It’s easy to fall in love, but when you fall out of love…not so easy! This doesn’t mean that you should run at the first sign of trouble – but after you’ve taken everything into account, how do you know when enough is enough and it’s time to move on?
This is a common question in troubled relationships, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. What one person considers enough is not even close to what a different person considers enough. And neither person is wrong. It’s a personal choice based on personal viewpoints.
So how do you know when enough is enough? What needs to be considered before you’re able to know without a doubt that it’s time to move on?
Consider the Factors
Let’s start with some of the factors that can be taken into account when you’re trying to make sense of whether or not it’s time to move on. The very fact that you find yourself asking this question is definitely something to pay attention to.
Fighting: If you found yourself asking this question after a big fight, but then you and your partner were able to resolve that conflict in a healthy way, chances are, you haven’t yet reached your limit of intolerance. However, if it was after multiple times of that same big fight, and you’ve tried different ways of resolving it, but still can’t find a solution, that’s worth taking into consideration.
Adultery: If there’s been an act of adultery, or any other act of betrayal or disloyalty, that’s a BIG one. Some people wouldn’t blink an eye before deciding to leave after feeling so betrayed. But many people are able to work through this painful challenge – and if done in a healthy way, this can actually bring two people closer together than they were before the affair.
Lying: What about lying? If your partner has been dishonest with you, or you with him/her, that causes a lack of trust. And a relationship without trust doesn’t get very far without a lot of dysfunction. If there was a way to forgive, and trust could be rebuilt, would the relationship be worth saving? Or would you always be wondering if they were providing ‘alternate facts’? (forgive me, I couldn’t resist)
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different scenarios I could talk about here, but they all have one thing in common. No matter the cause of the conflict and pain, if there’s a way to resolve it in a healthy way, and both parties are able to move forward with hope, the relationship has a much better chance of lasting.
But if the conflict cannot be worked out in a way that is acceptable to both parties, the level of enough is enough increases substantially…even if it’s only for one of the people involved.
Resolving Conflict in a Healthy Way
If the relationship can be improved and has a better chance of lasting when a couple is able to resolve conflict in a healthy way, what needs to happen…how is this done?
Ultimately, it’s up to the couple to determine what they deem healthy, and what’s considered unhealthy for one person may be perfectly acceptable to another. This is also true for the food we consume, how we treat our bodies, how much stress one is willing to accept in their job, etc.
So there is no right or wrong answer here. But I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to conflict, most people would agree that the ability to resolve it in a healthy way includes honesty, respect and effective communication.
Without these fundamental principles, the chances of finding a viable solution to ongoing conflict are slim to none. But before you try to apply these principles in a needed conversation with your partner, it’s helpful to first ask yourself if you’re applying these principles in your relationship with yourself.
- Are you being honest with yourself about who you really are and who you want to be? Or are you trying to force yourself to be someone who everyone else wants/expects you to be?
- Are you respecting your feelings? Or are you dismissing them and stuffing them down because you’re afraid to face them?
- Are you making yourself a priority and incorporating practices that quiet your mind and strengthen your spirit? Or are you looking for constant distractions that keep you from listening to the deeper part of you who is always calling you forward?
As I said in an earlier message this month: If you want the conflict in your relationship to go away, you must first resolve the conflict within yourself. Trying to fix the problem on the outside is much more difficult when you’re still fighting with yourself on the inside.
When you feel like you’re reaching the maximum level of enough is enough with your partner, before you make a decision to go, it’s helpful to know that you’ve done everything you can within your power to resolve the conflict.
When you’ve faced the reality of what’s going on and worked through it as much as possible, you’ll feel better about yourself and you won’t carry those same unhealthy patterns into your next relationship.
It may not always be possible to resolve conflict between a couple (it takes two), but it is always possible to resolve the internal conflict with yourself (it only takes you).
The Difference Between Giving Up and Knowing When You’ve Had Enough
Of course, there are always exceptions, and some of what I’ve shared so far wouldn’t necessarily apply in certain situations, such as an abusive relationship.
As this week’s quote by an unknown author states: “There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough.“
If you’re in an abusive relationship (the definition of which also varies depending on your beliefs), choosing to leave it is not an act of giving up. To me, it’s an act of knowing that you’ve had enough. Nobody deserves abuse!
There was a time in my life when I stayed with a significant other even after he hit me. And even though the physical abuse didn’t continue, the emotional abuse did.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t so innocent in that department…I was mean right back. But it never felt good and it never felt right. I knew I didn’t want to be that person.
This happened because I wasn’t being honest with myself. I wasn’t respecting my feelings. And I wasn’t listening to the deeper part of me that knew better. So I continued to stay in an unhealthy relationship…and that deeper part of me continued to get louder and louder.
When I finally listened to it, I chose to leave that relationship. By that time, I definitely didn’t see it as giving up. In fact, during all of the years in which I had chosen to stay with him, I had been giving up on myself.
After I finally woke up, it was then that I knew enough is enough. I had done everything I could within my power to make it better and it just wasn’t happening. I knew without a doubt that I was finally done with that chapter, and it was time for me to move on.
Getting Clear on YOUR Enough is Enough (Exercise Included)
So, as you get to the heart of what’s going on in your relationship, and whether or not you want to stay or go, there’s a lot to consider. This is an important decision, and it’s ultimately up to you to determine what’s healthy and what’s not.
You already have the power to make healthy decisions for yourself. But if you’ve lost yourself in your relationship, you’re not tapped into that power and you may be feeling powerless. The good news is, that power doesn’t go away and you can reclaim it anytime you choose.
You do this by getting more in touch with YOU…your thoughts, your feelings, your beliefs. And one of the best ways to do this is through writing/journaling.
So over the next several days, I encourage you to make the time to write – physically write – at least two pages that describe your romantic relationship as you see it.
Write about how you see yourself in this relationship. Write about how you see you partner in this relationship. Write about what’s not working. Write about what is working. Write about your general beliefs about romantic relationships. Write, write, write…and feel free to go beyond two pages.
There’s something powerful about writing – that’s why millions of people journal on a regular basis. It’s as if you’re participating in your life story by observing it through writing. AND writing also allows you to express your thoughts and feelings, instead of keeping them bottled up, which is SO important.
This exercise may not bring you all of your answers today, but it will definitely set you on a path of exploration and discovery. And the more you explore and discover, the more clarity you will gain. The more clarity you gain, the closer you will be to making a clear decision about your relationship…one that feels right and in integrity with who you are.
Next week, I’ll be sharing a slightly different angle on this subject and providing more thought-provoking questions. When you’re able to gain new perspectives on a situation in which you feel stuck, you gain insight on how to approach your current circumstances in a different, and hopefully more effective, way.
Always remember…be true to yourself!
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 missed my earlier blog posts this month, feel free to visit my blog page (there are a ton of valuable resources here).
P.P.S. And if you’re looking for objective feedback and support for your romantic relationship, feel free to schedule your complimentary Relationship Breakthrough Session. You can find the details by visiting my contact page.