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Relationship Tips:
Repair Or Replace Them?


e provide many relationship tips on this site along with a lot of other advice on relationships, but in this article we examine a relationship aspect that gets less attention: when it makes sense to "pull the plug" on an unsatisfying relationship.

Some things in life are more trouble than they're worth.

relationship tips know when to leave
Relationship tips:
know when to leave
  • You may have heard the term "lemon", which is a car with several serious mechanical problems. If it's in bad enough shape, it will be cheaper and easier to junk the car and just get another.
  • You may have heard of houses that are "money pits" (there was even a film with that name). Such houses have fundamental flaws that end up costing more time and money to fix than the cost and aggravation is worth.
  • You may also have done some investing. For certain investments that have performed poorly, it can make more sense to cut your losses and reallocate the proceeds into more promising investments rather than continue holding the poorly performing ones.
  • Companies run into this problem when deciding when to repair items of equipment or when to buy new equipment instead. These are called "Repair or Replace" decisions.

The same dynamic
applies to relationships...

At some point it can make more sense to replace your relationship than to repair it.

Articles giving relationship tips geared to women aren't shy about broaching the topic of "when you should dump that loser". In fact, there are quite a few male sins ("being a cheapskate" usually makes that 'top ten' list) which warrant a "dump that loser" verdict.

But amazingly enough, women feel differently about the topic when the shoe's on the other foot.

Among the common relationship tips that you'll see is the statement that "relationships take work", but that advice is targeted largely at men. Women are much more eager for you to put up with their mistreatment than they are to put up with your mistreatment.

To a woman, that's "romantic"

Look at any of the so-called "great love stories" and you'll see they're stories about obstacles and the Herculean efforts the man makes in trying to overcome them so he can be with the heroine. It doesn't even matter if he succeeds. In many love stories, the love was unrequited (i.e. no sex). It's the immensity of the obstacles and of his resulting efforts that's so appealing to women.

And so it may seem romantic to women if you try valiantly to "swim up Niagara Falls" to spawn with them (figuratively speaking), but what's in it for you?

“… one of the most important relationship tips is knowing when to throw in the towel …”

In love stories, that angle in unimportant. But in real life, it's up to you to look after your own best interests. Women won't do it for you.

So one of the most important relationship tips is knowing when to throw in the towel. If you poll a large number of men about past relationships, most will tell you that they'd spotted trouble signs quite early on but dismissed them as being only temporary irritants at the time.

relationship tips and how to deal with fights
Relationship tips including
how to deal with fights

But when the relationship fell apart one or two or three years later, it wasn't a surprise. They saw it coming but let things ride. And they regretted (in hindsight) not having ended the relationship much earlier when it first ran into serious headwinds.

The fact is that few relationships endure for life, as we're not designed that way. Rather, relationships generally peak quite early and then begin a long decline until eventually they collapse or fizzle out altogether. Once the initial magic fades, it almost never comes back.

Once you've had several serious fights, you normally can't go back. You can agree to disagree, you can give in because you're tired of fighting, but once you've "lost that loving feeling", it's gone.

You can endure, but
increasingly you won't enjoy

In other words, beyond a point relationships are no longer repairable. You can agree to stay a couple in name, but the joy is gone. At that point, we believe it makes sense to cut your losses and move on.

“… in terms of avoiding years wasted in a doomed relationship, it's one of the most important relationship tips …”

As relationship tips go, that's not a particularly romantic one. But in terms of a man (or a woman) avoiding years wasted in a doomed relationship, it's one of the most important relationship tips worth knowing.

When you start looking forward to Mondays so you can escape to your (relatively less unpleasant) job, chances are that you've taken your relationship as far as it's likely to go.

For many more relationship tips, read our main Relationships page.