If you’re struggling in your romantic relationship and find yourself thinking “I don’t know what to do anymore…what can I do? Should I stay or should I go?”, you’re not alone.
I recently received those exact words from a woman who’s been in a relationship with her partner for almost five years. She still loves him and sees him as a wonderful man, but misses the feeling of connection and secure love they once had.
The loss of those feelings has triggered resentment and frustration and she’s now doing her best to process the situation and understand what the Universe is trying to teach her.
Can you relate to this? I sure can! Been there, felt that…and found a way to get to the other side of that pain with a clarity and conviction that allowed me to move from the struggle of ‘what can I do?’ to the freedom and peace of mind of ‘I got this!’.
Although there are many similarities in the struggle of ‘should I stay or should I go?’, every woman’s experience is her own, and we have a lot to learn from each other.
Because I’ve already shared my own story many times, for this message, I’m going to share a different woman’s story, while also weaving in some different perspectives on how to calm the confusion of not knowing what to do.
Obviously, I’m not going to use her real name (we’ll call her Jane), and I’ve taken out details that don’t need to be shared for the purpose of this message. But this is a real life experience, and I hope you find our exchange of dialogue helpful in your experience.
Jane: “I’ve noticed how as I practice meditation, healthy eating and trying to live a healthier lifestyle due to wanting to embrace life more…there are times I feel we’ve grown apart. I’m going through a time where I want to actually “live” more especially after dealing with so much trauma. I’ve grown to see how precious life is and no longer want to have a feeling of missing out on living.”
There are a variety of ways in which a couple may feel they’re growing apart. Even if you don’t relate to this specific example, no matter the reason, growing apart doesn’t feel good.
In order for this type of relationship to be rewarding and fulfilling, it’s imperative to be on the same page about your priorities in life…and those often change for each person over time.
My response: “You, like me, have listened to your calling to live a healthier lifestyle, and with that often come opportunities to remain true to ourselves. I don’t know you, but from what you share here, my guess is that in your efforts to love and accept him for all that he is (or isn’t), you are dismissing some of your feelings and not loving and accepting all of who you are and what you need to feel connected. This is what causes the internal conflict…you have conflicting thoughts and feelings and have a hard time making sense of them.
I can’t tell you for sure what the Universe is trying to teach you, but I believe it’s safe to say that the Universe is always trying to teach everyone how to stay true to their true selves. Your desire to “live” more is part of your true self, and I’m glad that your life experiences have led you seeing how precious life is.”
Different Ways of Coping With Stress
Jane: “See, what is occurring in my relationship with my boyfriend is I know him and I are undergoing intense amounts of stress from our own lives. He recently lost his father a couple years back and is trying to his best to “adjust” to newly inherited responsibilities in addition to his own chaotic life.
During this time, we’ve grown quite distant. Him, being someone who is introverted and uses vices like work and video games to focus on. And while I can be introverted at times too, but I know it’s necessary to discuss matters on my mind. This difference makes all of our relationship extremely difficult at times. I try my best to be there and support him through all of his life matters as we planned to stay committed to each other and develop a life together.”
She shared several personal losses in her own life (friends and a family member), in addition to a bad car accident, and has since been going through her own process of healing.
We all have losses and traumas in our lives – that’s inevitable. And we all have our own way of coping with the stress that comes with it. There is no right or wrong. However, part of a healthy relationship is being able to lean on each other for support and comfort.
When you’re both going through periods of extreme stress, this can be especially challenging for sure. The key is to communicate about it, not hide from it. And…in your efforts to support your partner, don’t lose sight of needing support for yourself.
My response: “We all deal with stressful events differently, and we are all on our own individual paths. When a couple gets to a point where their paths are not headed in the same direction, it feels especially painful and challenging…and creates the distance you mentioned. In your doing your best to support him, are you losing sight of supporting yourself?
Being committed to someone doesn’t mean we are responsible for them and their well-being (we are each responsible for our own lives). To me, it means being committed to staying honest, respectful, loving and real about the various turns a relationship takes, and clearly communicating about what’s needed to stay connected. And that takes two!
Even though a couple plans to stay committed to each other and develop a life together, life rarely turns out exactly as we planned. In order to live a life of peace and joy, we must trust the Universe and align ourselves with Its truth as often and as much as possible…a beautiful ‘effect’ of consistent meditation.”
Struggling With Mixed Emotions
Jane: “There’s more that has lead me to our current status and I feel so drained from all of these moments which is overwhelming as I type this. Due to both of our schedules and him with his lifestyle choices…I know we are both getting/are burnt out. We know what each other means to the other, but at times- it’s too much for me to handle. I miss having fun and yes, responsibilities come first. But I don’t want it to suck the life out of us to the point our grief clouds more over our hearts and mind as it already has. I’ve grown to be energetically, physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted with trying to help my relationship get healthier and better. I am struggling with mixed emotions all the time. I even feel like an awful person for even wanting loving moments at times, for feeling the way I do at all while he’s hurting from his loss. Please, provide some insight.”
Any woman who has ever struggled in her relationship knows the wide range of mixed emotions that come up. Even though there may still be love, there may also be anger, resentment, guilt, confusion, etc.
As hard as it is to make sense of these mixed emotions, it’s helpful to remember that these feelings are here for a reason. It may take some time, but the more we tune into our feelings and truly listen to what they are telling us, the more clarity we gain about what to do.
My response: “As I read through this, I was reminded of so many of the feelings that came up for me in a former relationship, so I totally get the feelings of frustration, overwhelm and depletion. It’s really difficult when we still have strong feelings of love for someone, but the relationship itself just doesn’t feel right. And this IS the reason for feeling confused and frustrated about it…there is something within you that is telling you that it just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t make him a bad person…it’s just not what you truly long for.
I feel your pain, and I want you to know that you’re not alone in this! I’ve gone through an incredibly similar experience myself and I definitely had to grow through it to get to the other side (clarity, courage and peace of mind about what to do).
I hope this helps. Be gentle with yourself and remember that I am here to support you. You are not an awful person for wanting loving moments…you are designed to have an abundance of loving moments, and feeling bad about that goes against your true nature.
Please stay true to your heart, listen to your feelings…and take one step at a time.
Now It’s Your Turn
So now, back to the original question of ‘what can I do?’ How does this apply in your relationship? We all have similar struggles in our romantic relationships, but no two are exactly the same and only you can answer whether or not you’re with the right partner.
Sometimes, the anxiety and frustration of not knowing what to do can add more stress to an already stressful situation. So yes, while it’s important to eventually make a clear decision about whether to stay or go (and not stay stuck indefinitely), it’s also important to learn how to be okay with the unknown until the answers come to you.
The very wise Eckhart Tolle said, “Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.”
This certainly doesn’t mean to stop caring about how you feel and wait for the answer to be delivered to your doorstep. By all means, continue to honor your feelings and do your best to learn what this pain is trying to teach you. And by all means, get the support you need to help you with this process.
Personally, if I hadn’t asked for the help I received when I was going through my own relationship struggles, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to get through them. But I did, and I am extremely grateful for the guidance I received and the person I have become as a result.
If, after reading all of this, you still don’t know what to do or where to start, simply begin by acknowledging that there’s a reason for your pain…and then be willing to receive the answer.
I also encourage you to see which insights from this message apply to your relationship and start exploring the ways in which you can approach relationship conflict differently. It’s all about believing in yourself and empowering yourself to make changes for the better…one step at a time.
Stay tuned for more mindful messages. Giving you helpful tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!
With love and support,
Healthy Relationship Coach
P.S. If you’re looking for extra guidance and support, feel free to contact me. I would love to connect with you and help you however I can!