Today I will be answering the question: How do I know when to walk away from a relationship?
This question can be a bit tricky because there are usually many things that are recommended to take into consideration in order to make the best decision based on your situation, however for me the answer is very simple, I say go within.
The best way to make your decision is to listen to yourself and allow yourself to hear how you truly feel. Go underneath all the ideas you have created about your relationship and that person and underneath all the ideas created by all those around you. Beyond “if only they” and “how about if.” Dig deep until you get to a point where you only hear “I want a relationship with this person” or “I do not want a relationship with this person” and nothing else.
Once you know how you feel, make your peace with it. Making your peace with how you truly feel will give you the substance you need to trust your decision and to move forward with it. Not taking this step is usually what keeps people from staying in a relationship and making it work when they should or keeps them feeling guilty when they walk away because they do not know the substance behind their decision and therefore do not trust the decision they made. This is the point where you find yourself asking everyone around you their opinion only to get upset when it does not match what you want to hear. Being aware of your substance will help you create a strong foundation that will serve as your support so you can stay in a relationship without going back and fourth with your decision, so you can walk away without looking back, and so you can trust yourself instead of looking else where for validation.
I know the answer seems like it would be more complicated, but it really is not. Nothing else matters when making your decision, even though everyone makes it seems like it should. Nothing else matters because you are truly connecting with your truth, with your knowingness. However, If you decide you want to stay in this relationship I do want to take it a bit further and give you guidance to help you make this relationship work or any other where there is question about staying or walking away.
Usually when a person is thinking of walking away from a relationship instead of just doing it it is because they value the person they are in the relationship with or they value the relationship itself. I know it might be easier to walk away from a destructive friend versus a emotionally draining mother, but if you decided you want to have a relationship with either person it is possible.
Now that you have made your decision to stay in your relationship you have to figure out what your needs are from the relationship and what your expectations are for the relationship. Every single person has needs and expectations and to try and make a relationship work without addressing both is unrealistic. This is the big reason why relationships do not work, because someone’s needs are not being met or someone has expectations they are not sharing with the other person. I know needs are usually talked about in regards to romantic relationships but they actually apply to every relationship regardless of the dynamic.Figure out what your needs and expectations are for this specific relationship. Also, decide which are set in stone and which are negotiable. This information will be key when it is time to bring the other person into the picture.
Another thing to know is that when you previously decided to stay in this relationship it was based on how you felt, nothing else was taken into consideration, which is enough for you to maintain a relationship with a person. It can be a relationship where you are amicable and rarely see the person, such as a distant relative or a friend that moved out of the country, but if you want a more intimate relationship or bond with a person, such as a parent, significant other, friend, or even coworker then they need to meet you half way and the only way to create that is to have a conversation with the person about it.
A conversation where you will share your needs and expectations and where you will compromise on your negotiable ones as well as verbally create boundaries for your set in stone ones. For example, if you are having a difficult time with a parent who is verbally abusive when they drink then a boundary would be you letting then know you will walk away from them and/or not answer your phone when they have been drinking. Boundaries show zero tolerance and let the other person know you mean what you said. They also set the tone for the relationship and how much 'wiggle' room there is, which is why it is very important to remain consistent with your set in stone boundaries, especially in the moments when you are tested, because you will be.
The next step is to hear the other person out and listen to what they have to say. Show them the same respect and understanding as you want and expect from them and compassionately listen to see where you can change or improve. Also, ask them what their needs are and what their expectations are for your relationship and which are negotiable and which set in stone so you both can stay on the same page.
Finally, once you have both given your part you have to both decide what your first step will be to build upon the strong foundation you just created. For some it might be counseling, for others actions showing respect, for others growth in a different way. Every relationship is unique, please understand that and do not compare. Allow your relationship to grow and take its own course, as long as it stays within the needs, expectations, and boundaries created by the two people involved.