Should I Stay Or Leave? (Part 2)

Note: This is the second of a three-part series.

This is a continuation of a step-by-step guide to help you determine whether you should stay in or leave a relationship:

  • Stepping back from any temporary anger or disappointment, do you genuinely like your partner, and does your partner seem to like you?  If it’s clear to you that basically and overall you just don’t like him/her—or s/he doesn’t like you—then no matter what else your relationship has going for it, you’ll be happiest if you leave.  In the long run—no like, no love.
  • Do you feel willing to give your mate more than you’re already giving, without any expectation of being paid back in the near future?  If so, there’s a real chance there’s a solid core of aliveness to your relationship.  If you (ital)won’t(ital) give more unless there’s a clear expectation of getting something in return, that’s evidence you won’t be happy if you stay.
  • Do both you and your partner make efforts to touch each other frequently?  If either of you have stopped wanting to touch the other, then you’re making a profound statement of how alienated you are.
  • Do you feel a strong sexual attraction to your partner?  If so, that’s a reason to stay.
  • Does your partner do such a good job of conveying the idea that you’re a nut, a jerk, a loser or an idiot—that you’ve started to become convinced of it yourself?  If so, s/he’s starting to damage you.  When disrespect reaches this point, most people are unhappy when they stay.
  • Do you do everything possible to limit your contact with your mate, except for times when you absolutely must interact?  If so, then the level of disrespect has spoiled the atmosphere of your relationship, and you’ll be happier if you leave.
  • This problem your partner has that makes you want to leave:  have you tried to let it go, ignore it, stop letting it bother you?  If you can let go of the problem that’s making you feel you want to leave, there’s a real chance your relationship is too good to leave.
  • Does your partner repeatedly violate your bottom line—something you have said you cannot or will not tolerate?  If so, you will not be happy if you stay.
  • Are there profoundly different preferences the two of you have about how, where or with whom to live?  If the lifestyle you prefer is impossible with your partner, you have to choose which is most important to you.
  • In spite of all the ways you’re different, would you say that deep down your partner is someone just like you?  If so, there’s a real chance your relationship is too good to leave.  Somehow, somewhere, when you look deep into your partner’s eyes, you’ve got to be able to see yourself.
  • Do you feel that your partner—overall and more often than not—shows concrete support for and genuine interest in the most important things you’re trying to do?  If so, your relationship may be too good to leave.

I will complete this discussion in next week’s column.

Source:  Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum (Plume)

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