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Should I Stay or Go? Knowing When to Move On

As a couples and marriage counselor, sometimes my relationship advice concerns whether a client should end a marriage or relationship. I hear many clients claim that they remain in a relationship simply because they've dedicated their best years to it and they don't know how to start over. People are generally afraid of being alone, so they continue with an unstable, unhealthy relationship in spite of the stagnation. They do nothing to rekindle the relationship yet do not break if off completely because they are afraid of loss and the unknown. In short, they settle.

If you ask me, that seems like a recipe to remain unhappy, and life is simply too short.

What most folks fail to realize is that ALL relationships eventually end. Yup, you heard me. Even if you are lucky enough to enjoy a healthy lifelong commitment with someone special, one of you will eventually pass away first. That is rare however, and a more common reason relationships end is because people simply change. The person who was a good match for you at age 21 will often not be a great match at age 30. This is why, for example, marriage prior to the age of 30 has a higher divorce rate compared to folks who marry later in life. The reason is obvious; you are likely a different person at age 30 compared to age 21. People in their 20's are still developing; therefore dedicating the rest of your natural life to someone is likely to fail from a simple developmental psychology perspective.

So why settle? For the kids? Trust me, children are very perceptive and know that their parents are involved in an unhappy marriage, so don't settle for them. The best relationship advice I can give to folks in this situation is to name the things you love about your significant other. Can you vocalize why you are with your partner? Are there any qualities you can fall back on to help rekindle your union? No? That's ok, because all relationships come to an end eventually.

Therefore, you shouldn't feel like a failure if your relationship ends, because all relationships end.

The fact is that if you're asking if you should stay or go means that you seek substantive changes in your relationship because you are not satisfied. Therefore, you should be asking yourself what you require to make you happy and make those issues known to your partner. Also, you need to be honest about what you are looking for in your significant other. If you have a casual attitude toward things like marriage and religion, it is unwise to partner with someone who holds firm beliefs regarding those topics.

Respect Differences, at the Same Time Do Not Compromise
You might fall for someone who has extremely different views from the ones that you hold dear. In the beginning, you might be attracted to this phenomenon but over time you might discover that the debates arguments about your convictions that were earlier stimulating are now becoming the bane of your existence.

Whenever you remain in an unhappy relationship, it not only becomes suffocating but can result in manifestations of physical and emotional stress such as hypertension, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, etc.

Any relationship, to be successful, needs to remain blossoming. It should be flowing like a river, not become disheartening and full of obstacles. In fact, it needs to find its way out of any dead end it reaches. Think of a river, always purposeful, always moving.

Today's Relationship Advice Action For The Day: Find Your Inner River!

About The Author: Emily Kensington is couples therapist. For free relationship advice and romance tips visit Hearts and Kisses.

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