Are You Stronger For Staying Or Leaving?
Realizing a relationship is not going in the direction you hoped is a big step. Deciding exactly what to do can be an even harder step...
There are some people who believe that it takes a strong person to stay in a relationship (especially if there are children involved) and continue working on problems—regardless of how big they are. While other people believe that leaving an emotionally unhealthy relationship shows even greater strength. Which scenario is more accurate?
Depending on your relationship, both scenarios can make you a stronger person...
Most of us have been in a relationship or several where we have loved someone enough to work incredibly hard at keeping the relationship moving forward—by working through and hurdling all obstacles that come our way.
Others, have made the decision to throw in the towel—realizing that loving themselves was much more important than continuing to deal with a relationship that was bringing more negative than positive experiences, especially if there was abuse of any kind (mental, emotional or physical).
As we all know, every relationship takes work. Period. However, if the relationship you are in is negatively effecting your emotional spirt, you need to decide if continuing the journey you are on with that person is worth it. Since problems and issues are in every relationship, it's important for you to decide what is truly a deal breaker and what you can and are willing to work through.
Staying in a relationship when something negative has occurred doesn't mean you are weak, in many cases (again depending on the scenario) can actually take a lot of strength...
A best friend of mine has been married with children for over twenty years. She and her husband are not only married but are also best friends. The first eight years of marriage seemed to be great, until she found out that he had cheated.
Ending a relationship after infidelity has occurred might seem to others like the easy answer, however, love that is based on the foundation of mutual friendship is not always as easy to walk away from.
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes and are capable of making mistakes that others might view as deal breakers...
Cheating is a huge act of deception. Any trust that existed has now been damaged. Let's be honest, for many people that type of damage could never be repaired. However, when you truly love someone and they are working hard to earn back your trust, if you honestly love them wouldn't you want to try and work through the issue?
My friend, knew that although the betrayal was hurtful, she still loved her husband and wanted to work on forgiving him and mending their marriage.
Leaving her husband would have been a fairly easy step for my friend. In her past relationships, when a negative situation arose my friend would have had no issues walking away without ever looking back. Her marriage was different. Deciding to get married caused her to grow tremendously on several emotional levels. Therefore, she was willing to save her marriage—not just for her sake, but for her children's sake as well.
For many people the biggest gain(s) for keeping a marriage intact would be for the sake of the children and/or finances…
Should you stay in a relationship just for financial reasons? I hope not. When you are in an emotionally draining loveless relationship, wake-up…no amount of money can buy you true happiness, and…life is way too short.
Are you weak for not wanting to tear up your family dynamic? Not at all, especially if the infidelity or deception only happened once and there was no direct abuse towards you.
My friend highly believes that children should see their parents either happily together or single and happy a part, versus maintaining a relationship that is loveless, emotionally distant, or full of anger. At the time, they both still really loved one another.
Also, my friend and her husband were not dependent financially on each other and she was not afraid to be alone. The sole reason she wanted to mend her marriage was because she knew in her heart that he is a good man who made a dumb, dumb, dumb mistake, one that she could forgive with time.
Her ex was not only open and honest about his betrayal, he worked hard to earn her trust back. He sought out counseling and they went to a marriage and religious counselor together. It took a lot of emotional strength from my friend to not only forgive him, but to also believe in her husband again—that their love and marriage would persevere while keeping the integrity of her family together.
Unfortunately love doesn't always prevail...
All relationships are a two way street...not one. Finding someone that you are compatible with is great, however compatibility alone is never enough. There will be issues that arise and without mutual communication, respect, compromise and compassion from one another, problems will continue to grow and depending on the severity, can end up causing the demise of the relationship.
Choosing that loving yourself is more important than staying in an unhealthy relationship is also a sign of strength...
My same friend was able to rekindle love and maintain love for many years after the “affair incident.” However, as years continued to pass, the emotional effort he was contributing towards her, their children, and their marriage became subpar.
Her husband started to completely check out of the marriage. He would start stupid arguments and stopped hearing what she was saying. When she would try to discuss issues with him he would not make any efforts to improve the situation. After multiple attempts—on her part—to work on their marriage—with no results from him—resulted in a separation and later a divorce.
By continuing to stay in a marriage with a man who had apparently given up, was causing her emotional anguish. Remembering the last time she was actually happy with her husband had become a distant memory. Again, her strength prevailed, but this time with a different outcome.
Just as it took my friend a lot of strength to decide to stay in a marriage with her husband over eleven years ago, it took just as much strength to decide to end her marriage.
No relationship is perfect, many relationships will have hurdles; some that you can work though and others that you can't...
Although this last obstacle was too big for my friend to conquer, she still never had any regrets for either decision she made because both decisions she made were from her heart. My friend also learned a great deal about herself and became emotionally stronger from both experiences.
Staying in a relationship for the betterment of you is what makes you stronger. If you choose to stay in an unhealthy relationship that is mentally, verbally, emotionally or physically abusive...then that is a sign of weakness—as well as lack of love for yourself. Your heart as well as your instincts are your best guide to lead you to happiness. Truly loving yourself will also give you the strength to walk away.
Bottom line, whether you choose to stay in a relationship or leave one is ultimately your decision. As long as you are honoring yourself, every experience is a learning lesson and therefore will bring you great strength along the way. There is no set answer so be true to yourself and you will know what is best every time.