Waiting Until The Kids Leave Home Isn't Always The Right Time to Leave a Relationship

Kelly E.

Sometimes you've done everything you can

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Is it time to let go? [ik] @invadingkingdom on Unsplash

In modern relationships, we both give up far too quickly and hold on way too long. How do you know whether it’s worth hanging in there or not?

For many couples, it’s worth pushing through hard times. Relationships take work — learning to communicate well, trust each other, show love, and live side by side are not easy to do. Too many couples hit a bump and quit rather than putting in the effort.

Sometimes, though, relationships become toxic and beyond repair. We often hold on to those for far longer than we should.

This is when you know it’s time to let go:

You can feel your relationship falling apart around you and you can’t stop going over and over it in your mind. It feels like madness. You can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, can’t eat, overeat. Can’t stop thinking, over and over: Should I stay? Should I leave?

I can’t leave, you think. The kids, the house, the dog, the money. I can’t do it. I’ll hang in there. It’ll get better. Leaving affects too many people. It changes too many things. What will happen if I leave?

You have a fight. You cry alone in your bed. You storm out. You don’t speak. I can’t stay, you say. Back and forth between the two; an exhausting, endless relationship tennis game.

You’ve gone to couple’s counselling. You’ve read the books. You’ve tried to talk. So many talks.

Things were better for a bit but it all went back to how it was. Worse now because you’ve got less hope than before. What you thought would work didn’t. Now what? You search the internet. It just makes you sad.

You have to decide. It’s driving you crazy so you make a decision to stay. It’s the easier decision — taking no action is easier than packing up, finding somewhere else, telling everyone you’re getting divorced. Facing all that.

I’ll stay until the kids leave home, you tell yourself. I’ll stay and try to make it work.

But you’ve been trying for years. It just doesn’t work. Nothing works. The issues you’re dealing with aren’t going away. They aren’t small. You don’t even believe yourself as you say it: This time, I’ll make it work.

But your decision kills you. Deciding to stay leaves you feeling dead inside. You picture your life: day after day of the same thing. The same loneliness. The stress. The conflict. The fear. The rejection.

You feel your heart go cold. A stone within a cage. You lose hope.

You ask “Should I leave?” But you know the answer. You’re not making an impulsive decision. You’re not undecided —you’re just afraid to say it aloud.

That’s when you know you need to leave.

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