One of the worst feelings you can have in a relationship is the notion that your partner and the relationship itself is holding you back. You sit there thinking about what you could be doing if you were with someone else or single altogether. The grass always looks greener on the other side. Is it really, though? Let’s find out.
Why do you feel held back?
The most important thing to figure out is what exactly makes you feel held back. You may be surprised by the answer. My ex-girlfriend felt like I was holding her back because we didn’t go out as often as she wanted. We broke up, I moved out, and she still doesn’t go anywhere. It turns out it wasn’t my fault after all, it was her work schedule. There went a perfectly good relationship down the drain over something I had nothing to do with. Thus, it is important to look at what’s actually holding you down and not what you think is holding you down.
Have you been communicating your feelings?
In a lot of instances your partner wants what’s best for you. They can’t possibly know what you need if you don’t tell them. Your goals, aspirations, needs, and wants are virtually unknown if you don’t tell your partner what they are. They may very well be willing and able to help you and fix these feelings that you have. By not telling them you’re essentially sabotaging your own relationship because you’re resenting them for something they don’t know they’re doing because they don’t know what you need. Think about that.
How does your partner really make you feel?
It’s very important to put what your significant other does for you into perspective. Maybe they’re doing more than you think they are. Maybe they’re doing less than you think they are. Regardless, you should see exactly what roll they play in your life. If it’s not a big enough roll, maybe it’s time you gave them a big enough roll. If you look at what they’ve done and it’s virtually nothing, maybe it’s time to cut them loose. In either case, if you’re feeling held back in a relationship chances are that there is something going on that you’re missing.
Does your relationship define you?
This is probably the toughest question on this list that you need to answer. It’s tough to see how you define yourself. Have you changed for your relationship? Is it a change you like? Here’s the catch-22: Everyone has to change for their relationship at least a little bit. You can’t be the same person you were when you were single. On the other hand, if you change too much you could lose your identity. If everything you do is for the relationship and you don’t make time for yourself anymore, then you should talk to your partner about these feelings. Like we said earlier, he or she can’t fix a problem they don’t know you’re having.
Does your partner appreciate and support you?
It seems like a harmless and easy question but different people express themselves in different ways. What you think appreciation and support should look like may differ from what other people think appreciation and support looks like. Like we’ve mentioned a bunch of times already, communication is the key here. If you don’t feel appreciated, it’s time to talk to your partner about it. They’re either dropping the ball or maybe they’re appreciating and supporting you in a way that you’re not accustomed to. You should find out which it is.
Do you actually feel held back?
Is the feeling you have actually one of someone who is being held back? Depression can come in many forms. Feelings of inadequacy can as well. What you may be experiencing is a wholly different feeling altogether. Mistaking one feeling for another isn’t something to be embarrassed or ashamed about because it happens all the time. People may appear angry about something when they’re really upset about something else entirely. While we’re on this quest of self discovery, ask yourself if maybe the trapped feeling you have isn’t something different.
Objectively, would you really be happier without your partner?
When you’re thinking about something that appears to be better than what you have now, it’s important to imagine what it would truly be like without someone. When we think of leaving someone, we only think of the good things. You’ll get rid of some bad feelings but you’ll also get rid of a lot of good feelings. It’s important to truly weigh what you’re losing with what you would gain if you ended your relationship.
The bottom line is that you should make absolutely sure things are the way you think they are before you make any actions. There is always a chance you’re blowing things out of proportion (we’ve all done it) and that things simply aren’t that bad. They may very well be much worse! In either case, make sure you think long and hard about it because if you blow up your relationship, chances are you won’t be able to get it back.
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