Darling you got to let me know. Should I stay or should I go?*
It’s a good question.
When is the right time to call it quits?
Do you feel that you have tried everything to make it work? Have you and your partner explored all possibilities when it comes to working on the relationship?
As much as you both may try, the deep soul-searching, weekends away and date nights may be a flop. There might be nothing left in the relationship tank; perhaps it has holes that just can’t be mended, and no matter how much you keep refilling it, it continues to leak.
The pit in your stomach when you think about separating—the impact on your kids, friends, extended family and your partner, and your financial position—is understandable. Separation is scary.
You can choose to explore separating or staying together in several different ways before actually making the decision:
- Do it yourself: You and your partner can try communicating with one another, reading the self-help books, having date nights, or going on romantic trips or couples’ retreats with professionals to see if these things improve your relationship.
- Individual counselling: You can have one-on-one sessions with a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist to work on yourself, any perceived deal-breakers, the relationship; or examine your decision about whether to separate or stay together.
- Couples counselling: You can both go to counselling to work on the relationship, discuss your value alignment, reconcile, or get help working through the process of separating together.
- Workshops: You can participate in a communication course or workshop with or without your partner to see what affect, if any, it has on your relationship and your decision to separate or stay together.
I’m personally a big fan of Gary Chapman’s 5 Languages of Love quiz. It’s quite insightful when working out how you feel loved by your partner. (You can also do it for your child!). The quiz, which is free to take, identifies how you prioritise feeling loved—whether it is words of affirmation (compliments), acts of service, gifts, quality time and/or physical touch. Imagine then being able to communicate that to your partner.
You can also do the quiz as a single person or in a relationship.
*The Clash’s infamous lyrics to their song ‘Should I Stay or Should I go?’