It can be easy for us to know when our friends should break up with their partners, but that’s not often the case with our own relationships. It’s harder for us to know when we should keep working through our issues with our partner, or when we should quit the relationship altogether.
So, how do you know when it’s time to leave?
Staying or leaving a relationship isn’t an easy decision to make. But if it’s something you’re wondering, something you’re seriously considering, that’s okay. Just make sure to keep these things in mind as you make your decision.
Take a good look at your relationship. Would you say your needs are being met? Does your partner put in the effort to take care of you emotionally? Do they meet you where you are, intellectually? Are the two of you connecting at the most basic of levels?
If your needs aren’t being met, then you might want to consider calling it quits. Relationships are about connection, and if you’re not connecting in the right ways, no matter how hard you try, then it might be time to go.
Sometimes you and your partner start off having similar views about the future you want and your place in each other’s lives. But people change their minds. Maybe your partner has, or maybe it’s you. Either way, if there’s a change, if your views on the future are no longer compatible, it might be time to put an end to the relationship.
It’s possible to negotiate with your partner, to reach a middle ground. But sometimes, there is no middle ground to reach. Maybe one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t, or one of you wants to get married and the other isn’t ready yet. If the future you want is radically different from your partner’s, then pushing for the relationship to continue will only be harmful to the two of you in the long run. It’s better to end things now on amicable terms than to end things bitterly later.
It’s possible that sometimes after beginning a relationship, you realize your partner has some red flags. If your partner invalidates your feelings and makes you question the world around you, you might want to consider leaving the relationship. If your partner abuses you in any way, emotional or physical, or cuts you off from the people you’re close to, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship. Similarly, if your partner controls your finances and makes you financially dependent on them, that’s another red flag.
Of course, leaving a partner in cases of abuse isn’t easy. But if you’ve evaluated your relationship and believe this applies to you, it might be something you want to genuinely consider. If your relationship harms you, physically or mentally, then it’s time to go.
Sometimes, your partner doesn’t give off red flags, but the relationship is still off. Maybe it’s because every conversation turns into an argument, or maybe it’s because being around your partner is exhausting. If you find yourself feeling energized when you’re away from your partner. Or if you realize you dislike who you are when you’re around them, it might be time to reconsider.
If you’re better apart than you are together, then pick being apart. It will be better for the two of you in the long run.
Whether you need it to manage your relationships, your daily life, or even your own view of yourself, consider seeking professional help. Counseling can help us stabilize ourselves when we’re stuck and don’t know what to do next. Don’t hesitate to reach out for couples counseling. You’ll be able to move forward in the end.
About the author(s)
Karen is the founder and Clinical Director of Cohesive Therapy NYC. She earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University and has extensive training in Hypnosis, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, and DGBI. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Anxiety Treatment Professionals, The Rome Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the American Social of Clinical Hypnosis.