Let’s call them cost versus gain, an unredeemable act, the disintegration of fantasy, the partners being inauthentic, and the inability of the relationship to mature or transform.
Unfortunately, they are intertwined. Each can set off the others or make them worse.
All of these breaking points should ideally be foreseeable long before they shatter. When they are not, then the partner who is considering leaving a relationship has either not communicated the slippery downfall he or she is experiencing, or has not recognized that it is happening before it’s too late.
To carry the burden of one-sided awareness that a relationship is failing is neither healthy nor fair. To have to be the bearer of news that, at best, is going to be a painful and negative surprise to the other is even more disastrous.
So, the more logical questions that should be asked before considering ending a relationship are:
Relationships that are open and honest partnerships would not result in only one person wondering if the relationship should end and the other unaware that there is a serious problem.
If that unfortunate imbalance has happened, the person who feels that all options are gone owes it to his or her partner to own that breach of trust. Even though you may have hoped things would work out, didn’t want to cause unnecessary hurt, were too fearful of the results to be up front, or thought maybe your partner would end it first and save you the pain of being the bad guy, you still should tell your partner that you are genuinely sorry you waited so long.
Partners who are truly unaware that their significant other is through often plead, argue, challenge, or express anger when they find out the relationship is over.
It is important that the partner leaving is willing to listen and validate the reasonableness of those responses.
Another important caveat: Being left is less painful than being replaced.
Many people finally get the courage to leave a relationship when they find someone new, but that will always be a greater loss to the person left behind.
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
We all know that break ups are a painful endeavor…even when you are the one to walk away.
Before you take the leap, consider the following:
1. Hindsight is 20/20
Often, when acting impulsively, we set a course in motion that is contrary to our desires and best interests. Only when looking back do we realize the error of our ways. Prevent regret by taking a good, long look at your relationship (in a calm/non-reactive moment) and try to imagine what you may miss about it and whether or not you may be sad/disappointed/angry at yourself for walking away, one day.
2. Dig In and Get Dirty
Before you bid adieu, ask yourself if you have really left no stone unturned when it comes to remedying the unhappiness. Have you communicated your needs, addressed your personal issues and made realistic compromises?
3. Gut Check
Practice being still and checking in with the voice inside yourself that properly navigates your decisions. Quiet the noise by separating out what your hesitations are really about. Write them down if necessary. Isolate what it is about this relationship that makes you want to break it off. Is it the instinctive voice that tells you it’s not the right fit? Is it others perceptions and your discomfort about being judged etc? Either way, listen to your inner voice and put faith in it’s ability to guide you.
If you honestly feel you’ve done the work above, you have that much more information/conviction/confidence to not only make your decision but to successfully live with it.
Allison Cohen, M.A., MFT – www.lifeissuespsychotherapy.com
Sometimes when you are stuck in a negative pattern with your partner and you are in a lot of pain, it is hard to see a way out.
An objective party can help you see where you are stuck and help you pave the way to a more loving and connected place.
Also ask yourself the question, do you want out of the relationship or do you want out of the pain?
Sometimes we think the only way out of the pain is to get out of the relationship. But a struggle in the relationship may mean that there is something within you that needs attention and growth.
So it can be better to face that pain and work through it to work on becoming the person you are supposed to be.
Dana Vince, M.A., LPC, MHSP – www.marriagecounselingknoxville.com
There are definitely times where the relationship has run its course and it is time for us to cut our losses on move on.
However, I feel that many relationships are given up on before the true work has even started. It’s important to remember that all relationships will take work.
Relationships are designed to show us ourselves.
They are the gateway into healing our subconscious fears and past limiting beliefs. The problem is, so, so, so many times relationships end prior to any real healing taking place.
People often feel that “the grass is greener”and since I am not getting ____ here, I can just go over there! This is a huge myth and one that needs further investigating. It is paramount to remember that where ever you go, there you will be.
A change in scenery won’t necessarily bring you the happiness that you are looking for. It won’t matter who, what, where, why, how if we are still the common denominator.
Here a list a questions to answer honestly yourself and to openly discuss with your partner.
Remember there are two of you involved and with discussion, much can be revealed, healed and solved.
1. Am I being respected and honored? The most important piece in a healthy relationship.
2. Am I attaching a belief to how I should be loved and not seeing the love that I am being given? We all show our love differently.
3. What are our commonalities and how important are they to me? Does the “good” outweigh the“bad”? Am I focused on his negatives? Am I recognizing the amazing parts?
4. Am I staying because I don’t want to be alone? If you are not fully in, let him go.
5. Am I speaking my truth and doing all I can to help facilitate healing? What pieces of myself have I withheld?
6. What fear do I have that I may not be aware of? It takes an honest look to locate where you may be sabotaging the union.
7. Is my person showing up for deep conversations? And is he willing and available to move through the issues with me? If both parties don’t equally have the relationship as a priority, it is broken before it is built.
Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.facebook.com/SweetEmpowermentLifeCoaching
He Says “I Love You”… But does he really mean it?
This 7 question quiz tells you if your man truly loves you or if he is just using you…
Often I see patients who come to see me with the dilemma of whether they should keep trying to make their relationship work or let it go and move on. I can’t make that decision for them but there are certain issues to look at that might help them make their decision.
The first consideration is how motivated their partner is to make any significant changes in their behavior or attitude that affect the quality of the relationship.
If the partner is motivated then that means there is a possibility that things could change for the better. Also do they acknowledge that they need to make any changes? If the partner thinks that changes aren’t necessary then the relationship isn’t going to improve. It takes both partners to make it better with professional help. If they realize that they contribute to the problems within the relationship and are willing to seek help then that would be a major positive sign to give the relationship a chance.
Another consideration is the issue of sobriety.
If there is any excessive alcohol or drug use, or any other addiction, then that is a major impediment to improving the relationship. Having constructive communication with someone who is not sober is impossible. If their partner is willing to get help for their chemical use or other addiction, that is a positive sign that things can improve.
Commitment to a relationship is a fundamental consideration.
If a partner is questioning whether they want to be in a relationship then that issue needs to be resolved before involvement can occur in any serious way. The partner needs to resolve the issue of commitment individually without having access to participation in the relationship. If the conflicted partner is able to still have access to the relationship they will drag out their indecision.
Trust is another important condition as to whether or not to participate in a relationship.
I wouldn’t live with someone if I didn’t trust them. If your partner has broken your trust then there is a possibility that they can regain your trust by doing their own psychological introspective work. This will enable them to explain how their choices will be different moving forward. This information will reduce the risk of trusting them again.
The last issue that isn’t as obvious as the other conditions is whether or not the partner is dependent either financially or emotionally.
When dependency of this type is involved it’s best to walk away from the relationship until the partner is able to take care of themselves as an adult in the adult world either financially or emotionally. When someone is dependent in this way they are unable to choose to be in a relationship. Their resentment of not having choice will eventually poison their love.
Dan Beaver, M.S. – www.danielbeaver.com
Any decision you make in a relationship should be made in a clear and rational frame of mind, so give yourself time to really think about how you feel, what you want, how the relationship is going, and if you truly want to end things before you act on your emotions.
If you are thinking of ending a relationship, this could be for many reasons.
Here are some pointers to consider when you are contemplating your decision.
1. Know your relationship values, what you want, and how you feel. Does your partner share or reflect your values?
2. Be aware of the difference between Wants and Needs. Wants are things we think we need, while needs are things we are unwilling to compromise on.
3. Consider if your expectations are realistic, and how you would feel if someone had these expectations of you.
4. Accept that others are who they are, and that people will only change if they desire to. How would you feel if your partner tried to change you?
5. No one is perfect, and no union is flawless We each hope to find someone who meets our needs, loves and appreciates us, treats us well and adds to our lives, but we must remember that in every relationship there are hardships, miscommunication, conflict and disconnection. Consider if there is more good or bad in your relationship, before deciding that it is over.
6. Lastly, the most important thing to consider when you are in a relationship that you would like to improve, but feel is unchangeable… Is your partner WILLING TO TRY TO CHANGE? If the answer is yes, then you can achieve progress, because there is POSSIBILITY. If the answer is no, then it is unlikely that things will evolve.
Each relationship is as unique as the individuals involved, and so I encourage you to know yourself and your situation before you follow any advice.
Keep these pointers in mind while you consider what to do in your current romance, and while contemplating your current level of satisfaction.
Lisa Resnick, M.A., LPC – www.lisaresnickholistictherapy.com
So things aren’t going quite as you envisioned at the beginning of the relationship?
You’ve gone from thinking about monogrammed towels and sheets to the idea of burning the towels and sheets after he touches them sometimes. Well, no need to burn anything, it just sounds like it might be time to move on from this suitor. Where do you even begin?
First, it may seem easier to stay in the relationship because change is hard!
Thoughts may be running through your mind like, “I don’t want to have to date again”, “It’s not always bad…just most of the time”, or “Maybe I should give it a little more time and things will get better”. When in fact things have probably been this way for quite some time and you just weren’t quite ready to face the music. If you are staying in it because it’s “easier” than breaking up, you need to be a big girl and break up.
What are your motives?
Are you pissed because he forgot to call while he was watching the football game? You’re thinking this is the last time and I don’t want to deal with it anymore. Let your emotions settle down and reevaluate. Making hurried decisions like that is usually not the best and you’re reacting out of emotion instead of logic. If it’s because of something that compromises your value system, still take some time and evaluate what is best and approach him coolly with your concerns and how you feel like this might not be best for both of you.
What about the baggage?
Maybe you live together (officially or unofficially) and you will actually have some physical baggage. That’s daunting especially if you have a dog together. It might sound silly but these are real things to consider and may be a reason preventing you from breaking up. If it’s not right, these logistics will work themselves out in time, but don’t let that be the reason to stay together.
Breaking up may mean the end, but it will mean the beginning of something new.
You have no idea what could be in store for you and what you take with you from one relationship to the next. Life will move on like it always does, but take it in stride and know that something else is in store for you.
Haley Gage, M.A., LAPC – www.simplifiedatlanta.com
The decision to end a relationship is as significant as the decision to open yourself up and begin one.
I would like to propose some suggestions based on my experience in Relationship Therapy with my clients.
If safety issues at any level are involved, I advise you to end it. Behaviors such as physical aggression, intimidation or threats. Any behavior by him that reduces your safety should be a deal killer. Staying in a relationship that is fear-based is unsafe for you, period.
Those dynamics excluded, you want to step back and evaluate what has gone on. Imagine being the good friend listening to someone else describe your situation. How would you advise her if this was her story?
This is an emotionally charged decision. You want to connect to the emotions and also your rational, logical thought process.
To help you be as objective as possible, make a list. Similar to a costs and benefit analysis chart in business. Examine the positives and negatives, seeing them written can help to clarify. Take into account the value you assign to the aspects of each list. Length of list is not the issue, the importance of what is on each list is the focus.
Consider the effects of each item on your personal growth, wellness, other relationships and your career. Next step, ask a mature and trustworthy confidant if he/she will help you process your thoughts and feelings about the lists.
If you do not break-up, what is needed in the relationship for it to strengthen and become healthy? Perhaps forgiving, changing behaviors, and restoration where damage has occurred.
To sum up;
1. Make a list of positives and negatives to the relationship
2. Consult with an emotionally solid, trustworthy friend
3. Consider what is needed to restore the relationship
4. Evaluate your willingness and ability to do your part. If it is a “no” you have your decision.
5. If you are willing, have this conversation with him to see if he if he is willing to do what is needed to improve the relationship. Your best chance is that you both commit to a humble, active and positive attitude.
You two may decide that outside help is needed to embark on a path of healing.
That is okay, none of us have all of the answers we need within ourselves. My best to you!
Marta Hatter, LCSW – www.revelationcounseling.com
If you’re ready to end your relationship, there are some things to consider to be sure you are making the right decision.
Obviously, if you are not living your best life with your partner, you know something is wrong.
Examine the following statements, as they are guidelines for a healthy relationship and see if your relationship meets these criteria.
1. You feel safe and comfortable expressing your feelings and needs, without fear of being reprimanded or belittled.
2. You support each other’s goals, encouraging in a non-competitive, accepting way.
3. Decisions are made together, with respect given to each other’s opinions. No one person is superior to the other and there is a balance between giving and receiving.
4. Conflicts are mutually resolved. There is willingness to compromise so that no one person is left feeling wrong or devalued.
5. You share common interests and ideals, but are able to pursue outside interests, including friends, hobbies, schooling, etc. There is a balance of closeness and separateness, yet when you are together, you are able to play and have fun.
6. You maintain your autonomy, so that if you are left alone, you are able to function, taking care of all your responsibilities and commitments easily.
These may seem impossible to fulfill, but they really aren’t that difficult.
After all, they are basically the inalienable rights we all deserve. Everyone needs to feel respected and valued for who they are, without compromise. Just remember that whatever you want in a relationship, your partner probably wants it too. If you are not experiencing that, you are right to be moving on.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
When you’re angry with him, you want to return everything he’s ever given you and hope the earth swallows him up.
Usually this kind of anger comes from hurt that we want to avoid feeling.
Did he hurt you intentionally? If you think he did, did you ask him why? Has he been inconsistent or dishonest with you? Does he give you excuses instead of listening to your grievances? Does he try to intimidate you and turn it around so that you feel blamed, sad and guilty?
These are all good reasons to consider breaking things off, because they are all signs of his character.
He will, undoubtedly, exhibit behaviors that drive you crazy. Are they really that serious or are you being especially picky? You really must learn that not everything he does is related to you. Size the situation up and, at least try, to avoid taking things so personally. If he tracks mud through the house, that’s sort of an “oh well”.
The fear of being alone is not a good reason to stick with a bad situation, but be prepared.
Have activities and friends lined up because you don’t want to have an excessive amount of time on your hands to mull over what you should and should not have done. You might surprise yourself and after the ﬁrst wave of relief you might feel forlorn. This is the time to take especially good care of yourself. Please remember that alcohol is a depressant.
Do not play games. If you leave or ask him to, with the plan to reunite after he has humbled himself, you are playing with ﬁre. He just might decide he likes life better without you (which probably would have led to a break up anyway). Abandonment is not a tool to be used as a punishment. Do not get too smug and forget that things can backﬁre.
If you do decide to end the relationship, do so after you’ve had a chance to cool down.
You don’t have to do it now. These actions are best taken in a calm and civil manner. Do not get ugly and try to hurt him — you may well regret that some day.
Whatever decision you make, it will not be the end of the world. As Annie says, “The sun will come up tomorrow”.
Ruth Gordon, M.A., MSW, LICSW – www.foreverfabulousyou.com
Sometimes I think ending a relationship is harder than starting one.
Beginning a new relationship is like entering a fantasy; leaving it is often about the disappointment that comes when reality replaces the euphoria of that fantasy.
All relationships disappoint. My clients hate it when I say that, but it’s true. A real relationship could never live up to our fantasies about love and commitment. Relationships are hard.
Blending the differences between two individuals into something workable is challenging.
I am often asked when is it time to call it off. How do you know what crosses the line between realistic differences and issues that cannot be tolerated? How do you know what level of passion is normal?
I tell my clients that these are valid questions but that the answers are subjective. What is enough for one person may not suffice for another.
Here are some things to consider:
1. Have any basic boundaries been crossed? Infidelity is usually a deal breaker. Likewise addictions- drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography.
2. Are you a relationship junkie? Do you leave when the rush begins to recede? Do all of your relationships become boring after two years? If so, you might want to consider what you are really looking for in a relationship and how realistic you are about what a relationship can provide.
3. Do you typically end up with underfunctioning men? If so, you are probably a caretaker. At some point you’ll feel resentful, and tempted to kick him out. You need to be clear about your expectations and not do more than your share.
4. Is your father on a pedestal? Have you found that no man can ever quite live up to your experience of that perfect relationship?
5. How open are you to compromise? How open are you to differences? If either of you struggle with compromise and/or differences, any relationship will be disappointing.
6. Do you meet someone with the expectation that they will change? People need to be loved and appreciated for who they are. That goes for you and your partner.
Often when people are unhappy in a relationship they fault their partner.
From that standpoint, the fix is in finding a new, better partner. But you are responsible for at least half of the dynamics in a relationship. Knowing and working on your own relationship challenges will provide a better chance for long-term relationship success. And if you do need to move on from this partner, the chances are better that you’ll make a better choice with the next one.
Sally Leboy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
Before ending your relationship, you should consider the following issues, to ensure that you are making the right decision.
If you answer no to these, there is a good chance the relationship will not be able to sustain itself in the long term, and that this is not a healthy match for you.
1. Your communication/conflict resolution: Can he address and discuss his feelings, and take ownership of his role in the differences that have emerged between the two of you? Can he apologize and take accountability for what has happened? Is he willing to hang in there and help you resolve and understand what had occurred that created problems in the first place?
2. Do you feel worse after a conflict and more confused about who he is, what upsets him, and what is important to him?
3. Do you have similar life goals and values? Do you see things in similar ways or are you constantly confused and in disagreement about what is transpiring within your relationship and in the way he perceives the world around you?
4. Does he follow through on what he has agreed to do, either for himself or for you? Do you often wonder if he will show up on time or make excuses and cancel plans?
5. Does he make you feel special, desired, and attractive? Does he compare you to other women or make you feel that you are less appealing compared to others?
Stephanie Newberg, M.Ed., M.S.W., L.C.S.W – www.stephanienewberg.com
Learn Why Men Pull Away
There is a deep-seated “Gap” in communication that very few women (or men) understand.
It’s the #1 reason why men pull away.
To be truly irresistible to a man, you MUST understand this gap, and the way feelings of love get confused and entangled in a man’s mind…
1. Do you still get butterflies?
When you look at his picture or think back to a special date, do you get those familiar feelings in your body affectionately known as “butterflies”?
When we still care deeply about someone, there is always that feeling, even if it was been turned off due to problems in the relationship.If you still blush when you think back to a stolen kiss or laugh at a recent inside joke, there is still some spark and it just might be the right amount needed to relight the fire.
2. Are the issues workable?
People are different and what they find to be acceptable in a relationship may vastly differ than another person.This would be a time to reflect on what you find acceptable in a relationship and if what’s happening is not acceptable, then it may be time to reevaluate your role in the relationship.If the issues are workable, then you might want to give it another try because in the end you may always wonder what would have happened if you had an extra talk or if you tried something outside of the box.
3. Are you willing to work them out?
Speaking of things outside of the box, are you willing to do that?Are you willing to put yourself outside of your comfort zone to improve your relationship?If you are willing, you may find that your significant other is willing to step outside of his norm and meet you halfway in dealing with your problems.
4. Do you love him?
Love is the reason we are in relationships.It’s the unexplainable thing that ties two people together when no other explanation makes sense. If you can honestly answer that you are still in love with him and you come from that place of love, it will always conquer all.Love is the foundation and if that isn’t broken then you can always repair the damages.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.browardcounseling.com