“You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you. True love is crystal clear.”
~ Mandy Hale
This is a common question that women ask themselves in almost every relationship.
Just because you are asking this question of yourself does not mean that there is something wrong with the relationship.
All relationships are characterized by some degree of ambivalence and conflict, some more than others.
Ambivalence is a normal aspect of all intimate relationships, and we have to learn to allow it, understand it, live with it, and still make decisions in the best interest of our own lives.
One of the recommendations when deciding whether to stay or go is to make a list of positives and negatives about the relationship, and see which one is longer.
This will give you some clear data about the state of your relationship. Sometimes, seeing it on paper can help break your denial about the reality of the situation. It’s very easy to ignore a long list of negatives and focus on one good thing that we think we cannot live without from the other person.
Seeing the actual balance of different aspects of the relationship can help to give you clarity that you might not have by just thinking and ruminating.
Sometimes, we have to fight for a relationship.
This means that we have to learn how to fight fair and negotiate our issues. No relationship develops into maturity without having gone through conflicts. Conflicts are necessary and deepen the intimacy every time you work through one of them.
Remember to fight fair and stay focused on the topic at hand when something comes up that is really important and worth fighting for. If you have a partner who is willing to work through things with you, conflict can be very constructive.
Be honest and clear with yourself about what your deal breakers are in relationships.
Some of the most common and glaring deal breakers are active addiction, ongoing adultery, physical abuse, financial abuse or emotional abuse. Other deal breakers can have to do with religion, family issues, personality problems, long distance, and health and lifestyle habits.
There is no reason to live with something that is unacceptable to you.
Well we all need to make compromises in our relationships, we cannot compromise our basic values or integrity.
Be true to yourself.
- Ask yourself why you are with this person?
- Are you with him because you truly care about him and think that you will be good partners, or are you with him because you think it’s the “right” time, or because someone else thinks you should be together?
If your body, mind, and spirit line up, and you have a sense of peace about it, you are probably being true to yourself.
If you are supposed to stay with someone, it will be very hard to leave. And if you are supposed to leave, it will be very hard to stay. Over time, you will have a growing feeling inside of you that things are not working and your desire to leave will increase.
Trust yourself to be guided from within about what to do.
Even if it takes a while, the right thing always works out in the end. If you are supposed to be with someone, there is no way to stop it, and if you are not supposed to be with someone, there is no way to make it work.
Take good care of yourself, do the next right thing, and trust the outcome.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
I used to read “Dear Abby” every day.
Her response to the “should I leave or should I stay” question was always to make a list of pros and cons and basically see which list is longer.
When I became a therapist, I swore that I would never offer such simplistic advice. And yet here I am about to do exactly that.
Of course, if you don’t weigh the items on your list you could have many pros that include, good provider, gives nice gifts, dresses well, good dancer, etc. The con list could be much shorter but starts off with he beats me. Obviously, the length of the lists is irrelevant. There are deal-breakers no matter how many positives there are. One shouldn’t put up with any kind of physical or emotional abuse, cheating, lying, gambling, etc.
That being said, making a list might still be a good place to start.
Nobody is perfect so taking a good look at what he offers instead of what he doesn’t can be a good reality check. Ultimately though, I think it comes down to what you can and can’t live with.
Sometimes the thing you can’t live with might seem petty, but if you can’t live with it you can’t. At the end of the day, you want to be happy and if you’re unhappy with him all of the pros in the world aren’t going to change that.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
Stuck- that’s what it feels like. Stuck in the middle in a relationship where he won’t commit but he isn’t interested in letting go either.
Feeling stuck is a difficult place to be, but it’s always important to remember you have choices.
They may not be easy choices, but you always have choices. So, don’t leave the decision up to him. This decision is actually yours to make.
Some thoughts around this middle place; there may be a number of reasons why as a couple you are where you are, so think of the context of your relationship.
- How long has this relationship been going on?
- Has either one of you been married or lived with a partner before?
- Does he/you have children?
Many of these issues can be part of the reason why timing seems off- because it is.
Folks who have recently gotten out of a committed relationship, have been married before and/or have children, may be going at a slower pace. They have done this before and perhaps their fears are a bit higher for things not working out.
Secondly, how do you talk about this problem?
- Are you talking about this?
- Is he willing to talk about this?
The answers to these will give you a lot of information.
- Is he clear why he isn’t able to commit?
- Does he have insight into this?
- What exactly is he “waiting for”?
It’s always a risk.
Remember, nobody stepping up to the altar knows one hundred percent that this is a sure thing, but many people do it anyways. In other words, nobody plans on getting divorce. But as we know it happens.
And finally, are you dating the man you want him to be? Or the man he is, the man in front of you? Are you being honest with yourself?
In some ways this isn’t about him, it’s about you.
If you start to put the focus on yourself and your life, you might notice you’ll come to a choice for yourself. There are lots of ways to increase the focus on your own life; your career, your friends, trying a new activity, giving back to your community, focusing on your health and wellness, your family…
These things are your grounding, your base and make for a healthy happy life with or without Mr. Non- committal, or anyone for that matter.
So working on these is important either way this ends. In the words of singer/songwriter Patty Griffin, “Time will tell you baby what you can’t hear now.”
Elizabeth Baratta, LMHC – www.elizabethbarattalmhc.com
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