Letting go

Maureen Leidy:

Maybe you’re still madly in love with your significant other, but something tells you it’s time to let go. How do you know when to let go? There is no foolproof way of knowing when to let go of a relationship. Even experts will agree and disagree on when it is time to let go. So it is important to remember, when you are reading an article or book about relationships, that advice is only advice. The decision-making is up to you.

One great place to start if you are truly confused is to seek professional help. There are people who are trained to help others deal with relationship issues and you can go to them for expert help.

Relationship issues run the full gamut, and it is important to take an honest look at what your issues are. If you are being physically or sexually abused in a relationship, get professional help immediately. It may be extremely hard to tell someone outside your relationship what is happening inside your relationship, but it crucial that you do not put your life at risk in a relationship. It is important that you get help as soon as possible if you are being harmed.

Verbal abuse can also be incredibly damaging. It would be a very wise idea to seek professional help in this case as well. Equally important, you might discover that you are the person abusing your significant other in some way. It is also crucial that you get help in this instance. There are professionals who are qualified to help you discontinue abusing this destructive habit. They will also help you deal with underlying issues. Perhaps you, too, were abused.

There are, of course, zillions of other issues that might make you feel that you are at the end of a relationship. If you stop loving the other person, for instance, maybe you feel it is time to leave. If you know the other person is no longer in love with you, perhaps it is also time to leave. Every relationship has its ups and downs, so it is important to distinguish between the end of love and a mere issue that arises in every relationship.

Other reasons for possibly ending a relationship may include: someone is having an affair, you feel there is someone more compatible out there for you, or you just don’t enjoy each other’s company any longer, etc. Everyone has his/her reason for doubting whether a relationship should continue.

It is a lot easier, of course, to consider ending a short-term relationship than a long-term marriage. When in doubt, seek help. You do not need to make your decision alone. If you want to break up with your boyfriend of two months, perhaps you could consider talking to your friends or parents about it. But if you are thinking of ending a five-year marriage, or even a one-year one, consider getting extra help. Even if the end result after getting help is that you still decide to end the marriage, an expert can guide you through the process.

There are plenty of resources for people seeking help in the area of relationships. Bookstores and libraries have books on relationships. But personal, face-to-face guidance can make an enormous difference. You might consider contacting one or all of the following

1. a religious advisor

2. a spiritual counselor

3. a therapist

4. a psychiatrist

5. a marriage counseling center

6. support group.

If there is alcohol or drug abuse involved in your relationship, consider a 12-step group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon.

Whatever you choose to do, remember that you do not need to do it alone. Ending a relationship can bring up many different emotions, and you do not need to handle these on your own. You are in charge of your life and your decisions, but seeking guidance along the way can make all the difference in the world.