It’s all good on paper. It even looks good to everyone around you. But something — something — just isn’t right. Are you crazy? Too picky? Self-sabotaging? Should you be finding a way to make it work? Or do you need help knowing when to move on from a relationship?
I see it all the time with my clients. They meet someone they’re attracted to and with whom they have lots of chemistry.
And yet, something’s not right.
It’s like a typical episode of Say Yes to the Dress. There’s always a dress that the bride “thought” was everything she wanted. But, when asked how she feels in it, her response is a bland, shoulder-shrugging “Meh.”
It’s pretty. Designer. Uber-expensive. But she’s just not feeling it.
The bride-to-be heads back to the dressing room and emerges in a different dress — a dress destined to be “the one.” She gets teary-eyed, and, the second the veil goes on and the bride-to-be turns around, her entourage melts into oohs and aahs.
She had to feel it. She knew she would know when she had found the right one.
But here’s the tricky part:
Sometimes it’s easier to know when you’ve found “the one” than it is to know when a partner isn’t “the one.” And, if you don’t know when to move on from a relationship that’s not right for you, you could miss out on “the one.”
If you’ve been in this situation before (or you’re in it now), you know that feeling. You may not be able to put your finger on it, but it’s there, somewhere in the pit of your stomach.
Other times it’s obvious.
- He’s constantly late.
- She’s lied to you or withheld important information about herself.
- He’s too messy for you.
- She’s constantly fighting with her ex.
- He yelled at you on several occasions and has a temper.
- She has kids who aren’t launched.
Whatever it is, it’s just hanging there and you’re feeling uncomfortable, as if it’s just not a natural fit.
And yet, you care for this person and there’s a lot of good there.
So what do you do?
First, you need to recognize the relationship for what it is.
Is it an “almost, not quite” relationship? It is if it gives you a nagging feeling that it simply won’t last.
It’s a quandary, for sure. And it can cause you to not trust yourself. I’ve always wanted a-b-c in a partner, and he checks off all the boxes. But everything feels like x-y-z. I don’t get it. Am I just not cut out for a relationship? Why is finding true love so difficult?
Here are a few things to help you know whether to stay…or whether (and when) to move on from a relationship.
How do your life visions and goals line up?
Do you want the same things? Are you headed in the right direction?
You want kids, and your partner doesn’t. No matter how good a fit you are, someone has to adjust their life vision. And more times than not, this doesn’t end well.
Marriage-minded people know there has to be compromise in any relationship. But they also know that there are always non-negotiables, as well.
In the case of children, for example, you have no way of knowing if the two of you would be able to get pregnant. But the deciding factor is most likely going to be the attitude about children and family.
A family/children-oriented couple will leave their hearts and relationship open to children, even if children don’t come into their lives in the conventional way.
When your life visions and major goals aren’t in alignment, one of you will end up resenting the other in the long run.
Are your key relationship values aligned?
Perhaps you have different moral compasses or different values about health or money.
These are major areas that shape communication, lifestyle, and choices that carry significant consequences. Not being aligned with these key values will grate on you as time goes on.
I believe that, more so than any other factor, your key relationship values need to be aligned, or the relationship won’t go the distance.
Are you ignoring your deal-breakers?
Your deal-breakers are those things you absolutely can’t live with or without.
Some deal-breakers are clear-cut for those who have them: smoking, heavy drinking, not taking care of health, and not liking animals, etc.
And some are more subjective, with varying degrees of interpretation.
If he keeps a messy home and you like things neat and orderly, you may never be happy. Granted, issues like this usually involve some give-and-take, even in the best relationships.
But it all usually comes down to respect and acceptance. Does he respect your need for a harmonious home space? Does he value the way you value your “sense of place”?
Likewise, are you willing to let go of some control if you know that he genuinely cares and is going to do his best to please you
If, however, you are like ships passing in the night on these deal-breakers, you will never be happy. And you can fake it for only so long.
Perhaps you need to be with someone who has a love of adventure. It’s “in your blood,” and you want to share this important part of your life and spirit with your partner. And yet, s/he has never traveled beyond the state line and doesn’t feel the urgency to explore the world.
Of course, that most likely won’t work, either.
I once had a client who couldn’t tolerate his partner’s 70-lb dog. The dog went everywhere with the couple and even sat on the man’s lap in the car!
You either love that, welcome that, and go with the flow…or you don’t.
Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last.
What’s the big message here?
Some things can be worked out and others really can’t.
When you’re at a big impasse, it may be time to cut the cord and move on.
The more you can assess what’s not working and whether or not it’s fixable, the better. Knowing when to move on from a relationship will allow both of you to amicably agree that you’re not a good match. You will then be free to look elsewhere without regret or animosity.
The good news?
I’ve found that my clients ultimately select a much better partner for their next relationship.
Making the decision to end a relationship isn’t easy. It takes courage, self-respect, and the right kind of support.
Time is too valuable to stay in a relationship that won’t serve both of you in the long run. There are plenty of great people looking for love, especially now!
I’m happy to talk with you about how coaching can successfully guide you through this process and out the other side. Simply go to talkwithcoachamy.com and tell me about yourself so we can get started.
Wishing you the best in life and love,
PS: Feel free to share your deal breakers and what would make you to move on from a relationship. Your comments are appreciated!