When things seem too broken to mend, you may consider leaving a relationship.
But what if there’s a way to make things better? What if you can make up and build a successful relationship? What if there’s a way to fall in love with this person again?
You’ve been stuck with the puzzling decision to stay or leave for quite long.
But before you decide to call it quits, take note of this advice to consider before leaving a relationship.
It’s a letter to you my friend, from experience dealing with thousands of woes from my coaching clients plus having relationships myself.
Let’s dive right into it.
1. Most Couples Have Difficulties
This is a point I want to reach home first.
According to a survey on 3000 adults, researchers discovered couples argue 312 times a year. That’s almost every day.
So right now you may feel alone. Like the others have working relationships while yours is a nightmare. The positivity around you proves something is so wrong with your relationship.
But I’ll tell you the reality. Most people struggle in their relationships. It’s either they’re struggling for a season or for a long time, after which the storm subsides.
Either way, even healthy relationships contain difficult conversations and arguments.
“Mine has constant fights/serious fights. This relationship is just not going to work,” you may argue. But even if your fighting is unhealthy and different, it can be resolved.
Couple problems are normal in the history of relationships.
Stick with me through this piece to understand why and what to do about it.
2. Relationships Trigger Your Core Feelings
Why do you think some people avoid having close relationships? They shut people out or run away when a connection starts getting deeper.
These people fear intimacy because it triggers unwanted feelings — their fears, hurt, and trauma.
So because you’ve taken the brave step into a relationship, you enter a vulnerability zone where your partner triggers these unwanted experiences while you do the same in them.
Think about it: when people talk ill about you, when do you feel hurt most? When it’s the close person you trust to make you feel good and safe.
In a relationship, since you perceive things differently, even when your partner doesn’t mean to hurt you, they do so. In the course of being hurt, you may hurt them too, not knowing their fears and traumas which furthers the “hurt loop.” No wonder you fight about the same things.
See? Triggered feelings are not to make you feel bad. They are a distress call that you need to face and overcome these fears.
This gets us to the next point.
3. Running Away Isn’t the Solution
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If you understand points one and two, you’ll know clearly, running away isn’t going to fix things.
While the fight or flight response works for survival, it doesn’t work for thriving.
So when you choose to escape this dreadful relationship and to another, you’ll soon realize that like your past relationship, the first months and years were amazing, honeymoon-like.
But then the test will come after you’ve known the basics about each other, went for thrilling holidays, and have exhausted each other’s intimacy tactics. When things become so familiar, the negatives you’ve put off for so long become so evident and the same happens in their perspective.
As you can see, running away leads you to another test, not a solution.
Are you willing to stand by your partner until you win the commitment test or will you run and repeat these relationship challenges?
I’ll guess what you’re thinking, “If I don’t run, what can I do?” Stay with me and find answers.
4. Trust Can Be Rebuilt
“He’s/she’s broken my trust. I just can’t trust him/her again!”
Losing trust in your partner hurts. But it does happen sometimes. Yet this trust can be mended as well.
You can feel close to your partner again and even feel a deeper bond than before as long as you work on rebuilding the trust.
The following video explains how relationships rupture through broken trust and how they can be repaired:
5. Repeating Patterns
Let’s say you argue about picking up your kids from school every Monday night before bed. You do it every week and so you’ve started fighting about the constant fights you’ve been having about the kid.
But if you take a closer look, you’ll realize it’s neither about you, your partner nor the task.
It’s about fixing an unsolved issue when tired. Since Mondays are hectic for both of you, you come home tired so you can’t think clearly. Every concern raised, therefore, becomes bothersome so you fail to have a constructive conversation with your partner.
This is just an example but as you can see, recurrent fights are commonly a deeper issue that any couple may underestimate.
So instead of taking repeating patterns at face value, take a closer look by following the best relationship advice when fighting.
6. You’re Only Objective Without Fight or Flight
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As mentioned earlier, you can’t thrive in a relationship if you act based on fight or flight responses. In other words, you shouldn’t act out of emotions.
You might feel attracted to your partner today and not tomorrow. You can hate your partner today but feel overwhelmingly in love when you patch things up. You can feel things won’t work now but feel hope after the weekend is over.
See? You can’t depend on emotions. They’re deceptive when you focus on them individually so you definitely can’t expect them to determine whether you should stay or leave.
So what can you do when you’re feeling so much anger, hate, guilt, loneliness, emptiness, helplessness, inadequacy, or any other kind of stress?
- Get into a space where you can calm down,
- Get to understand your emotions (you can find someone to help),
- Make changes where you can
- Find an outlet for emotions you’re yet to deal with
7. Communicating Personal Needs Is Key
Even if you’re still considering ending a relationship but haven’t applied this tip in your life, step back and work this out.
You might say that you do tell them all the time about your needs yet they don’t do it but think about it for a second. Do you communicate or do you complain and expect your partner to fulfill your needs?
They should know what I need, right? Wrong. They’re clueless unless you tell them.
It could go like this:
“Babe I really appreciate it when you pick Danny from school, especially on Mondays and Thursdays. Those days are really hectic and I really need help with that. Plus you’d get to spend time with him alone which he really loves. Would you be able to do that for me?”
Think of a decent way to tell your partner your needs and see how it improves.
8. You’ve Done Your Best if You’ve Shown Your Best Version
We tend to blame the other person when ending a relationship. Even if we see some of our mistakes, we say we’ve done our best but things didn’t work.
But it’s time for introspection once more, have you shown your best version?
If you can’t say “Yes” with a clear conscience, then the chances of saving your relationship are still available.
Try out the relationship again using the coaching tips available on this site, learning to be a better person and a better partner.
9. Finding Someone Like You Isn’t the Solution
People say opposites attract. And yet as one stays in a relationship, they think opposites are problematic. Why is this?
At first, the positive opposites you saw in your partner may be attractive since they’re mostly features or traits you’d like to have. But when you get into a relationship and find out that they also have different but negative perspectives and traits, you get disappointed.
So you think finding someone similar to you is the solution. The thing is, it isn’t. Someone very much like you would be boring.
So what keeps two different people together:
- It’s the similarities they choose to focus on: As different as two people can be, they connect on some similarities like their background or values in life. That’s where their common ground lies and when they lay their relationship on that, it works.
- Curiosity about their differences: When two people choose to learn from each other instead of reacting to their discomforting differences, they create more common ground they can base their relationship on.
As you can see, you can use both similarities and differences to fix your relationship. It’s about focusing on the positive and learning from the “negative”/ annoying aspects.
10. Repeating Dynamics of Your Caregivers
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You might have tried fixing your relationships but failed. One major question you must ask yourself must be, “Does our relationship mirror our parents’?”
The relationships we saw while growing up model how we handle ours.
Perhaps your father was avoidant. Or your mother neglected you and therefore you developed unhealthy relationship patterns. Perhaps you didn’t experience love from your caregivers at all.
Whatever the case, investigate your past to find out any relationship patterns you carried to your relationship. It may arouse unwanted feelings but I promise you, your future is worth the cost.
You can involve a coach, therapist, or any other behavioral professional to help you with this.
11. You’re Equally Responsible
When asked why you’re leaving your relationship, it’s easy to complain about the wrongs of your partner. And you might be right.
Perhaps he’s as misunderstanding, incompetent, unempathetic, selfish, or boring as you say. But aren’t you responsible for what he does in part?
Even if he does and says bad things, think of how you respond. Are your responses good for influencing positive change in your partner or do you fuel the bad? Do you stay a victim or work towards constructive conversations?
Before you leave your relationship, sit down and write out what your partner does that you don’t like. Next to the things they do, write things you do that promote the things they do.
Then take responsibility and tackle your issues.
12. Your Partner Needs Compassion as Much as You
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When you wrong someone you love, it can make you feel extremely guilty that you fail to understand how you can show them you’re sorry.
In such cases, you desire so much that a loved one may know how hurt you feel for wronging them and show you that you’re human, accepting your apology as a result.
Well, that’s the same thing your partner needs when they come to apologize and even before that. It’s called being compassionate — to self and as a result, to others.
When you know you’re both human and can wrong others at any time, instead of wanting to punish others for their misgivings, you’ll be compassionate. And this mends relationships big time.
13. A Relationship Counselor Can Help
Whilst I’ve recommended seeking a coach, therapist, or other relationship experts, emphasizing it as a fact on its own is important.
You may know many facts about your relationship but your reality may be distorted since you’re in the experience itself plus you may not be knowledgeable about relationship dynamics.
However, the suggestions or advice of any other person like your well-meaning friend may not be helpful because they’re inexperienced and also biased.
But a coach for instance can help you:
- Express your emotions and feel relief
- Have an objective picture of your relationship
- Unravel the unobvious sources of your relationship issues
- Discover effective strategies for mending your relationship
Common Questions to Consider Before Leaving a Relationship
When my clients are considering ending a relationship, they mostly ask the questions below. Get a sneak peek at relationship coaching answers.
How do you know when it is time to leave a relationship? What are the signs that the relationship is over?
If you fail to get results that encourage you to stay even if you’ve considered and worked on all the facts above, it could be time to leave. Unending abuse is also one sign the relationship won’t work.
What should I think about before breaking up?
- Have I clearly communicated my needs?
- In what way am I contributing to the problems we have?
- Will I really be happier without my partner?
- What are my priorities in a relationship?
- Have I done my best to make things work?
- Am I feeling the weight of our problems because I already see another potential partner?
- What can I do to mend this relationship?
What questions should I ask my partner before breaking up?
- Have we really done our best to stay together?
- What could I have done differently?
- Are you willing to work on mending this relationship?
- What can you do to save our relationship?
- What have you learned in this relationship?
- How are we going to handle the breakup?
How to leave a relationship when you are still in love
- Accept that you’re still in love but the relationship isn’t working
- Choose a way to break up with your partner (preferably face to face)
- Start with a summary of appreciating them and the relationship
- Express your feelings honestly and clearly
- Adapt to their reaction with positive confirmation of your decision
- Practice breakup boundaries
- Grieve and focus on your healing
- Continue practicing ways of letting go of the relationship
Is leaving a good relationship to be single okay?
Especially if you’re leaving a good relationship to find yourself, it’s totally okay. If you’re in a good relationship but feel it’s hindering your growth and fulfillment in many ways, leaving would be a good thing for you and your partner.
Stay or Leave Conclusion
If you’ve carefully considered the relationship facts above and feel there’s something you can do to save your relationship, stay, patiently working with the tips.
But if you’ve carefully read this piece and still want to leave, do so knowing well you might regret it.
And before you leave, share your thoughts with us below. Also, share this article to change someone’s life!