Even though my work with couples is highly restorative, there are times when either one or both parties have concluded it’s too late you gotta go leave the relationship. There’s just been too much damage, pain, disregard, betrayal, let downs or other water under the bridge. The trust has eroded, the love is gone, and there is nothing left to work with to build something new.
When this moment has come, one of the partners might be resistant to the idea of dissolving the relationship for good, but for the other partner, who is now exhausted from the constant destruction and rebuilding process in an effort to make things work, it is time to stop the madness and just walk away.
Not that it might not be painful for both parties, but when the pain of staying together outweighs the benefits and adequate solutions, growth and change cannot be embraced or applied over time, the energy it takes to maintain a successful relationship wanes over time.
One of the partners may protest and proclaim their undying love and commitment,
“But I’ll do anything”
In an effort to save the relationship, but it’s too little too late, there is nothing left to work with. If only he or she could have come to that conclusion when there was something left to salvage. And in many cases, a partner will offer up the “I’ll do anything,” plea to prolong a relationship but not the commitment to make the changes necessary to bring the couple closer together. If that is the case, then now, those words are meaningless.
How did we get here?
Sometimes even with the best intentions, two people can let resentment and emotional wounds build up over time. They just sort of gloss-over the hurt feelings and hide them away because they believe this is in the best interest of the relationship. Things just tend to go easier when there is no conflict. It’s easier just to let it go. But you’re not letting it go, you’re storing that pain away, building up an emotional equity that when it reaches critical mass will create a huge conflict in the relationship when it goes off, like a time-bomb.
There may have been things about your partner that you did not recognize (or did not want to see) in the beginning, or the honeymoon phase, of the relationship, but as time has gone on, these things have become more and more apparent, and it looks like there is little hope for change. These can range everywhere from annoying personality quirks to infidelities or harmful addictions, and could have been deal-breakers were you able to grasp the idea of their existence in the beginning. You might not have noticed them because you wanted to believe the best (which is true most of the time) or your partner may have hidden them and now you’re starting to see your partner’s true colors, and it looks like there is no hope for change.
Incompatible core issues, which may have been overlooked in the throes of love, may be a constant irritant, if not the destructor of a potentially otherwise successful relationship. These might be differences of religion, sexual appetite, recreational preferences, childrearing, money issues, work, and retirement plans, among others.
This is why we suggest digging through as many of these potential pitfalls before they become conflictive and barring their disclosure or appearance in advance, it is highly important to have a plan for having difficult conersations and potentially solving conflicts before they arise. If there is no such system in place, you have few (if not no) tools at your disposal for rectifying such opposing views and further deterioration of the relationship is the result.
Insurmountable obstacles and challenges may weaken the energy and resolve of an otherwise healthy relationship. Sometimes something can happen to a couple that rips at the very fabric of a good union, leaving only shreds in its wake, and the result is unsalvageable. Some of these issues might include significant loss of income or resources, change of life or lifestyle, major disease/illness, death in the family (especially a child), etc. While a truly synchronistically-empowered couple may be able to muster the strength to overcome such obstacles, it is next to impossible for a couple on the brink to survive such challenges.
Finally, after it all, one or both partners dies. Not in the physical sense, but more in a mental, emotional, or spiritual sense. They have given up the fight for what they want, let go of their passion(s) and/or desire for a better life. They have selflessly resigned themselves to a life of mediocrity, hoping for the best (an early death for either themselves or their mate). It’s sad but true. Although, in a moment of clarity, this person might awaken enough to feel like extricating him or herself from the relationship is the only way out of such a meaningless life.
These are a few of the ways a couple can suffer irreparable harm which has caused such damage to the relationship over time that it may not be salvageable. At any rate, the truth of the matter is,
The best you can do is to part ways with as much integrity as possible in the best way that you can, blessing your partner and hoping that he or she has a better life to live waiting for him or her. Retain the lessons learned, remember the good times, let go, and find a way to move on.
Is it really time to leave?