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You Asked: How Do I Listen to My Instincts?

Dear Sugar,

For some time now, my instincts have been telling me to break up with my boyfriend of one year. For the most part I've been happy, but a couple of months ago it seemed like something changed. And while I'm not sure if he's become different, or if I'm just not willing to tolerate certain things anymore — he can be very harsh and unkind — I know that something in my gut is telling me it's time to get away.

Every time I work up my courage to end things, he says something that convinces me I'm wrong and makes me feel incredibly guilty. He always promises to try harder and work on whatever it is that's hurting me but nothing ever changes. How do I fight through the guilt and break up once and for all?

— Calling It Quits Callie

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Dear Calling It Quits Callie,

I'm glad that you're listening to your instincts enough to know that it's time for you to leave your relationship, now it's just a matter of following through. I understand why you feel torn; your boyfriend sounds very convincing, but a promise to change is only worth something if the person follows through. And if your boyfriend didn't change the first time around, I guarantee he's not about to suddenly do it now. Eventually things will have to come to an end, so you can either put it off and continue to let it weigh on your mind or call it quits now and start moving on with your life.

While guilt is a normal feeling during a breakup, you don't owe it to your boyfriend to stay. As long as you're respectful and kind, you have nothing to feel guilty about. So next time you work up your courage, don't give time for negotiations. Get up and leave or hang up the phone, just get yourself away from the situation before he can start spouting false promises. Be clear that this time you're not willing to try to work things out. As always, call on your friends and family members for support; I'm sure they can remind you why you're making the right choice. I know it's hard, but trust me, you'll feel so much better once it's done.


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