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

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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.

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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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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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