"My brother is too kind. He was eminent when my eminence was only imminent." -Niles Crane
Question #91886 posted on 12/13/2018 10:06 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I've been in a relationship for almost a year that I'm honestly just... not really "feeling" anymore. I really like the person as a friend, but I'm just not feeling romantically attracted to them anymore and at this point it seems like we have different expectations about what a long-term committed relationship should look like. Seems like breaking off the dating is the most fair, reasonable thing for both of us. (I've previously dated someone for several years and still been attracted to them so I feel like this particular change is a noteworthy sign to listen to.)

I somehow can't give myself permission to initiate this conversation and I need your help... Yes I am calling upon the 100-Hour Board for all your best breakup advice! I need help negotiating with these excuses:
1) the timing is so weird with all the holidays right now, mid-January seems like one of the more optimal breakup times of the year but also why wait to breakup with someone if you know what you need to do? I don't want to act unethically
2) we are coworkers and I would really like it if we could stay amicable
3) we both have various mental health issues, the difference though is that I'm actively getting treatment for mine but my significant other isn't... I don't want to make them more depressed by breaking up with them, in general they don't really have a strong social support network right now due to a few unrelated events and because I still care about them I don't want to accidentally push anyone over the edge into making a rash, bad decision about whatever

-My Name Here

P.S. I know praying is also supposed to help with these types of questions but I'm struggling with prayer and trusting God/trusting my conscience in general right now

A:

Dear you, 

Breaking up is rough for at least one person involved. But, there are definitely better ways to break up with people than others. Now I'm no expert on breaking up/being broken up with (not that I would admit it were that were true), but I do have some opinions. Feel free to take them or leave them, these are just my thoughts.

1. I get the timing thing. It can be considerate to take timing into account. For example, breaking up with someone during finals week would just be awful. However, I personally think that in this situation that it might be better to break up sooner. Christmas and New Years are still far enough away that I don't think it would be too big of an issue if you broke up with them now. Plus, if you break up soon, that gives time for both of you to find love and the true meaning of Christmas a-la-Hallmark Christmas special. Plus, if you don't break up with them they'll probably get you a Christmas gift and spend money on New Years plans. From my point of view, that would be lame ethically if you knew you were going to break up with them but waited until after they spent all that time and effort.

2. It can be awkward to still work with them if you break up, but it's not worth staying in a bad relationship to avoid seeing an ex at the work place. If you work at a larger company you can do a decent job of avoiding them. Plus, I imagine you're already amicable with annoying coworkers or clients, so if you need to you could at least fake it with your ex. Plus, you could always get a different job.

3. Its good that you have empathy, but you aren’t in charge of their mental well-being. You should definitely try and break up with them in a way that makes things easier on them, but you can’t just continue a relationship that isn’t working because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. This sounds like a tough situation, so I have no idea what to do, but I just feel like staying in a relationship you aren't really into won't benefit either party in the long run. You could always suggest to them that they get treatment for their mental health issues. It's unfortunate that they have to deal with mental health issues, but ultimately they are the ones responsible for getting treatment for those issues. Be sensitive, but also you shouldn't feel trapped in a relationship because they don't currently have the best coping mechanisms.

Hopefully some of this helps. Good luck in starting that conversation. It can be hard to initiate that conversation, but it's really freeing when you do. Hope it goes well!

Peace,

Tipperary

posted on 12/15/2018 10:38 a.m.
Editor's note: The final decision of our reader can be found in Board Question 91891.

https://100hourboard.org/questions/91891/