How To Know When To Work Through Issues With Your Partner, And When To Pull The Plug? Do you stick it out or end it? What are the signs that it’s over?

Join Cathy Vartuli from and sex and relationship expert Reid Mihalko from for the answers to this and more!

Cathy: Welcome, everyone. This is Cathy Vartuli from, and I’m here with Reid Mihalko from And our question right now is, how do you know when to keep working through a relationship or an issue, and when to pull the plug?

Reid: Well, hopefully you have done your due diligence with yourself around what your bottom lines are, and so you’ve started to already figure out what’s unacceptable, or what you would end a relationship over.

Cathy: If you haven’t done that, what’s a good resource to learn what your bottom lines are?

Reid: I’ve got some stuff I want to be posting on my blog soon, so I would go to, do a search for “bottom lines,” and if nothing comes up, e-mail me and be like “Yo! Dude! You said you were going to do a blog post on this.” Either that, or hire me to coach you through it.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: The way to do it is to really take a look at what are those things that you would end a relationship over or end a first date over immediately. Like, no questions asked.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: The analogy I always use is easy for people who have kids. You have somebody come over, you open up the door, and they’re like, “Hi! How are you?” and they kick your kid in the face. Do you go on the date? NO! And that’s how you know. It’s that cut and dried. There’s no wiggle room. So the first thing that you have to figure out is, have any of your bottom lines been crossed in your relationship?

If that is the case, you have already arrived at “we pull the plug.” And the more you know your bottom lines, and you know your “three strikes and you’re out” wiggle room, when you know those things, you can communicate those to your partner (or if you’re already in a relationship, you guys can figure those out together) and say “Hey, so now we know.”

So when it shows up, it’s a lot easier to kind of stick to your policy. Because if you don’t create these things or get clear on them (and they may change over time, over the years), but that you know what they are now allows you to have policies, rather than wrack your brain over what you should do with somebody that you probably care a lot about and are in love with. And you can be madly in love with somebody, and it can still be a bad decision to stay with them.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: So that’s the first thing to do. And if none of those bottom lines have been crossed, and then you and your “three strikes and you’re out” territory, how many strikes are going? You know? What’s really important to you in your relationship? And I think one question to ask – always – is, “Are you actually in the relationship that you should be in?”

Are you in a relationship that you shouldn’t be in? And sometimes the answer is “Yeah, I’m in that relationship.” I think the biggest problem with people, or challenge with people in today’s modern world, is that people are falling in love with good people who are horrible fits for them.

And you should not be in a relationship with that person. Ask yourself that. “Am I in love with a good person that’s a horrible fit for me?” And you guys should really sit down and be like, “We need to talk.” And then if your answer is, “Wow – I’m in a relationship with a horrible person” who is a horrible fit for you, then that’s your answer.

Get the hell out. And then… I’m sorry, I’m not going to sprinkle glitter on you and tell you that the rainbow unicorns are coming. Get out of those bad relationships. They’re not supposed to be saved. And that means nothing about you, and nothing about the other person. Just get out of Dodge.

Cathy: A good way to judge that, too, is, how much bandwidth are you putting into the relationship? How much resistance are you encountering overall? We all have bad days. But overall, is the relationship adding to your life, or is it taking it away?

Reid: And my analogy for that is if you have a car, and you’re driving up a hill, the engine works harder, versus you’re driving around town with the parking brake on. You have extra effort. Now, if you happen to live in San Francisco, there are lots of hills. That’s different than you’re driving around in Dallas with the parking brake on. And then you could also be living in San Francisco with the parking brake on, and that’s… well, you get the idea.

Cathy: [laughing] Thank you very much, Reid.

Reid: You’re welcome.


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