No matter how good a relationship may be, problems will always arise. In relationship counseling we always remind our clients that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” relationship. Because the fact of it is that you’re two very different people choosing to embark on a journey of sharing your lives together. There’s no avoiding it, arguments will occur.
However, sometimes two people are just too different and reach a point in their relationship where nothing seems to work or a major bridge in trust has been destroyed. For a marriage, this could mean an Affair. For a couple who has yet to make that commitment – and the type of relationship this article is directed at – it can be a lot more complicated. In fact, you can even truly love each other and come to realization that maybe this relationship just isn’t going to work. You may be left with thought such as:
- Maybe I’m not trying hard enough
- Maybe tomorrow will be better
- Just one more chance. They didn’t mean it
- Can we make this work?
Swarming thoughts and unsure feelings can leave you paralyzed to the reality of your relationship’s situation which is why we’re going to explore the topic of, “When Is It Okay To Walk Away?”.
Every couple who comes to relationship counseling is in a situation that is unique to them. But the first steps in knowing whether or not to leave a relationship is to evaluate its health. Ask yourself:
- Is this relationship mutually beneficial?
- Am I enjoying this relatioship?
- Is it mutually respectful?
- Is this relationship affecting my health?
- How is this relationship impacting my quality of life? Is it enhancing it or taking away from it?
- Am I losing sleep over it?
- How would I counsel a friend if this relationship were happening to them?
- What do my friends and family think of this person?
- Do our values and goals line up?
- What actions of mine have led up to this point in our relationship?
- Has my partner admitted their part?
- Has my partner ever said, “I’m sorry?”
- How has my partner reacted when I’ve brought up my feelings towards our differences?
- Are feelings of anger, resentment and sadness the exception or the norm?
These are just a couple questions you should ask yourself when evaluating the health of your relationship. An unhealthy relationship takes the joy, not just from the relationship, but from your entire being. Friend relationships suffer. Relationships with your family suffer. Even work, ambition and community feel its effects. It destroys our hope, optimism, values, gentleness and even our identities. Trusting your gut is key here, and knowing when to walk away from a relationship will come much more naturally than you anticipated.
As a rule of thumb, ALWAYS walk away from a relationship that is abusive, whether physically, verbally or emotionally. Abusive behavior is dangerous to your health and impossible for you to fix. In these situations, it’s just best to get out as soon as you realize the extent of their behavior.
Walking Away From A Relationship
If you’ve come to the conclusion that you need to walk away – do it. Like most pain in life, it’s best done in a quick, decisive matter. Walk away gracefully, meaning no name calling, no exchanging tit for tat, no bringing up past grievances or firing parting shots. Gather your dignity and self-respect and walk away. If your former partner asks for questions, try to deliver them in a kind manner that respects them and their feelings. If they get angry, let them, but if abuse follows, walk away quickly.
So to answer the question, “When’s it okay to walk away?” there’s no point-by-point answer. Finding the answer will come with honest self-evaluation, close leadership, sobering assessment, prayer and counsel. If you need assistance and an objective guide to help you sort through your relationship’s difficulties or help getting over a break up, call the Boynton Beach Relationship Counselors at Gateway Counseling Center for a first-time, free evaluation.