How to Decide to Leave a Relationship
Are you trying to make the devastating choice to end your relationship? Does your head say it is time to move on, but your heart isn’t sure? Only you can know whether it is right for you to leave. This article is designed to give you some guidance to order your thinking so you can make a decision. Take the time to look at each aspect in this article and weigh up the positive and negatives before making your decision.
Does your relationship cause you more pain than happiness?
Sometimes if we are caught in a repetitive relationship cycle of makeup and break up, we can find ourselves drawn into the nice times in the relationship and minimising the nasty times. You need, to be honest with yourself, and if your relationship leaves you feeling unhappy, unheard, frustrated, disrespected then perhaps this person is not the right person for you.
You live your relationship in the past
Do you find yourself remembering happy moments from the past to keep going in the relationship? Do you find yourself comparing how the relationship is now to what it was like right at the beginning? Do you use these memories as a reason to continue in the relationship or even as an excuse for your partner’s current behaviour? You need to recognise that at the start of a relationship everyone is on their best behaviour. What you are remembering isn’t real. If the relationship has deteriorated because of repetitive toxic arguing you need to make your assessment based on what is happening in the relationship now, not the fantasy of what the relationship was like in the past.
You keep making excuses for him
If you keep justifying his actions as because he is depressed, tired or anxious rather than facing the reality that he really is inconsiderate or abusive, then you are protecting yourself from facing reality. Sometimes it is too hard to accept that someone who says that they love us can treat us in such nasty ways. Or it might be that thinking about leaving is too hard, and it is easier to excuse his behaviour. If you find yourself constantly explaining away bad behaviour, this is a sign that this is not a good relationship.
You are waiting for him to change
If you are waiting for your partner to change you really need to see a sustained genuine effort to change aspects of themselves that are causing issues in the relationship. Anyone can say they will change; you need to see your partner walk the talk. Unless you can see real efforts to change, know that the relationship will continue as it always has. Be careful you are not in the relationship for the wrong reasons, that you are trying to change your partner to fit into what you want rather than accepting them as the individual they are.
Your partner keeps expecting you to change
Does he want you to be an expression of what he wants, dress differently, wear more or less makeup? If this relationship means you cannot be yourself, you need to think very carefully about whether long term you are in a relationship that is going to allow you to be all of who you can be.
Is the relationship abusive?
If you partner is causing you to feel emotionally hurt or physically in danger or worse, then your relationship becomes a place where it is unsafe for you to stay. It is so easy to excuse abuse, or take responsibility for your partner’s behaviour. If I didn’t do X, Y or Z, he wouldn’t have hit me or sworn at me. The reality is, it doesn’t matter what you do, you do not cause anyone to be abusive towards you. Your behaviour is yours, and his behaviour is his. Emotional abuse is confusing and crazy-making because it is so hard to identify. If you feel as if you are second guessing yourself in your relationship or everything is your fault, then it might be that you need to get some professional help to identify what is really going on in your relationship and get some assistance to leave safely.
You find yourself arguing the same way, over and over again?
Do you find you have the same toxic break-up and make-up arguments again and again? It is highly likely you are in a relationship that is based on intensity rather than true intimacy and commitment. A relationship that is supercharged on intensity chases the excitement and fantasy of the beginning of the relationship over and over again. Know that every toxic argument will slowly destroy every bit of goodwill between you and eventually cause the end of your relationship. Toxic relationships have the potential to bring out the very worst in you which is always a reason to consider leaving.
You find yourself trying very hard to make the relationship work
Are you putting in all the effort to make the relationship work and your partner isn’t expressing the same effort and commitment? Ask yourself why you are trying so hard to make the relationship work? Are you scared of being on your own? Are you playing out some sort of unconscious toxic relationship pattern? Unless your partner is prepared to meet you half way so that the effort in the relationship is balanced, know that this issue will only become worse over time. When women over function in a relationship by doing too much they risk losing their identity in the relationship. For the sake of your sense of self, you may need to consider ending the relationship.
Your relationship holds you back and stops you from achieving your potential
In a relationship, there is always give and take, and sometimes one person in the relationship gives so that the other can realise their dreams. However, if you find you are always the one to give, and you are constantly being held back from realising your potential you need to assess whether the relationship enabling you to be true to yourself and realise your dreams. If your relationship is holding you back, it might be that you have to make that decision to move on.
You have different beliefs and values
When a relationship has beliefs and values that are fundamentally different, it can be very difficult to reconcile differences. Your beliefs and values form the foundation for how you are in the world, and it can be very difficult to find a compromise because in a relationship we are creating aspects of our lives we are passionate about. Whether it is children, parenting, family or spiritual belief whatever it is we often have very strong views about how these things should be. If our ideas are fundamentally different to our partner, it can make differences irreconcilable and the ending of the relationship becomes the best option.
When the feeling is mutual
People can change, and in a relationship sometimes we don’t change together. As painful as it can be to admit, if the feelings are no longer there then it is time to move on and end the relationship. If you both feel the same way then ending the relationship while you are still able to be civil or maintain a friendship can be the best thing for everyone, especially if there are children involved. If your partner doesn’t have feelings for you anymore holding on to them just prolongs the pain if you no longer have feelings for your partner the kindest thing you can do is be honest, and don’t give your partner false hope that the relationship will improve or you might feel differently with time.
Ending a relationship is never easy. Being the partner to make that decision to leave can take you into feelings of tremendous guilt because you are making a decision to end your relationship and effectively hurt your partner. The important to remember that ultimately it doesn’t do either you or your partner any good to stay in a relationship where you are unhappy. You will only be able to repress how you really feel for a time and the longer the unhappiness goes on, the more potential there is for you to compromise your boundaries and hurt your partner more. The important thing to remember when you end a relationship is to be in your integrity speak your truth and have pure motives. Most importantly be mindful of your safety. We know that women are most in danger of being harmed or killed when they leave a relationship. Seek support and plan your exit.
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