Recognising the time has come to end an important relationship is often especially stressful. We may have shared many good and bad times together, grown up with them, certainly loved them for a time. We may even still love them, but not in the way we know we should.
But there can be a lot of distress, confusion and angst over ending a relationship; are we doing the right thing, what if the grass is not greener elsewhere, are we making a mistake, will we ever find someone else, someone who cares for us as much as our partner does?
What can we do to decide if it's the right time to end our relationship;
- Over time we may gradually notice that we are becoming increasingly irritable with our partner; the things that initially attracted us to them may be starting to wear thin. Their easy-going ways may now seem boring, lazy or aimless. We've become less interested in what they say or do. Perhaps our sex lives have gradually dwindled away.
Some of these symptoms may be due to stress. We may have a busy job, impossible deadlines, be juggling a lot of areas in our lives. Try to identify where the problems lie, take a break, start to spend more quality fun time with your partner and share your mutual concerns. Relationship counselling may be a useful route to follow at this time.
- If you're sure that your feelings towards your partner have changed start to acknowledge that our paths may well include special people, but only for a limited period of time. He or she will always be a part of who you are, they've helped to shape your personality, contributed to who you are today. Give thanks for that but also acknowledge that sometimes, at a later time, we may have to separate and move on in different directions.
- Stop and consider the consequences of staying with someone out of pity, guilt, fear of causing them distress. How humiliated and disrespected would you feel if someone did that to you? Caring for someone may mean saying 'I don't love you in the way you deserve to be loved'. This can be a very painful conversation, but ultimately it may need to be done.
- If you decide to stay in your relationship will you look back in five years time and regret not leaving sooner? Family pressures, financial concerns, emotional distress can cause a lot of pressure but staying with someone for the wrong reasons can result in slowly growing to detest them, become increasingly resentful, maybe even cause health implications.
- Communications are an important part of a good relationship. Falling out of love but remaining good friends can sometimes happen when open and honest channels of communication have been maintained throughout. Talking things through at the time ensures that there are no surprises, both people know how each other feels and, as such, decisions can be shared, understood and agreed together. Listening is a key part of this process.
- Caring for another person means wanting what's best for each other, even if that doesn't include us. And equally, if we come to realise that we've fallen out of love it's about respecting the other person enough to give them the chance to find someone who does want them, will love them as they deserve to be loved.
Holding onto someone out of fear of making the wrong decision, or because of concerns at ending up alone and lonely is both hurtful and disrespectful. Sometimes taking a break or even ending the relationship allows both parties time to miss each other and re-evaluate what it means to them. If you're meant to be together the time apart will enable you to appreciate each other all the more, clear your heads, have a period of reflection and become completely sure about the importance of the relationship in both your lives.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
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