Clients often come to me feeling unfulfilled in their relationships and wonder if they should just leave. The feelings and issues seem to be too much to overcome. People in this situation find themselves overwhelmed and lacking direction. This is a difficult place to be. First, I ask clients to grow awareness in themselves as to how they are handling the relationship. Have they been a part of the increasingly poor patterns? Being the change you want to see in your relationship can be very helpful in reconnecting. But some people feel they are beyond this point. They may not be trusting of their partner’s reaction to a more vulnerable behavior on their part or perhaps they do not know what their behavior should be. We must identify what behaviors, activities, communication, and so on where present when the relationship was strong. Getting grounded in the relationship can help it flourish again.
There are often times when we need to go deeper into the relationship as other efforts are not creating change. We need to also look at your partner’s willingness the change behaviors that are detrimental to the relationship. Couples counseling can be very helpful at this stage, but often times one partner does not want to participate so the responsibility may be left up to you! One person getting outside counseling can actually be a catalyst for change in the relationship.
If you know you want to leave the relationship, you may find it helpful to assess what your life would be like out of the relationship such as where you will live, child issues, work, paying bills, support from friends and relatives, meeting people, etc. Often times people are frightened of what their life would look like without their relationship. Creating a goal of what you want your life to look like helps leaving not be as scary.
Some helpful questions to ask yourself are:
When things were at there best, were they ever really good between you then?
Have you felt recurring humiliation or invisibility in the relationship?
Do you genuinely like each other? (Remember you have to at least have a friendship in order to have true intimacy)
Does your partner neither see or admit to things you have tried to get him or her to acknowledge?
Although you and your partner can be different in many ways, does he or she deep down care about what is important to you?
Do you feel that you are caretaking or over compensating for your partners down falls which is detracting from your own life?