The road to a fulfilling, enduring relationship is almost always littered with a few attempts that turned out to be unfulfilling and unenduring. That’s what dating is all about—finding out if two people have the qualities and compatibility to sustain a relationship over the long haul. Sometimes you know for sure when it’s time to break up. But other times you’re not so sure. Should you hang in there and give it a chance? Or should you move on so you don’t squander precious time and energy?
Many people involved in long-term relationships find that they have given up their dreams, plans and future to “fit” into someone else’s. The difficulty in breaking up often stems from people forgetting how to be self-sufficient. This creates a fear of loss and insecurity, which fuels the desire to keep unhealthy relationships together.
Everyone experiences low points in their relationships. That’s normal and most couples work through these times. But seriously, breaking up is hard to do and inspires procrastination in the best of us. The writing may have been on the wall for months or even years, yet the exit out of a relationship can be a painstakingly slow process. Even without marriage and children in the mix, wrestling with the dilemma of when to hold and when to fold is often painful.
There are times when it may be blindingly obvious to everyone around you that it’s time to walk away, yet you still need to come to your own conclusion. Loyalty, commitment and a willingness to work through difficult times are all valuable qualities to bring to any relationship but it’s good to be aware that these virtues can also sometimes work against us and cause us to prolong the suffering by clinging to a relationship long after it has ceased to be good for us. But most important, is to give yourself some space and time to really explore what you are thinking and feeling.