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Relationships are a funny thing, there are only two options for all of them. You stay together forever or you break up. Sure, maybe you can be comfortable being friends down the road but that won't be the person you go home to at night.
How do we know when it is the right time to walk away? Is it a feeling or an interaction? It really depends on how well you know yourself and your partner. People will continue to grow with time but you may have hit your limit of growth with that person. This is okay, not everyone is going to be a perfect fit for us no matter how much we care or want it to work. If you are thinking of walking away here are some things that can help you to decide for yourself that have helped me.
Gut Check, Bad Vibes—Whatever you call it, communication is off.
The first thing I usually pick up on is the feelings. All of a sudden something feels "off." What used to be easy feels labored, talking isn't the enjoyable bond it used to be, and even spending quiet time with that person leaves you feeling slightly uncomfortable. Conversations begin to feel short, rushed, and lack depth. For whatever reason the strong communications skills that have been matured and worked at have become stunted, shallow, and regressed. There will be a feeling whenever you see the person's name on your phone or meet with them that is distant and unengaged. Both of you seem more focused on yourselves than the person you care about.
Things that were concrete become optional.
Did you do date night, schedule times to call each other during your busy and frantic weeks? Making time in out lives is important to maintain a relationship, but what happens when your partner is now unavailable? I noticed something was off in our distance relationship when she began to sleep in and past our scheduled phone call times. It started to become an option for both of us. If we could fit it in, then great. If not, well we both continued on with our day. When the optional factor comes into play, one or both of you is starting to step out of the relationship and it is high time to figure out what the real reason is.
Support and the Little Things
All the good morning and goodnight texts go out the window. If you are lucky you might still see them from time to time. Like mentioned above, they have become optional at this point. Wishing them a good day or shift at work has stopped. Them sharing anything in their day comes down to a few words. It was long... I am tired... It was fine.
You wait. Ask more questions. Talk about your day to stimulate conversation and you are met with...
Now what? Most conversations end unfinished and a new day begins. The support that you two have built up for each other has faded and cooled off. What you used to be a fan of has faded almost into apathy. They too have been going the same direction and the overall mood has gone from excitement to tumultuous. This is a hard one and so many thoughts might run through your mind. Are they cheating, are they not in love with me, what aren't they telling me? Sometimes, you've reached a new stage but it isn't the glorious milestone we want.
Negative is Greater than Positive
Small spats are occurring more and the refusal to look from the other person's viewpoint has dissipated. The blame is shifted one way or the other with no solutions or ideas to correct it. Both sides have become entrenched in their beliefs and don't want to give an inch. A tug of war of sorts has occurred and now led compromise to being compromised. This is definitely the final piece. Instead of being supportive teammates, you have become combatants opposing each other each step of the way. The support has stopped and the well dried up.
This is a tough one, you now have to make some choices and they will not be easy. If you aren't together and there is distance what form is respecting your soon to be former partner. Does it even matter? I have grown up as a more traditional guy, face to face is what I was taught. If you're going to hurt someone you better be able to look them in the eyes and be honest. But it leaves us with a few questions at the end.
Here is the tough part, one you will have to decide on your own. Is it worth fighting through? Can you really see yourself with this person long term? If you are thinking of leaving then I would say no, this isn't for you. Something is telling you it isn't right.
For others, the situation just might be non-conducive for the relationship. Lots of travel, limited focus and sometimes just not having the energy can freeze a partner out. It is what I call, no more mud dragging. It is easier to stop dragging this person that you care about through the mud. You know they are hurting with your absence and waiting on you. If someone is starting to stop their life in favor of you it is time to evaluate things. Don't drag them through the mud, respect their time and their life too. You may love them but it might not be the love you or they need.
Every ending has a new beginning. Every chapter comes to a close. Just because this needs to end does not make it any less special it just means it wasn't the one for you. End of the day, break ups will happen, they will hurt and we will need to cope, learn and better ourselves for the next person. Be thankful it happened and respect the lessons, love and light they brought with them. You were lucky enough to be in their story and them yours.