How do you decide it’s time to leave a relationship that hasn’t fallen to the level of an outright failure, but it’s stopped feeling gratifying? Couples can spend years, even decades, in relationships like this! These relationships can best be described as “comfortable.” And comfort in a relationship isn’t something to be taken lightly. At some point our lives, comfort and security are the things we will likely crave the most from a relationship. The complicating factor in all of this is that you can’t find comfort and security with just anybody. It needs to be with someone who’s making you feel that way based on serenity and happiness.
But if you’re often finding yourself wondering if you’d be happier with someone else, you’ll never feel fully comfortable or secure with your current partner. And your partner won’t feel it with you, either.
If a relationship is toxic, then the decision to leave it should feel like a relatively easy one to make, unless there are children or financial issues involved. It’s when the relationship still feels kind of good–not too bad, but not so great anymore–that the decision to leave becomes a difficult one. It may be very easy for you to envision a more wonderful relationship with someone else. Even so, it can be very difficult to give up the so-so one you’re in, especially when you figure in the trouble and pain involved in breaking up.
Of course, this does not mean that you should leave a relationship at the first hint of dissatisfaction! No relationship is wonderful at every point. Commitment is as valuable as it is because it carries people through the less-than-wonderful times. It’s when the less-than-wonderful times become the standard, and you don’t foresee any wonderful ones in the near future, that you naturally may begin to consider alternatives to staying in the relationship. It’s possible for commitment to hold a relationship together, but commitment can’t carry that weight on its own. There has to be something else of value in the relationship to work together with the couple’s commitments.
If you find yourself in a so-so relationship and your pondering your options, ask yourself this question: Why are you staying in the relationship?” Your answer should be, “I can’t imagine myself feeling happier with anyone else.” It may seem selfish to place your happiness as the top priority in a relationship. But it’s not selfish. Happiness is what relationships are for, after all. Nobody is obligated to remain in a relationship that isn’t make them happy. The only obligation they really have is to try to be as honest with their partner about their concerns as is possible, and if the time comes, to end the relationship with empathy and sensitivity.
If your answer is anything else besides the happiness one, you may want to consider the option of leaving the relationship. There may be reasons to stay in a relationship that seem “nobler” than happiness, such as feelings of obligation, duty, or gratitude. But if those things aren’t giving you a sense of happiness and fulfillment, then they aren’t enough to serve as an anchor to a successful and healthy long-term relationship.
Try looking at it like this: Would your partner want you committed to the relationship just because you feel like you should be? Conversely, would you want your partner to stay for that reason? True love isn’t rooted in obligation. True love only has meaning when it’s freely given.
So if you’ve decided you want to end your relationship, but you find it’s going to be difficult to actually end it due to the pain you and your partner will feel, here are some factors to consider:
- There will certainly be pain involved when the relationship ends. Even though the relationship wasn’t a great one, it wasn’t terrible, either. There is warmth and love that will definitely be lost. As time goes on, the pain will fade. And you and your partner will both have the rest of your lives to find happiness again.
- If you’re feeling unsatisfied in the relationship, your partner probably is, too. Before you make the decision to end it, you’ve hopefully discussed this with each other. Ending a relationship shouldn’t ever come as a surprise to one of the people involved in it. If it does, then nobody is doing anyone else a favor by staying in it. Staying would just serve to extend the dull long-term pain in an effort to prevent the sharp short-term pain of a break-up, which may be inevitable anyways.
It’s easy to be lulled into the false sense of security and comfort of an okay, so-so relationship. It’s also easy to put off ending it by trying to rationalize that it’s better to stay in it. But if you truly believe that you and your partner could both be happier with someone else, then you owe it to yourselves to consider if ending the relationship is the best option.
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You’re in love, but your relationship has become toxic and can’t continue. Maybe you’re lying awake night after night, mentally rehashing the fights. Or, maybe you can’t understand how your partner can so easily ignore how you feel, and why your partner won’t change. Or, you’re wondering if you were ever truly loved at all.
The pain has become unbearable. If you don’t end things now, you might completely lose yourself. You have already tried literally everything you could to save the relationship, but nothing has worked. You know the time has come to end it, but the thought of being alone is terrifying.
Why does it have to hurt so badly?
Learning how to let go of someone you care about is extremely difficult.
Many people must accept that their relationships just are not meant to be. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes, one partner is cheating, or often lies. Or worse, there may be physical, verbal, or emotional abuse involved in the relationship. (An important note: If you believe you’re in a dangerous situation, seek help right away.)
Usually in toxic relationships, it doesn’t matter how much the partners love each other. It doesn’t matter how hard they’re trying to make it work. If it’s toxic, nothing will work. Nobody is worth losing yourself over, and it’s time to end the relationship. It’s time to find the strength to get out of it and move on with life.
You Deserve Better
Simply loving someone else isn’t enough to make the relationship succeed. The love needs to be reciprocal; if you’re not receiving love in return, the relationship is going to become toxic and is not going to succeed.
By wasting time on the wrong person, you’re preventing the right person from coming into your life. How can they come your way if the space is already filled? It’s time to let go.
Don’t Count on Your Partner Changing
Waiting for your partner to change is probably the most significant mistake someone can make when electing to stay in a toxic relationship where they’re being mistreated. It’s difficult to accept, but you must come to the realization that the only person you can control is you. The other person in the relationship need to face their own mistakes. If they don’t want to change, it’s most likely that they won’t. They may make promises and vow to turn things around. In the moment, they may even be genuinely committed to their intentions.
But especially if you’ve been through this all before, and they’ve made the same promises before, they probably won’t change this time around, either.
Personal change can not be forced. It must originate within. If it doesn’t, it’s likely that things will not work out. It can’t come at the request of someone else, and it can’t be coerced. Nobody will genuinely change for someone else, and some relationships just can’t be fixed.
It Will Hurt
There’s no easy way around it: ending a romantic relationship, no matter how toxic it is, is going to hurt. A lot! But the pain won’t linger forever. No matter how much you want to deny it, the passage of time will help you heal.
The relationship may have started off in a healthy way. But as it became more toxic, you forgot how to live for yourself. Instead of the other person being a part of your life, they’ve become your life.
When the relationship first ends, you will likely miss the feelings of being wanted and desired. You’ll long for the close and intimate moments you used to share. But getting yourself through that initial pain and discomfort of being alone is usually the most difficult stage. Working through the pain instead of avoiding it will limit the likelihood of your feelings coming back later on to haunt you.
So once you get through that initial stage, things will becomes easier. And the lessons you have learned along the way will allow you to grow stronger and to become a better version of yourself.
Crying It Out
When you’re feeling pain, the best thing you can do for yourself is to release it. Don’t try to hold it in.
Our culture expects us to show that we’re strong, even when we are in the midst of dealing with a tough situation. But that doesn’t make us strong. The more we try to hold our pain in and try to prove that we’re strong, the worse we will feel. This will lead to us feeling stress on top of the pain.
So what should we do? Try crying. Cry as much as you need to. Cry like a baby. Don’t hold anything back; just let it all out. Crying can help with the healing process. Trying to show that you’re strong will just stress you out.
Stop trying to pretend that everything’s okay. It’s not.
Let the tears keep falling until they dry up on their own. The tears may last for days or for weeks, but you will certainly feel like a new person when they end. You will feel less stress. Your thinking will clear, and you’ll realize that things aren’t nearly as bad as you thought they were.
You may even start to smile again! It may be over something as seemingly insignificant, like how the clouds are dodging the sun as it shines in the sky. You’ll find you aren’t in a dark place anymore. You’ll feel like a new person.
Spend Some Time Away
You may feel like the end of the relationship is the end of the world. But it’s not.
Your mind attempts to play tricks on you, and you start to believe the lie that it isn’t possible for you to be happy again. But it is!
As mentioned above, the best cure for pain is the passage of time. Day by day, things will get easier. Taking the time you need to rest your mind, your heart and your soul gives you the opportunity to heal, and lets you get to know yourself again.
Maybe there’s an activity you enjoy doing, or a hobby that you love. Maybe your involvement in the toxic relationship prevented you from doing those things. Well, take the time now to do them! Do what you enjoy. And really get involved. Let yourself focus fully on what you’re doing.
Eventually, you’ll find that you’ve been thinking less about the relationship. It won’t leave your thoughts immediately, but over time, it will. And even though that relationship didn’t work out as you may have planned, you will come to the realization that you can still enjoy your life.
Reclaim Your Control
Taking your control back begins with you. Your life is not over. You can get through it; you are able to overcome the situation. The load on your chest has been lifted. The tears have stopped falling.
Try to imagine being happy again, and that you’re enjoying doing the things you used to love doing. You can be content in the present and not worry about the future. You will realize that you deserve better than what you had. It may be difficult to imagine, but it is certainly possible.
Everyone needs help at one time or another. You don’t have to go through this alone. If you’ve recently ended a toxic relationship, or if you’re still in it, there are people out there who can help you. Seek help from your loved ones, a professional therapist or counselor, or a clergy member. They can help you recover and get your life back on the right track.
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You know things in your relationship just are not working anymore. You’ve tried everything you can think of to fix things, but nothing has worked. You’re still in love, and it’s so hard to end it. And knowing that it’s time to end it doesn’t make it any easier.
Breaking up with someone is usually just as difficult to face as being broken up with! Here are ten reasons why it’s difficult to end a committed, romantic relationship.
- There’s history involved. As you start thinking of how to end the relationship, you’re overcome by all of your good memories together and force out your thoughts of all of the bad things that are going on. You do have a lot of history together. But if the bad times outweigh the good, that probably means that it’s time to end it.
- You feel a sense of security from what’s familiar. If you’ve been in the relationship for a long time, you’re probably grown quite comfortable being together. You know how to co-exist, and you know what makes the other persom tick. The prospect of having to start over from scratch and find someone new is not very appealing to you at all.
- You are waiting for things to get better in the relationship. Sometimes, it feels like you’re standing out in the dry desert, waiting futilely for it to rain. It might happen, right? If things get worse every time you thought you have already hit rock bottom in the relationship, it’s time to stop waiting and to end the relationship.
- Leaving the relationship means you are leaving other people, too. The longer you were together in the relationship, the more your familial circles and social circles overlap. Over time, you bond and create relationships with the people who are close each other. If you end the romantic relationship, you’re also ending relationships with each other’s friends and family, making the loss even greater.
- You like being in a relationship. You don’t want to be single, so you want to be in a relationship–any relationship. You love the feeling of being in a relationship, But you know you can’t stay in your current relationship. It’s hurting you more than it’s helping you, so it’s time to end it. You should not ever be in a relationship simply for the sake of being in a relationship. To make it worth staying in, the relationship should be a good one that is healthy.
- You don’t want to just give up on everything you’ve been fighting for. It’s hard to give up what you’ve been putting all that effort into and work so hard to save. You certainly don’t want to face the fact that it all was for nothing, and the relationship is ending anyways. But it’s not worth it to wear yourself out working for the relationship if it’s time to end it.
- You fear you will never be able to find someone else. And, you fear the other person will find someone better than you, and therefore forget about you. There are plenty of other people out there who can make either of you just as happy, if not happier. Don’t ever believe there isn’t someone else out there for you, because there certainly is. If this relationship isn’t working, there’s someone else that it will work with. Finding someone else doesn’t erase the good things the two of you shared.
- You fear being alone. The fear of loneliness is one of the worst possible reasons for choosing to stay in a relationship. Even when you’re in a relationship that’s healthy, you should experience feelings of strength and independence. Your significant other is not the only other person on the planet who is there for you. You had your friends and family before you were in the relationship, and you’ll have them afterwards, too.
- You’re concerned that you will feel regret after ending the relationship. First, you shouldn’t stress about things that have yet to happen. You have no way of knowing how you will feel after it’s over. It’s even possible that you will feel relieved. Second, you won’t feel regret over a decision that you know is a good one. It may not be quite what you hoped for. But the relationship needs to end, and that is what’s most important.
- You don’t want to lose the friendship you have with your ex. One of the worst parts of leaving someone we’re in a romantic relationship with is the fear of completely losing touch with that person. Aside from them being your romantic partner, they were also your friend. If the romantic relationship is irreparable, then the time has come to end it. If it’s meant for you to be friends, you will be.