It's hard to know when to walk away from a relationship. There are financial implications, as well as the potential loss of your social circle.
If you have children together that adds another world of complications. For these reasons and many more, we often stay in relationships way after their sell-by date.
Here's how to know when to walk away from a relationship before things get even worse.
1. Your Partner Has Cheated… More than Once
Most of us have the capacity to understand that the human brain is not always in charge of the heart and of our sex drive. We could have the capacity to forgive when our partner does something that is outside the boundaries of our relationship, like sleeping with someone else. But our capacity for forgiveness is limited… as it should be. If your partner cheats on you more than once, you need to know and accept that he or she is not going to change. If you are okay with this, stay. If not, move on. No amount of begging or reasoning will change your partner’s behavior. This behavior will continue no matter how many promises he or she makes to you.
2. You Don’t Talk … Anymore
Conversation is an important glue in any relationship. If you don’t have anything to say to each other, it’s probably because you don’t find each other that interesting; in which case, it’s best to say goodbye and find someone you enjoy talking to and who likes to talk to you.
3. Your Partner Makes You Anxious
If you are unable to be yourself around your partner and feel permanently anxious that he or she will judge you, it is probably a sign that this relationship won’t work in the long run. Ideally, a person feels more relaxed in their romantic relationship than in any other; so if you constantly feel stressed, it may be time to take a break.
4. Your Partner Doesn’t Encourage or Support You or Meet Your Emotional Needs
We all want a number of things from our relationships, in varying degrees. Some of us want security or some of us want support for our demanding career; no matter the desire, we all need an emotional investment from our partner. If they aren’t encouraging your endeavors, supporting you through tough times, making you feel good about yourself, helping to maintain your self esteem, then they aren’t fully invested in you. Same as if they continuously point out your flaws or make your conscious of your looks and style … it’s time to move on.
5. One of You Has an Addiction
If your partner is a gambler, or an alcoholic, or a drug user, this can cause lots of stress for you and for the relationship. You may only feel the effects of their addiction slowly at first – especially if they are having a winning streak gambling or managing to control their alcohol intake. Addicts can only keep moderation up for a short while; inevitably they will crash. You may land up in debt due to their gambling habit, or you may find yourself cringing as your partner stumbles through yet another social occasion blind drunk. Unless he or she is prepared to commit to sobriety and a program to help them, you are in for a very rough ride and you should stop the train and get off as soon as you can.
6. One of You Has a Mental Illness
Having a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, is not in itself the kiss of death for all couples. But when the ill partner refuses to get treatment, self-medicates by increasing their dosages without medical intervention, or weans themselves off their medication, you must know you are in for trouble and heartache. Mental illnesses bring instability and unpredictably and confusion into a relationship. Unless your partner is prepared to commit to following a strict medical regime, with psychiatric help, and no self-medication, you will experience long-term heartache. This behavior is a sure sign that you need to move on no matter how strongly you feel you will be able to help them. Do not feel guilty about not having the strength or ability to deal with this situation.
7. One of You is Abusive
Abuse has a broad definition. It includes not only physical harm, but emotional, verbal, and financial abuse too. Any abuse can be damaging to the psyche. If your partner withholds money, mocks or swears at you, belittles you, or takes out their anger on you regularly, this is an abusive relationship. As with my advice about addiction and mental illness, if your partner is not prepared to seek help it is better to just leave before things spiral out of control.
We all have rough patches in a relationship; it's when the rough patches don’t go away that you need to walk away from your relationship. Got more tips or advice? Please, do share in the comments!