Note: This is the third of a three-part series.

This is the conclusion of a series of questions designed to assist you in determining whether you should stay in or leave a relationship:

  • Would you lose anything important in your life if your partner were no longer your partner?  Is what you’d lose something that makes you feel good about your mate for providing it?  If you wouldn’t lose anything that you couldn’t do without if your relationship were over, than your partner doesn’t offer you a lot that you value.
  • If there continues to be a lessening of pain, fear and anger after a hurt or betrayal either of you have committed, then there’s a good chance that your relationship can heal the damage caused by this betrayal.
  • Is there a demonstrated capacity and mechanism for genuine forgiveness in your relationship?  If you can’t find your way back to forgiveness, you can’t find your way back to each other.
  • Is it likely that you and your partner will be able to work out a way for you to get your reasonable needs met without too painful a struggle?  If not, frustration and deprivation are nature’s way of telling you that this relationship is not your home.
  • Is there some particular need that’s so important to you that if you don’t get it met, looking back you’ll say that your life wasn’t satisfying?  If you’re starting to get discouraged about ever being able to get it met, you’ll be unhappy if you stay.  Beware of unmet needs so important they sow the seeds of hate.
  • It’s normal to occasionally get hurt when you’re close to someone, but if you feel that your partner’s main interest in getting close to you is making you feel his/her anger or criticism, you’ll be happier if you leave.
  • When the subject of intimacy comes up between you and your partner, is there generally a battle over what intimacy is and how to get it?  If getting close drives you apart, you can’t get close.
  • Do you have fun together?  If fun is alive, that’s a sign your relationship is too good to leave.  Fun (along with sex) is the glue of love.
  • Do you currently share goals and dreams together?  If so, your relationship may be too good to leave.  Sharing a passion makes it easier to share a life.
  • Has there been more than one incident of physical violence in your relationship?  Abuse that happens more than once will happen again.
  • If God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would  you desire to leave your relationship?  If so, leave.
  • If all the problems in your relationship were magically solved today, would you still feel ambivalent about whether to stay or leave?  If you don’t know whether you would want to stay, even if nothing was wrong, then you don’t want to stay.

If this fresh look at your relationship makes staying seem desirable, then you’ve gotten the clarity you were looking for, and you’ll be happier staying and working things out.

Source:  Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum (Plume)

Has your relationship turned cold and distant? Neil’s book Love, Sex, and Staying Warm can help you rekindle your passion.

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