Have you ever felt massive confusion about whether the relationship you’re in right now is the right one for you to be in for the long-term? That feeling of not really knowing how to get to the right answer can be so anxiety producing.
Most of us have been there at one point or another in life. As confusing as deciding whether to stay or go in a relationship can be, there are key warning signs to look for and strategic questions to ask yourself, which is exactly what I will be breaking down for you today in this post.
The first question to ask yourself is: when it’s just you when you’re looking in the mirror and you’re by yourself, do you down deep in your truest heart know the truth? Do you believe that the relationship is over, but your fear of having to make a move stops you from acknowledging it?
The second question is: do you feel confused? Many of my clients, particularly high-functioning women, report feeling confused and torn in their relationships. They don’t really want to end it, but there’s always a ‘but’ and when we really dig down, most of the time when someone comes in and they’re presenting with confusion, what they’re really feeling is that it’s not the right relationship, but they don’t want to make waves or hurt their partner. They never learned how to draw boundaries. They don’t know how to do it in a right way in their mind and feel that if the other person hasn’t ‘done anything wrong’ that they don’t have a good enough reason to end the relationship. (Note: Not being in love is a good enough reason.)
The third question is: when was the last time you had fun together? Really think about it. When was the last time, as a couple, you spent time belly-laughing about something? Can you think of that time? Does it come to your mind easily?
The next question is: do you want to tell them your deepest, darkest feelings or not really? Are they still the person that you want to tell everything to, like in the beginning when you first fell in love?
Of course, the follow up to that is: do you trust them with your deepest, darkest feelings? Are they someone who is trustworthy, or do you fear that they may use that information against you in a fight? Have they become someone you feel you need to protect yourself from? Because that’s definitely an indication that something needs to change (or end).
Can you list 10 things that you still love about your partner? I’m sure when you first started seeing this person there were plenty of things that you loved about them. And then the next question is, do you think that they could list 10 things that they still love about you? You don’t have to ask them but deep down you know…how it would go if you did ask them?
The next question is: do you talk to them just to talk? Do you remember when you were first together? Sometimes people will talk about the first date when they talked for hours. So, do you ever talk just to talk – to find out more about that person even if you’ve been together for many years? Because I find with a lot of couples that stops happening. It’s like we simply forget to talk to each other for the sake of nurturing the connection.
The next question is: do you really share your truest self as you’ve changed and grown over the years (if you’ve been together for years) or again, do you find yourself hiding your true self from that person because they don’t feel like a safe person, or you don’t think they’d be interested? This is not always because of disagreements – it could be apathy, or a lack of connection.
There are many ways that our relationships change and these questions will hopefully help you decide if there is still enough there that you can choose to work on. Maybe there are things that you can do that would make it better, that would make it different. But before you can make any decision like that, you actually have to decide if you want to and if it’s worth your effort or if you are really done in your heart of hearts.
The next question is: do you communicate when you have a problem with them or do you find that either you don’t care anymore or you’re afraid it’s going to turn into a fight? Or perhaps you feel there is no point as nothing is going to change?
Another question to really examine is: are you still having sex? And if the answer is yes, are you still having sex because you really want to or because you feel obliged to so as to avoid conflict? Are you still having sex but don’t feel connected? Is there a lack on TRUE intimacy?
The next question is: do you find yourself picking fights because unconsciously you really want the other person to end the relationship? This can be a hard thing too, but it happens all the time because your heart wants what your heart wants and if you are really checked out of that relationship, there’s a part of you that wants to move on, but you may not know how to handle it directly.
When you find yourself daydreaming or even future tripping about your life, is the person you’re currently involved with part of that future? Do you see yourself with them in five years from now or four years from now? Or do you have daydreams that don’t include them? Because this would be a real indication that secretly somewhere down deep, you don’t see yourself with them long-term, but may not want to admit it.
Another really good question is: do you miss your partner when you are separated? Of course in ANY long-term relationship, there is nothing wrong with having a day where it feels nice to be independent again and get to spend quality time WITHOUT your partner – that’s healthy and normal – but if you’re apart from them for a week, do you miss them or are you relieved to be away from them rather than finding yourself actually missing them? If you’re apart and you have to call them, does it feel more like a chore than something that you want to do?
Some of these questions are hard questions to ask yourself and so much of the time, we can make ourselves so incredibly busy (especially when raising kids, working through financial hardships, etc.) that we don’t ask these questions for years. Sometimes there are other pressing situations that must be prioritized over our heart’s desire, but how you feel really still matters.
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I am not telling you to end your relationship, but I really just want you to use this video as a guide to get to your own real space – your own truth of what is real for you.
The bottom line is that denial and avoidance only work for so long and can set you up to be vulnerable to having an affair because sometimes if we feel that we can’t end the relationship ourselves, we subconsciously desire to “get caught” doing something like that as we know it will force the issue to a conclusion – but that’s a very messy way to end a relationship. Nobody wants that for you or for that other person that you’ve loved, regardless of whether you think that they’re your forever person anymore.
I have one more question: Do you feel physically drawn to your partner? When you’re in a room with them, do you still want to be close to them or snuggle up to them? I don’t necessarily mean in a sexual way, but just in a physically affectionate way – or do you feel like you actually want to put distance between you?
There is a lot to think about when you ask yourself these questions, and the truth is that deep down if you are honest with yourself, you already know the answers. What I hope for you is that this video inspires you to ask the hard questions so that you can get into a position of either intentionally deciding to work on the relationship, or lovingly end the relationship. I’m going to do a follow-up video about how to separate consciously, lovingly and mindfully – so that if we do need to end a relationship, we can do it without annihilating the other person – which is unkind and not necessary.
To view the video click HERE and I hope that you have found this deep dive helpful and remember as always, take care of you.
Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.