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|Written by Miss Smartypants|
|Monday, 01 March 2010 00:00|
Dear Miss Smartypants,
For as long as I've known "Jack" and "Julie," they've been a couple. We've been part of the same social circle for about a year now, and they were a couple for at least a year before that. In the last six months or so, I've noticed a steep decline in their relationship. Basically, they fight all the time. At first when they arrived somewhere it seemed like they had been fighting or when they left it seemed like they were going to go fight. Then it grew into a heavy cloud over them whenever they were with friends, and now they're out-and-out sniping at each other in front of everyone. Obviously this makes everyone uncomfortable. I don't get why they don't just break up, since they are obviously just so unhappy. I talked to one of our mutual friends who has known them longer to see if this was something cyclical between them, but he says that Jack and Julie were never like this before. So, I guess my question is, can I say something to them? Why do people stay together when they are obviously so unhappy?
Just Break Up Already
Dear Why Indeed,
Specifically: Yes, but it depends on what you say. If you are closer to one than the other, make plans to meet up with that person. Gently tell that person, without wanting to get into gossip, that you've noticed that s/he seems unhappy lately, particularly with Jack/Julie, and you just wanted to know if s/he is okay. You may find out at this point that they are fighting about something specific: infidelity, illness, I don't know what. Then again, the person may just shift uncomfortably and pretend to not know what you're talking about. Since you've known them for a year, you probably know well enough if you should push or let it drop. Regardless of whether you get the full story, do not, I repeat, DO NOT advise them to break up. Unless you are asked for your opinion on the matter (and even then), your opinion is not desired. If Jack and Julie reconcile, telling them to break up will only drive a wedge between you. If they break up, they may decide to blame you as the instigator. Pretty much damned if you do and damned if you don't, so just stay out of it unless it's a question of abuse.
Generally: I have no idea. Some couples stay together because unhappiness works for them (because they are individually unhappy people). Some couples are too afraid to try anything new. Some couples only appear unhappy. It's next to impossible to judge from the outside.
You Don't Need the Quotation Marks; No One Thinks Those Are Their Real Names,