Sometimes it’s hard for other people to see signs a relationship is not working, even when it’s blatantly obvious to you. Have you ever watched a friend struggle year after year in a bad relationship despite complaining about it?
How easy it is for us to see where others are going wrong in their lives. Yet we can often be blind to what is happening right on our own doorstep; especially when it comes to relationships.
If you look back on your past relationships, you may find yourself saying: ‘why didn’t I get out sooner?’ Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
If you’re in two minds about your relationship, you may be using the excuse ‘but I love him..’. Sadly though, sometimes love isn’t enough. On the other hand if you’re struggling to make things work with your other half, this may be all you have to cling to.
Fortunately there are some signs that can tell us when it’s time to let go of a relationship. Here are three signs to look for that will tell you when it’s time to pull the plug.
ONE: You Can’t Be Yourself
One of the strongest signs of relationship longevity is the ability for partners to accept each other – warts and all. During the first 6 months of a relationship most of us are on our best behaviour. After that, it becomes harder to hide who we really are, and that’s often when problems start to arise.
Do you feel safe showing your partner who you really are on your darkest days? It’s important to feel accepted and understood for all of your quirkiness and irrationality. Your partner doesn’t need to understand why you are the way you are; but he does need to respect who you are; and that goes both ways.
While you will influence your partner in positive ways and vice versa, don’t rely on him magically changing into what you want him to be. Nobody is happy, bubbly and upbeat all the time. You will see the darker side of your partner and he will see yours. And most importantly, he is not responsible for your self-esteem, nor are you responsible for his.
Ultimately if you feel safe showing less savoury side of your personality knowing that you will be loved no matter what, you’re in a good relationship.
TWO: Your Core Values and Needs Are Different
If your partner believes that kissing another person is ‘not cheating’ and you feel differently, this is an example of a mismatched value. Core values are ‘showstopper’ elements that cannot be compromised, and your relationship will not survive if you and your partner don’t agree on them.
Similarly, if you want children and your partner doesn’t the relationship is doomed. He could be the most wonderful person in every other way, but if you and he aren’t on the same page in terms of what you want and what you believe, it will be impossible for you to enjoy a harmonious relationship.
Take some time to list the things that, for you, are absolute necessities for you in a relationship. For example, do your kids need to be raised with a particular religion? What is your definition of fidelity? If your definitions and needs are not the same as those of your partner, you may need to rethink your relationship.
This explains it in more detail:
THREE: You Feel Bad Most Of The Time
My client Kerry had been in a toxic relationship for 12 years. When she contacted me she was lost, depressed and unmotivated, but she couldn’t work out why. To the outside world she had the perfect life; financial independence, a career she loved and a husband who adored her.
She also had no idea that her feelings had anything to do with her relationship until we started talking about it. In fact, when I initially asked her about her relationship she said ‘it’s great!’
Several therapy sessions revealed that this was far from the case. While Kerry’s husband did indeed adore her, it was on his terms. He was emotionally abusive, had isolated her from all her friends and had somehow managed to convince her that she was the source of all problems that arose between the two of them.
Moreover, Kerry was so used to feeling bad that she had become numb to it. Yet when we explored her situation in detail she admitted that she was miserable most of the time when she was around her husband. This was taking its toll on her physical and emotional health.
If you are unhappy most of the time with your partner, by all means explore how you may be contributing to the problem; but don’t be willing to take all the blame.
Listen To Your Gut.
A happy partnership should leave you feeling contented, supported and loved most of the time. All couples have fights and face individual challenges and no relationship is perfect; but there should be a good reason to stay in the relationship, other than fear of being alone.
As much as you love your partner, and as much as you think they may love you, if you cannot meet each other’s needs, then you will be unhappy together.
If you are unhappy in your marriage or relationship, consider what it would really take to make you a happy, contented and whole person, with or without the support of a partner.