When it is time to leave… and we don’t

I say, if you are not happy and nothing seems to be changing (and won’t change), do not dig the ground deeper under your feet. The deeper hole you dig, the harder it is to get out. The longer you dig, the deeper the hole becomes, and the longer you will feel miserable. Is this what your idea of ‘happily ever after’ is about - to sit in a deep hole and feel miserable? If not, then it is time to leave.

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Let’s take a look at this graph. It shows how our ability to leave is connected to the amount of BS we are willing to tolerate. The pink line represents what we USUALLY do and the green one – what we should be doing instead.

Let’s take a closer look to understand what it all means.

You see, there are times when we need to pause for a second and reflect on where we are with our current relationship: is this the final destination of where we would like to be? Is this what we were hoping for? Is our heart happy or is it trying to tell us something?

Our inability to bail out on a relationship is linked to 1) our ability to tolerate the intolerable and 2) neediness for the relationship. The needier and more desperate we are, the higher our level of tolerance and therefore –the amount of time we stay (the pink line on the graph). It will sure require loads and loads of BS to finally bring us to a breaking point to leave.

The ‘critical point’ on the chart is the turning point when we feel like we have finally had ‘enough’. The tolerance curve stops its upward movement and begins moving in the direction of where it should have been xxx months or years ago – the growing desire to leave.

If you were to think honestly of your current dating/relationship pattern, which line would it reflect?

I do not want anyone to be stuck in a situation where the reaching of a critical point is seen as the only point at which we think we should leave.

By the time we are ‘critical’ it means we are jaded and damaged way too much to peacefully move-on AND recover quickly.

~ Think of long term relationships where two people won’t even talk to each other. When they are in the same room they are still… miles apart. They have learned to co-exist without communication and they have learned to be alone.

Is this the ‘skill’ they think they can utilize in their future relationships? Is this the only ‘communication’ model they think works? If this is the ‘new normal’ for them, then communicating openly in the next relationship will seem hard and uncomfortable.

~ Think of a dating situation where a woman waits for years for her commitment phobic man to be ready. She is unhappy with the situation and HERSELF. In her mind, the minute he proposes, she will become happy. She is looking at another human being as the source of her own happiness. And, if she stays long enough, she may actually believe that this is the only way (to feel happy). How twisted is this??

~ Or how about relationships where we get preoccupied with ‘changing others’. We do not think we are in a happy relationship until they do A, B and C and then become D, E, and F. We want it our way, and rather than enjoying the present, we are stuck on their future potential.

As time goes by, our biological clock keeps ticking, our waist line gets bigger, our face stops looking fresh… and we are still at square one. We are on a mission to change someone FOR US, forgetting that the incompatible can’t be compatible. Why not change your attitude instead, stop dwelling on the impossible and do what is possible – to get out and focus on your own potential?

~ There are relationships where women are a constant subject of a verbal abuse. They got so used to being ‘good for nothing’, ‘ugly and fat’, and ‘a stupid idiot’. Then, when their abusive partner leaves (or dies) they cannot even bring themselves to dating and meeting new people. These damaged, with low self-esteem women, may wrongly believe that no one will ever like them and that ‘good relationships are not possible’.

~ And, how about women who are stuck in a friends-with-benefits situation? They are conditioned to receiving so little that when they meet someone new who gives them flowers, a beautiful piece of jewelry, and an offer to become their girlfriend they feel… uncomfortable. ‘How is it possible – they wonder – to have it all? Just like that? Without me trying to please, to play a doormat, and to beg?’ That’s when the ‘NOT normal’ becomes our ‘new normal’. We feel uncomfortable… when someone treats us nice. Crazy, isn’t it?!

In all of the instances above the emotional and psychological damage would have been far less severe and way less damaging should we have tolerated less (see that green line?), and left earlier. Much, much earlier.

It is those who left at the ‘critical point’ who are carrying the biggest baggage. And then, when you date them, it often feels like you have to pay for what their previous partners did to them.

~ If their ex-girlfriend cheated on them, then you may have troubles earning their trust.  What she did to them is not your fault and you surely don’t deserve that paranoid attitude of theirs, but … it may still be hard to convince them that they are ‘the only one’ you are with.

~ If their ex-wife was mean and left them with nothing, they may not be open to another marriage (with you) for a long long time. How is it fair to you? She was in his life first, she managed to mess him up, and now YOU are paying the price. Is this fair? No! Fair or not fair, you are paying the price for what happened in their previous relationship.

~ If they felt neglected and unloved in a previous relationship, then they may have issues with you being nice, attentive, and loving. They may think you have an ’agenda’ or ‘something is off with YOU’. They do not believe they deserve to be loved and your loving them will be perceived as if there is something wrong with you. Try to prove them otherwise, they will only clam up and become even more suspicious.

~ If their previous partner was a huge spender, let herself go, became a couch potato, was a loser, hated sex, or whatever the painful reason that broke them off, they may be on the look out of the extreme opposite. For example (a true story!): if it was about her 300 lbs weight, then they may become obsessed with your 120 lbs weight and your calorie intake - they are dreading you will become like her.

And, the worst damage of all, is when we lose our last shreds of hope, stop believing in a good relationship, and consciously choose SOLITUDE. We become an island which does not want to be visited. We are alone and we want to stay that way. Till The End.

If you are stuck in an unhappy relationship, do not wait too long to leave. Besides, with the time wasted, you are running the risk of becoming emotionally damaged. Do not bring yourself to this point. It is unfair to you, and it is unfair to your future relationships with other people. It is unfair to your own future happiness!

Do not stay and suffer in silence as if the intensity of your suffering can change something. It won’t help with the issue, but it will surely damage your self-esteem further and the ability to form healthy commitments with other people.

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