Monday, February 22, 2010

How to make difficult relationship decisions…it is a process

There are times in life when we arrive willingly or unwilling at a point that calls for a decision… one that might change our lives. I am not talking about altering a hairstyle or buying a new car. No, it is the decision that will affect you and someone else -- and often, it is about relationships. Let's talk about ending committed partner relationships.

First, things, first…
When you arrive at the point you feel it's necessary to consider making this kind of decision – acknowledge to yourself that it hasn't been an easy road. Why? Self-expectation. When we fall in love and make a commitment, we expect it will turn out well. If it doesn't, quite often, we find ourselves surprised and somehow to blame. We take it all on, in one big lump and it churns and churns…what is wrong…what could I have done differently…what should he/she have done differently…what happens if I end this…how will I ever be okay…how, how can I do this?

Get yourself to a location that is neutral – don't sit in your bedroom and contemplate walking away from a relationship and your home – that is just self-torture. If you are considering making a life-altering change, don't you think it is worth investing in a few days away? Go to a hotel at the beach or a loving friend's home for a couple of days – even one day. Get away from the entire situation and environment.

When you have stopped crying or feeling bad, perhaps had something to eat and some sleep, then you can approach the BIG question. How do you do that? Interview yourself…yeah, that's right…ask yourself a series of questions.

Sit down with yourself (just you…no one else) and a pad of paper. Be direct and clear with yourself and don't avoid the thoughts that come up -- you aren't making the BIG decision yet, you are just thinking about it.

Understand that the only person you can really change is yourself. Write down the following list of questions and answer them – Be brief, positive and specific:

  • Why am I here?
    Be fair to yourself -- by acknowledging that there must be some valid reason you have arrived at this point. Okay, you have just validated that you have a reason to be thinking the thoughts you are thinking.

  • Am I serious about this? Am I willing to accept the consequences of this decision?

  • What happens to me if I end this relationship? Write down everything that makes you feel afraid
  • What happens to my partner if I end this relationship? Write down everything that makes you feel afraid for...or of...your partner
  • What happens if I don't end this relationship? Be really honest here…

  • Is it too late to call a truce? Will more talk save this relationship? Will a trial separation period save this relationship?

  • Am I willing to try to work this out with a counselor/therapist?
    Get the name of a Marriage Family Therapist from someone you trust. Talk to your partner. Schedule an appointment – whether or not your partner agrees to accompany you. It is so important to talk with a neutral person. Your friend, or mom or sister or brother, usually are going to see things from your perspective. They may or may not be objective and honesty includes objectivity.
Once you have answered these questions in writing -- you have done just that and only that…answered your own questions. It doesn't mean you must act on them, it means you have taken the time to sort out your thoughts and emotions.

Don't rush right out and share your answers with anyone, including your best friend. Let them settle…they belong to you, they're yours. You can decide where you want to take it from this point and remember, you don't have to make that decision immediately.
So many times, it is fear that keeps us from making any type of decision. Having the answers to some of your questions should help quiet your fears and enable you to approach the situation from a stronger basis.

I want to share a very simple truth with you...

        "You will feel the way you feel, until you don't feel that way anymore". -- DCR 

In other words, you will recognize it when you are ready to make a change. Take a deep breath…and realize that.




  1. My apologies for the errors in bulleting on this post -- it looked fine in the preview, but would not post correctly. DCR

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