Sometimes people need real relationship advice, not a toxic and tired slogan
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
There is a group on Facebook I follow called “that relationship sounds exhausting.” In the group, people post things about either the problems they are having with their relationships, or images of other people’s toxic relationships found on the internet. Most of the time when people post about the problems they are having, usually with their boyfriends, the people commenting have great insight. However, there are many who resort to giving uninspired advice and just saying, “dump him.” While in some instances it might better for people to break up with toxic partners, I don’t think it’s a one-size-fits-all piece of advice.
Unfortunately, this is a mentality I hear outside of the internet as well. “Dump him” specifically is practically a slogan now, given how often it’s printed on various items of clothing (just do a Google image search for the phrase) and used in memes. I think it’s a toxic and lazy mentality and people need to stop defaulting to it as advice, unless it’s actually needed.
Many people are actually committed and want to communicate with their partners, or they really love them and just need help working out an issue. Sometimes “dump them” is just not a reasonable option or proportionate response, especially if the problem is fixable and the couple wants to stay together.
For instance, in the Facebook group I mentioned sometimes people post asking for advice about a small problem with their relationship because, say, their partner is bad with money or doesn’t clean up after themselves. As small albeit frustrating a problem this may be, many of the comments on posts like these all lie within the “dump them” framework. This is not good relationship advice because it doesn’t solve anything. Instead, it undermines the effectiveness of working out your issues in a meaningful partnership. It makes partners sound disposable, and it’s a really unhealthy mindset to internalize.
Sure, if they’re abusive or toxic, or if your friend doesn’t like them or is unhappy with them, that is a good reason to tell someone they might want to break up with their partner. However, having one small argument or a small issue in the relationship is not necessarily a valid reason. Furthermore, you may not understand the full context of the situation or their relationship, so saying “dump them” isn’t really a fair conclusion.
Also, if this is your only advice to any person who comes to you for help with their partners, you really need to come up with some better, more thoughtful, situationally specific advice.
Relationships are complex and they require a lot of healthy communication, work, and trust. Sometimes all people need to do is talk through their differences, try to understand each other, and show some compassion. If none of that works and they are unhappy, then “dump them” might be valid advice. Otherwise, reconsider your recommendation and listen to people’s problems instead of borrowing a toxic slogan.