A relationship begins to sour. He doesn’t call or text as often, if at all, and when asked, “What’s wrong?” the man you love is distant and often quite. “Nothing,” he says with a shrug or over text message. Or he tells you that he’s stressed. That he’s feel pressure from somewhere. Maybe you, maybe work, or the injustices of world.
The relationship continues in tortuous limbo. You go through the motions while reminiscing about the happy and stable times. The time you both laughed till snorting because you farted in bed. The time he told you he loved you. The time he surprised you with flowers, just because, or bought you a bottle of your favorite beverage, which meant he was listening. These moments replay in your head as the relationship remains uncertain. You begin to panic. Drunk dial. Demand answers. Demand time. You become that yucky, needy girl you swore you’d never be. And when you’ve hit rock bottom (you woke up with puffy eyes after crying for the fifteenth consecutive day), you wonder: when do I let go?
Evaluating when to move on from a relationship is extremely difficult albeit necessary. Asking yourself that question makes it real. It pushes you to accept that, yes, you are unhappy and, yes, the relationship may just be over. So, when do you let go of a love affair?
Ask yourself the following questions before making that final decision.
- Is this a bump in the road? All relationships go through ups and downs. There will be high and lows because you are sharing your life with another individual, and life is unpredictable. The way we deal with stress, loss, pain, happiness and sadness is uniquely our own. So, maybe your beau needs time. Maybe you need to spice up the relationship or speak to an impartial party about the low points you are both experiencing.
- Are you both committed to the relationship? To commit to someone, especially in marriage, means you are promising to stick it out for better or worse. If your relationship is fairly new and your partner is exhibiting behavior you don’t condone or can’t handle, then maybe it’s time to count your losses.
- Can you handle his behavior pattern? If he is often distant and shuts down, this may just be his mechanism. His detachment is part of the package as is his inconsistency. This is when you evaluate your needs and what you can live with in a relationship. If you can accept him when he is hot and cold or when he chooses to be a bit secretive, then you have accepted the nature of the relationship.
- Does the good outweigh the bad? Think about times he made you smile or laugh. Now, think about times you cried because of your partner and the relationship. Have you cried more than you have laughed? Have you been in pain more than in bliss? If your relationship is full of sorrow then it is time to let go. The lows shouldn’t last forever.
- Are you still having sex? Contrary to popular belief, sex is an important aspect of a relationship for women. This is how women feel needed, desired and loved. Sex is how women feel connected to their partner. If there is no intimacy, the relationship is in trouble. If he is no longer interested in sex, then he may be pushing you away.
- Are your needs being met? We all have needs, and I’m not just talking sexual. Emotional needs are just as important as a romp in the bed, if not more. Women need someone to listen, to talk to and to understand. If your partner has stopped meeting your needs, whatever those are for you, then your partner may no longer invested in the relationship.
- Did he make effort after sharing your concerns? Communicating your concerns is key. And I don’t mean yelling across the kitchen about how he doesn’t satisfy you anymore. Sit down with your partner. Talk to him about how you feel and what you need without using blame, guilt or shame. If you’ve had this conversation with him many times and there is still no change, he may not want to change. And now you’re just nagging.
If you have answered, “No,” to most of these questions, then it may be time to end this love affair. Your needs aren’t being met. You are not happy. You are not satisfied. You don’t understand or accept your partner, and he doesn’t understand or accept you. And, ultimately, you have lived in this state of limbo and sorrow for way too long. So, stop the drunk dialing. Stop the demanding and yammering. Stop weeping into your pillow and just…let…go.