When to Leave a Relationship 11


Knowing when to leave a relationship is easy – unless you’re the one in the relationship! It’s always easier to see when someone else should leave a relationship. When it’s you who has to decide when to leave a relationship, it’s difficult.


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when to leave a relationshipSmart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa will help you figure out the right thing to do. If you don’t know which choice is the smart one – whether you’re thinking about leaving a relationship or going back to school for your degree – you’ll find this book helpful.

“When you love a man, he becomes more than a body. His physical limbs expand, and his outline recedes, vanishes. He is rich and sweet and right. He is part of the world, the atmosphere, the blue sky and the blue water.” -Gwendolyn Brooks.





In Are You a Hopeless Romantic or Just Fooling Yourself?, I describe the “sunk costs fallacy” in relationships. Basically, it means you invested a bunch of time and emotional energy with this man. Maybe you even have children with him, a mortgage, decades of entanglements that aren’t easy to walk away from.

But, sometimes walking away is the best decision – even if it’s the hardest one.

5 Signs It’s Time to Leave a Relationship

Here are several signs it’s time to leave a relationship:

Your partner bullies you into doing things you don’t want to do

Does he manipulate you into going places you don’t want to go, doing things you don’t want to do, or saying things you don’t want to say? If he’s a bully to you or anyone else you love, you should leave your relationship. Controlling men refuse to accept no for an answer. They don’t respect their partners’ limits, and use aggression and manipulation to get what they want.

Your partner abuses you

“Bullying” is a type of abuse – and it can get far worse. If you are coping with abuse in your relationship, leaving is not an easy thing to do. If you’re being abused, it is vitally important that you tell family and friends that he treats you like that – being honest with loved ones is more important than reading articles about when to leave a relationship.

You suspect your partner is cheating on you

If you think he’s cheating, he probably is. Your subconscious is picking up on hints and signs that you can’t explain. Your gut instincts are smarter than you are.

You have no boundaries in your relationship

Have you read about relationship boundaries? Compliant partners have collapsed or nonexistent boundaries; they say “yes” to everything. Similar to “people pleasers,” compliant people have weak boundaries that let everything in. They can’t say no. Avoidant partners tend to avoid conflict. They can’t ask for help, can’t express their feelings or opinions, and use their boundaries to keep everyone out. Avoidant people tend to see their needs as bad and destructive. Non-responsive people ignore their partner’s needs. They tend to be critical and self-absorbed – and they avoid healthy emotional intimacy. A lack of boundaries isn’t necessarily a sign it’s time to leave your relationship – depending on how willing your partner is to do the work.

You’re suffocating in your relationship

“Intimacy overload” involves blurred boundaries. Sometimes, there is no line between two people. Intimacy overload involves too many emotional demands, too much togetherness, and too much criticism. Feelings of suffocation and control become are impossible to ignore, and neither partner is happy. Too much intimacy may be telling you when to leave a relationship.

10 Tips on Starting Over After a Bad Relationship will help you feel more comfortable leaving a relationship.

A few final thoughts on when to leave a relationship

leaving a relationship

The problem with writing an article about when to leave a relationship is that there is no clear answer that applies to every woman. For instance, I may leave my marriage if there was no spiritual connection. However, other people stay for decades in spiritually “dry” marriages.

That’s why I never know what to say when readers ask me for advice on when to leave their relationships. I can’t tell them when it’s over – all I can do is encourage them to talk to a counselor in person, and write out their feelings.

If you don’t want to leave, read How to Solve Relationship Problems Without Breaking Up.

Getting to the heart of what you really want to do will help you know if you should leave. Writing helps you see things more clearly, which is why I encourage you to write your little heart out!

I welcome your comments on when to leave a relationship, but I can’t offer advice or counseling.

My prayer is that you find clarity and guidance if you’re wondering if you should leave your partner. I pray for strength, wisdom, guidance, and peace. May you know what is best for you and your relationship, and may you find whatever you need to move forward in your life.

Sometimes walking away is the only way to love yourself. Sometimes you have to leave something to make room for something better.


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11 thoughts on “When to Leave a Relationship

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Kyle and gift,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing about how confusing it can be to know when to leave a relationship.

    From the outside looking in, it’s easy. If you aren’t being treated well, if you’re doing all the work, and if you wish your relationship was better….then I’d say it’s time to leave.

    I wrote this article for you:

    http://theadventurouswriter.com/quipstipsrelationships/tips-for-finding-balance-in-a-one-sided-relationship/

    I can’t give advice, but I did share a few thoughts on leaving relationships that aren’t healthy.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Kyle

    Hi there,

    I have been in a relationship for six months. This is a short relationship, however, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I feel like our relationship is completely one sided. I feel like I am making all of the effort, and he makes very minimal effort. Everything is at his convenience. We see, talk, and text each other when he wants to. When we are together, he is on his phone. He constantly snaps at me for little things. I’ll text him and he’ll go hours without responding. We only do things he wants to do. I constantly feel like I am walking on egg shells around him, so I listen to his requests. He communicates nothing to me, but he expects me to be communicative. He is also a pathological liar! I went six years being single, and this is not what I signed up for. I love him, and I would love for this relationship to work, but I don’t think it will. There are good things too! He can be very sweet and affectionate. That’s about it to be honest! Is there any advice you can offer that might save this relationship or should I just give up? Thank you!

    • gift

      Hi kyle you know what when i read it its seems you and me are the same. I experience it also. I don’t know how to know when to leave a relationship. I wait for him i fight for him i dont know until when it would be, and im always empty.

  • Laurie

    Dear Mudita,

    It sounds like you have given yourself some really, really healthy advice! This is what I think you should do: follow your gut instincts, and go through with the plans you think will help you be happy and healthy.

    You already know what to do. That’s why you searched for “when to leave a relationship” — because you know that’s what you need to do.

  • Mudita

    I am getting depressed abt my relationship. We have been in this relation for 5 years. For past 2 years, he has changed a lot. Everytime we have a fight he verbally abuses me. I try to end this every time bt he keeps coming back to me promising that it will nvr happn again & saying sorry. I always forgive him bcoz both of our family knows abt us & we wanted to get married. Bt now i can’t take it anymore. I want to break up with him bcoz i know my future will b in peril if i dont. Bt i still luv him & evn though i blockd his calls bt in my mind i keep thinking that he will b sorry & will actually nvr do it again & evrythng will b alrite. Plz tell me wat to do? I m really deprssd.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Kevin,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience. It’s so disappointing and heartbreaking to be in premarital counseling, and have your relationship fall apart. You’re excited about your future together and about getting married…and the last thing you expect is for your fiancee to leave. It’s unexpected, and blindsides you. You knew you had issues to work out, but you thought you were on the road to communicating better.

    Of course we want our loved ones to change when they’re hurting our relationship…but we can’t expect it. We can’t push them to change, or even encourage them to change. All we can do is love them with all our hearts. How we communicate our hurt or hope with them depends on the issue and our partner – and taking a marriage course or premarital counseling is an excellent first step.

    But as you know, counseling or courses do not in any way guarantee a healthy relationship. In fact, counseling or courses can in fact put more stress on a relationship, and cause it to break down. The healthiest thing to do in this case is let your loved one go. Acceptance.

    Give the gift of freedom to both yourself and your partner. She can’t be married to you right now. Maybe she’ll be ready in the future, but you can’t change her. Pushing her to change is just pushing her away.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, that you’re able to heal and see your fiancee with clarity and forgiveness.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Kevin

    Laurie,

    I was engaged to a woman with whom I dated for 3 years. We were in pre-marital counseling because of issues we were having regarding communication and getting on the same page with parenting.

    We had done our histories and it was time to start talking about the issues, but she cancelled the appointment saying there were other things she need to do. The week of Christmas she had a melt down emotionally which our counselors said I couldn’t have stopped and wasn’t my fault. We ended up getting into an argument and she broke off the engagement.

    How can you not want someone to change when what they do is hurting the relationship? And how do you tell them they are hurting the relationship?

    I later came to find out that she is love avoidant or counter dependent.

    Now she hates me and wants nothing to do with me and it’s killing me.

    Kevin

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear M,

    Has anything changed in the past couple of weeks, since you commented here? I’m sorry I haven’t replied sooner – Christmas and the New Year got the better of me!

    Do you still feel the same way about your boyfriend, and are you still thinking about leaving your relationship?

  • M

    Hi Laurie,

    I have visited your site often recently and I truly appreciate what you have taken the time to build. I am currently going through an upheaval in my relationship where I may lose my boyfriend and I can’t make up my mind. I know I love him, we have fun together and enjoy each other’s company. It’s easy to be with him; he’s not just my boyfriend but my best friend.

    I’m a people pleaser. I hate saying no to him, even if it’s as simple as what to eat. I have also let the boundaries of the relationship blur. If I’m out of town for any reason, I am constantly bombarded by messages of “I miss you and wish you were here.” While I enjoy being with him, I also need a break from time to time.

    My problem is that I have not been honest with him about our relationship throughout these past weeks. I harbor secrets because I’m either afraid he will find out or just because I want to keep something for myself. I haven’t cheated or found someone else, it’s not about that. I don’t like the person I’m turning into. I despise lying, and that’s precisely what I’ve become. I know I should talk to someone, but I don’t know where to turn. I just feel so lost.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear sbg,

    If you don’t feel like he loves you, then he probably doesn’t. I’m sorry to say it, but you have to be honest with yourself!

    I think you know deep in your heart that doesn’t love you. And, you know when to leave a relationship — otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

    What should you do about this relationship? Let him go. Don’t let yourself be treated this way. Read articles about healing from a break up. Get strong.

    And, learn how to love and respect yourself. How? You make practical, tangible changes in your life. Maybe this means getting a better job, going back to school, developing your hobbies, exercising more, working on your self-esteem, or spending more time with people you respect. Maybe it means getting up early to exercise or finding out about student loans.

    Be strong, my friend. Leave the relationship and find someone who will love you the way you deserve to be loved.

    Love and blessings,
    Laurie

  • sbg

    i m in love wid him bt i dnt lnw he loved me or nt i never feel that he loves me or he never make me feel like his gf wt to do abt this relatnship??? plzz rply