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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Updated: 7 days ago

Most relationships come to a crossroads where you hit a point. You ask yourself if you want to continue, want to stay, or want to reestablish the relationship. The famous line from F.R.I.E.N.D.S "We were on a break!" comes to mind. When there is no clear communication, clarity on direction, or certainty when there is lack of communication in relationships.


The wonder of if it's worth it, shall we keep trying or I'm so tired of how hard this is...

Bags the question: 'Should I stay or should I go?'


In this blog, we will discuss the short and long ways to help guide you to decide one way or another. Let's dig in!





Here is how to decide:


Short Version

1.      Put aside your emotions for the moment. Assess the situation Logically.

2.      Identify whether you are risk-averse or loss-averse.

3.      Do a cost-benefit analysis: What are the Pro’s and Con’s of the relationship?

a.      See pro’s and con’s worksheet.

4.      Is your Partner honest and authentic?

5.      Look at whether your values and interests are compatible.

6.      Determine if the pattern and course of your relationship are sustainable.

7.      Write down your “logical” decision…

a.      Then put your emotions back in the mix. How does it make you feel?

 


Long Version

NEED more? Let’s break it down.


1) Focus on Your Values

Turn their attention inward, to reflect on who you are and what matters most to YOU.


Ask yourself:

  •  “Am I showing up to the relationship the way I should?”

  • What version of myself do I want to be? That’s really what different partners bring out in us.

  • I stopped focusing on my partner and asked myself if I could be who I wanted to be in the relationship.

  • For example, after an affair. We must try to stay and build back a better-than-ever, more refined relationship. The key is working on ME first, more than ever before. I am working on me to know if I still want US. If it is worth all the excruciating efforts to work on us and forgiving him. Forgiving him does not mean accepting what happened, it’s building a better/ newer version of the relationship. Where the affair does not have control of us. I am trying to figure out if I want the US that I am starting to see.

  • What are my values? Does this relationship support and enable me to live according to them?

  • Focusing on my core values. A fighter for our own integrity and responsibility with respect.

  • Realizing that sometimes it’s simply a choice, not a "wrong choice" or a "right choice," and that it was in our hands to make a beautiful future from that choice.

    • Whatever choice it may be.

 


2) Assess the Quality of the Relationship

Take an honest look at the quality of the relationship.


  • Early on, ask what he wants. If there’s no alignment, politely move on. It gets easier.

    • Dreams within reality/conflict is a great exercise to do together from The Gottman Institute, as you both get a chance to speak and listen to each other dreams without interrupting.

  • Pay attention to how the relationship feels most of the time. What IS. Not potential.

    • The Now.

    • How you feel looking at the partner.

  • If you feel dread/fear/negativity more than joy/laughter/love, it’s time to leave. Making sure it’s the whole and not a part. Maybe your going through a situation, that is not to focus on. Focus on the whole.

  • Are we both willing to do the hard work? Are our core values aligned? Can we be humble?

    • Write down the top 5 things that are important to each and share. This is not to say there will be no differences it’s about learning about each others’ values and what they stand for.

  • Deciding on non-negotiables.

    • Negotiations/compromise where you put two circles of what is flexible and what is not and then make a third where that’s your relationship non-negotiables. This too changes over time and check-ins to re-visit is essential.

  • Acknowledgment of lack of feelings/attraction for him.

  • Observing how he was showing up for others, as well as for you.

    • Are they placing bids and turning towards you when you do?

    • Are they distracted or on you’re their phone engaged and leaning in listening.

  • The patterns in behavior, do their actions match their words?

    • “Actions speak louder than words.”

    • This is about Integrity and reliability. Brene Brown says it best!

  • Reliability = You'll do what you say you’re going to do, over and over again (this means not just once or twice). Clear on limitations.

  • Integrity = Act in integrity and hold me to it as well. You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.

  • When we share our doubts, is the other person willing to engage in the conversation, or are they reactive and disengaged?

    • Making sure to put the four horsemen at bay and really using ‘I’ statements and talking about the situation, not blaming or shaming.

  • This gauges their willingness to work on the relationship as a whole.

  • Love. Knowing we have a true, passionate love that can’t be found elsewhere. But love alone isn’t enough, so now we are working on our communication, attachment, etc.

    • Appreciations!  Making sure we both say what we appreciate about each other, we are not mind readers and see if you both are showing your support and love or retracting it already.

  • Don’t know attachments? there is lots of information out there. The basis being how you grew up in your environment is based on how your attachment style comes out in relationships. A great easy to follow book is called “Attached”

  • Asking: “Is our relationship built on trust, respect, kindness, and generosity?”

    • Define what trust is within the relationship. Is it being met? The same goes for respect, kindness, and generosity.

  • How do you feel in their presence on a daily basis: dimmed or brighter? Safe or uneasy? Supported or ungrounded? Etc.

    • Doing an eye gazing exercise can really get you to focus on this.

 




3) Listen to the Wisdom of Your Body

Get out of your heads and into their bodies.


  • Getting still and quiet and dropping into what my body is feeling.

  • Listen to your intuition. Intuition is a now feeling.

  • Trusting yourself—that you will know when it’s truly time to end it.

  • Listening to my inner voice in silence. It screamed, “Get the hell out of here!” Or “Stay, you two will work it out, it’s hard now but won’t be forever.” Or ‘This too shall pass!”

    • Thus, giving you a mini marker.

  • Noticing how thoughts of staying/going feel in my body rather than over-intellectualizing. Listen to your feelings and sensations about it. If it helps close your eyes. Turn inward.

  • Tuning into your higher self. The best choice does not require self-abandonment.

    • If there is a feeling of relief after making the decision, maybe then you were making the right decision.

  • Getting back in touch with myself through meditation and/or yoga so that fear and emotions aren’t running the show.

    • This can be any form of movement that gets you into your body.

  • Exercise and therapy.

    • Movement for the soul, therapy for clarity.

 


4) Focus on “Future You”

Imagine the next chapters of your stories and use that to help guide you.


Imagined yourself 5 years in the future and asked:

  • “Do I want to have the same life now vs. then?”

  • “Do I see a future with this person?”

  • “Would your future self say that you upheld your values?”

  • “How would your future self say about yourself now?”

Try to envision yourself 5 or 10 years down the road with your decision.

 



5) Attend to The Alarm Moments

Now Look back at moments when you had the smack-in-the-face moments or the A-HA! Moments of clarity. Describe the past moments or incidents that created clarity.

 

Here are some examples:

  • The way I was treated became unbearable and I was no longer able to justify it to myself.

  • Driving to his place, I realized I didn’t want to spend more than 30 minutes alone with him.

  • Getting pregnant shook me awake. I couldn’t set a good example and raise a human with that man.

  • I asked for help during the most vulnerable time but was called selfish because I asked.

  • I just ended a 5-year relationship after a year of ambivalence. Being ambivalent for so long was the sign I should go.

  • We never talked about our relationship and I kept having to organize everything.

  • They kept things from me constantly, it would be good again for 2 weeks and off the rails the next.

  • They stopped putting any effort into our relationship, I am the only one and I have talked with them about it and it's been over 2 years.

  • We no longer have sex and it has been 2 years, I’ve asked them to open things up or try other ways to be respectful of the relationship, however, the attraction is not longer there on their side, and they aren’t working on themselves to see if it’s an issue that we can overcome.

  • They cheated and lied, I forgave them, and they did it again, and again, with no remorse or respect within our relationship. I have tried to forgive; however, they have not stopped, and I respect myself too much to stay with someone who doesn’t respect me.

    • Or they may have stopped, however, they are still not leaning towards the relationship for growth and connection.


6) Lean on People You Trust

Talk to people in your corner you trust, to better see your blind spots.

 

For example:

  • A therapist and/or a friend asking about deadlines, which gave clarity that it was time to move on.

  • A friend asking, “On your best day with him, how do you feel about yourself?”

  • Asking a sister or brother/ family member you trust for an outside perspective. Sometimes I can’t see the forest.

  • Listening to the advice from people whose relationships you admire and trust would be truthful.

 

7) Be Diligent

  • Being engaged in learning more. Read up on it.

  • Knowing you have done everything you can. Try.

  • Turning every stone (this process takes time).

 

8) Be Patient

Letting go of the need for control and allowing the confusion to work its way through can be helpful.


  1. Take Time.

  2. Sit with yourself, taking as much time as you need, journaling.

  3. Reflect on your quick impulses you want to leave and how you got to such crossroads.

  4. Do not decide right away, take your time. The answer shows up when ready.

  5. Radical acceptance of the ambivalence and therapy to explore what’s behind it.

  6. Reflecting on a pattern you may have caught yourself in. Such as people pleasing.

  7. Reflect on all the feelings that are showing up, you are allowed to have more than one.

  8. We will only leave when the pain of staying is greater than the pain of leaving.

 



9) Honor the Relationship Between you and yourself.

Some people have abandoned themselves in relationships. Bring it back to you and check in with yourself.





  • Realizing that maybe you were ashamed of still being with someone who you knew wasn’t for me.

  • Realizing that you weren’t being the authentic version of yourself and you couldn’t have lived a discount version of your life.

  • Choosing to really live and feel the pain instead of living in survival mode and suffering in a toxic relationship.

  • Putting Yourself first.

  • Being OK and not guilty with being self-focused with decisions during this time.

  • “You’ve got one of two choices, stay or go and start over.” It’s a hard decision, but needed, and my happiness/mental health matters.

  • Actually, listening to yourself and what you want instead of listening to others’ opinions.

  • If it’s not honoring yourself, or if it’s no longer a hell yes, it’s a no.

  • Instead of focusing on “what if’s,” focus on your needs TODAY.

The French Phrase: “mieux seul que mal accompagne”—better alone than in bad company.

 


10) Shift Your Perspective

Think hypothetically.


  • If my best friend was in this intimate relationship, what would you want for him/her/them?

  • To what degree does this intimate relationship allows you to be the parent you want to be?

  • What kind of relationship template are you modeling for your kids?

 



Bonus Reflection Questions

Ask Yourself:

·  Do I see myself sharing life’s joys and challenges with this person?

·  Do I reeeeally adore him?

·  Are my needs being met?

·  Can someone love them better?

·  How does it feel?

·  Is it healthy?

·  Is it toxic?

·  Am I happy?

·  Is he happy?

·  Do they communicate their truth to me?

·  Can they hold space for me?

·  Is giving a(nother) try worth it?

·  Asking myself, if all the issues were “fixed,” would I stay?

·  Am I coming from a place of fear or love?

·  Which road leads me to more of the life I want?

·  What would you regret more? Staying or leaving?

·  Is it great, or is it great relative to how you normally feel with him?

 

Social media can also be a beautiful portal of support and community, even to just get heard and comforted. There is comfort in knowing you are not the first, the last, or the only person who has sat with uncertainty. Always lead from the heart and ask with the mind. Focus on the whole relationship instead of the part, and allow yourself to look deep, get messy, and find clarity.



Again, this is used only as a guide and to help find your own clarity, if your needing more understanding and support, seek professional support or rather your trusted support community.


I hope you find your clarity and release the question: “Should I stay or should I go?”

Either direction you choose – there will be support for you.

 

 

Reference:

Solomon, A. (2020, August). Should I Stay or Should I Go? Relationship Uncertainty. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/loving-bravely/202008/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go-relationship-uncertainty

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