As a counselor, I’ve helped lots of couples solve difficult relationship problems, but it isn’t always possible. If your relationship feels detrimental to your mental, emotional or physical well-being, it's time for a change. If your lover has or develops severe problems such as addiction, mental illness or a tendency to be violent, splitting up may be only way you can protect yourself from physical and emotional harm or financial ruin. If you feel that you may need to take this step, use the following guidelines in making your decision.
Here are three reasons to know it’s time to let it go:
1. Your partner keeps going out of bounds: Your partner is struggling with compulsive behavior --either sexual compulsion to keep having affairs, spending money on porn --or other compulsive behaviors such as gambling, drugs, alcohol or losing money on the stock market. If you’ve caught your spouse out of bounds before, and he or she keeps repeating the behavior, it’s an addiction that’s out of control. If your spouse won’t get proper treatment, or treatment hasn’t worked, leaving the relationship may be your only choice. Paradoxically, leaving an addicted spouse is often the only thing that breaks through the denial. Get support for yourself and your children through Al-Anon .
2. Violence, verbal or sexual abuse: If you or your children are subjected to violence, verbal abuse or sexual abuse, it’s important for you to get safety for yourself and your children. Report the abuse, get a restraining order, and get out of the relationship. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline , and read my article "Family Violence Q&A" for help.
3. You tried therapy --it didn’t work: If you and your spouse have been to couples’ therapy, given it a good effort, and it didn’t fix the problems or stop your fighting and teach you to communicate, perhaps one or both of you haven’t enough motivation left to stay together. If you haven't gotten therapy, read "Guidelines on Finding and Using Therapy Wisely"It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction will help you understand what happened, and pick up the pieces of your life.