Written by Michelle Robinson
When is it time to move on?
Last month I was fortunate to be a presenter at the Energy and Wellbeing Expo, held at the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough.
During the weekend I also offered short intuitive counselling sessions and some Oracle Card readings with my own Oracle Deck, ‘The Daily Compass’.
After 13 sessions with a range of lovely individuals, I realized that one challenge kept recurring in the lives of those who were seeking my help.
That challenge is summed up in these two questions:
How can I tell if my relationship has reached the end of its natural life? When is the right time to move on, and how do I know?
Of the 13 people I worked with that weekend, 12 had significant issues with a partner. Most had been in the relationship for several years, sometimes even for decades, and the prospect of breaking up was very stressful. It was stressful even though these individuals recounted many examples of poor treatment, unkindness, threats and sometimes even abuse.
What they were seeking, was for someone (me) to let them know it was okay to leave that unhappy relationship, and that leaving did not make them a bad person. They desperately needed to know that they deserved a happier future.
I wished I could have helped my expo-friends truly understand that they are responsible for only their life. I know that caring for children and vulnerable adults is the exception to this statement, but, in the world of adults, we are responsible for our own life first and foremost.
No-one has the right to make us feel responsible for theirs. No-one has the right to bully, control, intimidate, guilt, or harass us into intimacy that we do not freely choose.
So – how do we know when a relationship has reached the end of its natural life?
I have no magic wand answer. This must be a choice each person makes for themselves.
Relationships evolve with time. The feelings and energies shared by partners are organic, changing as each person grows, struggles, thrives and battles through life’s experiences.
We all have our share of good times and hard, and our relationships cannot escape the impact of these experiences.
Sometimes we emerge from a significant experience feeling like a different person, with new values, priorities and needs. That can be liberating, life-changing and exciting. We may yearn for ‘something more’ from life, and our partner may not understand us any longer. What felt natural in the past may no longer feel that way, opening rifts of confusion between us.
Sometimes, we, or our partner, become stuck in unhelpful patterns like depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, and resentment. Life may not feel fair, and relationships crumble under the strain of an unhappiness no-one knows how to fix.
It takes work and commitment to remain emotionally close to a long-term partner.
I share here just a few strategies that may help:
• Communicate your feelings openly and honestly, often. Take responsibility for how you feel.
• Check you and your partner have a shared vision and direction for the future.
• Find the courage to express what you need from a partner. Listen to your partner’s needs as well. Are you still compatible?
• Seek professional help for any mood disorders or medical conditions that are impacting your relationship. Take responsibility for your own behaviour and do not feel responsible for anyone else’s.
• Honestly assess if you are valued and loved in your relationship. Know you are worthy of that.
• Always seek professional help if you are at risk, or your partner is at risk, of harm.
If you have given your relationship your best effort, and the natural feelings of affection, love and intimacy have become only a ghost in your memory, then perhaps you will ask yourself if your relationship has reached the end of its natural life. If you feel consistently unhappy or are made to feel responsible for someone else’s unhappiness, assess what these feelings mean for you.
All decisions are always your choice. Your free will must guide your decision making. I would only suggest that when making any important life-decision, you access the best professional advice and support. Make sure the timing is right and look after your own well-being.
Until next time,