I was recently asked a question by a client as to when is the right time to let go and walk away from a relationship?
What are key indicators when it is not going to work-out and you need to let go and walk away?
Entering into a marriage is a big step to take, and naturally you want to be sure you’re making the right decision.
While it’s normal to have some doubts as wedding jitters kick in, some of the red flags to look out for that things aren’t quite right are:
- You / your partner are detached from your / your relationship – you’re going through the motions
- There is very little engagement, communication, or connection between you – everything happens on a superficial level.
- There’s no talk about the future or putting any future goals in place
- The relationship is one sided – your needs are not being taken into account.
- You’re questioning your partner and /or your relationship and whether you really want to do this.
- You/your partner are using unhealthy avoidance/coping mechanisms such as alcohol, substance abuse, stonewalling, silent treatment etc
- You / your partner are non-committal when it comes to conversations, making plans or taking action
- You / your partner keep threatening to walk away / end the relationship
- You have underlying resentment about things that have happened in the past and are not able to forgive and move forward together.
So what would you do to move forward and let go if you’ve decided to end your marriage?
Calling off a wedding or marriage is not an easy decision as it has all sorts of consequences attached to it such as financial, emotional and family lash back.
Some questions you can ask yourself before yo let go are:
- Self-reflection – what got me/us to this place and how did I not see the signs or miss what was going on? How did I allow myself to get here?
- What do you need to gain closure and be able to move forward and start a new life? Process what happened (journal, do something symbolic, speak to a professional), take the insights/lessons forward so you make better decisions next time.
- If you have any doubts or regrets, what is contributing to this and how can you work through it to be comfortable with your decision.
- Do you need forgiveness – from yourself (for getting you into this situation) or from your partner (for not stepping up)?
- What needs to happen for you to move on (e.g. having no contact with your Ex, un-following them on social media etc)?
- What do you need to do to pick up the pieces and move forward so you don’t dwell on old times and keep yourself stuck in the past? Establish a new structure and routine for yourself, change things up a bit, try new things, go to new places.
There is a perception that women in particular feel like failures when things don’t work out…..
No one goes into a relationship thinking about divorce or breaking up. When a relationship ends, it’s an emotional affair for everyone involved.
There is a perception that women suffer from heartbreak and failure more than men, however that’s not necessarily true.
The most important thing to remember is that failure is an event not a person, therefore just because your relationship failed does not make you a failure.
We can spend a lot of time beating ourselves up about it, questioning why things didn’t work out but this is usually because we don’t have the closure we need to move on, and that we have difficulty in accepting that that person is no longer a part of our lives.
So what do you do if you find yourself in a similar situation where you’re questioning your relationship and whether you should let go?
Sometimes you just aren’t aligned and that’s OK. It’s better to let go and allow each other the opportunity to move on and flourish than stay together and bring out the worst in each other which over time can become toxic.
Some questions to ask yourself before you let go are:
- Why are you considering ending/leaving the relationship?
- What do you really love about this person?
- If you had the opportunity to turn things around, would you want to and how badly do you want to fix this relationship?
- What is your level of commitment to making the relationship work should you decide to stay and work on it?
- What has your role/contribution been in getting things to where they are now?
When someone is committed to a person and a relationship, they will be willing to find solutions, they will be willing to have real conversations and resolve conflict, they will be invested in their partner and the relationship and will show their commitment through their actions, words and language they use. They are not afraid to put boundaries down that protect their partner and their relationship
If you are struggling with your situation and not sure if you are ready to let go or not, reach out to me here to help you work through the decision and your options.
A version of this article appeared on the W24 website here
Paula Quinsee: Growth Mindset Catalyst and Relationship Coach specializing in creating healthy relationships at home and in the workplace to co-create a more human connected world and positively impact people’s lives. Paula is also a passionate advocate for mental health and Gender Based Violence, an international and Tedx speaker and author of two self-help guides: Embracing Conflict and Embracing No.