When to end a relationship

Deciding to end a relationship, can be a really stressful and confusing decision to make.  It can be hard to know if you are going through a rough patch or something more serious. Relationship anxiety can make you question: “Is worth it staying in this relationship?” “Can we work through issues?” “Should I just cut my losses and leave? When there is children involved the pressure and anxiety feels even greater.

All relationships experience change, for example; deciding to moving in together, getting married, having a baby, caring for a sick partner, moving house, taking on a new job or losing a job.  All of these changes have their own challenges. Research conducted by the Gottman Institute has identified that it is common for partners to feel dissatisfaction in their relationship after the birth a child.

But how do you know when it is time to end a relationship?


Take a Step Back

When you are feeling upset or confused, it can be hard to make any decisions concerning your relationship. Acting on impulse or raw emotions could result in you doing or saying something you regret later on. Words spoken in the heat of the moment not only hurt your partner, but can never be unsaid. Taking a step back to try and see things more objectively can help you work through these confusing emotions.

To help shed some light on how did your relationship get to this point and what are your next options. Ask yourself the following questions listed below. Try writing down your answers, writing can be very therapeutic to express any locked up emotions. Answering these questions may help you to take that step back in order to see things more objectively. Giving you the emotional space to figure out what you want.

  • Is this a problem that has been going on for a long time, or is it a recent issue?
  • Have we attempted to resolve this problem in the past? or is this a new problem?
  • Are you willing to do some work on yourself and the relationship to make it work?
  • Are you scared of being alone?
  • Do you feel like ending the relationship is the only option you have left?
  • Are you simply tired of trying to ‘fix’ the relationship?


Put Yourself First

Firstly, don’t worry yourself with what other people think, or what you’re supposed to do. The decision to stay in or end the relationship is one that needs to be made by yourself and your partner. Put aside any pressure to stay together because of religious or family pressure. While this is understandable, it is important to remember that the happiness of you and your partner isn’t for the benefit of anyone else.  It is your life, you both deserve to happy.  Staying together because you don’t want to let others down, rarely works out in the long run. Over time this is often the source of built up resentment.


What About the Kids?

Couples often decide to stay together because of the kids. Research has shown that isn’t enough to stay in a relationship that is not working for the children. Staying in a relationship for the sake of the kids ultimately can do more harm than good. Children are much better at sensing tension in the home than we give credit for. This may result in your child experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

Consider this, the relationship you have with your partner will be the foundation model on which your children conducts all their relationships from. Observing their parents managing their differences and being able to cooperate, even if this means not staying together, is so much better for their wellbeing and development. In posed to regularly seeing their parents being cold, angry and resentful towards each other just for the sake of the children.


Have I Failed?

At the beginning of any relationship it is normal to have aspirations and dreams of where this relationship could go. Ending a relationship could also mean letting go of these same dreams and for some people it can mean, “Where did I fail?” Grieving these lost aspirations and dreams is a normal part of the healing process, but it certainly doesn’t mean you have failed. Remember some people come into your life as a reason, a season or a lifetime.


Talk it Through

Before making any decision about your relationship, it is always worth trying to work through any issues together. Talking with each other is the most obvious place to start. Conversations about your relationship maybe difficult, tense and painful. However, being able to communicate openly is necessary to move forward.

Speaking with a trusted friend or family member, can be a useful way of getting a neutral perspective on your situation. However, this can be tricky and I do caution people on being mindful of this. Yes, friends and family can help you develop a more objective view point, but they can also influence your choice based on their own opinions of your partner and what you should be doing with your life.

Seeing a relationship counsellor is a practical way of getting to the core of your relationship issues.  As a relationship counsellor, I don’t take sides or tell you what to do, my role is to help you to decide what is best for you. Working together, I will help you understand what is happening in your relationship and will help you to identify what options to consider next.


Get in Touch

Relationships are not easy, but they are worth it. Relationships can provide some of the most meaningful memories in life, providing a deep source of personal fulfillment. If you are still feeling confused and want to explore your options in a confidential talk? Call us today for a free 15 minute phone consultation at 0403 747 626.


Social anxiety

Fiona Stevenson counselling psychotherapist Gold Coast

Leave a Comment