Unfortunately, many relationships never get off the ground, because one or both parties have always had one foot out the door—never able to really commit and hoping (and looking) for something better to come around.
And then there are relationships on the brink, with just a little help and enhanced communication, can actually be saved, rehabilitated, and actually set up to thrive.
But, how many relationships just keep going and going, despite the clear warning signs that things just will not get better?
Here are some very clear signs that, no matter how scary it may be, it is time to call it quits and move on.
1. You have been physically abused
Oftentimes, if you are the abused, you fall for the apologies afterwards and the promises that it will not happen again. The truth is, the fear of leaving and being out on your own in many ways trumps the fear of continued abuse, so you stay in the “comfort zone” of misery and despair. Once you are physically abused it is time to cut the cord.
2. You are verbally abused
Physical abuse usually doesn’t happen on a daily basis, but verbal abuse does. And you may justify the abuse, by being happy you are not getting abused physically. Sometimes both come together, but many times not and the abuser doesn’t see anything wrong. But the adage that “sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you”, is the biggest falsehood. Words stick and the longer you remain in such a situation, the more you begin to believe them and the more impotent you will become.
3. You are afraid of your partner
Are you excited when your partner comes home? Or are you shaking in your boots, walking on egg shells, hoping you don’t say anything that may upset him (or her)? What will the next barrage be? The next blowup? Will it leave you with a fat lip, bruised ribs, or an unrepairable self-esteem? You should never allow yourself to live in fear and when you find yourself living there, it’s time to relocate.
4. Your partner blames you or others for their bad behavior and choices
When 9/11 happened, the terrorists blamed the debauchery of the United States for their actions. At the time, I likened this to an abusive husband who might rationalize his actions by saying, for example, “if only she would have my dinner waiting for me when I get home, then I wouldn’t have slugged her!” People who constantly blame you or others for their plight, refuse to accept personal responsibility, and act out with rage, are dangerous. Whether they are terrorists or your wife, makes no difference. If that is your relationship, then it’s time to split.
5. Your partner’s behavior jeopardizes the safety of children
This is nonnegotiable. When your children are in danger, it is your duty as an adult to protect them.
6. Your partner is dependent on someone else other than you
For many years, in-law jokes have been choice fodder for comedians. Parents are often reluctant to let their children go, even when they are adults. A relationship in which one partner has a co-dependent relationship with their parent can be the seed to a toxic relationship—your relationship. Co-dependent is exactly what it states—each person is dependent on the other. You do not want your partner to be dependent on anyone, especially their parent who has their own agendas, usually not considering your needs and wants. The same goes for a “best friend”. If your partner is dependent on his or her best friend for decisions, look out!
7. Your partner is a serial liar, manipulator, and/or cheater
The phrase, “Once a cheat, always a cheat,” may or may not be true. Same with liar or manipulator. But it tends to be true if it happens more than once. I do believe a relationship can survive an infidelity, but only if each partner is open and completely honest with each other…and themselves. This will take a lot of work, most likely including relationship counseling. If you do not think you can handle that, then it is likely to eat at you for the rest of your days in the relationship.
8. You feel the need to change your partner
The only person who can change your partner is your partner. If you do not love him or her for who they are, then they are not for you. It is important to understand just what it is that caused you to fall in love in the first place. Was it that you felt protected, rescued from your insecurity? Was it purely sexual chemistry? Connection that brings us together, based purely on our automatic (primitive and animalistic) brain, is never long lasting. When the foundation of a relationship rests squarely on this, it is fragile. Unless you or your partner are aware that you need to take it to another level, nothing will change. But that change must be self-induced.
I am fortunate to be married for over 25-years. During this time, I have seen many of my family and friends’ relationships end. Some of them could have been salvaged with a little work, but the others should have ended a long time ago. Life is short and we can’t take back the past. That’s why it is important to assess your current situation and decide whether it is time for you to begin living again.
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