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10 Questions to Help You Determine When to End a Long-Term Relationship

10 Questions to Help You Determine When to End a Long-Term Relationship

Have you ever been in a state of ambivalence in your relationship where you are not sure whether the two of you fit together or not? Perhaps you continually ask yourself whether you should leave and look for something better and truly fulfilling, or stay committed to the relationship and accept that what you have is good enough.

I have and let me tell you, IT SUCKS!

Ambivalence is that gray area where you are not in the relationship, but you don’t leave it either. It deprives you from joy, intimacy, freedom, hope, and ultimate happiness. A lot of us fall into this deadly trap because of low levels of self-awareness and not knowing how to choose our own happiness, thinking that our happiness depends on outside people and circumstances rather than ourselves.

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How do you increase your level of self-awareness? It’s simple: ask questions.

Relationships are one of the most complex aspects of our lives. They act as doorways to people and experiences that can elevate you to new heights, or drag you down into the mud.

Here are 10 questions that can give you a clear direction of whether to end a relationship or stay committed to it.

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1. If God or some divine being told you it was OK to leave your relationship, would you feel relieved that you could finally leave?

If religion is the only reason you are still together, then the relationship is already dead, and it’s time to leave. There’s no point in staying if your heart is not in it.

2. Are you able to get your needs met in the relationship without too much difficulty?

If getting your individual needs met takes too much effort, then the relationship is doing more harm than good. It’s time to break up.

3. Do you genuinely like your partner, and does your partner seem to genuinely like you?

I know it sounds very basic, but I have seen people who cannot stand each other commit to a relationship that has no future. If you don’t mutually like each other, you don’t belong together.

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4. Do you feel a unique sexual attraction to your partner?

Most people say that only personality matters, not what’s on the outside. I disagree. Physical intimacy is a need in any relationship. If there’s no spark, there’s no point in staying.

5. Does your partner exhibit any behavior that makes the relationship too difficult for you to stay in? Do you find that your partner is either unwilling or incapable of changing?

If your partner behaves in a way that’s intolerable to you, then it’s time for a change or you need to leave. Trying to tolerate the intolerable will only erode your self-esteem.

6. Do you see yourself when you look into your partner’s eyes?

It’s all about compatibility. If you are not compatible, you’re better off with someone else.

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7. Do you and your partner each respect each other as individuals?

No respect = No relationship.

8. Does your partner serve as an important resource for you in a way that you care about?

Your partners is supposed to enhance your life, not drain it. If you feel like every day is a struggle to keep the relationship, and you wouldn’t lose anything important to you by leaving, then leave. Most likely, you will end up finding someone else who is a resource to you.

9. Does your relationship have the demonstrated capacity for forgiveness?

No relationship is perfect, and there will be moments where you will step on each other’s toes. That is perfectly normal. But when there’s no capacity for forgiveness, and resentment slowly builds up until it replaces love, there’s only one thing left to do: leave.

10. Do you and your partner have mutual goals and dreams for your future together?

If you aren’t planning to spend your future together, something’s terribly wrong. Take off.

Featured photo credit: Bob Lancer via wisie.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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