Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Updated: Feb 7
This is often the hardest question for people when finding themselves in a romantic relationship having doubts. Being in a committed, romantic intimate relationship takes a lot of work, time and energy, though the rewards can be plentiful if it’s with the right person. The question is how do you truly know you’ve found the right person? This can be especially difficult for anyone who has been through a string of failed, painful or tumultuous relationships. It’s enough to cause a lot of doubt and anxiety, especially if you haven’t had the time or space to heal and consider why things went so wrong and how to make better choices for the future.
Its normal to want to take some time to get to know someone before committing to a long-term relationship. This often starts with dating but assessing the person often continues following this period as your relationship deepens. Unless you feel you've hit gold straight up, it’s fairly normal to feel a bit ambivalent for a while as you weigh up the person you are waking up to in the morning. Is this person really a good long-term match for me?
‘what do I really want and need in order to feel happy in a long-term relationship?’
In order to give yourself the best chance of making the right decision, its important to dig deep and ask yourself ‘do I really want to be in a long-term relationship?’ and if so ‘what do I really want and need in order to feel happy in a long-term relationship?’. Asking yourself this question and taking the time to consider your responses provides an opportunity to get clear on exactly what you’re looking for and knowing if you’re closer to finding it when you start out with someone new.
‘The possibilities are endless - do I want fun, adventure, similar interests, passion, sexual chemistry, financial security, intellect, financial stability....?’
The reality is that there is no guarantee of permanency in relationships. Anyone can walk away at any time but its a good idea to give yourself time to get to know someone before making a decision to stay in or end a relationship. Staying ambivalent for too long a time though (a year or so or more), can cause a lot of anxiety and leave you both feeling shaky. If you find yourself continuing to doubt your sweetheart at around the year mark it’s a good time to check in about what’s bothering you and whether it is something fundamental about the person that can’t be changed (i.e. differing life goals or values) or something you can talk about and work on together (e.g. communication). Couples counselling might help if you feel stuck. Whatever you do, try not to drag the ambivalence on for too long. If its not working out you're better off saving yourself the heartache and ending it sooner rather than later.
If you do decide to end the relationship, try to do it with clarity, honesty, dignity and kindness. Let’s face it, nobody likes being dumped via text or snapchat. Explain your reasons clearly and discuss what’s next including whether a friendship can come from it. If you find yourself wanting to hook up with your sexy ex after you’ve broken up ask yourself why you are doing this? Is the sex really THAT good? Are you feeling guilty? Are you softening the blow? Are you keeping yourself comfortable and safe in familiar arms? Whichever way you look at it its often not a good long-term scenario. Oftentimes someone is secretly fantasising about rekindling the relationship and it can keep you from moving forward and truly opening yourself up to other more suitable partners. It might feel a bit scary but do yourself a favour, walk away properly (don’t give false hope) and find the love that you want and desire! It might well be just around the corner…..