When to Walk Away

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Now that the aura of Valentine’s Day is behind us, it’s time we remove our rose-colored glasses and stare our relationships squarely in the face. You may find that your relationship is as wonderful as you thought, or you may discover that its time to walk away.

Whether you have a boyfriend or a I-wish-this-was-something-more-friend, here are three tell-tale signs that you and Mr. Not Quite Right are headed in different directions.

1. Different Expectations: Do you want to get married someday and he has no interest? Are you hungry for the relationship to finally become exclusive and he still wants to date around (code for keeping his options open in case someone better comes along)?

If your expectations about where the relationship is headed are widely different, then it’s time be honest with yourself. You deserve to be with someone who is excited about you in particular and who isn't looking elsewhere.

2. Different values: Do you approach personal finance compatibly? Do you want children and he hates the idea of kids? Does family play a similar role in your lives? How about your views on faith? These differences for couples are often major relationship roadblocks down the road, particularly in the case of desires for parenthood. Disagreement on parenthood can force one of the parties to abandon their desires.

Certain differences between two people can be healthy in helping us to stretch and grow as individuals. But there are other differences that most often will cause more damage than good, causing resentment, anger, and pain. Consider what your core values are, those must-haves, and if they don’t match up as a couple, walk away. This isn't to say he’s not a great guy, but perhaps he’s not the right guy for you.

3. Different Dreams: Are you being asked to compromise to a point that inhibits some of your personal dreams? Do you feel stifled but at the same time don't have the energy to change?

We all have dreams, some of which involve other people, such as marriage and children, and others may be more individual such as a career to pursue or marathon to complete. The more serious your relationship becomes, the more that other person will be impacted by those dreams, no matter how small; and it’s natural that you will have to compromise and adjust or even give up certain dreams for the good of the relationship. But the right relationship is one where your dreams can coalesce and work in tandem, where each of you gladly sacrifice a little for the joy you gain from being together.

Breakups are a natural part of life. Be protective of your time and heart and don’t settle for staying in a relationship that requires you to give up your values or your dreams. The longer you stay in such a relationship, the more frustrated you can become. Don’t be afraid to take a hard, honest look, and if you realize you’re not headed toward the same horizon, be strong enough to walk away and wait for a better fit.

(Image viaJenna Carver)

chill out music

Joanna Hyatt

the bachelor, reality show

Based out of Los Angeles, Joanna Hyatt speaks and writes on dating, relationships, and sex. She blogs at

www.joannahyatt.com

and tweets

@JoannaHyatt

.