Hello, my name is Charlene Byars, and I am the Simply…Woman Empowerment and Relationship Coach. I write a monthly article about empowerment and relationships, and I am the founder of the Relationship Revolution System. Please feel free to write me at [email protected] and ask me any relationship questions you would like to see answered here. I’m here to help.
I wanted to address a question that was submitted to me asking “How do you know when it’s time to leave the relationship that you are currently in?” I am going to answer this question as if it is being asked by someone in a “serious” relationship where a significant amount of emotional energy, mental effort and physical bonding has occurred, and not a casual dating scenario where a clean exit is easy and the consequences of leaving are relatively mild.
The seriousness of this question can’t be overlooked because the consequences of leaving a long-term relationship rarely affect just the two people that are connected. Often, family and friends are also invested in two people being (and staying) together, which can lead to feeling unhealthy pressure to stay in a situation that just isn’t serving you any longer. Ultimately, the answer to this question of staying or going must come from within, and the answer should leave you with a sense of peace, relief, and completion, whether you choose to stay in a relationship or not.
Asking this primary question – “Should I stay, or should I go?” – points to numerous secondary questions and concerns that lay underneath, and I will identify some of the questions you can ask yourself to help guide you in making the decision to stay or end the relationship. But before that, there are some relationship fundamentals that I want to address.
Even great relationships go through phases, those ups and downs and giving and taking that is a part of sharing our life with another person. People evolve, they grow, and they change. And in a relationship, we get conditioned to believe that the partner we have today will be the same partner we will have tomorrow. One thing I know for sure and a rule I live by is this - life changes people.
People change and people grow. And sometimes those changes are expected, and sometimes those changes are surprising. And you cannot control how your relationship partner will grow, evolve or change. People grow and change and that is a natural process.
Over time some things we might have liked from our partner or have accepted before no longer feel the same to us. Or the way we used to show up has changed and now it is us that is showing up in a different way. All of this is the natural process of growing older and changing, and in a relationship, whether we like it or not, it’s what we sign up for. Sometimes our partner changing can appear as a threat. Relationships can start to feel troubling when one person is growing and the other is not, or worse, is not supporting and even getting in the way of their partner’s growth.
This is where we need to look at the big picture and objectively see what is happening. For romantic relationships to thrive and work there must be room for each partner to grow and change. Relationships are meant to enhance our lives, not detract from them. Relationships go through all kinds of shifts and phases, and the relationships that last are the ones that allow for change and evolution.
As we grow and change, we can and should acknowledge who we were, our past lives so to speak, and embrace the new possibilities that our growth has afforded us. We should always celebrate and maybe even mourn the person we were, but always embrace the new ground we have taken and hope that our partner will walk on this new ground with us.
We cannot change a person. All we can do is show up in our romantic relationship as an empowered person and teach our partner how we want to be treated. When we show up authentically, we can own how we are being in the relationship. So now to the questions…
The answers to these questions should give you some insight into what is happening in the relationship.
I would start with these questions, look inwards and find out what’s going on with you. Are you in a relationship that maybe the spark just needs to be re-ignited, or are you in a relationship that has actually run its course? If you’re in an abusive relationship, then please seek help and a way out immediately.
Whatever type of relationship it is, it needs to be aligned with your core values, how you want to be treated and ultimately what you want to receive from being in the relationship. It could be that it is two people who love each other and allowed life and circumstances to get in the way and allowed things to get off balance, and a serious reconnection is in order. Or is it much more than that, and you feel you have done everything you can, and you have looked inward and have worked through your own empowerment work and have healed anything that needed healing from your past or your past relationships. And it’s still not working…
They say there are three great mysteries in life – air to the bird, water to the fish, and you to you. Oftentimes we can’t see ourselves and our blind spots and how we are showing up in relationships. Sometimes we put the blame on our partner for why we are not happy and that can keep us stuck.
Sometimes we need an outside perspective to bring us back to the reality of our lives. I suggest reaching out to a professional - whether it be a coach, counselor, or therapist if need be. But someone that can guide you through the process of answering this most serious of questions. Outside guidance from a trusted counselor or coach will help you get to the bottom of what’s truly going on with you and your relationship.
One of the great benefits of being affiliated with the SWAT Institute is the free mentorship coaching program. This coaching is available for free to any woman who wants empowerment coaching. We have an incredible school and an incredible body of coaches available to help and assist you.
Thank you for such a great question, and I hope that these words are helpful to you. I don’t know what any one woman’s personal situation is, and I am never one to recommend a rash course of action. But what I know is that if you know in your heart that you have tried everything, that you have said everything, and that you have been the woman you always wanted to be, then the decision to stay or go is one that you will never suffer over. You may stay, or you may go, but as long as you know that you are at peace with yourself, then I trust that you, my sweet sister, can trust in your decision and live in peace with whatever you choose.
That’s it for me this month, ladies. I love answering your questions, and you can reach me at my email address below. My information and how to get in touch with me or work with me is all here in this article.
Here is the link for our free mentorship coaching program.