This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship

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Dear Neil:  You usually write about how people can stay together and work out their differences.   But what about when it may not be in your self-interest to stay, or when you have an extremely unresponsive, uncaring or hurtful partner?   Could you talk about how to decide when it is time to cut and run?

Feeling the Heat in Delaware

Dear Feeling the Heat:  The following are guidelines about how to decide which of your issues are relationship deal breakers—and when you’d be better off out of the relationship rather than in it:

  • Your partner has a wall up around himself. He doesn’t let himself get too involved, too close or intimate, too dependent, too emotionally available, or too vulnerable to you.  He’s cautious, held back, reserved.  He may have a major fear of being hurt, so he has grown afraid of deep closeness or connection.  He may feel pretty emotionally beaten up from his previous intimate life experiences, and has all but given up on the dream of loving or of being loved.
  • She puts very little of herself into the relationship. She simply doesn’t try very hard, doesn’t give very much effort or time, and doesn’t give much of herself.
  • There’s too much of him and not enough you (or “we”). Both of you are looking to meet his needs. There isn’t a reciprocal effort to look out for you.

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