Sometimes you might find yourself in a relationship that is not totally healthy anymore, or where you’re no longer happy. Instead of taking the necessary steps to begin to leave your relationship, you stick around and just hope things will be better. When you’re stuck in a rut and your partner isn’t really trying to work with you, you might just be in denial about what you need to do. On the other hand, if you do still have strong feelings for your partner and hope that things could improve, it might just be time to step up and fight for your relationship.
How do you know if you should stay and fight or if you’re just in denial about leaving and afraid to admit the truth? Here are a few things to think about before leaving your relationship.
What Percentage of You is Ready to Go?
Are you 50% invested in the relationship, and 50% ready to go? Or are you 99.9% ready to leave the relationship but you’re just afraid? On the one hand, even if you only have a very small percentage that is not ready to leave, you should put leaving on the shelf and talk to your partner about how to make the relationship better. This is the only way to give saving the relationship a fighting chance. But, if you have tried to put leaving on the shelf and the percentage of you that wants to go keeps growing — you may just be in denial about what your true feelings are.
How is Your Partner Reacting?
It takes two to tango. If you are willing to fight for the relationship but your partner isn’t, you can’t fully recover as a couple. Whether it’s past relationship wounds, or just burn out, you must both be willing to truly invest. Are you making excuses for your partner? Pretending he has an excuse for why he isn’t trying, or telling others that he is making strides when you don’t really see any signs of effort? If your partner is not really making an effort but you continue to hold out hope for years, you might be in denial about the fact that your spouse just isn’t willing to work for the relationship.
How Long Have You Thought About Leaving Your Relationship?
Are your thoughts about leaving fairly new, or have you been considering this action for a long time? If you have been on the fence for a long time, you need to think about what is really keeping you in the relationship. Do you really still see hope for making it work, or are you just afraid of the unknown? If you are only staying because you are afraid to be alone, it’s time to step out of denial and take the jump. Your partner can definitely sense that you’re not truly happy, and you are wasting your time and his.
If you don’t know if should stay or go, start counseling to help you decide what the best course of action is. EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) can help you reconnect with your partner, or come to terms with how to end the relationship.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653