How many people are in relationships they shouldn’t be in? How often do we stay together because quite frankly, it’s easier than breaking up? Fear of being alone, fear of regret, fear of being honest…these are all reasons (or perhaps excuses) why we stay together, even when our gut tells us to run. We have to ask ourselves though, how much can we really take? How much happiness are we sacrificing with someone else? How many times can we use the same old excuses and ultimately, when will enough be enough?
It’s often difficult to make sense of our relationship problems, sometimes it’s near impossible. The struggles of every day life can often give these issues a back seat. Problems at work, paying the bills, making sure the kids are ok – there’s always something taking priority. But if we don’t address these issues one way or another then we allow them to fester, the resentment creeps in and before we know it we’ll be 60 years old wondering what might have been.
Often in an unhappy relationship we talk ourselves out of ending it. We obsess over hypothetical situations, how would I feel if I saw them with someone else? How would I cope without their financial contribution? You have to realize it simply doesn’t matter! All that matters is how that person makes you feel every day in the here and now, are you truly happy, are you content that this is what it’s going to be like for the rest of your life or deep down do you desperately crave an escape?
Still can’t decide? Ask yourself these questions…
Do you make excuses for them? Ok so you’ve been with someone for a while and you’ve had doubts for a while too. They mess up constantly and by messing up I don’t mean mixing the whites in the washing, I mean those times when they have quite literally punched a hole in your heart. But still, we forgive. We say to ourselves the next time this happens that’s it over… ok the next, next time it’s definitely over…and still it carries on, over and over again. Where does it end?
Does the thought of ending it fill you with relief? It doesn’t always have to be a bad or abusive relationship, sometimes it’s really simple. They’re great, they treat you with respect, they’d do anything for you…your Mum likes them. You’re just not in love.
Is the sex too good? That’s right I said it. Your partner is hot, really hot. You have an incredible, passionate sex life and in those moments you find them utterly irresistible, you can’t imagine your life without them. But the second it’s over, your doubts magically reappear. Don’t let physical attraction mask the obvious.
Are they compromising your life goals? You’ve always wanted to travel, you’ve always wanted to work abroad, you want a high-flying career that makes a white dress and a veil fade into irrelevance. Whatever it is that you want, don’t bin your bucket list because you were with the wrong person.
Are you scared of breaking their heart? You know how much they love you, you know it will destroy them, you’re a nice person and you don’t want to do that – does that mean it’s ok to break your own? Be fair, on both of you.
Feeling the pressure? Time is cracking on, you’re not as young as you used to be, you’re partner is nice, good, reliable, loyal, they’ll be great with kids…but they’re also boring, snore loudly and dress badly, there’s no spark and you feel more unchallenged than you ever thought possible. This is your life, not your parents, not the gossipers at work, you’re allowed to be picky, you’re allowed to look for that spark, never ever settle – ever!
Is the problem taking over your life? You know that way when you have a dentist appointment you’re dreading and every time you laugh or smile in the run up to it you suddenly remember sh*t I’ve got the dentist next week and the smile is instantly wiped from your face? Well that can be true of a bad relationship also, you might be laughing away with friends and suddenly you remember, oh dear I need to go home to him/her tonight. Imagine feeling like you have a dentist appointment booked every week for the rest of your life!
Are you scared of being alone? I’d rather be alone than be with the wrong person. Who is going to want me you ask yourself. Maybe, ‘the one’ was also with the wrong person but they’ve taken the leap, now you have to as well. One door closes another one opens, the one is waiting just around the corner…take your pick of tired cliches. All that matters is, it’s true. Besides, what’s so bad about being on your own? Travel, sit about in your pants, take those dance lessons…smile again.
I know what you’re thinking, easier said than done and I don’t disagree, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Don’t forget to live the life you wanted. There’s always a way to make a change, irrespective of age. Just adapt, be brave and make it happen.