What to Consider if You're One Foot Out the Door.
Women who are unfulfilled in a relationship soon begin to live on the fence. Half invested the relationship, half completely checked out and ready to leave. When this happens, you can’t seem to find that feeling of love and feeling alive. Thoughts of stepping out of the relationship become more frequent and much more tempting. Women might feel especially torn because they don’t want to do the wrong thing, the guilt takes over, or the fear of the unknown gets overwhelming. The hardest part is when children are part of the equation; women can feel a strong sense of obligation to make it work for the kids yet they are dying inside. If you’re on the fence, look for the signs of burn out and ask yourself some big questions.
Do you feel burnt out in your relationship? No matter how hard you try to feel emotions, you just can’t seem to find a spark? Hours of the same arguments, trust issues, and feeling unheard can lead to the same burn out you experience when you spend too much time getting frustrated about anything. When you feel burnt out, you may begin to have difficulty sleeping, feel anxious often, and just be sick of dealing with your partner. At this point in the relationship is when women will often consider leaving. Before you head out the door, however, take the time to really ask yourself important questions and weigh the options.
How Much Are You On The Fence?
Having uncertainty in your relationship because your partner continues to be unfaithful is very different than being on the fence because he is needy or calls too much. One of these issues is a serious crack in the foundation of your relationship, and the other might be fixed with an honest conversation. When you are on the fence, a large part of you is already out of the relationship but a small part is hanging on and might consider staying. When you find yourself on the fence of a relationship, take a step back and imagine if there is anything he could magically change or become, would it help you consider putting a little bit of your heart back in the relationship? Will the problems you face allow you two time for recovery if he starts showing up EXACTLY how you need him to be? Or is it “too little too late?”
Are You Telling Him What You Need And Exactly Where You Are?
It’s important to ask yourself when you’re considering leaving your relationship: “Have I told him what’s bothering and the changes I need to consider working on the relationship?” If your partner is blissfully unaware that anything is wrong (or the severity of where you are) things can’t get better! Communicate how severe things are, what you need, and the ways in which you think the relationship needs to change. Then…listen! Once a dialogue is open, you might find that you start to feel more secure in the relationship and get off the fence.
Is He Willing to Work On It?
It really does take two to make a relationship work. If you are on the fence because you have expressed what you need or want to change and your partner is unwilling to bend, you probably feel like you’re in the relationship alone. When you find yourself here, it’s time to consider seeking counseling NOW! Make sure you are ready to leave by sorting through the history of how you got to this place. You may be flirting with the idea of landing on the other side of the fence – leaving — but make sure you have exhausted all your resources and attempts. Still, it is hard to fight for a relationship when the other person is not equally invested or willing to work on it.
Is a Third Party Involved?
If you are a woman on the fence because you are having a fling, or have feelings for someone else, the first step is to cut off communication with the third party – at least in the short term. Only once you have stopped talking to the other object of your desire can you have a clear head about whether or not you should stay or go in your current relationship. If you do decide to leave the relationship, make sure to close that door completely before you start something new.
Experiencing relationship burn out is something many women experience, and doesn’t necessarily signal the end of the relationship. If you are willing to put in work, and so is your partner, you might be able to salvage what you have. If you decide to move on, do yourself a favor and make sure one relationship is over before you start a different one – or things will only become more complicated.
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