Reading the Sunday papers recently I was struck by how many articles there were dealing with endings. Whether it’s Boris Johnson ending his Mayorship, President Obama coming to the end of his term in office or the UK being uncertain about whether to end its long relationship with Europe.
This set me thinking about how couples often struggle with endings. It’s not easy
Shall we end it? Should we? Can we? are often questions I hear in my consulting room.
Ending a relationship is never easy no matter how many times it has happened. Often we get so caught up in the comfortable patterns of our lives that even when we know things aren’t working for us ending a relationship can be too much effort, take too much time and seem way too difficult and we can end up just treading water.
Ending a relationship can feel like bereavement and we will often avoid having to deal with painful feelings of sadness and loss by choosing to stay.
Here are some scenarios that suggest its time to end the relationship:
• Loosing trust and respect for each other
• Only one partner in the relationship wants to have a baby
• Couples that have been together since they were quite young and have grown up together, a degree of comfortableness and security sets in but the intimacy has been lost and often one partner wants to find that with a new partner
* Sexual attraction has disappeared
• No longer share the same values and dreams
• You don’t feel you are thought about in the same way
• Find yourselves making plans with friends and family rather than your significant other suggests you are starting to let go
• Has the fun and laughter gone out of the relationship?
• Is the majority of the time spent together taken up with arguments and conflict
• A strong desire to be with someone else
• A future you once believed in with your partner is no longer there and brings into question why you chose to remain in a relationship with no long term investment
• Recognising your partner feels like a stranger
• Any kind of abusive or violent behaviour
Often the fear of being alone, feeling of failure and concerns about what other people may think are feelings that keep us in relationships far too long. It is far better to focus on whether you have given it your best, is it bringing the best out of me, am I getting what I need and to trust your instincts.
It is not easy to make these decisions. Working with an experienced couples therapist to explore some of these difficult and painful issues can help clarify whether the relationship can move forward or needs to end. Taking time out to end a relationship in a good way can really help future relationships.
To quote Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
When you begin, you envision a better end but, when you get to the end, you see the beginning better!