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When Is It Time To Leave A Relationship?

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In the beginning, it’s always great. You’re in love and on top of the world. You get married and/or move in together. You spend all your time together and there’s not one thing you would change about your partner. Life is good. But life carriers on: you have to work, maybe you have children together, buy a house. Things change.

You settled in. Life can’t be all roses and lollipops. You understand that. But this is different. There is a feeling that things aren’t quite right. You wonder if you made the right choice for a partner. You try to understand what’s wrong. You try really hard to turn things back around, but nothing works. What can you do to improve things? What should you do? Should you stay or should you go? You’re afraid to make a wrong decision, so you make none. You’re invested now and there is a lot at stake.

My children were just a few years old when I first started to have pangs about leaving my first marriage. But I pushed those feelings deep down. I remember I used to get together with one friend regularly. Her mother would always be there and she fancied herself a psychic of sorts. She loved to read Tarot cards. Even though she asked repeatedly, I always turned her down doing my reading. I knew what she was going to say and I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to face it. I wasn’t ready to do anything about it.

“Should you stay or should you go? You are afraid to make a wrong decision, so you make none. “

You see, there wasn’t any abuse in my relationship. Nothing I could point to directly and say “That’s why I want to leave.” I would try to talk to my friends and family about it but I was quickly met with “What’s wrong with you? He’s a good man.” And he was but we had grown apart and the more years that went by, the more evident it was to me that the vision we each had for our future together was vastly different.

It was at least 5 years later that I filed for a separation. I think that is very common for women. The end of a relationship usually happens long before the actual split. Especially if it has been a long relationship or there are children involved. Making the decision to end my marriage is probably one of the hardest things I had ever done.

And yet, everyone around me said that I was taking the easy way out. Believe me, it was not. To stay and carry on would have been easier. I’d done it, for five years. It takes a lot of courage to stand up, admit that you want out, to yourself and your partner. And that’s just the beginning of the hardship.

I must point out that we did give it a good go of things. Thankfully, he was very open to seeing a marriage counselor and we did. We went on dates. We had conversations. We went on vacations without the children. In the end, he could see nothing wrong. He was content but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for me.

If you are reading this post, I can only assume that the thought has crossed your mind. I can not tell you if you should stay or when the right time is to leave a relationship. It is such a personal choice and depends on so many factors. All I can say is that if you truly want to leave the relationship, the time will come when you are ready to take action.

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Tuesday 29th of December 2020

I look up to you for having the strength to to end the marriage. I don’t know how or if I should. I looks like we have learned to disrespect each other by name calling which almost always start from him. I don’t know how to leave when to leave or should I leave. All I know is that I’m emotionally exhausted. Tired of the BS. Then I look around see all the material things n feel overwhelmed n tided down because of them. Why? I know somethings can be replaced.

Elena Peters

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

It a tough decision to make. It took me years to finally find the courage to leave. Don’t be so hard or yourself. One day, it will all become clear on what to do. Take care of yourself always.


Monday 4th of April 2016

Thank you for this article. I've been with my boyfriend for 7 yrs but haven't been happy for 1 yr. I'm having a very hard time making the decision of ending our relationship which is very unhealthy and dysfunctional. Your article gives me hope that one day I will end it and find happiness.

Elena Peters

Monday 4th of April 2016

Hi Dina I hope you find peace and happiness no matter what or when you make your decision. Make every day count and try to find something, no matter how small, every day that makes you smile. Good luck and stay safe.


Wednesday 17th of February 2016

Thank u for sharing. I often felt I had to stay in my marriage ... 26 .. .for the kids who are now 16 n 22 n for financial reasons n even for extended family bc what would they n others think.. He is narcissistic ... I told him n he blew up. His mother is now staying with us n she heard him yelling at my daughter n she told him if this is how it's going to b she will move on bc all she wants is peace. That is all I have wanted too.... he has many great qualities. .. but i want happiness n friendship n more than just being content. Thank u again.


Friday 27th of November 2015

Thank you for this post. I am on my way out of my second marriage ( very hard to admit ). I love the part where you said that once women leave they have essentially already been gone for a while. That is so true, and I remember feeling that way during the first divorce. The first marriage was dangerous and it was easier for others to support my decision, but this time around things are much more subtle and hard to put your finger on (although there are some big issues of concern at play as well). But, regardless of how it seems to my husband or anyone else I know that I have endured this pain and loneliness for years and made every reasonable and desperate effort to turn things around. I'm at peace with my decision. It's nice to hear other women proudly stand up for making a difficult decision in order to honor their own pursuit of happiness.


Wednesday 25th of November 2015

Wow! I read this post because the thought has crossed my mind, but for very good reason. I can't imagine walking away just because I didn't feel emotionally 'in love' anymore. I thought marriage was for better or worse and a commitment before God that you would be there forever. Of course, there are exceptions such as infidelity, abuse and addiction.....but were you really committed if you were willing to leave once the feelings of love (which is really just infatuation) goes away?


Sunday 29th of November 2015

I gave it 19 years so I'd say I gave it a good shot.

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