by Melissa Chapman
You love him – but maybe more like a brother than a lover. The relationship is comfortable, but it’s also stale and stifling. You start thinking: If I’m going to lonely, wouldn’t it be better to actually be alone? If any of this sounds familiar, it might be time to take action and end your relationship. Here’s some advice.
We’ve all done it, haven’t we?
We’ve languished in a dead-end relationship because, sometimes, status quo is easier than mustering the courage to end it and start fresh.
Breaking up is, as they say, hard to do, especially once you’ve so much invested time and energy into the relationship. Perhaps you enjoy the security that comes along with it, even while knowing deep in your soul that you are not cut out to make it as a couple and that breaking up would be best thing for you.
So what do you do?
According to Tina B. Tessina, PhD, (aka “Dr. Romance”), psychotherapist and author of The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart, whether you’re married or dating if your relationship feels detrimental to your mental, emotional or physical well-being then it may be time for a change.
“Sometimes all efforts to keep a relationship going [will] fail and the only possible means of achieving happiness is to split up,” says Dr. Tessina. “When is it necessary to take this step? While no one can really answer that question except you and your partner, there are certain indicators that let you know a major change of some kind must be made.”
Dr. Tessina’s 7 warning signs it’s time to end your relationship
- Your spouse is in denial, makes excuses, blames you and/or is angry at you rather than taking responsibility.
- You have had it, and no longer feel connected. Be sure this isn’t just temporary anger.
- You are prepared to be on your own.
- You either have no children, they’re grown, or you’re certain a divorce will be better for them than what’s going on.
- He or she doesn’t keep appointments to talk.
- There are some indications there’s someone else.
- You fight when you talk.
Weigh your options
If you have one or more of these warning signs but are still on the fence about ending your relationship, Dr. Tessina suggests it might be a good idea to list your reasons to stay versus your reasons to go. This will help you decide if you’re getting enough from the relationship to keep it going. If your reasons to stay are all about guilt, not wanting to hurt the other person, or fear of being alone, you may want to talk to a therapist about them.
If you are finally ready to end your relationship, Dr. Tessina notes that the benefits of breaking up, and getting out of a bad relationship as opposed to letting it drag on, are many and include the two very important effects:
- You both have a new opportunity to create a relationship with someone more compatible
- Be merciful: The other person may be hurt, but letting the relationship languish just hurts them more
The bottom line: If you gave it your best shot and you know it’s over (or if it never really got started), don’t waste time in resentment and anger. Learn to let go.