It’s not easy to decide when it’s time to leave, when enough is enough and to walk away. It’s especially hard when you’ve invested a lot of time and deep emotion.
I remember a particularly difficult relationship I was in where I couldn’t stop asking myself if I should leave. I couldn’t decide so I asked my friends and family, and literally any one else I could get to listen to my story.
All the input I received only served to confuse me more and I was unable to take any action at all. I shouldn’t have been surprised when he ended up talking the decision out of my hands and broke up with me.
I was so angry with myself for letting him take control that way! I learned a big lesson which I write about it detail chapter 7 of my book “It’s Never Too Late To Marry.” I call this chapter, “Listen to Yourself First.”
There’s a saying that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It’s sometimes hard to discern who is worth holding on to and when it’s appropriate to just let go.
They’ll come a time in your troubled relationship when you’ll find yourself asking, “How much more frustration, worry or sadness am I prepared to take in order to keep this relationship going?”
It’s not easy to end a relationship if it’s been big part of your life. And honestly, these relationships are always a big part of your life because they’re full of drama and require so much of your constant attention.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself caught in the trap of “wishful hoping,” which keeps you more focused on the future and avoiding the truth of the present. We’ve all been there; making excuses for bad behavior and rationalizing against all odds how things are bound to get better.
You may have been working on yourself for years and found, much to your frustration, that it has helped you but it hasn’t changed your partner’s behavior at all.
That’s another trap because the fact is it’s not your business to try to change anyone else. But you discover you’re spending most of your time and energy trying to do just that!
You need to ask yourself why you’re holding on to a troubled relationship so tightly. How is this relationship serving you? There must be some benefit you’re receiving or you wouldn’t be putting up with the discomfort and the pain. Sometimes the benefit is that you have an excuse not to take responsibility for your own life (being a victim) because you’re distracted with your “relationship problem.”
But the biggest reason you may hold on long after you should let go is fear. Fear of being alone or fear that no one else we’ll want you. But fear will be your jailor and color every aspect of your life. Living with fear is the same as being in a state of constant stress. It will negatively affect your mind and body.
To know when it’s time to leave a troubled relationship you have to ask yourself some tough questions.
Are you staying in the relationship hoping your partner will change? Have you lost a part of yourself by denying what you want and need just to keep the relationship going? Is the relationship getting better and stronger with time or is it feeling more distant and difficult?
If the answer to any of these is yes, you should consider leaving. You may be responsible for creating the relationships in your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in a relationship if it is no longer good for you. As Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, you do better.”
You can be in a healthy relationship, one where you and your partner get along as equals. One where you’re both doing the work needed to keep love and respect your first priority.