Many have asked the question about when should I? Or how do you know?
Sometimes you just know, but often, it's not as clear cut as one may think. On our 12th day of Christmas special, we end the holiday barrage with this piece that seeks to stoke our sense of relationship insecurities enough for us to think about what's really important for us. We may have lost a part of ourselves or had been numb to certain aspects of our unhealthy relationships for a while now, but we're just fearful about having to end something long-term, or afraid of being alone coming into the new year.
Hey, it's 2018 folks, and it's time to re-evaluate where we are, and have a think about the quality of our partner relationships. Learn when to cut your losses and just say goodbye.
Day 12: 4 Clear Signs it is time to let go of your Relationship
Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D., is the Director of Emory University’s Adult Outpatient Psychotherapy Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science in the School of Medicine. She writes with utter honesty and like a hot knife through butter about when it's time to part ways with that partner of yours where you've begun to feel like things aren't gelling well anymore.
Here are her four signs or reasons she's identified that would indicate it is time to let go of a relationship. Hear what she has to say about these reasons when we've begun to overstretch ourselves to the extent of unhappiness and self-sacrifice. Regain your centre, your self-respect and time to remind yourself what is most important for you in a relationship. You'll find her original article here.
(1) The goodness is gone.
While chemistry and shared values are important, at the end of the day solid relationships are built on the goodness that exists between two people. Goodness is what holds relationships together. It is the kindness, the good will toward each other, the being on that person’s side even when they might be wrong, the willingness to forgive flaws and mistakes, the tolerance for their annoying habits. It’s the support, the admiration, the respect, the dedication, and commitment you have with each other. The goodness doesn’t generally disappear over-night, it’s something that erodes slowly over time. Behaviours that indicate the goodness may be waning include chronic irritability, anger, distance, meanness, and lack of respect of any kind. Unfortunately, once the goodness fades, there has generally been so much hurt in the relationship, that it is very hard to regain.
(2) You are being disrespected.
Respect is one of the most important aspects of any relationship, it even trumps trust because you cannot trust someone who disrespects you. Even small slights matter, because the way someone treats you ultimately reveals their character and their true feelings about you. Disrespect can come in many forms and you may not always fully recognise it on the surface, but you will always feel it. It's that kicked in the gut feeling you get when some normative expectation that exists within the relationship has been violated. Behaviours such as insults, lying, or cheating are all disrespect and what they really show is a lack of concern about how you feel and the impact these behaviours have on you.
If you’re not sure if someone is being disrespectful or just unaware, tell the person how their behaviour is making you feel and see what happens. If the person makes an effort to understand your perspective and alter their behaviour, then they are showing you that they care, but if they dismiss you or go right back to the same behaviour, then they are showing a lack of respect for you and your relationship.
(3) You are trying too hard.
The energy flow between two people in most healthy relationships is generally fairly equal. The give and take should allow both people, for the most part, to feel they are getting their needs met. When a relationship starts to deteriorate, it can feel like one person is doing all the work to maintain the relationship, which creates an unbalance and a disconnect. The person doing all the work can become resentful and the person on the receiving end can become more and more complacent. When you try too hard to get someone to come toward you, what generally happens is they move in the opposite direction. If you feel you’ve been doing most of the work in the relationship lately, take a big step back and see what happens. If your partner starts to pick up the slack and come toward you, then the possibility of re-aligning the energy still exists. If, however, you step back and your partner gets angry or continues to drift further away, then chances are he/she isn’t coming back.
(4) It's all about the other person.
While all relationships are different, both people should generally feel there is room for them to grow and develop, to feel their individual dreams and aspirations in life matter. They should feel there is space for their interests to be included in the relationship and that there is enough opportunity for each person’s needs to be met. Relationships that are unbalanced in this respect tend to revolve around one person. The person who the relationship revolves around is generally satisfied with this arrangement while the other person ends up feeling, resentful, used, and like they are living someone else’s life. If you feel like the relationship is all about the other person, try creating some space for yourself and being vocal about your needs, if the other person gets upset or isn’t responsive then it is likely that to find yourself and maintain your own identity, you may have to move on.
It can be painful to end it, and the pain may well last for a while, but until we regain what is truly an important part of us, we can never really be happy in a relationship. Separation can also mean triggering our sense of abandonment, as well as thoughts of making a big mistake. Just because you're separated doesn't mean you don't love the person anymore. Make 2018 a year where you reclaim what's right for you.