When we have reasons for staying as well as for leaving we start thinking of breaking up. We start wondering “Should I stay or should I go? Why many couples are working harder than EVER to turn around their relationship! How has the pandemic and series of lockdowns affected couples that were already struggling in their relationships? Rather than leading to separation, many have taken the opportunity to work on their relationship. They have taken the time to understand the CAUSES of their challenges so that they can turn it around for good. Here we look at how they’ve gone about it!
You may have thought many times about whether you and your partner could relate with love again by working together to improve your relationship challenges or it is simply time to part separate ways. You may have felt angry at times or perhaps frustrated because of how your partner behaves with you.
Perhaps you don’t trust your own judgement and you feel guilty for hurting your partner’s feelings or you cannot let go of something that your partner has done or said.
What many people find helpful is to commit to a time frame during which you can evaluate your relationship situation. This is often the period when people commit to understand what is going on in their relationship, why it keeps happening again and again, and what they can do to resolve it.
The stakes in our relationships are high!
Relationships are one of the biggest factors that influence our wellbeing and quality of life. They touch everything from the kiss goodbye in the morning as we go about our business, to the loving welcome home in the evening. It’s the fun and connection that we share around the family meal table to the precious moments we spend during our leisure time and holidays. It’s the experience that our children have day to day seeing how we deal with the ups and downs of life. It’s the example we set them of what a relationship should look like. It’s the sense of calm and support we feel during the challenges of our life and our feeling of being in it together with our partner, as we move forward together!
The moment when we see the contrast between a thriving and a struggling relationship is when we start thinking of breaking up and wondering “should I stay or should I go?”
Half of marriages end in divorce and many of the remaining ones are unhappy. 60% of respondents to an anonymous survey on our website confirm that they ‘sometimes think seriously about breaking up’.
When things aren’t working as we would like the effects can be severe. A 2005 survey for instance, found that participants with marital concerns had elevated levels of cortisol (a key stress hormone). Over time this can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and disrupt sleep. Negative impact mood, reduced energy levels and diabetes are other symptoms.
Thinking of breaking up… Deciding whether to stay or to leave
… and now, the stakes are higher than ever! Changes to working and educational patterns during the series of lockdowns have put many couples and families into closer proximity than ever before. This highlights and exacerbates existing issues as well as reducing opportunities to relieve the pressure.
The housing market attests to the demand for families for more space with additional rooms for work or education, and outdoor space. To be able to exercise and escape the confines of the walls of our house is becoming paramount. How different is the sound of our children playing outside, compared to when they are confined indoors!
When marriages end, it often means transitioning from a single household, to two households. No more
“with mum and dad living together“. Now both need to be able to accommodate children living, at least some of the time. Financial reality often means that the two households post-divorce do not enjoy the same space or physical advantages of the single household that existed previously.
Are the relationship difficulties easier to tolerate than the material difficulties that we anticipate? Once we go past the point of no return to end the relationship there”s no going back. Just think of all the consequences that flow from that! We may start thinking of breaking up and wondering “Should I stay or should I go?“
This can be enough to help to focus our minds on doing everything possible to work ON on the relationship. Really getting to the bottom of our challenges before being ready to give up on it and everything we’ve invested in it starts feeling CRITICAL.
When staying is undeniably painful and you start wanting to break up
When the status quo is no longer a viable option on the other hand, we may get to that point: we can no longer ignore the problem. Maybe it’s another argument on the same issue that always gets raised and never leads anywhere good. A sense of impatience at going around in circles. We wonder how we could possibly break the cycle. Perhaps there have been negative comments or criticism in the past that we’ve sidestepped. Perhaps we pretended that we didn’t hear but now we are no longer willing to ignore that.
Maybe we’ve seen the impact on ourselves of living in a toxic environment. Perhaps in our self-esteem or confidence or even to the point of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.
Or maybe our partner doesn’t see the problem the same as we do. They may think that things are working fine. They say that we’re exaggerating, and that all relationships have their ups and downs – it’s normal. Just part of being in a relationship.
So when thinking of breaking up and wondering should I stay or should I go? Here’s the question we need to ask ourselves: “would I be happy to live for the rest of my life in this current relationship situation?”
Getting ready for the break up
Because things only change when we are ready for change, we may like to tell ourselves that things will just change on their own. If only we allow it time and our partner was just having (another!) bad day? Maybe the thing that is affecting us today won’t affect us so much in the future… Or perhaps we can find another way to distract ourselves from the problem? The truth is that problems rarely get solved through inaction!
So if it’s not working, and we want to try everything before giving up on the relationship, what can we do to move towards a point of clarity!
You can put your relationship to the test now, with our interactive online tool to see where your relationship is working well and to identify key areas for improvement:
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