To go or stay in a relationship is a life altering decision.
Many people reach a point when they wonder if it’s time to end a relationship. And not just any relationship, but one with a significant other; their lover, partner or spouse. Concerns about compatibility, intimacy, growth and the future of the relationship fester in their mind.
Being in a romantic relationship is a high priority for many people, so ending a love relationship is a pivotal point in a person’s life. Things will not be the same once the relationship is over. But will it be better or worse is the question that taunts people while they ponder their options.
If you are currently caught in this quandary, explore the following questions and insights as a way to gain clarity.
Is the relationship unhealthy or troubled? Unhealthy relationships are ones that involve some sort of serious dysfunction or abuse that is hard to remedy. Troubled relationships have problems which can be resolved. Ongoing infidelity, destructive addictions, or any form of abuse is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Ending this type of relationship may be the only option. If you’re still unsure, contemplate what relationship advice you would give to a friend, daughter or son if they were in your situation.
Identify the source of trouble. If you are in a troubled relationship, look underneath to see what is causing it. A lack of sexual intimacy, a one time affair, or communication problems all stem from something deeper. Exploring underlying issues with the purpose of resolving them can be a wonderful healing and growth opportunity for both individuals and the relationship.
Are you misled by misconceptions? Many myths about marriage and relationships exist in the back of people’s minds. Some believe that once the passion is over, the relationship is over, or that couples in love aren’t meant to argue or disagree, or that once a relationship becomes boring it’s time to move on, or that a romantic partner is supposed to meet all their needs. These ideas can quickly lead a person to feel dissatisfied in a relationship. Look to see if any of these myths or misconceptions are affecting your decision to stay in the relationship.
Are you focused on problems or solutions? What we focus on grows in our perception. If we look for problems in a relationship, we’re sure to find them. Yet if we focus on what we appreciate in our partner or in the relationship, loving feelings return. Practice accepting the negative traits in your partner and purposely focusing on the positive traits for at least one week and see if this shifts your question on whether to end the relationship or not.
Is it time to enter a new stage in the relationship? According to Pat Love, author of the book The Truth About Love: The Highs, the Lows, and How You Can Make It Last Forever, many people end a relationship too soon because they are at the end of one stage and don’t realize there is another stage available. After the initial infatuation is the post-rapture stage where the chemical high of passion wears off. Then there is the discovery stage where couples gather deeper information about each other, their roles, what love means to them, and how to build trust. Once couples have made it this far they enter into the connection stage where they expand their level of commitment, deepen connection, forge a friendship, create a haven together, and provide support for each other. Look to see if it’s time to move to another level in your relationship or if it is really is over.
Are your core issues being triggered? There are times when many of us want to end a relationship because of pain that is being triggered from our past. We may not recognize it as such at the time though and instead blame our partner. If a lack of intimacy, unmet needs or troubling behavior stings so strong that you want to run from your partner, look within to see if an old wound is festering. Committed relationships provide a perfect opportunity for old issues to surface so they can be healed. If you don’t deal with them now, they will most likely resurface in your next relationship.
Is the relationship purpose complete? Beyond intimate connection and companionship, two people join together for deeper purposes. Important life lessons and soul agreements underlie relationships. Once a person has achieved what they set out to on a personal and spiritual growth level, it may be time to end a relationship and move onto another growth opportunity. Reflect on what you have learned and how you have grown as a result of your current relationship. Are there any other lessons, healing or growth opportunities available, or have you both embarked upon different paths?
Deciding if it’s time to end a relationship is not a comfortable place to be. There may be pros and cons to staying in the relationship, but ultimately a decision needs to be made. Look beyond your mind’s logical reasons and your body’s emotional reactions. Explore intuitive decisions from your heart and soul for higher guidance.
Do you have any questions or insights to share on deciding whether to end a relationship or not? Please share below.