The 20 Steps Of The Couple That Can’t Break Up
Have you ever been on a flight that’s been stormy most of the time and you just knew it was going to be a bumpy landing? Well, some breakups are like that. We’ve all known couples who just can’t break up. We cannot believe the ways they’ve wronged each other, the awful, vengeful things they’ve done to each other, and the nasty things they’ve said about each other. We’re certain that’s the type of behavior that would lead to an instant breakup, but nope—these couples just won’t call it quits. The problem with the drawn out breakup is that it leaves a person more bitter and feeling more hopeless than just a regular, clean breakup would. It’s also exhausting for everyone around to watch. Here are the 20 steps of couples who just can’t break up.
Step 1: Complaining
Every time you’re around someone in this couple, all they do is complain about their relationship. They cannot focus on the movie/concert/conversation. They obsess about the issues in their relationship.
Step 2: Questions
When a couple has a hunch their relationship is no good, but they’re not ready to call it quits, they start interviewing other couples—trying to determine if their behavior and feelings lately are normal (they’re not).
Step 3: Passive-aggressive jokes
Eventually the complaints and the questions stop. The couple totally needs to break up, but they won’t, so in order to at least enjoy this awful time, they start making a lot of passive aggressive and very mean jokes about their partner. And things just get more awkward.
Step 4: Craving company
Eventually the only way for this pair to get along is if they have a human buffer, or several human buffers. So they’ll start to reach out to you, desperately insisting you join them for dinner. They just don’t want to be alone.
Step 5: Addictive behavior
Then, they start calling to hang out alone with you—away from their partner—really enthusiastically. They convince you to drop what you’re doing to hang out. Then, they call you when you’re already supposed to meet at the bar, to say they can’t come out—they’re staying in to fight with their partner. They become undependable.
Step 6: Vengeful partying
Then they get to a point when they do not stay home to fight with their partner, even when they should. They’ll go out to a club or bar and get wasted (and post a hundred photos of it on Instagram) to prove that the relationship means that little to them.
Step 7: Asking your opinion
At one point, they start putting the breakup decision to the jury: they start telling the story of their relationship, from the beginning to end, to anyone who will listen, and ask if they think they should stay with their partner.
Step 8: Taking advice…almost
Any sane person that listens to the story of the relationship says, “You should probably break up…” And the person says, “You’re right. I’m going to do it! You’re right!”
Step 9: They stay for some dumb reason
Next time you see that person, you ask if they left their partner. They sheepishly avoid eye contact and say something like, “Well, we had a really good talk and…we’re going to give it another shot.” (As if they haven’t already given it twenty shots).
Step 10: They try something drastic
Usually, this couple decides that all their relationship needs is a little more commitment. So they’re moving in together! Yay! That will fix everything!
Step 11: The brief honeymoon
The drastic measure allowed for a short honeymoon phase. The couple was so distracted by decorating their apartment, or taking care of the new puppy, that they had the illusion of getting along. Until they didn’t.
Step 12: Therapy
These couples always end up in therapy. It never occurs to them how strange it is that a couple who doesn’t have children or a mortgage, and who’ve only been together for six months without any personal traumas should need therapy.
Step 13: Rationalizing settling
Around this time, this couple will start saying a lot of things like, “Well, every couple has problems,” “No couple is perfect,” “Relationships are supposed to take work” and “It could be worse.” Yes. What a joyful way to look at things…
Step 14: The break
They can’t break up, but they will eventually take a break. They won’t really be able to articulate what this break is supposed to do (because they usually do nothing) but they will be certain this is the answer. Yes—they love each other so much they just need to stay away from each other. Makes sense.
Step 15: The break doesn’t work
Obviously they’re texting and talking and seeing each other the entire break. Then they get in a huge fight during the break—one of the worst ever—but they’re convinced that fight only happened because they were both stressed out by the break (that they weren’t really taking) so they finally respect the break.
Step 16: The post-break honeymoon
When they come back together after the break, they get a brand new honeymoon phase. They’re on their best behavior because their time apart has given them the energy to do so.
Step 17: One of the last big fights
Eventually, they find themselves in one of the same old fights they were having before the break. Nothing has changed. Nobody has learned anything. It’s devastating.
Step 18: A place to stay
Around now, they need a place to stay. They go home to visit their family, or they crash on your couch. But they’re in limbo—they take a long time to make any decision about what to do next. They’re holding onto that last straw of hope.
Step 19: The wakeup call
They finally realize that now, not only is their relationship hard to them, but it’s begun to affect their relationships. They’re overstaying their welcome on their friend’s couch. They’re doing poorly at work because they sleep poorly on the couch. The reality hits them that this relationship is bad for every part of their life.
Step 20: The breakup
They finally break up. But it won’t come with that sense of relief, or a new found lease on life, that some breakups can. They exhausted themselves so much by dragging it out. They’re usually a shell of themselves for a while.