Are you in a relationship that is just not working? Are you scared of ending it, or want to but don’t know how? Is it time to call it quits? We help you gain clarity about the condition of your relationship, and if it is bound to end, help you make that transition as painlessly as possible.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to make love work, it just doesn’t happen. The walls keep going up, the same arguments erupt over and over again, the silence between you gets emptier, and the feeling of being in love turns to being in pain. Even then, many people stubbornly cling to their partners, numbing themselves to the anger, the hurt, and the disappointment, and choosing to ignore the fact that they are in a dead or dying relationship. Many people are afraid to admit failure. They are also afraid of the confrontation that accompanies breaking up. And most of all, many people are afraid of being alone and therefore will not dare end even a most painful relationship.
The truth is that most people know as little about what to do when love isn’t working, as they do about how to make it work. Often, people avoid ending a relationship because they aren’t sure how to go about it. They let the relationship drag on and on, hoping for a miracle and wishing that one day they would wake up and everything would be wonderful again. Sadly, for most people, that day never comes.
While you should do everything possible to save your relationship or marriage, and to keep your family together, there are times when staying together is not the right thing to do, because it wouldn’t be loving to yourself, your partner or your children. When it gets to this, it’s time for you to call it quits and move on. But before you do that you need to consider a few things.
Are you with the right person?
Relationships between two people are very complicated. When your relationship is in trouble, you probably are already in an emotional mess and not in a position to make intelligent decisions. It takes time and effort to unravel the emotional issues we get ourselves into in pursuit of happiness in relationships. If you are struggling to save a floundering relationship, the first question you need to ask yourself is if the person you are with is right for you. This is not an easy question to answer, especially when you choose not to be honest with yourself, like most people do.
If you have ever ended an intimate relationship, you know that relationships do not always end because they are wholly bad. You may have a lot of conflict in one area of the relationship and a lot of happiness in another, but still choose to call it quits because you are not completely fulfilled. You may be having a great sex life, but you fight a lot and so can’t quite tell if you are right for each other. Or you could be married for some time and have children but you have reached a point where you feel you are not the same people you were when you met and married. Your relationship may not be that bad, but it’s not great either. You may respect your marriage vows but are no longer in love. You may even have discussed separation but are overwhelmed by the fear of making that decision, asking yourselves “how do we know we are doing the right thing?”
If you are going through a stage in your relationship where you think it is not working you need to remember relationships don’t work for two main reasons: One, you are with the right person but don’t know how to make love work, and two, you are with the wrong person. If you fall in the first category your job is easy and all you need to do is use the tools we give you in this column to create an exciting and fulfilling relationship. But if you fall into the second category, no amount of work on your relationship will be effective. Problems will always arise because of the inherent incompatibility between you and your partner.
How do you tell if someone is right for you?
There are three elements that form the foundation of a successful relationship: You and your partner give each other the love you both need; you are compatible; and are willing to grow together in the same direction at approximately the same speed. If your partner demonstrates all three of these qualities, he or she is probably the ‘right’ person for you. You may still have problems in your relationship, but they come from not knowing how to make love work rather than from basic incompatibility. On the other hand, if you or your partner does not have these three qualities, then you are certainly wrong for each other.
Once you have analysed your relationship and have seen where it stands and are fully convinced you are not right for each other, the next question you ask yourself is whether to break up or not. This is a tough decision to make and you will need to carefully evaluate reasons that may eventually make breaking up the best move.
When you are not getting the love you need
Feeling loved is what relationships are all about. You can live happily by yourself; you can travel by yourself; you can enjoy the gifts of life by yourself; but you can’t create the same kind of fulfillment you get when someone other than yourself loves you and shares your life with you. Knowing you are seen as special and knowing you are loved and needed validates your purpose in being alive. It makes you feel that your presence on this earth makes a big difference in someone’s life.
It hurts deeply to be in a relationship with someone who is “supposed” to love and appreciate you, but who does not feel or show it as much as you need him or her to. Your partner could be compatible with your personality and also be growing in the same direction as you are, but when your aren’t getting the love you need, your heart will be left feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
No mater how much you care for your partner or how much you believe in fidelity, you may find it very difficult to turn down the opportunity to be loved by another partner if you aren’t getting enough love in your relationship.
But then you need to ask yourself: Why are you not getting the love you need? Some of the reasons that may be responsible for you not being loved as you want to be include: Your partner is emotionally numb or shut down and can’t love anyone as much as you need to be loved. He may have arrived at this state due to suppressed feelings, resentment, and emotional wear and tear. You may not be what your partner wants in a lover, meaning there is a lack of true compatibility and therefore he cannot love you enough because he doesn’t like you enough. You could also be the reason – you may be an expert at pushing your partner’s love away, or it could simply be your partner does not know how to show his love.
You can heal a relationship that is not working when you are not getting the love you need but your chances for success depend on which of the reasons listed above is responsible for lack of love in your relationship. If your partner is emotionally numb or shut down and is not capable of loving, or does not love you at all, then it is difficult for you to find love in this relationship. You are in the wrong relationship and it’s time to move on and find someone more suitable for you.
If the reason you are thinking of a break-up is because you and your partner are not compatible, you should remember that most people don’t fall in love with someone solely because he or she is a good match for their background, lifestyle and personality. But it is always a plus when you see most things in the same way. A lot of research shows that partners in successful relationships are usually alike in who they are, what they believe in, and how they live to get along with each other harmoniously.
Discovering what kind of man or woman you would be happy with is often an outgrowth of discovering who you are. Who you are and what you want in a partner is always changing as you grow and so don’t expect the relationship to remain stagnant. You will have difficulty knowing what you want and need in a partner if you haven’t taken the time to get to know yourself. So get to know yourself first before you conclusively decide the partner you are with is not right for you.
Published May 2014…