When to Give Up on Love

by Dave Jackson

This may be my most popular post. Searching for the answers as to when to give up on love? You may have a different set of questions than I, but it all boils down to what you want out of the relationship, and what you are willing to endure to get to that point. Guys will have a different threshold than girls, and life lessons, or experience, will also skew the mark at which point you walk away.

We always measure, but we always dupe ourselves into thinking that it is better than it really is. Our friends are often a good barometer to gauge what we are exposing ourselves to. And in love, emotions will cloud our thinking. This is why you are reading this page; you want to know if you are being made a fool, or if there is some eventual point where your relationship will become normal.

And what exactly is normal?

For most, we like to believe normal is two people enjoying each others’ company and sharing or “doing” life together. And yet, when this happens in the relationship, one side will often wonder how long it will last – bypassing the beautiful moment the two are sharing/creating and causing undue stress in the relationship.

When your partner is going through a crisis and you are affected, you begin to wonder if things will ever be normal.

So, there are a lot of unknowns, and uncertainties that you want nailed down. In fact, if you could not worry about this part of the relationship (whether it will survive), you can move onto different things.

I’m going to give you a few tips that will make survival a reality, with or without this person, and will toss in a few gems about when you should walk away.

First, live in the moment. This means be in the present in your thoughts. If you get this part right, everything else will fall in place. You may feel that this is shallow, and that living this way is non-committal, but it is actually very deep and requires genuine commitment. Think of unconditional love. I could write a whole book on that and I know that with this simple paragraph your mind is wondering how can you ever be that way. Spirit is this way – unconditional.

When your ego gets involved, you want validation. You want him or her to post something on Facebook about how much they love you, or how good you are to them. You want your ego fed. And you know what? I’m not going to totally toss out the idea that you need something – you may get it wrongly through this validation, but you really want to feel happy about the relationship. That is what brings you here: you’re not happy.

Will living in the moment make you happy?

It is part of the strategy, yes!! Think about it – if you’re always dwelling on the past and how bad things were, how you were not treated fairly, you will never be happy. You cannot change the past, so don’t give it energy. Learn from it – that’s the very best thing you can do with past. We call it experience, lessons. But don’t set up your life there! Let it go. Cut off that thinking because it traps you in a thought pattern that won’t allow you to live in the moment, in the present. Once again – whatever it was…let it go. Do all you can to not open that door.

And what about living in the future? What does that even mean?

That means you force your thinking into how your relationship is going to turn out. It’s another negative, actually, because it produces stress and fear. If you want to dwell on you two in a beautiful and meaningful relationship where you are enjoying life and the partnership, then that is crazy good and thinking those thoughts will make you happy. Go for it. But if you stress out about expectations in the relationship that you wonder if will ever happen, you know that is bad and nothing good will become of that thinking. The scenario usually boils down to the two of you arguing about validation in the relationship; i.e. why can’t you commit to this or that and why aren’t we moving along a little faster? See how that is stressful and introduces fear? Is he or she going to stay with me? Are they going to keep loving me? Are they going to end up with someone else?

Living in the future is bad. Preparing for the future is different. That’s planning and not stressing over where the relationship will be in six months.

Again, strive to be happy. You want to be happy with the other person and you do that best by living in the now. What is happening with you two now? Is life good? Is the relationship stable? And if it isn’t, what can we do now to make it better? Discuss that – and you will likely find that it is stress from not being in the present, or living in the present that is screwing up your “now!”

If you’re in a relationship where your partner has obvious issues, past demons that have not been resolved, pain and hurt that hasn’t healed – you’re probably wondering how long you as the partner should tolerate that level of instability. There is no good answer, but my best advice to you is to seek your own happiness first.

If this person was really meant for you, letting go and giving them time to seek professional help through counseling for unhealed affairs of the heart can often be the best thing for both of you. This does not mean to run away and leave them or to go find another relationship; it means you are willing to be patient. If the other person does not want to get help or denies there are issues from past relationships that need to be resolved, then you should end the relationship. You will only waste your own time and health by becoming the crutch that carries them through life. And life is difficult enough that you need your full faculties to thrive in it.

You probably won’t let them go. You probably will give them an ultimatum. That is okay, as well. This shows that you are willing to work with them and their issues. Everyone heals differently and in different timeframes. But you want to see desire to be cured and push to get healthy. If someone cares about you, they will do what it takes to nurture the relationship. Tossing in the towel can be both the easy way and the hardest thing you’ve done, but your goal is your own mental health. If you want your relationship to truly grow into something solid, it will require you at your best – not some sad, fearful person who becomes needy in the process.


  1. Live in the present. Enjoy your time together and whatever you are doing without stressing if tomorrow will come.
  2. Strive to be happy. Happy is healthy.
  3. If you need professional help, start the path to getting it. Admit you’re not healed.
  4. Walk away from the relationship if you can’t do any of the above.

Enjoy each moment of life to the fullest!

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