How do you know when it is time to break up with your partner?
I get this question from my clients often.
Sometimes it isn't about a romantic partner, it could be a business relationship, a friendship or a mentor-mentee agreement.
If you have not yet listened to my podcast on How to Build a Dream Relationship or downloaded my free workbook, then I highly recommend you check out these free resources for a more in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes playbook you are always checking your relationship against to see if it is "good" or not.
Some of my clients go through this process and will say:
"I totally get that my partner is an adult and can do whatever they want. I totally get that my list of expectations for them is about me and not them. BUT what if they aren't doing the things I like anymore? When is enough enough and when should I break up with them?"
I am always curious at that point about why they got together in the first place.
Did you get into a relationship to accomplish something together as a team?
Did you get in a relationship with this person because you liked a lot of things about them and wanted to spend more time together?
Did you love their vision, their sense of humour, or how much fun you had together?
The answer is always "Yes".
Never once has anyone told me: "I got into this relationship so my partner could jump through hoops to make me happy and I could jump through hoops to make them happy too."
And yet, most clients I talk to think that their partner has a moral obligation to do things that will create happiness for the other.
The Problem With This
The problem is, it is never someone else's actions that make you happy or unhappy, it is your thoughts.
Someone saying "I love you" doesn't make you feel that love, your own thoughts do that.
Imagine a total stranger came up to you randomly and said "I love you". I bet you wouldn't "feel" their love because they don't know you at all. Instead of feeling loved, you might feel creeped out or wonder if they had mistaken you for someone they know.
They might actually feel like they love you, but you wouldn't because your thoughts determine how you feel, not someone else's words or actions.
And yet most people hang their emotional wellbeing on the words and actions of their partner every day.
If you value getting flowers on your birthday and your spouse doesn't send you flowers that day, you might make it mean that they don't love you and your brain will get to work looking for evidence that it is true.
Before long, your experience of this once fun happy partnership has turned bitter. You find all the ways your partner isn't living up to your expectations and then you act out that displeasure start finding ways to punish them, start arguments and sabotage the whole thing.
Tomorrow I will help you answer this question about whether you should stay or leave your relationship, but before that I recommend you do this exercise:
1. Write a list of all the things you wish your partner would do
2. For each item imagine the emotion you would feel and write it beside each item
3. Imagine what it would be like for you to fulfill all of those items and in turn take ownership of feeling those positive feelings for yourself.
4. If all those desires and positive feelings were taken care of by you and your partner was simply there to enjoy your life with, would you want to stay in the relationship or go?
Do this exercise to help you shed light on where you are at before you read Part 2 and answer this question tomorrow. Need some coaching on this? Sign-up for a 20 minute free session with me now.