S1 EP54 – When to Leave a Relationship
Are you struggling with whether or not to stay in a relationship? If you are in a challenging relationship, do you believe it’s easier to start over with someone new? Discover the surprising statistics about second and third marriages, and why they have such a poor success rate. Before leaving your relationship, you might want to heal your end of your relationship system and see what happens.
Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the inner bonding podcast. Yes. And today I want to talk about when to leave a relationship. The question yeah. Of when to leave a relationship comes up over and over with many of the people I work with. For example, Catherine and Matthew, both in their fifties, you guys have been together for two years, both have been previously married and divorced. When they met, they fell madly in love, which lasted for a few months. And then the conflicts started both Catherine and Matthew left their marriages because they were with partners who were unwilling to open, to learning from conflict.
They both wanted to find a partner who would learn and grow with them. They found each other at a personal growth seminar. However, each time a conflict occurs, which is often at this point in their relationship. Yep. They both threatened to leave. Catherine is constantly yelling. I’ve had it. I’m leaving. And Matthew yells, why don’t you just yes. Leaf. They each have a foot out the door. Catherine and Matthew are stuck in a typical control resist relationship system. Catherine wants to leave because she’s so frustrated by Matthew’s constant withdrawal and resistance while Matthew wants to leave because he can’t stand Catherine’s constant attempts to control him and make him responsible for her feelings and leaving their marriages.
Of course, they each took their controlling and resistant behaviors with them. So leaving is a waste of time for Catherine and Matthew, because these two people have exactly what they asked for someone to learn and grow with. Both Catherine and Matthew are willing to learn and explore. At some point after the conflict, each is slowly becoming more aware of their end of the dysfunctional relationship system. If they leave, they have no one to come up against no one who triggers their issues. So their issues will not be addressed until they’re in another relationship.
And then the same issues will surface. Of course, the people I work with often believe that it would be easier to start over with someone else or easier to be alone. I assure them that in my experience, all learning and growing relationships are very challenging. That all couples who desire to create a really wonderful and loving relationship have to go through the trenches of healing, their woundedness within the relationship, maybe easier to be alone, but it’s lonely. And the major relationship issues never get healed.
The statistics show second and third marriages indicate that it’s actually, isn’t easier to start over with someone else. According to research at the forest, into the forest Institute of professional psychology in Springfield, Missouri, while 50% of first marriages end in divorce, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages. And in divorce, are you surprised from my experience, many people who end their marriages have not learned what they need to learn.
So they take their same fears and insecurities and their resulting controlling, and self abandoning behaviors with them into their second and third marriages. So of course, eventually they create the same or similar relationship system. Most people who leave relationships believe that the problem is mostly their partner, but relationships are systems. As I’ve often said with both people participating in the system, if you’re not aware of the overt and subtle ways you control and abandon yourself in your relationship, then you will, as I said, take all your wounded behaviors with you into your next relationship.
The thing is we keep attracting the same kind of person, as long as we are the same kind of person. I’ve long maintained that leaving a marriage before you’ve dealt with your own controlling and self abandoning behaviors is often a waste of time. Unless of course, you’re in a physical and or emotional you’re in physical or emotional danger. And the research on marriage has proves that this is true, that that leaving before dealing with your end, unless there’s danger is a waste of time. If partners were devoted to healing their controlling self abandoning wounded selves, the dif the divorce stats would go down.
Self-abandonment leads to trying to control your partner into giving you the attention, love and approval that you’re not giving to yourself. There’s little possibility of sharing love and fun and passion with your partner. When your intent is to have control over getting law and to avoid both the pain of your own self-abandonment and the inevitable loneliness and heartache that exists in all relationships to varying degrees until your intent changes from protecting controlling and avoiding, to learning, to love yourself and sharing your love with your partner. You’re going to keep creating the same relationship dynamics over and over.
Ryan consulted with me because the love of his life, the woman, he thought he would spend the rest of his life with left him after an intense six month courtship, both Ryan and Roz had been married before. In fact, Ron had been married three times before both in their early sixties. Their relationship seemed to be made in heaven. They could laugh and play together. And the chemistry between them was intense. Ron’s was a giver, a caretaker who had learned to give everything in relationships and would then feel engulfed and trapped. Ryan was a taker and was so enthralled by Roz’s giving that it didn’t take him long to completely abandoned responsibility for his feelings, for his wellbeing.
And of course, making Roz responsible for him, Roz, not knowing how to articulate her feelings of engulfment or how to take loving care of herself in the face of Ryan’s pull on her abruptly ended the relationship. And that’s when Ryan called me. The point here is that neither Ryan or Roz had dealt with their one dad’s house, both were abandoning themselves. And in different ways, trying to have control over getting love and avoiding pain. The relationship was fantastic at the beginning before their wounded selves got triggered. You know, it’s, it’s sad that Roz wasn’t willing to work on her end of the relationship system.
And it is hopeful that Ryan now working on his will heal enough so that he won’t repeat it. This system. Again, You’re a person who deeply desires to continue your emotional and spiritual growth and or with a partner who also desires this, then don’t leave no matter how bad the fights get or the distance gets, unless there’s continued physical violence or intense, emotional, verbal abuse, keep at it. It’s too easy to leave. It’s too easy to blame. The other person. It’s too easy to miss the incredible opportunities that relationship provide for healing and growth.
It’s especially important to hang in there when children are involved. I’m not saying to stay just for the children. Obviously, if you’re with a physically violent or emotionally abusive partner, you, you need to leave. If you’re with a partner who has no desire to take any personal responsibility or a substance abuser, a gambling addict, a sex addict who has no desire to heal from his or her addiction, then you might want to leave. But if you have a partner who is on a growth path, who’s willing to explore with you is willing to have counseling with you, willing to learn, to take for him or herself, then leaving.
Isn’t the answer, no matter how difficult things get at times, you have a responsibility to yourself, your partner, and your family, to do the healing you came to this planet to do. If you’re with a partner who is at least some of the time open to learning with me, open to learning with you, it’s important to me too. You are indeed very, very fortunate. The relationship will take you to the depths of your dark side and to the Heights of your ability to love will take you where you need to go. So don’t give up just because it gets so hard.
The challenge is to keep going within connecting with your feelings, with your inner wisdom and learning what it means to move beyond compliance, anger, resistance, withdrawal, taking things personally, punishing the other threats and bullying blame and being a victim. Even if you think that you’re open and that your partner isn’t, it would be in your highest good to stay in the relationship until you’re able to remain loving to yourself and your partner, no matter what your partner is doing other than abuse, of course, as long as you’re triggered by your partner’s behavior, there’s more you can learn about and heal.
And there’s no point in leaving. If you reach a point where you’re no longer triggered, but your partner’s on loving behavior, you might discover that your partner has also changed. Even though you believe that he or she wasn’t open to learning and growing. If your partner remains closed, and there’s not much more for you to learn within the relationship, then it might be time for you to leave. Heather asked me the following question, my boyfriend and I are on a two month break. And during this time I realize I’ve been trying to fix my boyfriend so that he would be the loving adult.
To me. I’ve been abandoning myself for five years in the relationship first, by not taking loving care of myself with a substance addiction. And then by pushing him to go well, it was his, his substance addiction. And then by pushing him to go to an addiction therapist and a 12 step program. And now in her Bonnie also, I could control his indulgent behavior and get the love I needed from him. I’m trying to decide if I should stay or leave. My inner conversations are not yet kind and compassionate toward myself. And I’m not feeling very supported. I just keep hearing a harsh voice telling me to leave.
How do I decide? What’s loving to me? Well, since Heather has been abandoning herself, she can’t know the answer to whether she should stay or leave until she’s practicing her bonding long enough to develop her loving adult self. The time to leave is when she’s taking loving care of herself, no longer trying to fix her boyfriend and no longer needy of his love to feel good about herself. The fact that her inner conversations are not loving and kind towards herself indicates that her wound itself is in charge, which is why she can’t come to what is true and loving for herself.
The first thing Heather needs to do is let go of trying to decide whether to stay or leave and instead focus on her intention until she shifts her intent from controlling him and controlling her own feelings to loving herself, and then sharing her love with him. She won’t know whether staying or leaving the relationship is in her highest good. Now, of course it was revealed to her that her boyfriend was a substance abuser. But what she has to realize is that she’s also addicted. She’s addicted to abandoning herself and trying to control her boyfriend. Once she’s able to function as a loving adult, then she’ll be able to know whether staying in this relationship is in her highest good with her changing.
The relationship may improve due to her growth, or it may get worse. In either case. The answer will become obvious. In my many years of working with married individuals and couples, I’ve come to two very different experiences. I’ve, I’ve actually had two very different experiences regarding people who have divorced. One group of people are happy that they finally left a marriage where they were very, very unhappy. They feel that they have their life back and sometimes even their health back, they feel relief and freedom and are proud of themselves that they finally got themselves out of a bad situation.
But the other group has huge regrets. They look back and see that if they had hung in and worked on themselves, they could likely have created a loving relationship. They are disillusioned with their experience of dating and they realized that their ex is a good person and a caring person. Most of the time, their ex is moved on and is in another relationship. So when is leaving the answer for you ending your relationship may be the answer for you when you’re in a relationship with a drinking alcoholic, a drug addict, or a compulsive gambler who has no intention of healing.
You’re in a relationship, a physically or emotionally abusive person who has no intention of healing. Your partner is physically or emotionally abusive with you or with your children. You’re in a relationship with a gambling addict. And this is causing financial hardship. You’re in a relationship with a sex addict who, who constantly demands sex from you or, and or who has multiple affairs and who has no intention of healing. You’re in a relationship with someone who refuses to carry his or her own way and is draining you financially and is unwilling to do the inner work necessary to heal.
You’re in a relationship with someone with a severe personality disorder, such as a narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder, and is not motivated to heal. You want an emotionally connected and intimate relationship. And you’re in a relationship with someone who has no interest in a deeper, emotional connection and no desire to work on the relationship. You desire to have a baby. And you thought your partner wanted a child too, but now he or she says no to having children, you have fully explored and healed what originally attracted you to your partner so that you don’t repeat the same mistake you’ve explored and healed your end of the relationship system, such as your neediness, caretaking, enabling anger, blame compliance, addictions, and you feel happy with yourself.
These above situations, the ones that I mentioned may not change or be resolvable. They may be deal-breakers. If you’re in these situations, then you need to get some help in deciding what you can accept and what you can’t accept. If you can’t accept these situations, then you need to leave. Particularly, as I said, if there’s abuse and you’ve done your own inner work, are you thinking of leaving? Because your spouse often gets angry, blaming and judgemental with you or your spouse is often withdrawn, resistant and uncommunicative your spouse won’t discuss things or, or try to resolve conflict.
With you, there’s no passion in the relationship. Your spouse is addicted to work, TV, sports, spending, exercise, food, nicotine, you feel bored with your spouse. You feel you no longer have anything in common. Everything is an argument. You feel lonely in the relationship. You’re not getting your needs met. Your partner’s not turned on to you and rarely wants to have sex with you or vice versa. Your partner is having an affair, or you think your partner is having an affair, these situations, and this may surprise you, but these situations can often be resolved because there are gender because are generally situations that are there that are the result of a dysfunctional relationship system.
Leaving might not be the answer for you. If you’re angry and blaming your partner for your unhappiness and have not done your inner work to learn, to take responsibility for your own feelings, as long as you’re abandoning yourself and making your partner responsible for your feelings ending, the relationship is actually a waste of time. As I’ve said, if you believe that the problems are mostly about your partner, then you haven’t yet done the inner healing work to learn about your end of the relationship system. Leaving is a waste of time, unless you fully understand and heal why you were originally attracted to your partner and you fully understand and heal your end of the relationship system.
Leaving might not be the answer for you. If the passion and intimacy, which were originally a part of your relationship have gone out of the relationship, but you and your partners still care about each other. And so there is hope if you, you still care about each other, when this is the case is likely that if each of you are willing to learn about your own end of the protective controlling system, which is limiting the passionate intimacy, the relationship can heal and leaving might not be the answer for you. If you have children, and you’re both involved with your children, maybe you have a companionship relationship. You’re getting along well and enjoy each other as friends, without the chemistry involved in being good lovers.
If this is acceptable to both of you, then staying together, maybe fine while you’re raising your children. If it’s not acceptable to both of you, then staying together might not be the answer. So if you’re experiencing any of these situations, the first thing you need to do is get your eyes off your partner and onto what you’re doing. You’re going to stay stuck. If you’ve convinced yourself that the problems are primarily your partner’s fault. Are you ready to be honest with yourself and your participation in the problems in the relationship, ask yourself, am I being reactive to my partner by getting angry, blaming, judging, or threatening?
Am I being reactive to my partner by resisting or withdrawing in response to my partner’s behavior? Am I giving myself up, going along with things rather than speaking up and telling my truth about what I want and don’t want, if you’re doing any of these things, you’re trying to control your partner rather than take responsibility for your feelings. As long as you’re trying to control your partner with these reactions, rather than learn to take responsibility for your own feelings, you’re going to be creating the very problems that are causing you to want to leave your relationship.
In these situations. You learn nothing by leaving and you will continue the same dysfunctional reactive behavior in your next relationship. Even if it’s okay to end up alone, you will not have learned how to take responsibility for your own feelings without learning this. You will likely be no happier alone than you were in the marriage. Unless of course, as I said, over and over, there was physical or emotional abuse. Taking responsibility for your feelings means that when you’re feeling badly, you go inside and explore what you aren’t telling yourself or doing that’s causing you to feel badly.
It means that you stop being a victim of your partner and learn to treat yourself with love and kindness means that you learn to practice inner bonding throughout the day. And especially when you’re feeling empty or alone inside with a lack of peace, a lack of fullness inside whenever you’re feeling badly, if you learn to take responsibility for your own feelings and make yourself joyful and peaceful, there’s a good possibility that your relationship will heal. If you decide that your relationship is we’re saving, here are seven choices you can make that may completely change the course of your relationship.
One is be honest with yourself regarding your primary intention is your primary intention to protect yourself from your fears with some form of controlling behavior, such as anger, blame criticism, withdrawal of love, threats, compliance, or resistance is having power over your partner and winning more important to you than being loving to yourself and to your partner. Do you mean make your partner responsible for your feelings? Are you more devoted to getting love and avoiding rejection than to mutuality caring and sharing of love, or is your primary intention to learn about loving yourself and your partner?
Are you more devoted to mutuality, caring and sharing love than to being right, winning, having your way or making your partner responsible for your feelings is learning more important to you than whether or not you receive attention. Lover approval. Basic to all the other choices is being in the intention to learn about loving yourself and others. If your primary intention is to protect yourself from pain and rejection, with controlling behavior, you will have no chance of improving your relationship. You will continue to create the very problems you are attempting to avoid with your controlling behavior.
The second year Joyce is to let go of the past. Hanging on to old grievances is part of the intention to protect that is blaming your partner for your pain, rather than taking responsibility for whatever choices you made that resulted in your unhappiness. The third choice is to disengage from conflict. As soon as one person is not open to learning, there is no point in trying to talk out problems and issues until both people are open to learning. If you are open and your partner isn’t then give up trying to solve problems by talking about them and unilaterally, figure out how to take loving care of yourself in the face of your partners choices.
Fourth choice. Keep your eyes on your own plate. Sharing only about yourself and your own learning. Let go of analyzing or defining your partner. Let go of interrogating questions that are really attacks. These behaviors are controlling and invasive. Your job is to define yourself, not your partner. The more you define your own inner worth and let go of attempting to define your partner or judge your partner in any way, the better your relationship will become fifth choice. Do your own inner bonding work to deal with your issues of abandonment and engulfment and to define your own worth and lovability rather than making your partner responsible for your fears of abandonment or your fears of losing yourself, do your inner healing work to move beyond these fears, take full responsibility for these fears and for defining your inner goodness, rather than making your partner responsible for causing your fierce six choice, except your lack of control over your partner.
Choosing instead to see that your partner is his or her own person learned to cherish the differences, rather than try to make your partner into you, support your partner and becoming all he or she came to this planet to be support your partner and what brings him or her joy, taking responsibility for whatever fears your partners independence brings up for you. Seven choice make kindness to yourself and your partner, your guiding light, even when your fears are triggered. Once again, if you’re stuck in the mindset of protection and control, you’re not going to be able to make these choices.
Your intention to learn is basic to being able to make these choices and improve your relationship. You are in charge of your intention and you always have the option to let go of the intention, to protect control and avoid and open to learning about loving yourself and your partner. If you want to see if your relationship can work, then get both feet in there and do your inner bonding work before thinking about leaving. Unless of course, and I’ll say over and over again, there’s abuse. Don’t waste this opportunity to evolve your soul in love.
And if you do want to work on your relationship, I encourage you to take my relationship course. My 30 day online video relationship course wildly, deeply joyously in love. You can take it, whether you’re in a relationship or not, or if you are, even if your partner doesn’t want to do it with you. But of course, if both of you do it, that’s going to be very, very helpful and watch for my upcoming course, starting June 3rd, called the power to joyfully. Love your life, the revolutionary inner bonding process for healing, freedom and vibrant love.
I am sending you my love and my blessing.