Every now and then I receive this very question from one of the participants in my online quiz. “How do I know it is over?” or “When is it time to leave?”
When I then look at the time they have been with their partner, more often than not I find they have been together for more than 15 years.
In other words, they know their partners very well, they know themselves well – you’d assume. Still they are living in a relationship which must be so unfulfilling that they think of leaving but are not quite sure.
And the difficulty here is, that the answer is not clear cut at all.
With your car as a comparison, finding the answer is easy. When you turn the key in the ignition and the only sound you hear is a clicking sound, then you know your car has run out of battery and you need someone to service your car or help you to get it started.
Has your relationship run out of battery?
Is there no response regardless of which way you turn the key?
Do you still love him/her? You’ve spent the last ten, fifteen or twenty years together. You know your partner better than you know yourself. You know their next move, their next sentence and you know their smell, their warmth and their mood.
I’ll ask again, do you still love him/her?
Is it love or just familiarity?
You know, there are three pillars that support your relationship. These are Quality Time, Talking and Sex/Intimacy. If one or more of these three pillars is permanently and irreparably gone from your relationship, the prognosis I’m afraid is not good.
Often times people see only the Sex/Intimacy pillar and forget that the Quality Time and Talking are equally important in your relationship.
So, back to the question: “When do you know it is over?”
Here are some indicators you can use to measure your own feelings and attitude towards your partner.
- Do you look forward to spending time alone with your partner of an evening or over weekends?
- Do you kiss before going to sleep/when you leave/when you come back?
- Do you want to have sex with your partner?
- Do you want to stay in each other’s arms after having sex?
- Is your partner one of your best friends?
- Do you trust your partner?
- Do you want to plan your next holiday with your partner?
- Do you want to share your daily events with your partner?
- Does your partner make you feel special?
If you have answered “no” to all or most of the questions above, you probably know the answer to the bigger question already.
Still please keep in mind, this is not a clear cut yes/no decision.
There are so many feelings involved, which is what makes finding an absolute answer so difficult.
You may find that your mind races to questions like “what’s next?” or “what will life look like next?”, which can distort your thinking from a standpoint based in fear or uncertainty and make you rush to find a solution.
Being in a relationship and living with someone is also about security.
So, if you decide that your relationship has no future, then your mind starts to race and anxiety can set in. We ask ourselves what will happen with our home, our children and our finances, because our safety and familiarity is in limbo.
That’s where a lot of people fall into a trap.
They don’t know how to keep their relationship going and at the same time they don’t know which way to turn or how to move on.
Many people in unhappy or even toxic relationships end up staying because they are uncertain of their future.
How I could help you…
Firstly I recommend to you to do the online quiz and look at your score and if possible, encourage your partner to do the same. Your results could give you a great starting ground for an honest conversation with your partner about what you both expect from your relationship, what is missing, and even how you could begin to rebuild the missing pillars.
Secondly, you could read my book and look at the many tips that might help your relationship to get back on track.
And thirdly I am offering you an obligation free conversation with me where we can find out whether and how I could help you come to a decision that you know, in your heart of hearts, is the right decision.