Knowing When to Hang it up
Do we keep trying, or call it quits?
A Hard Decision
We have all been in bad relationships. The key is knowing whether to keep trying, or call it quits. I don't advocate divorce and this Hub is aimed at couples who are still in the dating stage. I have known couples who have stayed together even though they should have split up long before, and they did each other tremendous damage in the process.
I remind couples that I counsel that if something bothers them a "little" while dating, most likely it will bother them "a lot" later on. People don't magically change when they get married. If you have some uncomfortable doubts, take your time and don't rush into anything.
Ask yourself what bothers you the most and what you like about the relationship. Take a sheet of paper and make two lists: The "pros" and "cons", and then consider which column is the heaviest. You may find that there are many great reasons to stay in the relationship, or you may find that what you enjoy is very slim compared to what makes you suffer and causes you anxiety. If that's the case, it may be time to end it.
You may have had a lot in common with your partner initially, but sometimes people grow apart or grow in separate directions. If your relationship started when you were young and several years have gone by, you have probably changed. There's nothing wrong with change and it's alright to part ways when you realize you're on completely different paths.
Is conflict an everyday occurrence and do you fight over everything? If so, have you sought counseling? A trained counselor can help couples learn to communicate their feelings and needs, forgive past offenses and strengthen the relationship.
Relationships are only as good as the mutual needs that are met. What are your needs? What are your partner's needs? Is the relationship lopsided, with one partner getting much more than he/she gives? Do you need to renegotiate your relationship? A counselor can be helpful in negotiating what each person needs from the other.
Unfaithfulness is a hard one to deal with. If an affair has occurred once, it may be possible to forgive, heal, rebuild trust, learn from the experience and be stronger as a couple. If one partner is chronically unfaithful though, it's probably time to move on.
Ask yourself if the relationship is abusive. Sometimes abuse is obvious, such as physical abuse. If you are in this situation you should protect yourself by leaving. It is not an easy thing to do but your life may be at risk. Other forms of abuse may not be as obvious, such as emotional or verbal abuse. Does your partner belittle you or criticize you constantly? Do you feel inferior to your partner because of the way he or she treats you? Sexual abuse is one that can be obvious but can also be covert-do you feel that you have to do things you don't want to do? Are your feelings disregarded? Does your opinion count in the bedroom?
Is there an addiction in the middle of the relationship? If so, no matter what you do there may no way to save this relationship. Addictions take over and soon there is no space for you. If your partner had to choose you or the substance, he would probably choose the substance. A sad but true fact, unless he/she is in true recovery.
Some relationships hit rough spots and every couple has disagreements. When you enjoy being together most of the time, the disagreements can be worked out with caring and good communication skills. Seek to understand each others' point of view, and make a point to talk things through as they come up. If there are plenty of positives in the relationship and a few negatives, it's worth trying to work those things out.
Relationships serve different purposes at different times, and sometimes it has just run its course. We learned what we needed to learn, we enjoyed our time together, but if things start to go sour and nothing seems to get them back on track, it's best to walk away before too much damage is done.
Remember that if a relationship doesn't work out, there's nothing wrong with you and nothing wrong with the other person (well, maybe there is...) but relationships are not all destined to last "forever". Thank God that some of my past relationships didn't pan out! I wouldn't be married to the wonderful man I'm with today. If your relationship is over, don't feel bad about yourself, learn what you need to learn from it, and keep your eyes wide open! You never know what the future holds.