Is it time to end your relationship? By Susan Leigh

Divorce|Relationships | 11 Feb 2014 7

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Recognising that the time has come to end a serious relationship is often stressful. We may have shared many good and bad times together, grown up with our partners, 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 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?

How do you decide whether it’s the right time to end your relationship?

Over time we may have started 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 of our lives. Try to identify where the problems lie, take a break, and try to spend more quality fun time with your partner, sharing your mutual concerns. Relationship counselling may be a useful route to follow at this time.

If you’re sure your feelings towards your partner have changed, start to acknowledge the situation. 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  we 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 or of ending up alone. 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 be necessary.

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 all cause a lot of pressure but staying with someone for the wrong reasons can result in slowly growing to detest them. Increasing resentment can even cause health problems.

Communication is 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 the other feels and, as such, decisions can be shared, understood and agreed together. Listening is a key part of this process.

If we come to realise that we’ve fallen out of love, caring is also about respecting the other person enough to give them the chance to find someone who does want them, someone who will love them as they deserve to be loved.

Taking a break and finding time for reflection can allow both parties time to miss each other and re-evaluate what the relationship means to them. If you’re meant to be together, time apart – ironically – could help to appreciate each other all the more.

Susan Leigh is a counsellor and hypnotherapist who works with couples in crisis to improve communications and understanding. She also works with both individuals and businesses.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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Comments(7)

  1. Luke says:

    I think this advice for cohabiting couples is reasonably sound Susan – but for married couples it is quite ridiculous.

    If you have stood up in front of people and said:

    “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part”

    then breaking up for some of the reasons above seems like straight forward lying to me.

    I know in civil ceremonies one can now choose one’s own vows – but I have yet to hear of anyone saying:

    “To have and to hold from this day forward, at least until I get bored with you, or you get on my nerves, or you lose your job, or somebody better comes along, till divorce us do part”

    Let’s be frank, the above would be more honest.

  2. Stitchedup says:

    “To have and to hold from this day forward, at least until I get bored with you, or you get on my nerves, or you lose your job, or somebody better comes along, till divorce us do part”

    Spot on Luke – you might like to add “until I earn more than you” to the above.

  3. Jo says:

    Good article. I think whether you’re married or not, sometimes for one reason or another, things don’t work out. Everyone is entitled to happiness, and if like the author says, they are not being true to your feelings, then you aren’t being true to your spouse or partner too. I have many friends who’s parents stayed together out of some feeling of duty, and many of those people now say there was always an atmosphere growing up or that they knew their parents weren’t happy. Also don’t forget the effect that a relationship which is hostile between parents can affect children too.

  4. Stitchedup says:

    The most important thing is that a woman’s dreams are being met, marriage vows mean nothing, they’re just words. Women are attracted to money and power and if a man is nom longer a good provider, looses his job, or his health deteriorates and he becomes infirm, it is only natural for a woman to no longer find him attractive and fall out of love. She should be free to leave him, take the majority of his assets, and find a better provider. The ex will survive in the gutter.

  5. Luke says:

    ” I have many friends who’s parents stayed together out of some feeling of duty, and many of those people now say there was always an atmosphere growing up or that they knew their parents weren’t happy. Also don’t forget the effect that a relationship which is hostile between parents can affect children too.”
    =====================

    This is true Jo, but what I can say is that my observation has led me to believe that even though the children are aware that there is an issue they STILL do better when both parents are in the house. It may not be ideal but if they can be reasonably civil with each other then I am convinced it is preferable in the vast majority of cases where children are concerned.

    I am not saying it is better for the parents – clearly it isn’t, but I think people try and justify their actions by saying it is better if we break up the family for the sake of the children when really in fact it isn’t.

    Once Family Court gets involved and both sides become entrenched in their positions then not only are the children separated from one parent, things can go seriously downhill in terms of the parents’ ability to communicate and tolerate each other.

  6. JamesB says:

    Everyone is entitled to happiness

    I am not sure that makes sense. What if their happiness results in someone else being unhappy? How does that square. Basically does this mean that everyone is entitled to do as they want? I hope not as I do think responsibility and loyalty and having someone you can rely on are things that are nice. To say if your bloke goes bald you are entitled to leave him isn’t really good I think.

    I admit to not having read the article, but it seems a bit of an excuse for feminism destroying society and as such I am probably also against it for all of the reasons of the other two chaps and that the law is written by women for women, and more.

  7. JamesB says:

    The grass is not usually greener. Indeed what follows is not usually good for those involved, including the children. To promote otherwise is rose tinted romantic novel and tv like escapism except it’s destructive.

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