Should I Stay or Go? 7 Questions to Help You Decide
Sometimes you know it's best for you to go. Your friends are telling you to, your family is urging you to, and in your heart you know the relationship is not going to get better. Still, breaking up is really hard to do. You need for it to feel right. You need to hear some something that tells you it's a wise decision. Here are seven questions that can help you know the answer you are waiting for.
1. What scares you most about leaving?
Having listened to numerous people contemplating leaving, the number one fear is regret. A decision to leave cannot be undone. On the other hand there are studies asking people in their 80s and beyond what they regret most. It is resoundingly
not what they did but what they did not do.
2. Are you basing your unhappiness on media images on the fantasy of larger than life love and sex?
Understand you will be taking yourself with you. Wherever you go there you are. Until you are happy with yourself, it will be difficult to be happy with anyone else no matter who they are.
3. Can you forgive yourself for deeply hurting your partner?
The second scariest thing about leaving is knowing it's likely to hurt the other person. That knowledge can be a shadow that follows you into any new relationship, and might color other aspects of your life if you can't let go of the guilt. This is why it is wise to do some counseling and understanding fully why it was the best choice you could make at the time before starting a new relationship.
4. Have you been verbally, physically or sexually abused by your spouse?
If so, and you are at the point of saying to yourself that you will no long tolerate that kind of treatment, it's time to go. Abuse is still one of the highest reasons people divorce. Often, one spouse tolerates the abuse for a relatively long time. What makes that person say “enough” is:
maturity -- you're in therapy and the help kicks in
the kids -- one or more of the children are “little adults” who speak up
the legal system has finally listened or responded — there are charges, trials and/or prison sentences underway.
5. When do you know it’s time to break up?
Thinking of leaving is one thing, but telling your partner it’s over is another. If the relationship has been limping along, however, and only one person is truly miserable enough to want out, the last straw can be difficult to identify. But in your gut, you know.
6. Are you prepared to start over, at your age?
Gray Divorce happens after age 50 and this has been on the rise while other age groups divorcing is on the decline. If you feel like growing old together has created distance and that living together without kids or grandkids makes your differences more apparent, leaving may seem inevitable. Your differences and lack of feeling fulfilled does appear more important when you do not have that many years in front of you. Most important if there is a lack of emotional connection and loss of respect for each other the time to go is at hand.
7. Do you want a fresh lease on life now that life with your spouse feels lonelier than being alone?
If the answer is yes, be prepared for the ride of your life. The third scariest thing about leaving is the prospect of being alone or being less fulfilled alone than you were in the marriage.