Ending a Relationship: How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?
When deciding on ending a relationship, the first question we ask ourselves is: How do I know when enough is enough? Someone very special and beautiful asked me that question this week.
In our culture, we are faced with all kinds of messages about relationships: see the good in people, relationships take work, rise above, and don't have too many expectations. Then, don't put up with anyone's disrespect, take care of yourself, set limits, leave abuse. These messages convolute all our decisions on how to set boundaries in relationships or know when it is right for us to leave them. We don't know who to blame, us or them. Add to it worry and fear about being alone, or being abandoned, or about other people judging you, and it becomes a maze to wade through.
Unconditional Love and Ending a Relationship
Problems in significant relationships effect our anxiety and depression more than any other factor in our life because our relationships and their success define us. These are huge decisions. The heaviness of making the right one, can be immobilizing. One can either open to reconnecting, nor can they step away to relieve themselves. Above all, they lose all trust in themselves, staying in misery and passing it back and forth between them.
We think we are supposed to have unconditional love for our partners and mistake this for having an unconditional relationship. Relationships have conditions! All relationship arrangements are negotiable, and there is usually aspects that for one or both partners that are not negotiable.
It is not easy to chose to leave a relationship and I do not have a prescription answer. Sometimes, it is best and other times it is not, and these both can depend. One thing I do understand is that if you make a decision, you make that your decision. Whichever you decide, you live that decision with your best self. Look deep inside you, beyond all fear and all guilt and there you'll find the answer. Ask your higher self what is the best for everyone involved. Step back from the situation and see yourself and your partner from a distance. This intention and perspective can help you get clarity.
The Ending a Relationship Decision
There is no right decision. Decisions are like everything else, relative. It doesn't matter if it is "right" or not, you make a decision and then make it right for you.
You might decide to postpone your decision to end a relationship, but even that is a decision to be lived instead of lamented. Don't beat yourself up for "not deciding," postpone consciously. But before making a decision about whether to stay in or leave a relationship, think about this:
- Know you are exactly where you are supposed to be. You are perfect and awesome.
- There is nothing to be afraid of, you cannot chose wrong.
- Get people that love you around you.
- Find your worth and know who you are and your purpose.
Then, and only then, the preferable choice will be as clear as day.
How have you decided to stay in or leave a relationship? Let my friend know how you did it. Comment below!
LCSW-R, J. (2012, July 18). Ending a Relationship: How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, October 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/07/how-do-you-know-when-enough-is-enough
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
I am so sorry about all this that you are going through. Give yourself some time to get your mind around this. Don't judge yourself. Time will help you know what to do. You don't have to decide right now. There will be time.
Thanks so much for your response. Is there anything you recommend I do while I'm taking this time out to think. Should I seek professional help? I just started graduate school less than one week ago & yet I feel like the life has been sucked out of me. Even though I'm a spiritual person & I draw much strength from my spirituality I feel that my spirit has been broken in some way. I could barely bring myself to read my bible once I opened it. I am in so much pain & don't know where to turn.
Thanks so much for all your help.
It's been four months since I left an 8 year relationship.
The house is sold, he's gone - I've been aimlessly moving around.
Now, I'm so stuck I can't get up.
Can hardly breathe.
He's in my thoughts late at night wondering if him and our dogs are ok.
In the mornings, I wonder if he's ok.
This was all on me to make the decision and the guilt is crippling.
Why couldn't he leave !?
i came on this looking for inspiration to help my decision on ending my 6yr relationship.
we have three beautiful children under 6 but im far from happy and they keep me grounded. i suffer from anxiety and mental health . and he has acontrolling and manipulative attitude . which has destroyed me. i have wanted to leave for so long but i can't bare to hurt him or take kids away from him. last night he accused me of an affair even though i don't leave house. he says he trusts me yet turns on me in a second. i knew enough is enough. im petrified of becoming a single mum but im sure its alto better than the. situation i am in now
I gave him a chance, he followed through. We fell in love and adored each other, it was a cherishing, committed and wonderful relationship. He worked on hus temper and had a few outbursts (cold, defensive, raised voice) and I held onto his promises. I cant take emotional volatility. I didn't stop to ask why he was angry, I just shut down. He was not abusive, I just cant take it. I failed to acknowledge his progress and wanted couples counseling. He refused. It had been humiliating to him in the past. I didnt know what to do. He is an amazing person who has been hurt so many times and is closed off, but he'd been feeling better about life, us, his issues. We felt newly in love except I have problem expressing my needs as far as communication.
He had given me the impression he was sure of me all along but when marriage came up he wanted us to get to know each other better. After a year I wanted to check in and he freaked out, ran. When he tried to make amends in a really sweet meaningful way, I lashed out this time. He immediately broke it off with me, no explanation, no communication, nothing. No grace or second chances for me. I feel stunned, devastated, confused. I loved us, so did he. I feel sorrow for hurting him. I think he made a foolish choice for both of us, but I have no say. I had no say at all, he wont speak to me at all. It was cruel and degrading. I dont know what to think. Maybe he was checking out the whole time.
What makes me sad is, if at some point he realizes he made the wrong decision and regrets it, even though he's returned so many times, now that this was real and not shallow dating, now will be the time he does not return. Maybe one day I will get angry but I guess I just loved him more. I dont know. It feels like a death and I could move on if not for the fact I think I hurt him. I am harder on myself than anyone in the world could ever be. :(
Stop worrying about hurting him. He's a big boy and this was his choice. Stop judging yourself and it will be easier to move on! I promise!
They accept the situation they are in is intolerable, but see no way out.
Christmas party was my gotten over it realisation, for mr frogs think word got back about how everyone was impressed with my legs. Anyways, I'm told I have a present and whether he could see Christmas Day, not a good idea. Come Christmas Day I'm asked would I come in early so he could speak to me, I did and there he lets the bombshell. Even though I dumped him and ended the relationship he was still in love with me (to be truthful as I were with him) I was taken aback due to thinking all his contact was stalking or harassing me instead he had never wanted to let me go but didn't realise how strongly he felt or the impact I had on his life until I was no longer there. I chose not to make a decision on this. I'm glad because I end up in hospital over new year seriously ill, nearly died of pneumonia. He visited and brought me stuff and told me that he wanted me back and regrets not fighting the hiatus.
During my illness I reflected on the reasons why I ended the relationship and how getting back together would be - the same? Or could it be different? What has changed? What hasn't? I'm happier without him and do not need him but I still wanted him by choice. I took the decision to rekindle and start the relationship afresh why? because he fought for me, no one ever has until now, i wanted to, my attitude had changed because it had to for myself and i accept him with his imperfections, faults and baggage, a man who admittedly is not good at relationships yet gives the relationship and you a second chance and wants it work as do I -wow.
-Fast forward 5 months and we are steady, communicate better and are committed to our happiness as well as the welfare of each other.
Jodi thank you for a thought provoking piece and I hope we all have the courage to do right by ourselves and be strong x
to help me through it just God generally. help :(
"I don’t want to give up on him because I do love him and I believe you should never give up on someone you love." Why is taking care of yourself <em>giving up on him</em>? You can love someone forever (from a distance) and still wish them well, still believe there is goodness in their heart, forgive them fully AND not be available to the hurt any more. Good luck, my dear, follow your gut.
Lots of love,
This has taken a serious toll on me emotionally, but I have always told myself that I don't need a man to validate me, so i've condoned the neglect the whole time. Whenever we have our deep talks about our relationship, breaking up is always an option, but for some reason we figure out ways that we are going to work on it and make it better - well it's still the same old stuff. He says he can't say he sees a future with me because we haven't been consistently happy enough for him to picture the rest of his life with someone who considers leaving every two months.
I am more interested in sex than he, which he justifies as "being in a long term relationship, the sex dies off a bit" or that "he's 35 and not 25 anymore". His drive in life is quite minimal, and mine is pretty well through the roof, which I fear will cause a greater imbalance down the road if I stay.
Perhaps I will read this back over and feel insane for still questioning things, but I love him. I have anxiety when I think about leaving. I have left, and always go back because he appears to be the man I have always wanted in these situations.
All these things are things that he will sometimes acknowledge are issues and we will agree to work on them and say the right things and try and compromise. I am just not seeing the results on his side. Last night I told him my sister was pregnant and he went into a rage about how people shouldn't have kids and how society is going to hell and that is my kid I want because he won't bring another innocent life into this world. I was not surprised, but I realized that this engagement and our timeline to have kids is all my doing. He doesn't want it, but we are determined to make things work. I'm not sure I am willing to bring a child into a relationship that as I right this can tell isn't healthy.
On the other hand I feel like these are normal problems and issues that every longterm relationship has and that I need to open communication and work things out. This is what I loved about your article, trying to differenciate between when to tough it out and when to throw in the towel and that there isn't SHAME in doing so.
With all this rolling through my mind I feel like I can't involve him in the decision to end things. I don't know how to bring it up and the consequences will be staggering, but I feel like I have made up my mind. I don't think I have the guts to do anything though. This man made me give up my cat of 11 years because he hated him. (my cat was scared of him, which made my fiancee angry).
Sorry to ramble this is all very fresh and the beginning of the thinking process. I want to treat this relationship with respect and not make a rash decision.
Thankyou for your blog post, it's been helpful to read! x
Don't stay with someone bc you might break them. Don't prevent him from having an experience he needs to have. I'm sure you didnt tell us the whole story of his emotional baggage. Talk to some girlfriends, get some feedback. Not always, but lots of times, a good friend will reflect back to you what you aleady know and this will be an affirmation. Good luck!
Well a few days ago I decided to breakup for the last time. It hurts because I thought I loved him. But I guess not enough to stay though the emotional abuse. Im confused, hurt, I want to call him. Because I did the childest thing he hung up on me and I broke the relationship off in a text. I know not a good move but I was hurt by his actions.
I know I will be fine but it scary being alone again!
I am struggling with the decision to end my year long relationship - our anniversary is actually today, and it has made me particularly reflective.
He has generalized anxiety disorder - which I knew from the outset. He has been in therapy for over 20 years and did a successful run of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy several years ago. He seemed quite well adjusted when I met him. He fell in love with me extremely quickly, and I followed suit soon after. A series of unfortunate events occurred for him soon after our relationship blossomed though - he lost his high profile job, his best friend died suddenly, he was displaced to another country for a job (being displaced is what causes most of his anxiety) for 6 weeks, and soonafter I was displaced for 6 weeks (which made things even worse). Then we moved in together, which I'm realizing was a big mistake.
Every time another stressful event occurred, and he acted out (constant panic attacks, social isolation, suicidal talk), it was clear his problem was in no way solved, but I reasoned that what he was going through was just because of current events, and things would get better. Well, it's been 4 months now without a 'bad' incident, and he only seems to get worse. I try to be fully supportive and help him through his depression and anxiety, but I am exhausted. I am a very strong, stable person, and I know that's a big reason why he fell for me, but I'm exhausted and annoyed with him. But I'm wracked with guilt when I think of leaving him.
Since he's so anxious, he is sensitive and senses me pulling away emotionally. In those moments he reverts to a child like state and says things like, 'You hate me' and 'Don't leave me. I can't live without you.' I can't respond to these things with mature conversation. Soothing and reassuring him are the only things that calm him. He also constantly 'jokes' about wanting to die and says he has suicidal thoughts all the time. When I said I found that disturbing he countered that his therapist (he has been seeing the same one for 20 years...which makes me think that he's just an enabler at this point) says that it's 'normal'.
I'm pretty sure I know that I have to end this for both of our sakes - I'm striving to continue to live my busy and social life, while he mostly stays at home isolating himself from everything. I'm constantly biting my tongue and swallowing my annoyance and disappointment in him, but he's a skilled manipulator (arguments with him always leave me in tears because he just emotionally attacks until I break) and I'm finding it really really hard to get to a strong enough place to tell it like it is, whether it destroys him or not.
The thought of me leaving him while he's in such a bad state makes me feel awful...I know it will take years for him to get over some of the things he's been through...but I guess it's not fair to merely stay with somebody out of guilt.
I anticipate that leaving him might be the hardest thing i will ever do. I hope I find the strength to do it soon.
It's normal to want to escape bad feelings when they come, but not joke about or think about suicide constantly. Think about it this way... He may need to be desparate enough to take the steps he needs to heal. Your break up may be the catalyst he needs.
Is there someone you can talk to, a sister, a girlfriend. It sounds like you need to talk out some feelings and get some feedback. When we get ready to leave relationship (or decide to stay in them) it is always best to have built up a community around yourself. You need to have yourself reflected back by good people who love you so you have a sense of yourself outside the abusive relationship. It helps you see more clearly what to do. Whatever you do, don't isolate yourself! I am with you honey, and sending you a bug hug!
Lots of love,
We've gone back and forth thinking we can fix things.
He is a long term cannabis user, doesn't drink a lot but when he does it always causes problems.
There has been emotional abuse and physical aggression fr many years.
The trust was broken many times.
Why did i Stay ?
Tried to talk myself into staying but a voice in me s screaming No No No.
I feel guilt for him, I feel like the jerk who had to make a decision.
You are not a jerk. Substance abuse often trumps relationships. He has chosen that. I am glad that voice screamed No No No! It sounds like the voice of your inner wisdom. You will not be free to create and love yourself or others caught in this relationship. Build a community around yourself to help reflect back to you the good in you. Don't stay isolated, guilt will breed and you will feel lost. I appreciate the steps you took for yourself. The world thanks you for coming back to it. Here, you can do great things!
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