You will probably find as many different answers to the question as the number of people you ask, even though some may be similar.
But the question begs another question that is worthwhile considering, a question to which only you have the answer: What is your test for a good relationship, a relationship that you would not think of leaving?
Is your test for a good relationship the amount of time you spend together? Is it the frequency of expressions of love or appreciation? Is it being understood? Being taken care of? Being provided for? Being considered or thought of? Being put first? Must your relationship pass all these tests…and more?
Which of your tests are more important or less important to you? Which tests can be overlooked or put aside? Which tests have to be met? And how often and how many times must your relationship pass the tests?
When you compare your relationship with other relationships, what’s your test for stacking up favorably? Is it the longevity of the relationship? Is it the displays of affection or solidarity? Is it accomplishments? Is it all of the above…and more?
A truth: Whether you leave a relationship or not, you will be disappointed in what comes next because your expectations are rooted in a fantasy that a relationship can pass all of your tests all the time as long as you live. How do we know that? Because when one of your expectations is not met – no matter how many of your expectations have been fulfilled – you get upset! Like everyone else, you are destined to upsets and disappointments in all of your relationships, no matter how good they are.
It’s not up to anyone, except yourselves, to say if or when it is time to leave a relationship. If the truth is told, you have had – and will continue to have – many times when your relationships do not pass your tests, and so you have good reasons to leave. The question is, “What might be just beyond leaving?”
Our story: Last month, we celebrated 55 years of marriage. In those years, we encountered many, many times in which we didn’t pass our own tests for a good relationship. In fact, around year 10, it looked like it would be a very good idea for us to end our marriage. But we didn’t end it because we had made a promise in our wedding to honor each other by honoring our promises – until death parts us.
Our reward for hanging in there beyond our inevitable upsets and disappointments has been a deepening of our love and appreciation for each other and an expanding experience of the wonder, joy and power of relationship.
We’re available, and even eager, to share what we’ve discovered over the last 15 years of our 55-year journey that may assist others through the “When is it time to leave a relationship ?” dilemma. Call us.