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"Should I Stay Or Should I Go"

Intimate relationships are key elements to our happiness and well-being. When they are not going well, both anxiety and depression can be the result. How do you know when you should move on?

While divorce has become very commonplace in our society, it nevertheless remains a huge decision, one that obviously cannot be made lightly. Yet, at the same time, it is not a good idea to let a flawed partnership drag on, simply to avoid the pain of a breakup.

Many people come to therapy mired in this predicament. They may or may not have had an affair. They may be torn between the allure of ‘greener pastures.’ Or they may simply feel they have outgrown the ‘comfort zone’ of the current relationship.

Here are some warning signs that may indicate your relationship is in trouble:

  1. Change in life priorities – this may occur after a death of a parent or child, loss of a job, or a serious accident or illness. Everything looks different and these changes may affect a close relationship, requiring an adaptation.

  2. The partnership still works, but the passion is missing. If either or both partners lack enthusiasm to try to keep the fires burning, it does not bode well for the future.

  3. A breach of trust. Perhaps an affair or an irresponsible act with finances has occurred, causing one partner to feel angry.

  4. Lifestyle or values clashes. This can happen, particularly when a couple marries young. Priorities may change as we grow older and more mature.

In addition to the above considerations, here are some other warning signs that your relationship may be in trouble:

  • Your partner is abusive.

  • Does not support your goals in life.

  • Is extremely jealous without cause.

  • Repeatedly opposes or ignores your thoughts, feelings or concerns.

  • Pressures you to have sex when you are not interested.

  • Resists your attempts to improve the relationship.

  • Lies regularly.

  • Shares your secrets with others.

There is no question that, if children are involved, major change will occur if you separate. However, it is important to keep in mind that although you, the adults, might separate, you will still be co-parents who will continue to love and care for your children.

Take your time in making such an important decision. Consult a lawyer or two to learn how they view your particular situation and what consequences may ensue. Making a relationship decision calls for both logic and instinct, requiring you to consider both immediate and long term results. Don’t be afraid to share your dilemma with one or two trusted friends. And of course, a therapist will certainly be objective and help you sort out all the issues.

For more information about Phyllis Greenbaum, LCSW, click here.

Originally published April 1, 2015


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