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How to Know When Its Time to Let Go of a Relationship

by Kristen Moutria, studioD

Letting go of a relationship is one of the most difficult things you can do in life. You must deal with your own hurt feelings as well as the feelings of the person you are breaking up with. You also may wonder if you have made the right choice after ending the relationship, or struggle with a partner who tries to manipulate you into changing your mind. Consider the signs that it is time to end your partnership and move on.

Compare Effort to Benefits

When you are wondering if it is time to let go of a relationship, ask yourself how much effort you are putting forth for its success and what you are getting back as a result. You should ask yourself if the ratio of benefits versus effort is less than 60:40, according to Dr. Frankie Bashan, a counselor and therapist. If it is, you might be getting too few rewards for all the work you put in your relationship.You may have heard that a relationship is "give and take," and that some days you may be giving more than your partner. However, if you are consistently giving and not receiving anything in return, it may be time to part ways.

Analyze Your Priorities

While your partner may feel secure as the assumed number-one priority in your life, the reality may be a little different. Perhaps you are passionate about traveling and want to explore the world before you continue in a serious relationship. Maybe you feel a longing to return to school and get the degree you have always wanted. If you find yourself wanting to do large-scale or long-term things without your partner, this may be a sign that you are not ready to continue your relationship and need to end it.

Study Your Conflicting Values

Ask yourself if you and your partner have values that conflict and cause tension in your relationship. For example, if you were raised in a Christian home and feel that Christianity defines a large part of who you are, but you are dating a partner who does not agree with it, you may not have enough in common to keep dating. You might have the desire to have many children while your partner does not want any. A study of 150 dating couples mentioned on the eHarmony website suggests that lack of similarity is the second most common reason couples break up. Huge disagreements will make continuing a relationship difficult in the long run.

Ask What You Can Live With

Ask yourself what constitutes a true "deal-breaker" in your relationship and what merely annoys you. Dr. Bashan suggests asking yourself what would need to be done in order to make these things better, or if there is even a possibility for harmony. If you find that you cannot live with some of your partner's traits, do not force yourself to stay in a relationship that drags you down. Instead, be honest with yourself about the fact that you cannot accept certain facts about the person, and that you would be happier if you ended the relationship.

About the Author

Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

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