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Do I Stay or Do I Leave? When to Call it Quits 

You've been unhappy in your relationship for some time. You and your significant other have argued, negotiated and retreated in your attempts to navigate the differences between you.  You've tried counseling but you found that you were the only one interested in making a change. In the end, you've come to the conclusion that you and your partner are simply not a good match. As painful as it is, your love for your mate is faltering and you can no longer accept things as they are. You long for a different kind of relationship and are unwilling to settle for anything less. You've let go of any hope for anything better--you've worked through your last ounce of resistance to letting go.  You tell yourself that tonight you will tell your partner that you want to end the relationship. 

Making the final decision to end a relationship is not easy. Typically, it takes time, a lot of pain and multiple attempts to make things better before accepting that the relationship is no longer working. Some people struggle endlessly, prolonging the agonizing decision much longer than is necessary. Others may jump ship too quickly, accepting defeat before they've given the effort and time necessary to fix what feels broken. It is hard to know when to call it quits. It's hard to give up on someone you love, a relationship you value and the hope that this would be the one to last a lifetime.

To help those of you that are currently wrestling with the dilemma of "Do I stay or do I go?"--here are some guidelines to help you figure out when to call it quits and when to hang in there and give it one more try. 

  1. Are you and your partner able to self-reflect and take responsibility for your part, respectively, in the relationship's problems?
  2. Do you want the same things out of a relationship--such as, do you want the same level of intimacy, do you want marriage, a partnership, or a casual relationship? And if so, how do you each define these things--are your definitions compatible?
  3. Is one or both of you suffering from an addiction of any kind? And if so, are you willing to acknowledge this and get help?
  4. Do you feel in any way emotionally or physically mistreated or abused?
  5. Have you identified your top three needs? Does your significant other meet them?
  6. Have you identified your top three deal-breakers? Do any of these exist within the relationship?
  7. If your partner is unable or unwilling to change in the way that you need, can you accept and live with who he or she truly is?
  8. Have you enlisted the help from a qualified professional? If so, what did you learn from the experience? If not, are you willing to put the effort in to learn how to address differences and conflict in more constructive and effective ways?

Now that you've taken the time to answer each question honestly, here's how to interpret your answers.

  1. If you answered yes and you and your partner are able to self-reflect and take responsibility for your part of the problems--even if this doesn't happen all the time or at the exact time the conflict occurs--then I believe there is hope. This is an important relationship skill and attribute. If you both have the capacity to do this, then hang in there and get a professional to help guide you through this process and get your relationship back on track. You have what it takes and may simply need some outside help. If only one of you has this capacity, then you may want to call it quits and find a mate that does.
  2. If you answered yes to this question--and you both have similar beliefs about what these things means, then I believe, there is hope. If one of you wants intimacy, marriage, or a certain kind of partnership, and the other does not, then it may be in your best interest to let go and move on. Don't wait for your partner to want the same things you do. Find someone that already does.
  3. If you answered yes to this question, then this may not be the relationship for you. Addictions are deadly to relationships and create pain and dysfunction. If you answered yes to part one and no to part two, get out. As long as an addiction is wreaking havoc in the relationship, things will only get worse. Cut your losses now and move on. If you and your partner are willing to get help, then it may be worth the effort to hang in there and do the work. Only you can decide if there's enough good in the relationship to warrant the risk.
  4. If you answered yes, then without question, get out!
  5. If you answered yes to both these questions, then I suggest you take another look at this relationship. No one is perfect; no relationship is perfect. If your partner meets your two top needs, then you might want to give him or her a break. No one will meet all your needs all the time. Look at the whole package. If you are waiting for someone who will make you feel great all the time, you may be the one who is the problem.
  6. As with question 4, if you answered yes to both parts of this question, it's time to leave.
  7. If you answered yes, then stop before you leap. Sometimes in your effort to help someone change, you inadvertently cause damage to the relationship. Accepting someone as is often leads to deeper levels of love and intimacy. It also creates the space for growth and transformation. If you answered no, then it may be time to accept that this person is not a good match and move on.
  8. If you answered yes and found the experience unhelpful, then you may want to reflect on why. Was the therapist qualified? Were you and your partner open to the process? Did you put in the work? If the answer is yes to all of the above--and the relationship still feels unsatisfying--then you may need to conclude that it's not the right one for both you and your mate. If you answered no to any of these questions, then you may want to give it another try with a new therapist, a new attitude and a new approach.

If you haven't asked for help, do so now. It is so hard to be objective when you're in the midst of the turmoil. It often takes the skilled observations and guidance from the right professional to help you see what you need to see and learn how to make changes accordingly. Too often couples wait too long or are hesitant to ask for help. Put your fears and pride aside and make the call. It just might save your relationship. Isn't that worth it?

If you or someone you know is struggling in their relationship or struggling with if and how to end their relationship, please don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to provide personalized guidance and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve. 

As always, I’m here to support you in creating a transformational life and strong and powerful relationships.

FYI- As you may have already heard, Gmail is rolling out some new features to automatically filter your email messages for you (this also applies if you use Google Apps for your business email address!).

Gmail is phasing in a new "tabbed inbox" system. You may have already seen it in your inbox if you use Gmail. If not, you'll see it soon. Google is rolling the new system out to users overtime. They've split your inbox into 5 separate inboxes and created tabs across the top labeling each "Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums".

My emails to you will most likely fall under promotions. To ensure that you get the information you want from me, here’s what you can do.

Option 1:

1 - Click on the Promotions inbox tab.

2 - Drag any emails from people you want to hear from and drop them onto the tab that says “Primary.” Then, when it asks if you want future emails to go into your Primary inbox, just click yes.

For the next few weeks, as Gmail phases these new tabbed inboxes in, be sure to check your Promotions inbox to make sure nothing else you really want is getting caught (and lost) in it.

Option 2:   If you want to completely remove these new tabs - go to the Settings box in the upper right hand corner of your inbox and select "Settings." Click on the "Inbox" tab and unselect all categories but "Primary" (don't forget to save your changes).

I hope this information is helpful to you. Thanks in advance for making sure we can stay connected!

Be well,


P.S. And don't forget to catch my radio/TV show Pathways to Love w'Julie Orlov LIVE every Sunday 1:30pm PST on LATalkLive!

Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

Retrieve Your FREE Relationship Assessment Quiz and see if YOUR Relationship is on track at www.julieorlov.com/quiz

Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com

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