Ending a Relationship: How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?

When deciding if and when to leave or end a relationship, how do we wade through the thoughts and consequences? 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!

APA Reference
Lobozzo, J. (2012, July 18). Ending a Relationship: How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

December, 16 2013 at 10:25 pm

Hi, I have been with my girlfriend for 5 months now. I month ago I got into a bad car accident and got a bad concussion and haven’t been able to see her for a month which really makes her upset. All she wants to do is see me. The doctors do not want me doing anything for another week now and I’m not allowed to drive. My mom has offered many of times to pick my girlfriend up from her house and bring her to our house to hang out or do something. My mom still hasn’t been able to really get to know her much at all she met her twice but just for a quick hi and bye. When I ask my girlfriend if she wants to hang out with me at my house for one she completely refuses and stands strong with her position but personally I still don’t understand why she doesn’t want to get to know my mom for I do not have a dad.. I have been to her house a lot and her parents know me quite well but she doesn’t want to meet my mg and uses anxiety as an excuss not to meet her..I’m lost and confused as of what to do I just want her to meet my mom so my mom is more comfortable with me hanging out with her and being with her and my mom is eager to meet her…it makes me depressed and makes me think that she doesn’t really care enough about me to meet my mom and I don’t want to feel that way at all

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 23 2013 at 9:36 am

I'm sorry to hear about your car accident and concussion, and I sincerely hope you are doing better now. You mentioned that you wonder if your girlfriend is using anxiety as an excuse not to come to your house and meet your mom. A way to determine that is to observe whether or not she experiences anxiety in other situations. If so, perhaps anxiety is getting in her way here. If not, perhaps there's something else going on. Either way, an open talk with her is important. If it's anxiety, you can support her as she takes steps to overcome it. If it isn't, you decide what you want a relationship to be like and whether you and she can build it.

November, 27 2013 at 3:28 pm

I picked up the phone and called the police because he would not leave after disrespecting me. He had moved out 9 months prior at my prompting (8 years living together) and we had gotten back together but not living together. I told him I had a zero tolerance policy for anyone disrespecting me in my home and they would be asked to leave. Whenever I attempted to set this boundary he would not leave (probably his fear of abandonment). Our relationship ended. We had many deep wonderful times together but the lack of responsibility and harmful expression of anger wore me down. Some months later, in April 2013, an event occurred that triggered my own unknown abandonment issues. I went into a deep painful traumatic episode that led me to a week long abandonment workshop in August. Just as I was beginning to understand my own abandonment issues and how they contributed to the problems in my relationship I heard the devastating news that my Former had gotten married after only 7 months of knowing his wife. I have been in terrible pain for 3 1/2 months, second guessing myself. After my workshop, I realized that my own Outer child needed taming and had I had the opportunity to practice this, the dynamics of my relationship may have changed greatly.
But now there in zero chance to try again from a new way of living. I do have tools for recovery but the pain just continues. To make matters worse, this happened at 56 years old. My life feels bleak. I keep hanging on having Faith because that is the only thing I have left. I miss him terribly and feel that I abandoned myself. I know that this huge wound is a replica of my primal abandonment. Though I know help is not on the way from without - only from within - I still feel helpless and so sad. I don't see any future for me. I did not see him for who he was when we were together because my Outer child was always complaining. It's very very difficult for me to accept the finality of his marriage. We were very very close. I sent him a letter of amends and we were able to have a beautiful reconciliation in person wherein we both expressed our love for the other. I asked him for no contact for at least 3 weeks which is recommended to get over someone. It has been about 6 weeks and the pain is even worse - I do believe the holidays are triggering it. I've seen him twice at music clubs as we both are in that world. It is terribly difficult. Though I have the necessary tools I still feel such deep pain that I don't see an end in sight. Thank you for reading.

December, 9 2013 at 8:02 am

I just left my boyfriend of 7 years because he doesnt appreciate me. I am a great mother to our 18 month old daughter I cook I clean im a vegetarian so I cook extra for him and my daughter everyday. I work weekends because during tbe week i have no sitter so i can only work several days a week...and Im going to be a full time student soon. Ive realized having a baby puts things to the side for a while but not forever and im a strong woman im not lazy...and he doesnt appreciate me or anything I do for my family or for him. I am venting because today was the last straw I cant put up with him anymore. Im not only a great mother and great girlfriend who supports him in everything and cares for him im a lover....he is in no doubt a great father the best to say the least but he doesnt pay any attention to my needs or what I want because hes so caught up in work and I cant complain about that but what am I just here waiting until he has time to be with me..and on top of not showing me love he yells because I didnt cook dinner today...idk what else to do...he tells me all these things to make me feel better but actions speak louder than words and hes not doing any action...ugh!!!! I love him unconditionally and he claims the same things but its hard to believe. .im honestly not asking for much just one day a week of alone time to be alone but I guess that is too much :(

Gabe Howard
September, 6 2014 at 9:59 am

HealthyPlace has a twitter feed at @healthyplace ! :) Thanks!

Laura Dane
October, 20 2013 at 4:50 am

I stumbled across this blog when i was looking for some inspiration to go on in life. It's an amazing effort.
Relationships these days are so fake. I am a 22 year old and i'm already tired of all the drama. I was in a relationship with a guy for a year, who i loved dearly and thought was my soulmate. Initially he did too, until one day he just STOPPED loving me. And then everything was a downhill spiral, he kept up with lies, cheating, physical abuse and putting me down infront of my family and friends. We finally broke off a year ago. However i still cant seem to take my mind off him, it seems he is still my soulmate and i am afraid of living a life in which he does not exist even though he only hurts me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 20 2013 at 11:46 am

I understand that feeling. Sometimes people are divinely supposed to come in our lives for us to learn something and when they go, we feel this way. Just because your souls are connected, doesn't mean you are supposed to be together in this physical life. There will be another and your souls will also be connected and you will be meant for each other in this life.

Laura Dane
November, 3 2013 at 1:05 am

Thanks Jodi,
But it feels so empty and really like the end of the world.

October, 17 2013 at 8:59 pm

I have been with my boyfriend for about 3 years. Recently I have anxiety that he isn't right for me. I am also unsure sometimes if I love him. This is my first serious relationship so are these doubts normal? I'm 25 and he's 28. We have several things we both like to do but he had many interests that I'll listen to him talk about but I'm not interested in.
I have previously been mostly attracted to guys who are more outgoing than me since I'm shy, but he is not. He is very introverted and just has a couple friends. He treats me well, is kind, loving, smart, hardworking, and fun. He dresses sloppily which has started to bug me more recently. A lot of the anxiety had gotten worse due to living 1.5 hrs apart due to his phd program but this would just be for 8 more months... He wants to get married and I am honestly unsure at this point. Sometimes I can see us getting married and other times I think I should break up with him due to my uncertainty. In general, I am not a confident person and I have anxiety. Any advice? Is it saying something about the relationship if I'm not sure about marriage after 3 years? Or does it sometimes take a while to feel sure especially with nothing to compare it to? He knows about these doubts and is very patient with me. I just feel filthy about not knowing if I want to spend my life with him after a few years together.

September, 8 2013 at 2:35 am

I never comment on sites; somehow the vibe in here seems real warm and genuine, so I wanted to share my story. I truly love my bf of 2 years, but I wonder if that love is just friendship love now. It started out with him wanting to be with me and me not liking him, but eventually I gave in, and now we're engaged. He's been good to me, the supportive type, but to be honest we have very little to talk about, have opposing views on practically everything (except family and the future), and a really lame sex life. Yep, I'm in a sexless relationship and it sucks (He is *always* at home so he's not seeing anyone elsel. This isn't something new, that hasn't been discussed in everyway possible: he knows full well what's up.
I consider myself to be strong and independent. My relationships aren't usually like this, normally the men I see are more bohemian-type, you know, "living the moment", have deep conversation, and so on. I've learned to let them come and go. But my current relationship really catches me off guard, as it seems like the "right" guy but is completely unfulfilling. I mean, it's like we're roomates. For a long time now, my gut has been telling me to end this, but my impulsiveness has betrayed me before... At this point, we are emotionally and financially codependent, and although I've asked him to leave several times in the heat of arguments, he never leaves. My family and friends are all over him so asking them for help is out of the question - he is extremely manipulative.
I don't know how to go about ending this as he's locked on like a leech and it's *my* apartment. About 8 months back I was laid off and haven't been able to get a decent job since, so I've recently ventured into starting my own business. I'm stuck at that point: he supoorts me financially(borderline) and emotionally, but I just can't stand the guy anymore. It's hard when he's so manipulative, passive-aggressive, possibly homosexual, and friend and family-less to boot. *sigh* What to do? I'm not evil, I don't hate him, actually I wish him the best but I just can't seem to get past this ugly situation.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 8 2013 at 2:26 pm

Maybe you can get yourself financially stable and then it'll be clearer? Hope so! <3

August, 22 2013 at 8:00 am

Thank you Jodi! I will need luck... Yesterday we talked and he was so, but so down and really, really sad :(. I think he is depressed, but he doesn't what to get professional help. He tried to come back, but I kept my word and my decision. I was his safe place, but he didn't value that when we were together, he mistreated me, my feeling and actions. I can't forget that, but I really do feel sorry for him... It's hard to handle, but I will succeed!

August, 21 2013 at 6:24 am

I broke up my relationship 2 weeks ago. I have been thinking about it for about 2 months. And, even though I was already decided to make that move, I gave him 3 more chances. My relationship was good and then we move in together. Things started to fall apart. I've talked and talked with him, but things didn't change :(. Until 2 weeks ago. I still have feelings for him, he says that he has feelings for me also, but... Too much damage has been made in my heart and my mind. I miss him, my heart is really tight, but my mind is always telling me that I made what was right. If I continued in that relationship, @ this moment, I would be crazy. I feel sad, but I feel good. What will happen in the future?? Only God can tell. Thank you for your article, it helped me very much!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 21 2013 at 6:35 am

Good luck with the process, Irina. We might know it is right but still grieve the good stuff. Just because it is right for you, doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. xo

August, 20 2013 at 11:56 am

I really needed to read this post. Just two days ago I found out that while me and my boyfriend were broken up/going through a rough patch in the beginning of the year he went out, got drunk, & got his ex pregnant and the baby will be here in about two months. We've been together for over four years & we've had our share of problems that we always manage to get through. He hid this from me & his family, we all just found out. I know how much we love each other, more than anything, & we want to marry each other when we'll be ready to take that step financially & career-wise. Deep down inside I feel like I don't have anything to think about, I want to stay with him without a doubt, I love him purely and unconditionally. We call each other our soul mate/other half, but I don't know if later on down the line I stay but I can't handle this. In my heart I've already accepted his baby. I just can't get over that somebody else has his child growing inside of them, somebody else forever has a piece of him, forever. I'm so hurt, so lost. Every time I wake up all I do is cry because reality comes rushing right back to me. & all I wanna do is sleep so that I can forget about all of this for a little while.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 20 2013 at 1:01 pm

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.

August, 20 2013 at 1:13 pm

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.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 21 2013 at 6:34 am

Yes, there will be a counseling center at scholl free to students. Go there. Having someone to talk to is precious and helpful! Bless you, my dear! If you want to do online counseling, let me know, but your best bet is going to the campus center. xo

August, 22 2013 at 12:11 am

Thanks so much for all your help.

August, 12 2013 at 6:59 am

I kinder got someting out of reading your article - I have been in a relationship for nearly 6 months and it was good in the begining ut now im not happy and i feel sad & weepy all the time. He is depressed and almost wallows in self pity and his dragging me down - he shuts me out and i feel as thou i am banging my head against a brick wall. My heart says work it out but my head says you dont need someone who makes you unhappy - wish i knew what to do!!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 13 2013 at 4:57 am

Listen to your head. Your heart is speaking from fear, not love. Fear that you can't find anyone better or that you might have done something to cause him to be like this. Anna find someone else! Love yourself enough to. xo

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 21 2013 at 6:33 am

I've been through a similar situation and I broke the relationship 2 weeks ago. We have been together for 7 months, and I felt exactly the way you are feeling. I couldn't breathe right, I couldn't eat well, I was always sad and unsatisfied, among other things. It was really hard (still is), but was for the best :D! You better get out of that situation while you still love and respect yourself. Best of luck!!

August, 7 2013 at 4:49 pm

I have written here twice.
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 !?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 8 2013 at 12:01 am

Fuzzy, He made his choice passively. You were the strong one, let go of the guilt. He made his bed. Not you! xo Get around people if you can. It's the best thing you can do!

August, 5 2013 at 4:24 am

i have been reading there comments all morning and have inspired me greatly.
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

July, 30 2013 at 12:24 am

I have been with my bf since 2004 so it's been 9 years now. We broke up in 2008, after a horrible argument and got back together a year later. We were friends for a while before we started to dating and due to the financial situation we moved in together quickly. We spent a lot of time together. We would have arguments about things because he does not like to negotiate, if he doesn't wanna do things then he would say you can do that but I don't want to and I'm still gonna go do it on my own. Over time I found it easier to just let him have things way and I got used to not making much decisions. In 2008, I had to go on a business trip overseas for few days, when I was out there, I called him to check in. He had been out with his friends -he loves drinking , and binge drinks often- and he said he had meet this girl who is really cool and I should meet her sometime. Later I I found out that she came back to our place and hung out and according to my bf nothing had happened. I thought it was really disrespectful to do that while I was out of town, and I felt like he told me because there were other friends that new about the incident. Despite of "nothing happened", I was very disappointed, and was also not happy with how our relationship was going at the time. And after few months we broke up. Since I was the one who made the decision, it was hard but I could move on. We were intertwined with our work situation so we had to see each other very often, but I could handle it ok. He started dating other girls, and even brought her to our gatherings but I was surprisingly ok. After about a year, we still saw each other with mutual friends, he could not date girls more than few weeks, and came back to me. He asked me to give it a other try, and I have realized that I still loved him, so we got back together in 2009. Since then things seemed to be a lot better, seemed like we have learned how much we love each other through this experience. But over time I still see the core issues are still there, his non-compromising, self centered perspective, communication issue and etc. we have different cultural background, my parents don't speak English. Every year I spent holidays at his parents place. My bf does not wanna visit my family and when he does-like once a year- he sits and stars at his iPhone entire time. My parents are very understanding and say that they understand why he would be uncomfortable but it still hurts their feelings. He doesn't even try to engage. He is not interested in my career, and passion, never remembers my big moments. When I was graduating after long years of study, he complained about having to come to the ceremony on a weekday morning, and left right afterward because he did not wanna have lunch with my family. When we got back together, we sort of had a new anniversary, but he complains that it is not even a real anniversary and it's stupid that I care so much. So This year I did not mention anything, and he went out with his friends all weekend coming home at 4 in the morning. He thinks marriage is stupid and something that society forces people into, he had mentioned that we would marry once he is settled financially, after he buys a house, but it all seems like excuses. I started to feel like this isnt really going anywhere and I'm not really happy lately. It is really confusing because I feel that I still do love him but I'm not satisfied. When I read your blog, I resonated with 'enough is enough' but I still can't decide what I wanna do. I'm turning 30 soon and I feel like I need to think about my future... Am I just having a entering 30 crisis? I'm so confused!!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 31 2013 at 6:44 am

No, this is your intuition telling you to move onto to someone you deserve. Listen to your inner voice. He is not changing anytime soon. Better to move on now than to divorce later when things ar more complicated. xo Jodi

July, 26 2013 at 7:26 am

I have been looking for a love spell to bring back my wife after been separated for 2years,I have tried 3 different spell caster which I paid them money and non of them was able to get my wife back and this make me look frustrated until a friend of mine direct me to Mr Ibadan who did what I called black magic I was in contact with Mr IBADAN and after 48hours my wife call me and said she want us to be together and now we are back again with my 12 years old son and there is more romance in our relationship.

July, 23 2013 at 11:04 am

Lady Xara, hugs. Hugs to you. You have been through so much life at only 31. I hope you will untangle yourself and run. I believe if you could be aline with yourself you would see you are far better and more loving company than what you have had for 15, or actually 31 years. You can only go up from here.

July, 23 2013 at 10:55 am

This was so sad to me to read. I have been in a wonderful relationship with a guy who had commitment issues in the past. I walked away then, knowing I'd done nothing wrong, though I'd given him two second chances after he was cold. I knew he'd been through a lot and had no desire to retaliate because I knew I would take more away than he had to give. A long time went by. He contacted me again, and pursued me. He commited to therapy and promised to go to couple's counseling in the future. He promised he would be committed to me and love me, show love in the way I receive it.
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. :(

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 24 2013 at 8:21 am

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!

July, 22 2013 at 9:14 pm

I just broke off my engagement about a month ago and keep flip flopping on whether I am making the right decision. We had been together for 8 years and have a 2 year old child together. I also have a 13 year old to whom he has been a step-father. Looking back at our relationship I have realized that I allowed him to treat me less than I deserve. I always felt as if I was chasing him and craving his love and affection. He not only has cheated on me several times but while I was pregnant with our child so why am I still feeling as if I am not sure I made the right choice. He tells me he knows what he did wrong and that he didn't appreciate me the way he should've. If I just give him one last chance he can PROVE that he will change. I feel like I have nothing left to give. I gave my entire heart throughout this relationship and wasn't getting it back. Why do I still feel as though I owe it to him to prove he can be different? Can he change now that he says he recognizes all the wrong he did? I am also seeking a counselor to help understand why I chose a man like this and how to heal myself so that I don't fall into this pattern again. Please help I don't know where to turn to.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 24 2013 at 8:23 am

I hope your counseling in helping, but if not I am available! <3 You don't owe it to him to prove he can be different, he just wants you to think that. He has manipulated you to think that. I am sorry! let me know if I can help! xo Jodi

lady xara
July, 19 2013 at 8:48 am

It is good to find this. I struggle to find relationship forums that don't revolve around 20 year old lamenting their 1 year college/uni relationship (but I don't mean any malice by that). I am contemplating finally leaving a 15 yr relationship. No kids, a ring (11 yrs ago) but no marriage. I am 31. Oh god, I don't even know where to start ,it's so complicated... OK... we were both exposed to domestic abuse growing up...he more mental/verbal towards his mother, mine more physical. He has always had serious communication issues - resorts to name callings, serious criticisms & personal attacks at this slightest perception of insult followed by days of silent treatment. He very, very rarely apologises & when it's important enough for me to return to the topic it just reangers him & all of the nastues reiterated, no remorse. Over past 4 years he continually threatens to break up with me after fights but nothing is ever followed thru. I feel beyond pathetic that I have allowed this to happen. He finally sort of officially broke it off after strtching finances to buy a house we can barely afford requiring a lot of work...changed fb status, secretly signed up to si gles dating sites etc but then says we have to finidh the work, that I need to prove to myself & maybe him that I have motivation (um, I may as well br a tradie I work that hard on the physical stuff). So we haven't slept in same bed since last Nov, except when parent or friends stay & he suggests 'maintaining the illusion', not had sex for this time either. Maybe a hug or 2 during a nasty argument (tho this is new...). My friends are all starting families & I wanted this too ( as I know he eventually wanted). Through miscommunication & carelessness on his part I fell pregnant. When I told him, it was ugly. He indicated that to keep it would be to ruin everything we had worked for etc. Asked if it was even his. Got very angry. Left me on side of road, then when finally returning, drove me to where we were temporarily staying with a friend & told me to pack bags & go. After agonising & absolutely no support I made an awful decision. To this day he maintains that somehow we were not together & I would have f***ed evrything. He does want kids, even alluded once recently after an extreme upset( where he said he can't wait toget the f** away from me) that life is over if I wasn't going to be the mother of his child... it's so... as I write this it sounds insane...both what he says & does, and the fact that I am still here for some reason, all love withdrawn but a vague promise that if we finush the hous without all the emotional drama that maybe then we can put the required effort in to maybe fix the relationship...but i am so broken, ths cabln't be right. I don't know who I am, what is right, how to make any decisions at alo...just round & round in useless, painful circles. I know I should go, all the boundaries ilof a healthy relationship are destroyed...but....why can't I find the clarity & certainty that I need to go, that there may still be hope to have a happy healthy relationship & family.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 20 2013 at 4:41 pm

"just round & round in useless, painful circles. I know I should go, all the boundaries ilof a healthy relationship are destroyed." Sounds clear and certain to me, ask yourself what is stopping you?

July, 3 2013 at 3:18 am

My feelings go out to those people who know enough is enough,but are paralyzed with fear. This fear of the unknown is holding them back from taking the steps needed to break free from their miserable relationship.
They accept the situation they are in is intolerable, but see no way out.

June, 14 2013 at 6:41 pm

Last October, after a lot of thought and circumstance of the relationship I was in (separated and estranged from husband but in an intense relationship with another separated man) I took the very difficult but clearly thought out decision of ending the relationship of 8 months. For me it was the 'right' thing to do, I was depressed, felt that I deserved more of a commitment and in some way used and living a lie yet he had enriched my life so much I still loved him. He cried, apologied and turned around and said you're stuck with me in your life whether you like it or not -friends. The pain was as described by many excruciating, tears, I stopped eating, a mutual friend of ours took me under his wing (I'd known him 10years vs the 5yrs I knew mr frog shall we call him). He was very concerned and kept a close eye on me, needless to say he did tell me a few things after the break up and so after about 3 weeks of self pity I then made another decision move on, move up and find yourself. December 1st that's what I did. I reconnected with old and new friends, went to the gym, days out, then all of a sudden mr frog starts contacting me, I ignore him because I was finding myself in a better more comfortable place. More contact, I thought I am ready to reply so I did kept it short and meaningless. I return to work after 5 weeks sick and I find out we are on the same shifts, it was difficult but I stayed strong how? I chose to. More contact, coffee invitations, I declined but said thanks.
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

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 16 2013 at 5:11 am

Wow, Kerry, what a story. I do know some people can change and in our hearts we know that and can make a choice like you did! good luck to you both! xo

June, 9 2013 at 3:38 am

I've been with my boyfriend for a year now. We live together and my son lives with us. -he is not the father. However he treats him like his own and they share that love. My boyfriend had always had a stubborn attitude, mostly when we argue. He almost never tries to fix things when we are arguing. We usually argue over small issues and he gets so mad it lasts for days. he's distant and won't talk to me until I basically beg for him or kiss his butt to make things better. I do love him so much, and when things are good we are so happy. We have our futures planned together and we are basically a family, but I'm so hurt constantly by his lack of trying. lately he is distant and doesn't show affection unless I make him. I've told him all of this and poured my heart out to him and nothing seems to change. 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. but I also don't want to keep hurting each time we argue. my son is only 3 and I don't want him growing up into a broken relationship. I feel like he does truly love me, but lets his anger take over because of his past relationships. We're both pretty much alone in the world. All we have Is each other and my son. which is why I don't understand why he can't change and be good to me all the time. maybe I'm doing something wrong? I have separation anxiety and don't know how to walk away or ask him to leave. I feel like I will go crazy alone. I'm so scared and I don't know what to do. I have no friends or family
to help me through it just God generally. help :(

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 9 2013 at 6:31 am

It's usually just scary until you do it. In the guise of protecting us from what is scary, our fear sometimes keeps us suffering. You won't go crazy alone. I don't know why he is choosing not to change, maybe because he doesn't have to-you are staying and fixing things.
"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 giving up on him? 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,

Revolving Door
June, 8 2013 at 2:45 pm

I really appreciate reading what everyone has written. It makes me feel less alone. I recently ended a tumultuous relationship. It was filled with broken/empty promises to change behavior and actions that were hurtful and destructive to me and to the relationship. I am not sure if what I experienced was emotional abuse or just a man who has serious communication issues. If I tried to tell him that something upset me or hurt my feelings, I would be shut down or dismissed; ignored; left; or broken up with. Days would pass and suddenly he is begging to get me back and his words are filled with remorse, regret, and apologies. I would feel sorry for him and open my heart again and take him back. After all, he said he did not mean it. This scenario has happened over and over. I am tired of being blindsided by a break up and the frequency has escalated from monthly to weekly. He kept promising to stop. He bought me a ring as proof; he swore on his daughter's life; he started therapy. But he still kept breaking up with me and ignoring me and playing mind games. There are many good qualities that I truly enjoy about him but his behavior is too painful and disrespectful for me. I finally ended things. I am questioning if I did the right thing. Did I give him enough of a chance to change? Was I compassionate enough with whatever his issues are that cause him to act like this? Can he ever change? I realize how pathetic I sound and I am not proud of that. I also realize that I am responsible for taking him back; I am not trying to be a victim. I just started feeling punished and like I was a doormat or a revolving door for him to come and go as he pleases. Any advice?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 9 2013 at 6:35 am

I am questioning if I did the right thing. Yes. Did I give him enough of a chance to change? Yes. Was I compassionate enough with whatever his issues are that cause him to act like this? Absolutely. Can he ever change? Only if he choses it, there is nothing you can do. I realize how pathetic I sound and I am not proud of that. Not at all pathetic, just human and loving. I also realize that I am responsible for taking him back; I am not trying to be a victim. I just started feeling punished and like I was a doormat or a revolving door for him to come and go as he pleases. Any advice? Treat yourself like the queen you are and then soon someone will come along and do the same.

June, 6 2013 at 4:36 pm

I am approaching the three year mark with my boyfriend, and am currently seeing a therapist for depression. I do not feel my relationship meets my needs and I've been told [by peers] that my bf is using me. I have struggled every day for 6 months with leaving or staying, and have walked away briefly a few times. I am then greeted with the "I'm sorry we can work this out" speech, then all is fine for a short time, then the rut comes back. We basically live like roommates, and I promised myself [in lieu of antidepressants] that I would not let his behavior upset me anymore. I am working on making myself happy [or happier] and have somewhat settled into an existence that is tolerable -- but still unhealthy. I stopped investing in "couple maintenance" and we rarely spend time together, outside family functions. What really sucks however, is the game that is played at those functions. Everyone telling us we're so perfect together, and he plays the game all too well. I think it's because his parents are sick and he wants them to be proud that he has a good person in his life. The act gets turned off like a switch right after and I'm back to being a roommate. I also get good behavior just before a function -- especially with his family. They love me dearly, and I truly love them, so I give in. I don't want to be the bad guy and walk away, and I don't want to hurt him, either. Honestly speaking, he does not deserve me in his life and no one will love him like I have. I just keep thinking that neither of us will get what we need with each other.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 6 2013 at 5:40 pm

I'm so sorry Brooke, you know what to do. He'll stay like this forever. It's hard to leave, but you'll feel better very soon, I promise!

May, 31 2013 at 7:47 am

I am at the stage on deciding on whether to stay or go. I have been with him for seven years now and he is also a long term cannabis user! This only occurred once we got together though him meeting new people. I cannot stand the stuff and all the lies and betrayl I get from him because of it. He often promises he will change but only ever does for a week or two at most. I don't trust him with money and I'm constantly paranoid incase he's going behind my back or lying to me. We have often spoke about this but he's not very understanding of my feelings or of the fact of how unhappy this is making me. I have already left twice because of this and have threatened to again but it does not stop him. In general other than this we get on ok. Can anyone help me?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 5 2013 at 5:57 am

What do you need help with Vicky? Figuring out how to leave? It seems clear you know what to do. We often need lots of support of a community to help us do this. xo

May, 15 2013 at 3:29 pm

Great article. I have been in a very tumultuous relationship for 4 years with a guy who has serious trouble expressing his love. He grew up in a house without a father, and a mother who became a workaholic in order to support the family. He has always held me at arms length, until I threaten to leave. Then all the walls come down and I fall in love with him all over again. I see a side that I believe will become more prevalent in our relationship, but things always end up back to cold, shut off, unaffectionate, neglectful after a few months. He never suggests we take the next step - it's always me prodding and pushing to move in/ have the talk about marriage, kids etc. I never even hear "i love you" unless I say it first.
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.
Any advice?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 15 2013 at 8:02 pm

Meagan, It seems like you know what to do. Anxiety is holding you back, love is an excuse. We love tons of people we aren't good life partners with. These things will only get worse. Best to you! xo

April, 12 2013 at 2:40 pm

I also would like to thank you for this post. I don't know what to do. I have been with my fiancee for almost seven years and I am becoming exhausted and tired of making it work. I am not a saint and I realize that I don't prioritize or relationship as much as he needs (although he has NO friends outside of our relationship and I feel so smothered) and he gets very frustrated with some of my basic behaviors (hygiene, driving, eating habits, short term memory issues). Since we became engaged (which I basically proposed to him, he doesn't believe in marriage) he has become increasingly more incessant that I change every little thing that he has a problem with. I feel like this is very one sided. He has serious anger issues, that while he isn't physically abusive it does cross the verbal line. For a while it seemed he was working on things, but after many years it seems we have the same old arguments! He hates all of my friends, family and thinks the things I like are stupid. He claims to love me, but I don't understand it.
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.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 16 2013 at 6:06 am

These are not normal problems in long term relationships. Read this and be witness to your own words. you already know what you have to do... Good luck!

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