Have you ever had a relationship where your heart is overflowing with love for that other person? You love them dearly with all your heart and soul, but you can’t talk to them, they infuriate you to no end, and you never seem to solve anything. Or you have a lot of love you want to express towards them but doing so is like hugging a porcupine? Every time you move to get closer, you get pricked- they insult you or you relax your boundaries and they take advantage or they betray your trust… but you love them so what do you do? You are not getting your needs met, or when you try to express your needs it causes problems, so you have stopped. And you are just plain miserable. One of the most common questions that come up in my therapy session is, should I stay or exit this relationship. This is a difficult question to answer. I can’t answer this question for you however, I want to give you guidance to help you decide whether to stay in or exit your relationship.
Decision to exit a relationship
You think you have tried EVERYTHING and nothing works. You want to leave but you don’t want to hurt them. Or the thought of abandoning them fills you with guilt. It may be a situation where you can’t easily walk away. You may have children, property or maybe you are financially dependent on them (vice versa). Deciding to exit an unsatisfying relationship can be complicated. Even in healthy relationships, it is common to have brief wishes to terminate the relationship when we are frustrated, angry or otherwise unhappy. The decision to exit a relationship depends on the type of relationship you have, the amount of time you have invested and how close you are to the other person.
Is your relationship destructive?
It makes sense to end a destructive relationship. Is your relationship destructive? A destructive (unhealthy) relationship can be defined as a relationship where it destroys either the quality of the relationship or harms aspects of yourself such as your physical body and safety, your self-esteem or sense of integrity or your ability to pursue happiness or peace of mind.
Is the relationship seriously interfering with your quality of life? A relationship interferes with your quality of life when it blocks or hinders your pursuit of goals that are important to you, your ability to enjoy life and do things you like, your relationships with other persons (which a very jealous partner or friend may resent ) or the welfare of other people you love. It makes sense to stay in a relationship when the cost of leaving is greater than the cost of staying.
When it’s hard to leave
Sometime due to the type of relationship or how close you are to the person it may not be easy to distance yourself or exit the relationship. For example, if the person is your strong-willed adult child that depends on you for their care or a mean and ornery parent. Balance is important in cases like these. Using creative means to ensure close and harmonious relationships without sacrificing a secure and healthy sense of self. Practicing self-care and utilizing your support system and community resources such as respite care will be vital for to maintain a decent quality of life.
It can be heart-wrenching to say goodbye to someone you care deeply for. However, staying in a bad relationship for too long can be far worse and just as bad as not having a relationship. If you are not sure where to go from here. I’d love for you to give me a call so that I can help you sort things out.