Breaking Up with Someone: Should I stay or should I go?

It’s decision time, and you’re deciding if breaking up with someone is the right choice.  Whether you’ve been dating for a couple months or you’ve been married for 20 years, the decision to end a relationship isn’t something to be taken lightly.  You have to determine whether the memories you’ve made and the future you’ve planned is worth ending.  Personally, I believe love deserves a chance, and if the relationship can be saved, it should be saved.  That said, I don’t believe you should ever stay in an abusive or harmful relationship or marriage.

If you’re struggling to decide whether or not to leave someone, consider these three things:

#1. It may not be all their fault.

Is your spouse or significant other struggling with something?  Pornography or sex addiction, perhaps? It isn’t easy, but remember that all addictions are diseases and it’s hard to break free from them. An addiction of a sexual nature is no different from a drug addiction in terms of somebody “quitting”. It takes time and a lot of work. If this is the situation with the other person, while they should be held accountable for their actions, it’s also important to remember to pray for them and to encourage them if they are willing to seek help, including an accountability partner, Bible studies and perhaps counseling. If they are not willing to seek help, then you must react as if you would in any situation involving an addict, in that you pray for them, encourage them to seek help, and making sure you’re caring for yourself.  I’m certainly not saying their activity is excusable, but we’re also called to show grace to those who struggle.

#2. Realize part of the problem may be your fault.

If your relationship is headed south, it’s easy to point your finger at the other person and point out every single mistake they’re making and every way they’ve wronged you.  If your life with the other person has turned into nothing but arguments and hateful looks, it’s probably not just their fault.  It’s likely you had something to do with it too.  Consider asking them if something you’ve done has hurt them. This is not the time to be defensive when they open up to you.  It’s the time to share what’s hurting your heart, and to listen to really hear them, not just to respond and fight back.  Show them you’re willing to listen to them and make changes too, and that you together you’re willing to put the pieces back together.  This doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy – but it’s important to remember – you’re on the same team.  You should be fighting for each other, not with each other.

#3. Understand that nobody probably ever taught you to communicate.

Being open and vulnerable with our spouse isn’t something most of us go into a marriage knowing how to do.  We’ve learned what the world has taught us: that we’re in it for ourselves and we have to protect ourselves at all costs.  Nobody will take care of us better than we can take care of ourselves.  The fact is, none of this is true.  In your marriage, you and your spouse should have each other’s backs at all costs.  But the thing is, nobody ever really tells us that.  It’s hard enough for us to understand how to process emotions like hurt and anger at someone, let alone express them to that person. “When we don’t know how to communicate, our relationships break down.”

When we don’t know how to communicate, our relationships break down.

And this communication isn’t something you can learn overnight.  It takes time, and commitment to the other person.  Most of us only communicate with our significant to do one of three things:

  • Project a better image of ourselves
  • Show them how wrong they are
  • Defend ourselves

See how self-centered that is?

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Commit to working on your relationship before ending it.  If you’re really set on breaking up, give yourself enough time to weigh your circumstances, options and beliefs.

Struggling in your relationship? Not sure if you should stay or go? Make an appointment and get on the path to getting your life back.  Services available in Owensboro and Hartford, KY.