Many times in my practice, clients have asked me how you know whether to stay or go. Here is some of what I share with people at those difficult times. Sometimes marriages go through a rough patch. That’s part of the deal. It doesn’t mean it’s time to call it quits. And sometimes people get battle fatigue and seriously consider ending the marriage.
1. Have you resolved as much as you can? Because whatever issues you don’t resolve in this relationship, I guarantee you will be up against them in your next relationship, eventually, in some form or other. That’s just the way it works. How many times did Liz Taylor get married? Eight times, to seven men. Some problems just don’t go away by changing partners.
2. Have you sorted out your power and control issues? Again, I guarantee that the lingering power and control issues will play out in the divorce and custody proceedings, and it will be ugly. And this will go on for as long as you have to deal with each other, which if you have kids, could be a long time. If you think you’re having a hard time now, you’re going to have a hard time getting out of this relationship also. Better to do as much clean-up as you can before leaving. It’s a novel concept, but I highly recommend it.
3. Is staying causing you to feel out of integrity with yourself? Are you keeping yourself small, or settling for a way of showing up that is inauthentic? Do you feel that there is room for a more authentic you in this relationship? Did you pick this relationship because it’s a good place to hide? Or is your mate a bully who can’t tolerate the real you? Are you staying/leaving out of the best in yourself, or the worst in yourself?
4. Are you considering your decision to stay or leave from a place of calm and feeling well grounded, or are you just so mad you can’t stand it anymore? I’m sorry, but the latter is not a good place to make these huge decisions from. When your emotional arousal exceeds your ability to self-soothe, you have poor impulse control. That’s psychobabble meaning that you’re so upset that you’re off your head, you’re not thinking straight, and you’re irrational. In that state, you just want the offending partner to be removed from your life, so that you no longer have to be upset. That’s short sighted. I recommend that you settle yourself down, take however long it takes to accomplish that, and consider your situation calmly, even, if you can, from a place of equanimity. Maybe weigh the pros and cons, your contribution to problems, your level of resilience, your commitment to your partner, how hopeful you feel of your ability to grow (note I’m not saying anything about your partner changing – I’m focusing on you).
5. Has so much damage been done that you can’t recover? Sometimes, in the course of triggering each other repeatedly, things are said and done that you can’t come back from. Sometimes people are in so much pain that they will not open up again, and cannot find it in themselves to move towards their partner. They can only move away, in an effort to protect themselves.
6. Have you been in Erotic Integrity™ in this relationship? Have you shown up authentically?Have you shown up? Have you been true to who you feel yourself to be as an erotic being? Do you know who you are sexually? Do you own it? Do you live it? Whether or not you stay in the current relationship that you are deliberating about, your Erotic Integrity goes with you.
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