Brusque Counselling For Unhappy Couples

Why do people choose to co-exist with partners they no longer feel anything for, and in some cases despise? It all just seems a massive waste of time...
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Why do people choose to co-exist with partners they no longer feel anything for, and in some cases despise? It all just seems a massive waste of time...


Three times this week I've been in conversations, or have heard people having conversations, that went something like... "I hate my relationship but if I end it, I am back to square one"

Surely ‘Square One’ is yourself, an independent, happy, striving, functioning, characterful person. I don’t want to start sounding like ‘Sigmund Void’ here but if you aren’t happy with yourself you will possibly never be happy with anything, or anyone. And if you feel the need to be with someone who you have lost all respect or fondness for, to validate your own being, then it’s a bit of a poor show, sorry. Why shroud yourself in a relationship, any shoddy relationship, in order to not face the alternative.

Being single has always been great fun as far as many are concerned, certainly as much if not more fun than being in a relationship. Of course there are pros and cons…. No, you don’t always have a companion to spend your slack time with, or someone at hand to debate the nuances of the news, or art or music, or someone to be affectionate toward, or will be there for a roll around everySunday morning. But hopefully you do have friends to do most of those things with, so you’re not really going without that much.

Many people say fear of loneliness is a reason for not ending a relationship, but surely being with someone you no longer care for, or no longer cares for you, is the loneliest situation of all?

When you’re single you have is the freedom to explore whatever avenue of life you chose without having to consider someone else. If you want to bunk off to join an old mate on a gastronomic tour of Italy you can be on a flight without any consultation, and regardless of whether they be male or female, and old girlfriend or boyfriend or a someone you know from work. Also you never have the responsibility of having to abandon all plans should your ‘significant other’ need your support. That support could be anything from filling in an application form to burying her mother. Sometimes a partner can stymie fun and adventure rather than be a welcome addition.

Being single also puts you in the perfect position to find someone more suited to you!

I am blessed with very expressive female friends who feel happy candidly confiding in me. I once had a heart to heart with one such friend on the subject of a relationship in which I concluded that ‘Sorry but your relationship sounds moribund…… and you can’t polish a turd”. To which she replied “You’re right, you can cover it in glitter though…… but now it feels like it’s all worn off”. I love a bit of excrement based contemporary philosophy me.


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I heard last week that someone I was once involved with has been made aware that her boyfriend is now doing the dirty with prostitutes rather than colleagues and that there’s a fair chance that she will have contracted some sort of STI from him. What did she do about it? Nothing! Has her self-esteem been eroded so much that she would not only stay with a nobhead but risk her health (with the addition that people know her business) rather than face the option of being single. I would like to think that unhappy couplings are rare, but the more I hear the more I realise they’re quite common.

I had another friend who clung by his fingernails to a relationship that made him completely miserable, because he was convinced he was in love. The problem was that he didn’t actually like her, the way she operated, would have never had her as a friend. He felt bewitched, consumed, trapped. When he did finally rip himself away mates were around to help him over the hump, he soon shaped up and into happiness again. When the episode comes up in conversation these days he says that now, with distance, it feels like it all happened in a film that he watched, rather than actually happening to him, and doesn’t know what was going on but his life would have been a mess had he not ended it. Imagine if he had have stuck with that relationship! Some people do, all their lives, afraid to leave it.

I read something last week, framed on the wall of a coffee shop….. ‘We are all looking for that happy ending’.

I may produce something similar, it will read something like…. 'Maybe the happy ending is ending the shitty relationship that you are in, rather than biting the bullet, getting married and procreating with a fucking pillock just because you are scared of going to the cinema on your own’. I reckon it will sell a few, after I’ve done a bit of editing.

Robin Howard Lee is available for ‘brusque’ couples counselling, good laugh drinks or cups of fruit tea in Soho, Camden, Islington and Hull, usually in the afternoon.