What you need to know:
- Leaving your romantic relationship will hurt deeply. It will also make you feel overly vulnerable.
- Unexpected crises may be your reason to leave a romantic relationship.
- There is no shame in quitting a relationship that has zero or very little benefits to you.
The mental and psychological toll of ending a romantic relationship can be overwhelming. However, when a relationship takes the wrong turn, there will always be tell-tale signs that show if you should quit or stay. These signs become visible once you start to critically analyse the status of your relationship.
Ken Munyua, a psychologist based in Nairobi suggests taking stock of your relationship to get a clear picture. “Check whether there are feeds to sustain your relationship when your feelings dwindle. How compatible are you? How do you communicate? What are your visions, goals, and outlooks in life?” he says. Munyua says that if you find out that you are not sure about the state of your relationship, how you feel about your partner, or the direction the relationship has taken, consider leaving because being in the relationship is not practical. Time, finances, career progression, and objectives must also be among your list of influences when deciding to quit. For example, you do not want to commit to someone who’s not interested in career progression or who is always raking in bad debts. Dr. Chris Hart, a psychologist and the author of Single and Searching says the time you spend together can tell you if you’re sailing in the same boat or not. “It’ll be time to sail on alone if you do not spend time together, despite being in close proximity, or if the effort to meet is one-sided,” says Dr. Hart.
According to Dr. Hart, you should examine the type of emotions and feelings you have towards your partner. For instance, if you have been dating someone for several months and you are still not sure about them, your relationship is heading nowhere. This is echoed by Munyua who says there should be more than just feelings to keep you in the relationship. “Always know that your romantic flame will go off at some point. If that happens, will there be enough glue to keep you together? If there’s nothing beyond physical attraction, you may as well spare your heart,” he says.
Sexual intimacy is a key pillar of a good and working relationship. Dr. Hart says that if there’s a pattern of bad and selfish sex, you should consider quitting your relationship. “Good sex is an integral part of the relationship. Having bad sex could mean that there’s no chemistry between the two of you. It could also be an indicator that you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t care about your needs, feelings of pleasure,” he says.
You might feel guilty for leaving a relationship, especially if the other party succeeds in laying the blame on you. But Dr. Jennice Vilhauer, the author of Think Forward to Thrive says that there is no shame in quitting a relationship that has zero or very little benefits to you. “Leaving might be painful, but staying should not be substituted with your self-respect, dignity, physical, emotional, and mental well-being,” she says.
According to Susan Gacheru, a relationship and family coach, lack of balance is one of the key tell-tale signs that your relationship will hit the rocks. “Progressive relationships are never tilted towards one partner. If one partner treats the other well, it is reciprocated in kind,” she says. “However, if your partner treats you badly when you treat them like royalty, you may consider sparing your kind treatment for someone who will appreciate you.” At the same time, if you are always spending little time together even though you’re not so far apart, it may be time for you to go your separate ways. “If you hardly spend time together or don’t even know when you’ll see each other next, or you usually find it difficult to arrange to meet, you should quit,” says Dr. Hart.
Finances and career
Do not fear walking out if your financial and career aspirations are not in sync. For instance, see where you envision yourself career-wise and financially over the next few years and evaluate whether the same attitude and hard work you have towards your individual improvement is reflected in your partner. If not, break up.
It is not always bad behaviour by your partner that could push you out of a relationship. According to psychologist Dr. Randi Gunther, unexpected crises may be your reason to leave a romantic relationship. These could be major illnesses, accidents, work demands, and loss of financial stability. “If you are unable to triumph over such stressors, you will run the risk of finding your partner inadequate,” she says.
The growth process
You should walk away if your relationship doesn’t grow or doesn’t have conflicts. “Lack of conflicts may seem like an ideal and admirable thing on the surface, but it’s a warning sign that both of you no longer need to pay much attention to each other and your relationship has no challenges, ambitions, and no growth. You’ve emotionally broken up but are still physically together,” says Dr. Gunther. On the other hand, she says that if your relationship is constantly giving you scars without growing you, then it’s time to leave.
Once you decide to leave, it is highly likely that the other party will respond by making attempts at drawing you back into the relationship. This could be through phone calls, text messages, online chats, or even delegations. Be clear from the outset if there is the possibility of getting back together. Dr. Robert Taibbi, the author of Doing Couple Therapy says that you must be proactive and considerate in your response. “You need to have a fresh policy of communicating with him. For example, you may say no to text messages or decide that you will only pick his calls during the day,” he says.
The rebound hookups
Leaving your romantic relationship will hurt deeply. It will also make you feel overly vulnerable. To cushion yourself against these feelings, you may be tempted to engage in casual rebound hookups. It will be a mistake to fall for this. “Don’t try to numb your pain using rebound sex. Acknowledge them, start afresh routine, and develop new habits that will emphasise your individuality. If you have moved out of a house you shared, make your environment different from what you were used to,” says Dr. Hart. For instance, you can start by getting rid of possible emotional triggers that could lead you into another relationship that is as bad as the one you’re pulling yourself out of. “If you have been living with your ex, try and make your home different from what you have been used to,” he says.