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.
“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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Sometimes walking away is the only way to love yourself. Sometimes you have to leave something to make room for something better.
For more tips, read 7 Ways to Know If Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For.