, things are really great aside from arguments about this one thing, and I don’t want to end things. What should I do?
I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that. – Meatloaf
04-05-12-13-22 / 03
Hello Diner. I can understand what’s holding you back. I don’t know enough about your situation, but if there’s just one thing on which you’re disagreeing, chances are you like this person very much. Breaking up is something absolute, and it deprives you of all the good things about that person. You can’t just break up with the bad parts of him. If you could, everyone would have perfect relationships, and marriage counselors and Advice Fortune Cookies alike would have to find new lines of work. On the other hand, there would also be lots of random chunks of terrible people hopping around–a commitment-phobic leg over here, a narcissistic shoulder over there. No one wants that.
So how do you decide at what point you dump him?
That all depends on how central that One Thing is to you. If it bothers you enough to ask a magical Cookie, then chances are this issue is very close to your core values. But perhaps this person is so great, you still want to hold out hope that he’ll change–or else if he is that great, he’ll know to change. Then what?
Then ask yourself what life changing forces are in your relationship to drive that change. In Newtonian physics, an object in motion will keep moving in the same direction and speed until a force acts on it. A comet barreling toward Earth doesn’t change course because it feels sorry for nice, well-meaning people. Something needs to turn a “should” into a “must.”
It’s important to say that I’m not talking about punishments like the Silent Treatment or withholding affection. If either of you use these punishments, it just means you have a bad communication problem on top of that original issue you wrote to the Bakery about.
“Life changing forces” are things that will alter your core belief. Think of what will make you change your mind on this subject wholeheartedly. That’s how strong those forces have to be for him to think differently, Diner. Clearly neither of you has experienced whatever you two need to be swayed. If things stay the same, expect…well…the same.
Life isn’t going to be all good, but it certainly shouldn’t have repeats of the same problem. That point more than anything should tell you when it’s time to go. Understand you can only change half of the things in a relationship–your half. If you’ve moved heaven and earth, but the comet is still coming your way, RUN. Good luck, Diner, good luck.