Stay or Let it Go?

stay...or let it goThings were once great…once hopeful. But you are tired. Tired of feeling this way. Tired of this sinking feeling that this relationship needs to end.
It’s been haunting you and you are getting close (if you are not already there) to the point where you are “In it….but not really IN IT”.

After a while, (whether you voice it or not) certain thoughts start to creep in and start to get louder:

-Did I make a good decision to make a commitment to this person in the first place?
-Are we going somewhere or am I wasting my time?
-Where is the line between compromise and undermining myself?
-I’ve been here for so long…will it be worth it to start over?
-If I break this off, will people think the worst of me?
And the grand daddy of them all…
-Should I stay or let it go?
Well, I can’t really tell you exactly what to do…but I AM going to give you some perspective that should make it easier to make a decision on whether to leave or stay, and also make it easier to execute that decision.

I’ll start with YOU…yes…cos you might need to get your mind right before we start looking at signs that are external to you.

Here are the issues you need to check within yourself before you decide whether to stay or leave:

A) Irrational Escalation (of Commitment):
Irrational Escalation is the tendency to make irrational decisions in the present based upon rational decisions in the past or to justify actions already taken.
Stay with me here.
It is our tendency to keep investing in something that is clearly not working, because of our attachment to the PRIOR investment we have made in that thing.
It’s the reason bosses keep employees for longer than they should; why armies remain in war even when there is no path to victory, and why people stay in relationships when it is clear to them and everyone else that they should move on.
We are terrified that just when we leave, that thing, situation or person will change for the better and we will miss out on reaping the reward…. or terrified that someone else will benefit from our investment.

It just means that if your main source of joy in your relationship is reliving the good old days or daydreaming about good days that “might” come, Houston…we have a major problem!

Economists call it SUNK COSTS.
Check yourself. Are you staying in the relationship because of Irrational Escalation of Commitment?If you find yourself staying mainly because you feel you have put so much (time/money/tears/emotion etc) in the relationship while ignoring that the relationship is bad for you now, you might need to move on for real.

This doesn’t mean that you just throw away what you have put in because you have an “itch” to leave. What this means is that your reason for staying can’t ONLY be the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) of the “possible” good future at the expense of your happiness today. It also doesn’t mean you should run away every time you guys are going through a rough patch. It just means that: if your main source of joy in your relationship is reliving the good old days or daydreaming about good days that “might” come, Houston…we have a major problem!

If your main source of happiness in your relationship is reliving the good old days or daydreaming about good days that “might” come, Houston…we have a major problem!

B) Endowment effect:
This one is super easy. In the context of relationships, it simply means:
You are not willing to give up what you are asking the other person to give up.
You are demanding more from them for something you are giving up little for.
You are asking them to prove their love for you in ways that YOU are not willing to prove your love to them.
You want them to pay 1000 good moves to prove their love but you are willing to pay 500 good moves to prove yours.
Yes…you probably should leave the relationship and spare them the heartache in the future. You are the problem and you will be hard to satisfy.

Look…if you think that you are all that and a bag of chips, then permit me to borrow from Justin Beiber (Please pretend I didn’t just say that) and say “baby, you should go and love yourself”

C) Conflict averse to the point of being Communication averse:
This is also something you need to check for within YOURSELF.
You may be sitting there contemplating whether or not to break it off because you are not happy, when the real problem is that you are so conflict averse that you have now become communication averse. In other words, in your attempt to “keep the peace”, you have not communicated and articulated your needs and have not explicitly raised an alarm that your needs are not being met. So yes…the other person is not taking you seriously because you are dancing around the bush. Fix that. Communicate fully. Do it in love but do it. That way you will know that if you explicitly communicated how and why you are not happy and what you need, and it is still being taken for granted, your decision to leave will be easier.

But…

If you are not communicating fully…if you are assuming that “if they love you they should be able to figure out what’s wrong with you” or that “if they love you, it should be easy to love you”, then YOU are the problem.

D) When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
How did you start that relationship? How/where did you meet? what was your state of mind when you both met? Where were you both emotionally, spiritually, mentally, psychologically? These things matter. Like when you run into another relationship because the pain of the breakup from the last one was too much to bear. OR when you ignored God’s voice in your heart about someone because of how externally well packaged they were or the social status you would attain by dating them. You know deep down inside when you entered the relationship for the wrong reasons and wrong foundations will always make it difficult to build the kind of relationship or home you want. You may not necessarily have to jump ship but you may need to go back to God and have him come set things right (and it’s always better when both people recognize and want this)

Ok now….here are some signs it may be time to move on

1) Abuse: (Not just physical but emotional, financial, and so on): When someone seems to enjoy seeing you in pain, it might be time to say Goodbye

2) You find yourself working hard to make the other person happy at the expense of your own happiness: It’s not enough to MAKE someone else happy. You have the right to be happy too. Making someone happy should make YOU happy as well. This is a tricky one…because the person will always tell you how awesome you are and how happy you make them…but they are not really trying to do the same for you….it might be time to say Auf Wiedersehen

3) The relationship makes you loath yourself: You don’t like who you have become by dating this person. You see yourself as a worse person or you feel you are losing respect for yourself. For example, you find yourself disrespecting their family to let them see what it felt like when they disrespected yours… OR you find yourself lying constantly to keep the peace….Or you get more and more disconnected from your faith and so on. Basically, when you start losing the things that you thought made you a good/decent person, it might be time to say Sayonara

4) When you are borrowing love from the future: Yup…waiting on a future improved version of the person. That’s when you start hearing yourself say things like: “Things are terrible now but he or she is going to change” or “He or she doesn’t treat me well right now but once they land the deal they are working on or get the promotion they are trying to get, things will be better”. When you are living today almost solely on hopes that this person will be better tomorrow. Red flag.
Now… of course, it’s possible to go through patches when we are not our best selves or when our significant other are legitimately tied down with a project or something.

The problem comes when those bad patches become the norm and the good times become the patches.

If that’s the case, you may need to say Au Revoir

5) Your most important needs are seen as ridiculous: This is crucial. Here you are trying to articulate your needs in the most loving way possible and this person sees them as ridiculous or they are acting as if those needs are so weird. YET they are very particular about what THEY want…and may even throw a tantrum when their needs are not met. Oh yea…Say it with me…Addio

6) You don’t see forever: Even when they are being their best self, you don’t see yourself spending the rest of your life with them. It sounds like it should be an easy decision right? Thing is…for many people, it’s not.
This can be complicated and turn out to be a hard decision. It’s when you look at the person and you realize that no matter how much they try, you never quite feel like you could do forever with them. This may not entirely be their fault. You might just be hard to please or have expectations that are higher than what they can deliver on. OR they could be the problem …not willing to step up into more maturity. Either way, if their best is not good enough for you. Hard as it may be, it may be time to say Deuces

7) Your relationship negatively affects other areas of your life: When your relationship negatively affects your job, you own family, your health, your finances, your business ideas, your friends…that is a SCREAMING sign that this may not be for you. I am not talking about the occasional arguments that affect those areas. I am talking about a consistent bandaging of other areas of your life because of your relationship. If that is happening, you might need to pull a Joseph. Run and don’t even pick your coat.

8) You lose touch with your maker: If your relationship is taking you farther and farther away from the pursuit and worship of God, you should say Odabo

So start with yourself. Evaluate yourself but then look at these situations and make a decision knowing that you deserve happiness too. ..knowing that if YOU are willing to put maximum effort into a relationship, you deserve someone who is willing to do the same.

Final thoughts on this:

Obviously, the more of these are true in your relationship, the more valid and justifiable your decision will be…so look for a pattern not just individual occurrences. Also, this is in the context of dating/relationships and not in the context of marriage.

Good luck with everything and God bless

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