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How to know when it's time to break up: listen to your friends

Recent statistics about why people break up suggest that distance, cheating, and loss of interest are the most likely reasons for a relationship ending, whereas parental or friend disapproval is cited at just at 3.5%, the least likely reason*.


Does this indicate that one’s family and friends are not that interested or aware of their loved one’s relationships? Or, is it that those in a relationship are not interested in listening to the advice of their family or friends? In my experience it is the latter; however, the consensus of one’s family and friends can function as the best barometer one has about their relationship.


But it’s none of their business. They should stay out of it.

This is something I hear often in my Malibu therapy practice, where I see couples, families, and individual adults. Relationship strife is a common reason people come in for psychotherapy, and after listening to a detailed description about the problems I ask, what do your friends and family think?


When there are problems in a relationship, the couple generally is the last to know. Why is this? There may be many reasons, but most often it is simple denial. It’s never convenient to break up and dealing with heartbreak seems unbearable. So much effort is put into keeping the relationship alive, that this causes both parties to become too close to the problems so that, metaphorically speaking, they can no longer see the forest for the trees.


What to do?


Try asking your friends and family. These are the people that you should be able to trust with having your best interest at heart. If you trust them to give you advice about other areas of your life, career, school, parenting, finance, then you may want to also bend their ears about your love life as well.


In most cases, when your friends and family do not approve of a relationship it usually indicates that the relationship will not last. Your support group can help you more than anyone else improve your relationships, weed out the bad ones, and hopefully lead to better choices in the future. In addition, it is your friends and family that will offer you the needed support when going through a breakup.


Sometimes people lack the support, or they don’t have friends and family that they feel they can trust, which is of course why rely upon a good therapist. As a caveat, trying to have a relationship without the support of friends and family is a challenge unto itself, you then only have your partner to rely on, and if things go south you will feel all alone. I would then suggest you work on building a strong social group to support you through these types of challenges in the future.

*Data culled from US Census, Facebook Folls, Twitter, and the annual Durex global sex survey, and packaged by McCandless and Byron