You’re at a major crossroads.
You’ve invested so much in your relationship, but it’s costing you too much to keep it alive.
The fighting, distance, disconnection, and pain have become too much to bear.
Perhaps your health has even deteriorated. You’re stressed, drained, and just sick of it all.
You and your partner were deeply in love once, and the picture now is starkly different. This is taking an enormous toll on you, and things don’t seem to get any better.
Perhaps you have some “good” times when you think there might be hope for the two of you, but then a blow up happens out of nowhere, and you’re back to questioning this whole relationship.
Maybe, you’ve lost too much of yourself. You’re tired of giving and giving, only to feel depleted and taken for granted.
You never wanted the relationship to end, but you can’t fathom going on this way.
Should you leave?
Whenever you’re wondering if perhaps you’d be better off starting with someone else, chances are that you’re going to go on and repeat similar painful patterns with a new partner.
This is because you always take yourself with you.
This includes all your unhealed issues—any pain, shame, and false beliefs from your past that cause you to repeat problems from one relationship to another. It’s your unhealed issues that are triggering the pain you’re feeling—not your partner.
See, a relationship brings up everything within you that needs to be healed. That’s why relationships are the PhD in personal growth.
You can do a whole bunch of learning and “growing” when you’re alone, but it’s only in a relationship that you will be faced with what you really need to resolve.
For most of us, that means tending to the pain your inner child is still carrying around.
Everyone has an inner child. This is the part of you that has always been with you—the emotional part of you that came into this world wanting to be loved.
When you were little, you had to depend on your parents and caregivers to give you this love. You would cry out when you needed them. Sometimes, you would make a racket to get their attention. When you felt bad, you reached out to them to make yourself feel all better. You simply didn’t have the tools then to take responsibility for all your feelings and give yourself love.
Problems happen when, as an adult, you still believe that you need to “get” other people to love you and make you feel good. If you go into a romantic relationship expecting your partner to do this for you, you’re going in with a state of neediness.
No matter how much romance and attraction there is at the beginning of the relationship, this underlying neediness causes you to behave in controlling ways to get the love and attention you’re not giving yourself. All along, you’re not realizing that, as an adult, you now have the ability to give your inner child what he or she needs.
Inevitably, when two people aren’t each attending to their own needs, conflict erupts and problems become seemingly insurmountable—until one of you feels the only thing you can do is leave.
Many of my clients struggle with knowing when it’s the right time to end a relationship. When they initially come, it may seem at the outset as if the right move would be to leave. But when we dig a little deeper, we find that leaving is often a mistake.
Let me show you what I mean with a story about Mary. In her words:
“I was so young when I married my husband, and I don’t think I was ever in love or even knew what love meant.
I believe now that I ‘escaped’ a codependent relationship with my parents by quitting school and following a seemingly confident young man who made me feel special. He says he wants to grow, but he also has a lot of passive and overt anger towards me now.
I feel like I don’t have the strength to stand up for my inner child when I have so many years of putting his feelings ahead of mine. I am so tired and feel his insecurities have depleted me. When is it ok to just say, ‘This is not working for either of us,’ and call it quits?”
Of course it’s always “okay” to call it quits if that is what you want. No one can tell you whether or not it’s right for you.
But—and this is a big ‘but’—if you are in a situation like Mary’s, you might want to do your own healing before ending the relationship.
Even though it may seem like Mary is with a controlling partner and she needs to leave in order to spread her wings, we’re missing a critical element—how Mary has been contributing to the dysfunctional dynamic in her relationship.
The clue to the fact that Mary isn’t ready to leave this relationship is this:
“I feel like I don’t have the strength to stand up for myself when I have so many years of putting his feelings ahead of mine. I am so tired and feel his insecurities have depleted me.”
Caretaking her husband’s feelings while abandoning her own is Mary’s contribution to this codependent system. If Mary leaves now, she will take her part of the dysfunctional system with her, and likely create a similar system in her next relationship—unless she just wants to be alone for the rest of her life.
I would suggest to Mary that she utilize her current relationship to practice loving herself rather than caretaking her husband.
It’s easy for Mary to believe that it’s her husband’s insecurities that have depleted her, but in fact it’s her own insecurities and self-abandonment that have depleted her.
If Mary weren’t insecure, then she wouldn’t have been trying to control her husband by putting his feelings ahead of hers. We will always feel tired and depleted when we give ourselves up and try to have control over getting the other person’s love or approval, or control over avoiding disapproval.
Mary is very aware of her husband’s overt and passive anger at her, and she is aware that she has been putting his feelings before hers, but she doesn’t seem to be aware that it’s her self-abandonment that’s causing her depletion.
Mary needs to learn to make herself feel special rather than relying on her husband or others for this.
Unless there is physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, or severe addictions, I suggest that people stay in a relationship until they have shifted their end of the relationship system from controlling to loving themselves.
As long as you are trying to control your partner with anger, explanations, defensiveness, compliance, resistance, or withdrawal, you have much healing to do.
As long as you are avoiding responsibility for your feelings, with your addictions to substances or to processes such as anger or compliance, you have much healing to do.
Leaving the relationship only delays this healing, because the issues get triggeredwithin the relationship—not when you are alone.
Unless you want to leave and be alone the rest of your life, you gain no learning and growth by ending the relationship without doing your own inner work.
If you’re on the fence about whether to stay in your relationship, you don’t want to have regrets. You don’t want to look back years from now and wish you had done everything you could—especially if you have children with your partner.
The process I teach you in my program Wildly, Deeply, Joyously In Love will allow you to heal your end of the relationship dynamic so that you are no longer controlling to get the love you can only give yourself.
In this 30-Day at-home experience, you’ll learn the six steps of Inner Bonding—a powerful transformational tool that has allowed thousands to finally heal the emptiness, anger, anxiety, and shame they have carried for so long.
This program allows you to care for your inner child so you don’t need your partner to do this for you. You’ll have a profound healing tool at your fingertips that allows you to do the inner work on your issues, and in doing so you’ll find that many of the issues in your relationship also heal.
It takes two people to create a dysfunctional relationship, but it only takes one person to transform it—because once you interrupt your part in the system, the system can’t continue as it was.
As you learn to fill yourself up with love throughout the program, you’ll see that you start overflowing with love—including more love for your partner:Heal Yourself And Your Relationship
Instead of asking yourself whether you should leave your partner, begin asking yourself what you can heal in yourself first.
P.S. I’ve worked with couples for over 50 years, and I know that leaving a relationship before healing your end of the relationship dysfunction is a waste of time—you’ll simply go on to repeat similar patterns in a new relationship.
Give yourself 30 days with Wildly, Deeply, Joyously In Love before you make any decisions about your relationship.The Healing You’ve Been Waiting For