herald

Thursday 17 January 2019

Breaking up is hard to do but we Irish seem to think it's almost impossible

Singer Neil Sedaka told us that breaking up was hard to do, and this seems particularly true of Irish people.

A survey has shown that a whopping 45pc of us delay calling things off with our partners when things are going pear-shaped, and will continue to muddle along in domestic disharmony for as long as possible.

Hope springing eternal seemed to be the main reason for people continuing with a relationship that doesn't make them happy.

Almost half of those surveyed by Permanent TSB plodded along in a struggling relationship in anticipation that things might change, while 30pc were reluctant to hurt their partner emotionally.

Which is nice, but ultimately counter-productive.

I've found that sometimes it's kinder to rip the plaster off in one, swift movement and let the wound heal cleanly.

Otherwise, you are likely to end up in a festering mess of suppressed anger and drawn-out anguish.

When you know that something is fundamentally wrong, you have to accept that it is unlikely to change, no matter how much you might wish otherwise.

That said, I'm dreadfully slow at terminating relationships that are not working out, and this doesn't just apply to romantic liaisons.

I have stayed way too long in jobs that I should have left years earlier, and hung on to toxic friendships out of a sense of misguided loyalty.

The end result in all cases was that I closed myself off to meeting people with whom I could have had great relationships, or jobs that would have fulfilled me far more.

older

As I've got older I have become much better at recognising the need to surround myself with the people who make me happy.

This tallies with the survey's finding that women under the age of 35 are least likely to pull the plug on a relationship when things aren't working out.

But men get more decisive as they get older, it seems.

Our shockingly laissez-faire attitude sees one-fifth of us staying with someone as we feel it would be too much hassle to break it off with them.

Whether for show, or other dopey reasons, we stay in bad relationships, closing ourselves off to a world of magical possibilities out there.

As someone who is single and pretty self-reliant, I was aghast that 14pc of people would stay with the wrong person because they didn't want to be alone.

Although I wasn't surprised that many people stayed with someone because their family and friends really liked them.

In my family we would probably kill my brother if he ever broke up with his lovely girlfriend.

We tend to assume that couples who have been together for a decade or so will last the distance, so we were shocked when Hollywood stars Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman announced their marriage break-up in 2011 after 30 years of marriage and three children.

Let's hope the rot only set in towards the end.

On the other hand, 33pc of us prefer to wash that man (or woman) right out of our hair as quickly as possible, and some seem to bail out in unseemly haste.

misery

Take Kim Kardashian, who split from Kris Humphries after 72 days of marriage and a wedding that was said to cost a whopping $10m.

Mind you, Kim's marriage worked out marginally better than Britney Spears' 2004 trip up the aisle with childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas, which lasted all of 55 hours.

And we won't go there with Sinead O'Connor's 16-day marriage with Barry Herridge.

Sometimes, things come to a head because one person falls in love with someone else.

Sometimes it just takes a very, very long time for the penny to drop that we only get a short time on this planet.

Why stay with the wrong person, and live in misery 'til death do you part?

It might be hard, it takes courage, but ultimately, you are opening yourself to the possibility of a sharing your life with someone who will truly make you happy.

What are you waiting for?

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