The Positive Side of Medicine

When to End a Relationship

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When to End a Relationship

When to End a Relationship

I am often asked, “How do I know when to end a relationship?” Most people end relationships much too soon.

If there is physical and/or emotional abuse, then you need to leave as soon as possible. However, other than when there is abuse, you may have much to learn before leaving is the loving choice for you.

I generally advise my clients not to leave when they are unhappy and blaming their partner for their unhappiness. We take our fears, beliefs, and resulting protections with us wherever we go, so leaving does not leave these behind. If you want to be in a loving relationship, then you need to heal your end of the dysfunctional relationship system before moving into another relationship. I have worked with couples for 46 years and have seen over and over that people create the same or similar unhappy system with multiple new partners.

Most people have two bottom-line fears in relationships: 

  • The fear of rejection/abandonment – of losing the other
  • The fear of engulfment – of losing yourself

when to end a relationship

In most relationships, when these fears get triggered, each person goes into their learned protective, controlling behavior. What do you do when your fears are triggered?

  • Do you get angry and blaming?
  • Do you shut down and withdraw?
  • Do you give yourself up?
  • Do you resist?

What generally happens is that when one person gets angry, the other withdraws, complies or resists. Or when one person withdraws, the other gets angry. This dysfunctional system grinds down the love that once was there.

The time to leave is when: 

  • You have healed your fears and your resulting protective, controlling behavior
  • You are no longer reactive to your partner’s unloving behavior
  • You are able to stay centered and open to learning most of the time
  • You are able to stay connected with yourself and present in a conflict
  • You are taking loving care of yourself without violating your partner
  • You feel happy and peaceful within much of the time – resulting from how you are treating yourself and your partner

Once you have achieved this, if you still do not lovingly connect with your partner and your partner is not open to learning with you, it may be time to leave if that is what you want. However, there is a good possibility that, once you have done enough of your own healing work, your relationship will improve.

Often, relationships heal even if your partner isn’t interested in doing his or her healing work. When one person changes their end of the system, the whole system changes.

It is easy to blame your partner for your unhappiness and for your relationship problems, but when you blame and leave, nothing is learned and nothing is healed. Why not utilize the problems in your current relationship to do the learning and healing work you need to do?

You have nothing to lose by doing this. If your relationship doesn’t work, then you will be in a much better position to attract a loving relationship. Since we attract at our common level of woundedness or our common level of health, the more emotionally healthy you become, the better chance you have of attracting an emotionally healthy partner.

About The Author :
MargaretPaulHeadshot Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author, relationship expert & Inner Bonding® facilitator. She has counseled individuals & couples since 1968. She is the author/co-author of eight books, including the internationally best-selling Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?, Healing Your Aloneness, Inner Bonding, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah, as well as on the unique and popular website Inner Bonding & of the transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program, SelfQuest®. Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding course.


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