Being the one to decide whether or not to leave a relationship can be just as hard as the one being left, and for some even more so. The one being left really has no say in the matter. The one making the decision to leave is the one taking absolute responsibility for what will happen next.
And although you may be very dissatisfied with your relationship or are wondering if you even have any love left, you may feel reluctant to really make the break. When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time fear of the unknown can stop the most determined of you in your tracks making the decision even more difficult.
Here are a few things to consider before making the final decision to stay or leave.
- Do not expect yourself to feel love for your partner when you are feeling resentful. These two emotions are almost incompatible. Actually part of the process of leaving anyone is that you must feel the resentment and even anger otherwise you probably wouldn’t consider going at all.
- Do not let anyone pressure you into a decision. Imagine yourself living with your partner on even days and living apart on odd days to see if you can get a really good idea for how it’s really going to be like to be separate from each other.
- Discover how you allow yourself to be a victim by talking to friends or a therapist. You will not stop feeling resentful until you stop giving up your power. Tormenting yourself over whether or not to continue the relationship may interfere with looking at the changes you need to make in yourself.
- If the decision is too hard for now take some time first to focus in on yourself and figure out what there is to learn about relationships that you may have missed that put you in this predicament in the first place. Identify one change to start with that you are going to make in yourself for the better. Make this change consistently until you sense that you are no longer acting like a victim.
- Only when you have learned your own lessons and made some changes in yourself make your decision. Don’t be hurried into it either by yourself or by others. The years you spent together deserve that much thought. This will give you a much better sense of what you need to do. And of course don’t be surprised that in the meanwhile your partner may make your decision for you as they are going through their own process and challenges.
- If there are problems with physical or substance abuse, a separation may be needed to save the marriage or to save that person from their habit. Often, people stay in such relationships until they have no love left. It is better to recognise problems early and insist on living separately until the other person has sought help. Promises to get help should be ignored until the person takes action and makes significant changes.
- Whatever the decision you make about your future it must be viewed from the perspective that it took the two of you to get you to this place so each of you must take responsibility for your part in it. Only when you accept responsibility and do your own therapy around that can you really make a good decision for yours and your partner’s future together.
And let me add one more that is probably even more important than the ones above.
Do not leave one relationship on the promise of another.
These relationships rarely survive as until the lessons are learned from the previous relationship the likelihood of coming back to exactly the same place is actually fairly high. That’s why they call them “rebound” relationships.
Oh and don’t count on a new partner to take away any underlying insecurity you might have. That is why new relationships, gone into too soon after the last one ended, can be fraught with danger and are likely to end you up in exactly the same place.
Learn what there is to learn about yourself, others, life and loving and then, if your love is still there, renew your commitment to this relationship. If however the time is right for you to move on then do so without regret, without resentment, without anger but with love and gratitude for the time you have had with each other and all that you have learned and experienced together.
So until next time – Relate with Love