One of the most difficult things to admit is that a relationship that started out great and with so much promise has turned into something bad. When we enter a relationship, we’re wearing rose-colored glasses, focusing on all our partner’s good qualities and ignoring their faults. That’s why our family and friends are better at predicting the outcome of our relationships than we are! Here are three signs that it might be time to end your relationship.
1) You don’t have personal freedom. Relationships are not about controlling another person, they are about giving complete freedom and seeing that each other’s decisions are aligned. Every person has unique needs and the best relationships are ones in which partners fulfill each other’s most important needs. If you find your partner is controlling how you spend money, who you hang out with, how you dress, or any other decisions, take it as a big red flag. People who control their partners are insecure about their ability to meet their needs. They fear that freedom will help their partner realize that life is better without the relationship. A secure partner is confident in their ability to meet the other’s needs; they know that if their partner leaves them for someone else, the relationship wasn’t meant to be. This news might be tough to take at first, but in the end, there’s a better match out there and the relationship's ending opens the door for a more fulfilling union.
2) Your 80/20 ratio is off. One of the most well-known couples researchers, John Gottman, is able to predict divorce with 90% accuracy. How does he do it? By watching partners communicate with each other, and coding their ratio of positive to negative exchanges. Couples should have at least 80% positive interactions. The other 20%, according to Gottman, may never get resolved. The arguments that are present at the start of a relationship are going to remain salient all the way through. Instead of focusing on those sources of conflict, the goal is to enhance the 80%. Work on making the relationship as positive as possible and let the rest go. If you find yourself in a relationship with a ratio slanted towards the negative, it may not be the healthiest. Try to make things work for a period of time, but recognize that expecting a partner to change is not the wisest strategy. It might be time to move on.
3) You wish you were home alone. You’re in a bad relationship when you find yourself wishing, too often, that your partner were not around. You start to realize that life would be easier and happier without them. When you’re in each other’s presence, things are tense, arguments ensue, and you feel unhappy. Waking up each morning is dreadful because they’re still there. Don’t stay in a relationship because you think you won’t find anyone better. Being on your own is better! It takes courage to admit that a relationship has turned sour but you’d be surprised at how strong and happy you can be on your own.
Life is too short to waste time on someone who is not good for you. Your well-being is intricately connected to your partner; when the relationship is great, you’re great! But when it’s not going well, it adversely affects you in a big way. Every relationship experiences tough times and it’s worth working on issues to see if it will improve. But when your happiness and well-being are affected for years or your partner is not helping to make things better (despite repeated requests!), it may be time to go.
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