February is touted as the month of love, yet many don’t feel the excitement. Could it be the perfect time to reevaluate your relationship? This is always a scary place to be and terrifying to think about the implications. Successful relationships require enormous investment, financially and emotionally, so it is understandable why we struggle to let go of relationships we ourselves know have deteriorated passed the point of no return.
Having children complicates the conundrum, and unquestionably, being financially dependent on someone adds layers to an already complicated situation. No matter the complexity, everyone deserves to be loved. If this ingredient is no longer present in your life, change is bound to happen. It is simply up to you to assess whether it is time to let go and move on or invest more time to fix what you have.
Author of Think Forward and Thieve, Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D., clinical faculty member at Emory University and most recently director of the outpatient psychotherapy program at Emory Healthcare, suggests using these four “tells” to help you accurately assess whether the relationship you are in is worth saving.
- The goodness is gone. When you realize that you can no longer forgive or tolerate irritable behaviors of your partner. You genuinely feel like all the hurt that has been present in the relationship makes it impossible to love and trust your partner whole heartedly anymore. Once the goodness is gone from a relationship it is very hard, if not near impossible, to get over the bitterness.
- You are being disrespected. Insults, lying, cheating and any other form of disrespect should not be tolerated in a relationship (both ways). Love does not including feeling like your partner does not value you or gives you the respect you deserve as a human being.
- You are trying too hard. Every strong relationship is about balance, harmony, and equality. You cannot put in the majority of the work in a relationship because eventually you will burn out and feel even more frustrated that you have invested more than your partner cares to.
- It’s all about the other person. Yes, needs should be expressed to each other for a fulfilling relationship, but it cannot be one sided. A good partner will give as much as he/she takes. Both people need to make sure that they have room to grow and go after their aspiration while supporting the personal aspirations and growth of their partner.
Having any one of these as components of a relationship is awful, unhealthy, and destructive. Take a good hard look at your relationship, remembering to consider what you want out of a union with another person and realize that you are worthy of having your needs met. There are other people out there in the world who would be willing to accommodate your needs without the suffering of your current relationship. Do not get trapped in an unfulfilling relationship because you think you have to. You always have a choice – it is up to you to make the commitment to change.
If you are ready to distance yourself from a relationship that no longer serves you or your life positively please read Part 2: Time to make the cut and how to do it!
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