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When to Stay, When to Walk Away

“Should I stay in this relationship, or should I end it?”

It’s a common question. Counselors and psychic mediums hear it more times than they can count. It doesn’t matter how long the relationship has lasted; every one of them has its own unique story. Long-term relationships can have years’ worth of history, and often involve family obligations and children. Newer relationships carry all the desires and hopes of building towards a long-term commitment.

I chose to write this blog post to explore both options. Staying together is almost always preferable. Ending the relationship can leave people with a sense of failure. And leaving without addressing the beliefs and fears that damaged the relationship will likely lead to subsequent relationship failures in the future.

As with all generalities, there will always be exceptions to the rules. One common reasons to stay in a relationship when it isn’t working anymore is that they don’t see a way out. But this is not a reason. Instead, you’ve talked yourself into believing that the bad relationship is better than no relationship. Whether you fear being left alone or you genuinely believe that there’s no way out, you’ve made it so.

Or, the partner that’s working to keep the relationship alive may hold the false belief that they bring less to the relationship or don’t have as much to offer as their partner, so they’re the one that needs to change. Once that false belief is transformed and they realize that they bring their own brand of amazingness to the relationship, the dynamics will change.

When to Stay

Here are some reasons to remain committed to a troubled relationship. Even if you still have the love, desire, and energy, it will take dedication to make it work, and there are still no guarantees. But if you give it a try, at least you won’t have regrets later on.

  • There is still passion. Whether it’s during sex or it’s just feeling excitement about some new furniture you’re buying, if you both feel passionate together about the same things, there’s still hope.
  • You can still feel respect for your differences. You’re still able to “agree to disagree.”
  • Your struggles are private. You don’t ever make a public show of dislike or disrespect for each other.
  • You can still be honest with each other, despite how angry it makes you or how painful it is.
  • You’re both open to talking to a third party about the relationship.
  • You still seek each other first to discuss things that are bothering you, before you talk to family or friends.
  • You feel that the responsibilities in the relationship are shared equally.
  • You still perform small acts of love and kindness for each other.
  • You continue to go on real dates together.
  • The relationship doesn’t include any physical, verbal, mental, or emotional abuse. This includes degrading comments and put-downs.

When to End It

On the other hand, it’s time to end the relationship if your relationship includes any of the following issues.

  • Ongoing emotional or mental abuse, which constantly makes you feel bad about yourself.
  • Physical abuse. This creates a terrifying environment, and there’s no excuse to stay.
  • Any type of child abuse at any level.
  • You can’t recall the last time you had sex, or the last time your partner showed physical affection or kissed you.
  • Substance abuse and addiction that’s continually out of control.
  • One person in the relationship has been unfaithful more than once. While even a single affair can destroy a relationship, it’s possible to rebuild a foundation shaken by one incident. Counseling is certainly recommended in this circumstance.
  • The fighting seems to never stop, and it’s not only over major issues anymore. You fight about everything. You can’t recall the last time you acted civilly towards each other.
  • You keep things from each other. You hide secrets from your partner, and your partner also does not share the whole truth with you.
  • The fear of total commitment taints the entire relationship. You don’t ever really know where the future will take you, and your partner is evasive when it comes to discussing it.
  • There are ongoing and unresolved financial issues. One partner is controlling the other with money or taking financial advantage of the other, or there’s excessive borrowing, an addiction to gambling, a refusal to find employment.
  • You don’t spend much time together and lead literally separate lives. The only thing you have in common anymore is your living space.

There’s no easy “on” and “off” switch for your emotions that could give you a quick answer to the question about staying or ending it. Pay attention to your feelings about yourself in your relationship. That is the best gauge you have to assess the commitment you have, regardless of the eventual outcome.

 

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