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Ending a Relationship: How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?

When deciding if and when to leave or end a relationship, how do we wade through the thoughts and consequences? How do you know when enough is enough?

When deciding on ending a relationship, the first question we ask ourselves is: How do I know when enough is enough? Someone very special and beautiful asked me that question this week.

In our culture, we are faced with all kinds of messages about relationships: see the good in people, relationships take work, rise above, and don't have too many expectations. Then, don't put up with anyone's disrespect, take care of yourself, set limits, leave abuse. These messages convolute all our decisions on how to set boundaries in relationships or know when it is right for us to leave them. We don't know who to blame, us or them. Add to it worry and fear about being alone, or being abandoned, or about other people judging you, and it becomes a maze to wade through.

Unconditional Love and Ending a Relationship

Problems in significant relationships effect our anxiety and depression more than any other factor in our life because our relationships and their success define us. These are huge decisions. The heaviness of making the right one, can be immobilizing. One can either open to reconnecting, nor can they step away to relieve themselves. Above all, they lose all trust in themselves, staying in misery and passing it back and forth between them.

We think we are supposed to have unconditional love for our partners and mistake this for having an unconditional relationship. Relationships have conditions! All relationship arrangements are negotiable, and there is usually aspects that for one or both partners that are not negotiable.

It is not easy to chose to leave a relationship and I do not have a prescription answer. Sometimes, it is best and other times it is not, and these both can depend. One thing I do understand is that if you make a decision, you make that your decision. Whichever you decide, you live that decision with your best self. Look deep inside you, beyond all fear and all guilt and there you'll find the answer. Ask your higher self what is the best for everyone involved. Step back from the situation and see yourself and your partner from a distance. This intention and perspective can help you get clarity.

The Ending a Relationship Decision

There is no right decision. Decisions are like everything else, relative. It doesn't matter if it is "right" or not, you make a decision and then make it right for you.

You might decide to postpone your decision to end a relationship, but even that is a decision to be lived instead of lamented. Don't beat yourself up for "not deciding," postpone consciously. But before making a decision about whether to stay in or leave a relationship, think about this:

  • Know you are exactly where you are supposed to be. You are perfect and awesome.
  • There is nothing to be afraid of, you cannot chose wrong.
  • Get people that love you around you.
  • Find your worth and know who you are and your purpose.

Then, and only then, the preferable choice will be as clear as day.

How have you decided to stay in or leave a relationship? Let my friend know how you did it. Comment below!

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
share here: Twitter@JodiAman, Google+
inspire here: Facebook: Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace

APA Reference
LCSW-R, J. (2012, July 18). Ending a Relationship: How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/07/how-do-you-know-when-enough-is-enough



Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

Nadine Feldman
says:
July, 18 2012 at 6:43 pm
I thought this was brilliant: "We think we are supposed to have unconditional love for our partners and mistake this for having an unconditional relationship. Relationships have conditions!"

I have had two divorces, both very different. In the first, I was physically and verbally abused. Fortunately, I had access to a therapist at work (for free!) and found the strength to leave. I shudder when I think about what might have happened. After that I remained single for ten years, with lots of therapy, and my relationships became progressively healthier.

With my second husband, it took a long time to get to that decision, and we were separated for a while before I decided to get a divorce. With each step, I waited until it felt exactly right. It was hard because we were good friends, but it was the right thing to do. Our divorce, when I felt ready, was done with love and respect for our 12 years together. People tried to rush me through the decision, but I feel as though we ended it in a beautiful way that left no hard feelings.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 20 2012 at 7:24 pm
Nadine,
Oh, yes, very different. So funny, I have been reading you for about a year and don't know these things about you. Thanks so much for sharing and giving your two cents. I am glad you like that quote. This is very helpful for her to hear. It is important to know there is not just one prescription for how to handle these things.
Love,
Jodi
john hitchcock
says:
July, 18 2012 at 11:57 am
I had to make this exact decision in November last year.

I decided, (after breaking my leg in the August and spending all day everyday at home getting depressed) that I wasnt where I wanted to be in my life. I split with my girlfriend of two years which came as a big surprise to her and broke her heart. and despite being really upset myself and doubting my decision on numerous occasions I reasoned that overall to avoid me hurting her in the long run she should be shot of me. I stand by that decision. I did not wish to marry her and although that was the only difference (she still loves me and I her) it meant that I was being stuck in a relationship where I didnt feel comfortable. this would have led to me doing increasingly horrible things to distract myself so to be fair to her I ended it there and then.

I still maintain it wwas the right decision. and as for the point about making the decision right for you afterwards? im still working on that. my depression spiralled and has gotten very much worse, with thanks to a very unhelpful relationship in the middle. I have my good days. I have a lot of days I dont even want to move. I havent missed a days work through this yet (despite sometimes not being here mentally even if I am physically) and I have begun to write poetry which is a totally new thing for me.

Thanks you for this question. I wouldnt normally comment on this kind of thing. indeed I dont even read the blog, I was linked here through a friend on google+

J

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 18 2012 at 12:22 pm
John,
Thanks so much for stopping by. It sounds like you stand by your decision! On the other hand depression is there, maybe not related to that decision, but depression clouds our view of everything. I am glad to hear about your poetry. I am putting together a ebook about writing to heal and am interviewing folks. Here's the questions:

1. When did you start writing and why? 
2. How did it help you? (Be as specific as possible.) 
3. What kind of writing do you do? 
4. Have you let people read it? Why or why not? 
5. (Optional) Would you like to share a short excerpt? (<100 words) 

If you are interested, send answers to writingtohealbook@gmail.com

Love,
Jodi

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

john hitchcock
says:
July, 18 2012 at 12:23 pm
I would like to add that by saying I love her I mean that I still care for her. we dont speak as it hurt her a lot, but ill always be here for her should she need me.

J

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 20 2012 at 7:21 pm
That is sweet. I love when caring lasts despite non contact!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

jenny
says:
May, 2 2013 at 3:31 pm
I was in a similar position and dealing with the consequences of ending a relationship which was great on paper but something felt wrong - working with a therapist to get over my issues. I still love him and he says he loves me. If it was a decision I felt I had to make then why did I enter a depressed cycle similar to the one that you mention here? Why were we not happy afterwards?
Especially when relatively speaking staying in the relationship I would have been happier than the last 7 months where I have never felt such pain and misery.It would be nice to hear some happy or good endings from people who made the decision to leave a relationship they were unsure about?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 3 2013 at 5:15 am
Have you still worked with the therapist about what has caused the pain in the last 7 months? Is it loss or uncertainty or doubt or something else. Would you have felt miserable in the relationship, too? Your feelings could be separate from the break up even though connected in a way. It sounds like you are stuck-but since I don't know you, I don't know what that would be-but once you get unstuck, things may turn around. I have seen so many people get through this and finally be happy. Talk to a trust friend or counselor! Love,
Jodi
jillian
says:
September, 30 2013 at 8:14 pm
I have been seperated 6months. Divorced was final 3 weeks ago. I questioned my therapist today why I hurt so bad. I love him even after the abuse and his fb romances. I know I can't be with him I'm lonely feel abandoned he cheated on me and hurt me emotionally and physically. I know what needs to be done I can't forgive or let go.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 1 2013 at 2:47 pm
Stop judging yourself for not letting go, just feel it. It just happened. Love yourself through it instead of judging! Love to you, my dear!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

ashwaria
says:
April, 2 2014 at 1:07 pm
Hi all, I am currently in a two year relationship and find that things are a bit rocky. I find my bf flirting with women on instant messaging , and find it hard to belive that he would never do such things, lately he has been spending more time with friends and going out drinking and partying rather than making time for us, its hard to know that I have invested a lot of time and money into this relationship! I get frustrated of the fact that his friends are his priority and that he never wants to commit to Marriage and I'm slowly loosing my patience! He has been abusive on a couple of occasions but I really feel I'm in a loveless relationship! Someone please help!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Caitlin
says:
April, 25 2014 at 1:51 am
Hi,
I completly understand where your coming from. I was in a relationship for a little over a year and the beggining and up to 7 months was great and we were so in love with no issues, well i thought no issues. A little after that his friends and drinking became the new "cool" and also his roommate got divorced so it was always about his roommate. I started feeling like a burden, he never made time for "us" it was always with friends and I felt really lonely and kinda felt like he quit trying. He also became very lazy, disrespectful(to my family and me), drinker, gambler.... etc. I felt like he didn't want me and I started feeling not right about something. I also didn't want to realize he was abusive at times verbally and physically. I would just slide it under the rug like nothing had happened. Things basically went way downhill a little after a year and I just got fed up and me getting mad at him and expressing i didn't like something led to him breaking things off, and he said I was causing to much stress. Which by stress this was me telling him I don't like something he's doing and asking him to have us work on it together. He was very much all about him and so together wasn't in his frame of mind. He also relys on his friends to basically tell him what he should do and every single one of his friends are single and consider relatioships relationshits... so I was basially sunk and I knew it, but i never brought myself to end things. I now wish I would have acted on what I felt when I felt like things wernt right and this relationship wasnt going to make me happy. I even now after the breakup want the relationship back, but not because I want him back because I dont, but because its hard to feel alone and also miss all the qualities you do love very much about that person and don't want to loose. My suggestion would be if you don't feel right, do something now verses later.. I know its going to hurt, but its going to hurt a lot more if you keep making things okay and prolong whats already going to happen. I am really sorry to hear about that though, I know how hard it can be. I thought this last bf was the "one" and I was never going to have to date again. Its never easy.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Caitlin
says:
April, 25 2014 at 1:55 am
I also want to add in.. I do still love him unconditionally and care for him more than I probably should, and we still talk as friends. It is hard, but I guess now from this side I see how many things were wrong and how I wanted us to be a team, and he just wanted to be his own person and wasn't interseted in sharing a life together. Yes I would love for him to change his mind, but I honsetly don't think I would get back together in the long run after having the step back that ive had.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Katrine
says:
April, 26 2015 at 7:36 pm
For your one good, don't connect with him.. or its hurts more

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Katrine
says:
April, 26 2015 at 7:30 pm
I have exactly the seem case and very similar type BF .. now we split but it's wery painfull to know that I newer hold him again in my arms, newer kiss him.. but I remain strong, because I learn that I deserve better, and I need except that he's not good for me. It's ok to be sad for some time but it's not ok compromise your dignity, self respect, chance of happiness for a sick ego of week, self-centered, emotionally inaccessible partner with low moral standards. Be strong. God help all of us.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jan
says:
September, 17 2015 at 8:14 am
THIS.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fido
says:
September, 27 2015 at 4:55 pm
Your comment almost identically describes the situation I am in now.
I am very curious to know how long it took you to recover from said break up?
Lorraine
says:
July, 18 2012 at 11:32 am
Thank you to whom ever asked you this question, and thank you Jodi for taking the time to consider this question and to answer with such grace, love, and insight. I really appriciate your posts.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 18 2012 at 11:34 am
Thank you Lorraine. I could have written a book, there is so much to consider! I really appreciate the comment!
Mike
says:
September, 24 2015 at 12:48 am
I'm in a very sticky situation please help. I'm 25 years old and have been with my high school sweetheart for 7 years now and have a 5 year old daughter. I've felt uneasy about our relationship for a long time now. I made a mistake 4 years ago and our relationship has been kinda up and down since. We had a separation about a year ago and during that time she had sex with her ex which has made so much trouble to us in the past 7 years. Him and I hate each others guts. We got back together and she waited a month to tell me what she did. when she told me I asked her to go to her parents for the night so I could have some time to gather my thoughts. When I went to see her the next day we were talking and she was texting somebody so I grabbed the phone and found out it was another guy who she had interest in. I'm very torn by her actions but are so very afraid for my daughter. I don't want to give her a broken family because I came from one. So I just keep stuffing it and dealing with it just to give my little girl her parents. I'm very confused and need help.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 25 2015 at 6:28 pm
Hello Mike,
Jodi is no longer writing for HealthyPlace so is unable to respond to comments. It sounds like being a good father and maintaining an intact family for your daughter is very important to you. To be such a caring parent is a strength. While it can be good for kids to have their parents remain married and live together, it actually isn't always the case. Studies show that it's actually more harmful for kids when a family situation is toxic. Sometimes help from a professional can go a long way in either mending relationships and getting them back on the track you want them to be on or in helping people make smooth transitions to separation in a way that's healthy for the parents and child alike. Many communities have family therapists who specialize in just this sort of thing. Perhaps your partner would be willing to try family counseling in order for everyone to be able to sort things out.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

bern
says:
December, 11 2015 at 8:44 pm
Mike,
I'm on the same situation exactly as yours. I've been holding into my marriage even if i know my husband doesn't love me and he is seeing other girls because I want my son to grow up with both parents. Right now he is seeing again another girl and probably would leave me again. This time I think enough is enough already. I hope you could also have the courage to let go and let God deal with your wife.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michelle
says:
August, 22 2016 at 3:49 pm
Hi Bern,
I know this is close to a year later but I felt compelled to comment. First off, is your situation still holding on in order for your son to have both parents? Things may have changed in a year. I have many years of counceling and physch college classes. The take away is functional vs. dysfunctional... and your happiness... Your happiness should ALWAYS come first. If you were to divorce your son will still have both parents and he will not melt. I'm taking your words "I’ve been holding into my marriage even if i know my husband doesn’t love me and he is seeing other girls because I want my son to grow up with both parents." This is all wrong for you and your son. The only one making out like a bandit is your good for nothing, cheating husband. Hold him accountable and move on with your life. You deserve respect, happiness, love and yes, even passion in this life. Your son will grow older in this toxic arrangement and suffer more for it than he will if your divorce. He will most likely struggle to know what a healthy loving relationship is in his future because you are not teaching him what that means. He may also resent the fact that you let this man treat you like a doormat, worse case is that he grows up to treat some lovely woman like a doormat, too. Food for thought. Put yourself first! You and your son will benefit. The current situation is so unhealthy and unfair to both of you. Love yourself.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elaine
says:
July, 11 2014 at 10:10 am
Help Please,

I'm sure I will be judged for this, I have carried tremendous amount of guilt.I have been in a 30 plus year marriage with now grown children. I have never been settled nor fulfilled. I married very young and don't think that at the age I married I had developed my personality or who I am today.my husband is basically a good man..minus some alcohol episodes and a few physically abusive times but has a good heart.I raised my children like I promised myself and once they were gone, I felt a larger void.I decided to leave, very ashamed of .this but I had multiple affairs and have a live in boyfriend. My husband wants me back and has now given me a deadline or he is filing for divorce. I really don't blame him but I feel very torn.a part of me doesn't want the divorce and a part of me doesn't want to go back either.I feel very selfish too because I'm also with my boyfriend that I need to decide.I love my boyfriends personality but he has a temper and we argue alot but he makes me feel like a woman.i am not as sexually attracted to my husband but I do love him too.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elaine
says:
July, 11 2014 at 10:14 am
To add
my husband has given me a deadline that is soon approaching..I don't know how to ask for more time because He won't hear of it.how do I decide.please help me.I am very worried. I dont know what to do.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
July, 14 2014 at 10:02 am
Dear Elaine - I understand this is a big issue for you and I certainly don't envy your situation. I can say that this is a situation where you need to decide. I wish I could advise you on what to do -- but it is not something I, or anyone, can decide for you. Please be well and thank you for reading and commenting. ~Gabe

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Mon
says:
March, 19 2016 at 7:04 am
Elaine ,
What did you decide ?I am in the same situation but I am not married I divorced him a year ago. An now live with my boy friend my son is with him and I miss my son of course I see him everyday I just don't see him when he wakes up. My ex husband won't let him come to my house cause of my boyfriend. My boyfriend is sweet and kind to me and my son but my ex just don't like him. So, in order to be with my son I have to move back there.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Ella
says:
June, 4 2016 at 3:49 am
If your boyfriend is kind and sweet, then remain there. You see your son daily and if you move back with your husband and will be unhappy that will influence your son too.
And why can't you wake up with your son anyway? You are his mother... This is abusive of your ex.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Netta
says:
December, 16 2015 at 10:50 pm
Hello Im Netta!

I been looking for answers for a while now about should I go or stay in this second marraige of mines!

I divorces my first husband after 12 years together and I knew it was the best choice I could have ever made for myself! We got married because we were deep in the church and felt guilty living in sin!

Six months after my divorce was final, I married a man 11 years younger than me. Turns out this marraige was worse than the first. I been marrie almost three years now but we been together a total of 5 years. We have had some good days but I feel like I am in a war with my husband on almost a daily basis. We argue about everything! He is very hot tempered, judgemental and a know it all! He is constantly disrespecting me over and over by calling me out of my name and cursing at me when he doesnt get his way.

I swear its like having an adult child in the house! He apologizes, just to do it over again and again. I been going through this with him since before we got married! I thought if we got married quickly that all our issues would go away! As a matter of fact they got worse! He got worse!

We dont have sexual intimacy any more; NOT my choice! There is no fire in yhe relationship! He ignores me if he isnt putting me down or critisizing something thatbI am doing! I am so fed up!

My worth is more than this! He doesnt care how what he does to me is draining me.emotionally, mentally and spiritually!

I cry often and am depressed because of this!!!

I decided after his last time of disrespecting me that im not going to deal with it anymore! I am filing for divorce!

He doesnt care to try to change and I have done everything to cater to his needs, wants and desires and still I get nothing positive in return!!!

On too of this, I have two younger teenage daughters who see this and they hate how im hurting but I tell them im okay even though they know im not okay!

What kind of message am I sending to my children, that its okay to be a doormat for someone else!!!

Not anymore!!!

#Fedup

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April
says:
January, 23 2016 at 9:18 pm
Hey I am also with a guy 11 years younger than me. We've been together for 2 years. You've described my relationship to a tee! We really need to talk soon.. I am so over how he treats me. I've broke up with him about 7 or 8 times and when I do he turns inot what I need, but as soon as he feels comfy he goes right back to being a butt to me. I need help on ending this for GOOD!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky
says:
January, 27 2016 at 6:08 am
It really depends on how much you care for him and love him. I went through the same thing and probably more than you but i couldnt let go. I couldnt ever imagine me being with another man. Our kids all get along with each other which we both have kids from previous marriage. Just worked on the stuff that bothers each other. Show love and care every day and which he came from a relationship that he never got any of that nor did it in return so i understood 100%. Just dont give up and sit down and talk to each other and communicate stuff that bothers yall. If a man is crazy to keep running back for you and wanting to be with you that bad. It means alot. Just treat him how you want to be treated it will all be worth it in the end. Hope this helps. Thanks

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

TWC
says:
March, 14 2016 at 5:09 pm
me 2

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michelle
says:
August, 22 2016 at 4:07 pm
Hi April, I'm actualy going to strongly disagree with the other commenter on Jan. 27, 2016. Being verbally abused and critisized is not a healthy thing, at all. She says it depends on how much you care fro him and love him. Sounds like he's the one who needs to learn what care and love really means. And it sounds like he throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way. A man returning 7 or 8 times says a lot??? Yes, it says he is taking advantage of you, while not satisfying your physical and emotional needs. Here's another sensitive subject: you are 11 years his senior and he has already stopped having sex withyou... Fast forward ten years from now, what will your respective ages be? I know this sounds harsh but this man has already shown his true colors to you. He needs to grow up and it's not your job to wait around and hope that he does. You deserve to be happy. There is no excuse for abuse!!!! Bless your heart, I know this all sucks, but, again, you deserve to be happy in this life. Even if it means going through the pain of moving on. I think we all know that pain. Suround yourself with people that love you and be a bit more honest with your daughters, they are the ones who truly love you. And they are not blind, either.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Lynn
says:
June, 30 2016 at 2:28 pm
Oh my.... You are speaking my life right now and the reason I sought out information and help.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Lisa
says:
August, 20 2016 at 8:06 pm
Praying for you sweet Sister. Your life sounds exactly the same as mine...God bless You &amp; your girls xo

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Adrian
says:
December, 25 2015 at 7:17 am
Hi

Im lying on my bed thinking about what the future holds.

Ive been with a Brazilian girl for 6 months now and shes pregnant with my son.

Things haven't been right for awhile and i dont know what to do...

Weve had so many problems and shes said today its enough shes done. She wants to decide what to do...i told her to fuck off then if shes not happy...i mean my language is not called for i know i should contain it but her understanding of our situation drives me nuts.
I was asleep in the bed i bought for us...then she comes in and wakes me and says "get up amd go to your own bed"...in the spare room...i was like for fucks sake...feeling unwanted i get up and go as not to piss her off...then shes like im joking...

Who the fuck jokes about that shit?
Im really sensitive when it comes to this stuff..

She suggests giving her till feb to decide what shes going to do. Then i said i would break the lease and move out into a share house again.
Then shes like great gimme the lease to the apartment.
Yeah maybe.

But then still wants my support at the birth.

She doesnt want to be with me...but still wants me to be around?

Am i selfish to not want to help her as she doesn't want to be with me?

I said what ever shes is owed with child support she will get...but if were not together i told her to get f@#$ed.

Am i wrong?

I want to try and make it work? She doesnt but still wants it her way?

I mean she wants to leave so ...what can i do?

Am i wrong?

At the beginning it was great...sex was great she had her own life...i never knew much about ocd...but im sure im not that filthy.

I consider i maintain a healthy if not manly hygiene...

Im mean im not perfect but im not that disgusting...

Our problems have arisen through things like not washing my hands during food prep to her not trusting me to wash her clothes or washing the dishes.

"this to will pass" - prince ea

Im in constant search of forgiveness and spiritual guidance.

I dont know what to do.

Peace

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Nicole
says:
February, 1 2016 at 5:34 pm
If you aren't happy and you're looking for spiritual guidance to tell you to move on, then as an extremely spiritual person i can tell you that you already know the answer. It's plain to see in the way you write, the way you are so worked up and she doesn't seem to understand. life is about finding a partner who waters your garden and helps you blossom and grow, not who makes you question whether the way you feel is right or wrong. Of course it's healthy to adjust a little to suit one another but if it was meant to be this would be the happiest time of your lives not the worst, you would not be questioning your future because it would be set in stone in your heart soul and mind. In my personal spiritual belief journey I have found that your subconcious already knows the answer to all you seek validation for and to let your mind calm and ask yourself what you really feel is right. Cool the fire of your temper and ask the Universe if staying or going is right for you. Never setttle for less. and remember that just because you aren't together does not mean you can't be the best father. Stay strong you'll figure it out i promise.

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