Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

tel: 07588 931 401

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Should You stay or should You go?

By Samantha De Bono

SDB Counselling Services

Trying to decide whether you should stay or you should go can be a difficult and distressing time. Often people stay in their relationship in the hope that there will be 'a sign' or something definite to hang the decision on, even hoping that a huge argument will finish things once and for all. You probably know by now, it doesn't work.

Being indecisive about staying or going can suspend you in a state of limbo, a place where you start to lose all interest in your life within the relationship and feel stuck or even trapped and this can go on for years and years.  I met a lady the other day at a function who told me she had been desperate to leave her marriage from before her first child was born. After her first born, she felt she had no choice but to stay.  She's now 55 and feels that she has never lived, only existed for her husband, children and other family members who told her to stay all those years ago. The interesting thing about this tale, is that apparently, her children (grown up now) talk to her like she's dirt and have no interest in her.  Was this because unconsciously she had never truly committed to them? Had they always sensed during their childhood that their mother didn't really want to be there, despite going through the motions of being a mother?

Of course there are some very valid reasons for staying in a relationship despite not wanting to be there. Most of those are fear based, for example, staying because you want to be with your children every day, staying for fear of leaving your children with a mentally unstable partner, leaving would financially cripple you and the family.

But staying because you're fearful of being alone or don't want to hurt your partner by leaving, are not valid reasons for staying in an unhappy relationship.

Often couples want their spouse to make it easy for them:  

  • They behave in ways that they hope will force their partner to end the relationship for them. Going out and getting drunk or staying out all night.
  • They try and try to get their partner to agree with them that the relationship is bad by having endless conversations about how dreadful the relationship is and how "surely you must see that too?" or "I know you're unhappy too, admit it!"
  • They try to make their partner out to be the 'baddie' by constantly listing everything their partner does that is not to their liking in an attempt to justify their reasons for wanting to go.

At the end of the day, own your feelings.  If you are not happy, ask yourself what your part in your unhappiness is and if you're willing to change. Then talk to your partner and ask if they are willing to change. You both have to want to change or nothing on this earth is going to work.

Here are some signs that may help you decide whether you should go:

  • Lack of mutual respect: A relationship cannot work without mutual respect. This is the largest contributor to the break-up of relationships. I remember once a client saying "no, her having an affair caused the break-up" My response was "Do you think she would have had the affair if she respected you at that time?".
  • Blame Blame Blame: Couples that refuse to take responsibility for anything and blame their partner for everything that goes wrong.  This relationship cannot succeed because there can never be resolution. When couples argue, they hopefully learn more about each other and the relationship. A couple that refuse to take responsibility for their part, don't learn anything, they just want their partner to concede and therefore they are likely to have the same type of arguments over and over again.
  • Abuse: Physical, mental, emotional or financial, It doesn't matter! this relationship is highly unlikely to ever change. Once an abuser, generally speaking, always an abuser. Go!
  • Constantly criticising & Manipulative: A spouse who is nasty and degrading or subjects you to moods and makes you feel like you're walking on egg shells or anxious all the time, is emotionally abusive. This behaviour may not be obviously abusive, but has the same effect on your self esteem and well being.
  • Not wanting to spend time together any more. Always looking for reasons to be somewhere else other than with your partner.
  • Arguing and bickering all the time about anything and everything. Feeling constantly as though you cannot see eye-to-eye on anything and realising that you no longer have anything in common and don't want to find anything in common.
  • You are happiest when you are not with your partner and start to feel down and unhappy at the thought of going home.

A good relationship feels good. That sounds obvious doesn't it, but think about it.  How often do we stay in relationships that do not feel good? You should feel that your feelings and your well being are safe and respected. A healthy relationship is mutually loving and respectful. You share and grow, you compromise and you work together for the good of the relationship.  If that's not happening, trust your gut instinct, it's likely to be telling you the truth. Your unhappiness and uncertainty is unlikely to be based on nothing. It's important to look at yourself, ask yourself if you are prepared to change and is your partner prepared to change?  If the answer is yes, great! go to a couples counsellor and get some constructive professional help to make those changes.  If the answer is no, on any level at all, then it's highly likely that the best option is to Go!

 Samantha De Bono

Couples Counsellor in Bromley & Harley Street