Should you stay or cut and run?
If you are caught up in the dilemma of your relationship being on the brink of failing and you are in conflict as to whether you should give it one final try, I’d love to share with you a strategy I offer to my clients to help them gain the clarity they seek in such circumstances.
The Effects of a Lack of Decision
Most of the time, it’s the lack of decision that causes anxiety.
It’s not knowing what to do for the best, and how even to attempt to sort things out.
You owe it to yourself to give your relationship your best shot.
Only then, if you decide you need to walk away, will you feel at peace within yourself about your decision.
Circumstances may dictate that it’s never the right time to leave.
Perhaps you have that feeling that there’s always something going on? It might be necessary to weigh up which scenario would be easiest to confront and decide on the best time to act.
If you’ve been together for some time, you might question if you love your partner or spouse any more.
Many of my clients find that it’s not so much whether you love that person, but more whether you are still compatible these days and whether you can find your ‘happy place’ again. It might be that you have grown and your partner hasn’t. If this is the case, your partner may comment defensively that you’ve changed and feels you are not the woman he married.
Personal Growth is a Good Thing
It helps us to continue learning, to develop ourselves towards reaching our potential. Stagnation is unhealthy and toxic over time. Please don’t allow anyone stagnating to pass blame your way, for your having been brave enough to grow. It can be difficult to face up to the reality that perhaps you don’t fit together as you used to any more. Personally, this was the case for me in my long-term marriage that I ended five years ago.
When you identify where the gaps are, it will become clear what matters most to you both, and whether either of you is willing to re-define your priorities.
I suggest to my clients that they create a simple chart with their name and their partner’s across the top, listing in a column to the side the headings:-
- Hobbies and interests
Each person completes this blank sheet taking all the time and space they need before talking it through together.
To list what each of you likes and dislikes about how your relationship runs just now, alongside your hobbies and interests, as well as your views on certain things, creates an opportunity for discussion.
What is Important to You Both?
To pinpoint what is important to you both, in terms of what you need from your relationship and in your life and what you want for yourself now and in the future, will further highlight how and why you are not as happy as you could be.
You can then identify the areas of compatibility and conflict. It will be glaringly obvious to you both. You might like to use a coloured marker pen to help illustrate this clearly.
This simple exercise will spark discussion over how either of you may be willing to bend in order to reach an amicable compromise if deep down neither of you is ready to walk away.
If this is the case, I help my clients then to set a 100-day plan in which both parties commit to making specific changes for 100 days in order to bring the relationship back in alignment.
This process helps tremendously in understanding what each of your needs are. It helps you to see for yourself how each of you might at times make your needs greater than your partner.
How often does this happen?
It helps you both to get clear on what specifically you need your partner (and vice versa) to do in order for you (or them) to get these needs met.
With a positive and pro-active focus being mindful of each other’s needs, you will both stand a good chance of strengthening your relationship and rekindling the love between you both.
Of course, if either party doesn’t follow through significantly on this commitment, or if either of you is flatly unwilling to negotiate in too many areas, it may well be an indication that the relationship has died and it is time to let go.
If this is the case, and you need to seek reasons for divorce, having worked through this process, it will help you to be clear on how your needs are not being met along with other key incompatibilities and these may serve you as indisputable grounds for separation.
Whatever the outcome, you will know within yourself that you have tried your hardest to explore the truth.
I hope this helps you today.
Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
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