WILL I STAY OR WILL I GO?

According to ‘statistics’ about 1/5th of all people in relationships can’t decide whether to stay or leave.  That’s 2 people in every 10 in a relationship are not sure whether they want to stay with their partner.  Now every relationship has it’s moments when things are pretty rocky, life, work, kids and unexpected events deal some challenging blows from time to time and many couples manage to work through these times together.  However, living every day with the internal struggle going on is not a great place to be and many people, (myself included) spend a few years sorting the why’s, the what if’s, the if only’s as well as the conflict of violating their values around family.

Let’s explore this ‘will I stay or will I leave’ dilemma in more detail.

For me it really was a case of weighing up the pros and cons at the time and attempting to make the decision based on how these balanced out for me – using logic clearly was not the right approach and never one that I would recommend anyone to use, the scales will tip from one to the other on any given day and living in a constant state of ambivalence is mentally and emotionally draining.

Ambivalence in your heart is another matter entirely and goes hand and hand with the distance you will be feeling in your relationship. From my personal experience when you get to this point you no longer want to spend much time with your partner, you talk less and less about important things, both parties end up emotionally detached and the distance between you gets wider and wider.

Here’s the thing!

Your relationship is either too good to leave or too bad to stay, it can never be both and the problem for most people in this situation is not knowing how to really figure out what to do.

Here are some questions to help you get to the heart of the matter, questions for you to ponder that may help you get more clarity and in turn help you reach a decision one way or the other. I would suggest that you write down your answers to each question and come back to them a few days later and see if there is anything you would change or add to your responses.

    1. Take yourself back to when things were at there best between you. Would you now say that things were really, really good?
    2. Has there been more than one incidence of physical violence in your relationship?
    3. Have you already thought about what a course of action that excludes your partner? (In other words have you been mentally preparing to leave?)
    4. If God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would you feel tremendously relieved and have a strong sense that finally you would end your relationship?
    5. In spite of your problems do you and your partner have at least one pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, that you both like and gives a feeling of closeness?
    6. Are you in a relationship with a power person? If so, then any and all of your needs are a threat to his power. If ever you do get what you want is it such an ordeal that you don’t even feel it was worth all the effort?
    7. Do you have a basic, recurring feeling of humiliation or invisibility in your relationship?
    8. Have you gotten to the point when your partner says something that you usually feel it’s more likely that he’s lying than that he’s telling the truth?
    9. Do you feel willing to give your partner more than you’re giving already, and are you willing to do this the way things are between you now without any expectation of being paid back?
    10. Do both you and your partner want to touch each other and look forward to touching each other? Things like kissing, hugging, holding hands, cuddling. Taking into consideration that some people are just not the touchy feelie type have you or your partner moved to the point where there is no physical affection?

Ideally for couples going through a difficult time in their relationship couple therapy can be very helpful, however this will only ever be productive if both parties are fully committed to the process and in many cases one of the people involved has already made the decision internally and hasn’t been clearly articulated verbally.  Any signs of resistance to this process or other suggestions to work through problems together I would see as red flags.

If you have been struggling to come to terms with an inner discontent for some time and you have reached the threshold and ready now to step over it, if you know there is no going back, then you have reached the tipping point, when you know you are done.

Connect with me by clicking the link below to find out the next steps you need to take before you speak to a lawyer.

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Jenny is an advocate and champion for women rediscovering themselves through the process of divorce.

ARE YOU SURRENDERING YOURSELF IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?

In most relationships, whether they be with a spouse, family and friends or work colleagues we compromise ourselves in some way, to either keep the peace, avoid confrontation or to be accepted, liked and even loved.

Most relationships involve a great degree of compromise simply to allow the other person to maintain their individuality, pursue their own interests and have a different circle of friends. All of which I believe contribute to making the relationship not only more interesting but more importantly allowing both people to grow as individuals within the relationship.

For separated families to put their children’s very best interests ahead of personal feelings or opinions also involves compromise and when the relationship is strained this can be incredibly challenging.

And of course, some things are just not worth making a big deal about much of the time but at what point does ‘biting your tongue’ become something much more?

At what point does compromising become problematic?

Where does it start and where does it end?

Generally when the stakes are high! And they are if our usual response is to avoid any sort of confrontation or voice our opinion on a particular topic, or stating to someone that what they did really pissed us off and when our voice is no longer heard.

This can happen in relationships in very subtle ways. For example if you are telling your friend, partner or work colleague about something that happen during the day and not only are they not listening, they will cut you off mid sentence to tell you something about themselves.

When this becomes a common pattern real communication will cease to exist and the relationship itself will be compromised.

Or conversely

  • When you are too afraid to express your true feelings
  • When your opinion no longer counts
  • When you have been put down so many times that you just keep everything to yourself
  • When you are ridiculed for your opinion
  • When you no longer even know how to express your needs
  • When you no longer feel that you deserve to have an opinion
  • When you no longer even care because you feel worthless
  • When you no longer even know what you think

What most of us don’t realize until we’ve allowed our own sense of self-worth and self-respect to reach rock bottom is that in every moment, situation, and relationship that we do not honor and value ourselves, we are compromising who we really are and thus abandoning, betraying, and ultimately hurting ourselves far more deeply than we know.

I thought I would share with you some tips on Finding Your Voice Again, from my “6 Steps To Getting Your Life Back On Track” ebook.

I remember quite some time ago seeing the movie ‘Runaway Bride’ with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. There was one particular scene in the movie that really stood out for me and it relates well to this step, finding your voice again.

In this scene Richard Gere asks Julia Roberts ‘how do you like your eggs?’ and she replies ‘how do you like yours?’

This also reminds me of a client who broke down in tears and said to me, ‘I don’t even know what my favourite colour is!’

In the role Julia Roberts played in this movie she had absolutely no idea how she liked her eggs, she had never allowed herself to realize that she could choose to have them anyway she liked and asked for them just the way she liked them.

“How do you like your eggs?”

Exercise

Time to make your voice heard.

Over the next few weeks I would like you to begin to pay particular attention to the times, when for the sake of keeping the peace, or perhaps thinking it’s not that important, you stay silent rather than speaking up or voice your opinion on some topic.

I’m not saying that all of a sudden you become someone who challenges everyone or everything. The purpose of this exercise is simply one of creating more self-awareness. It can often be some of the little things that we let go without comment that eventually lead to becoming our natural way of responding in most situations. Your voice is important and your voice deserves to be heard. It’s time now to find YOUR voice again.

Next time you go to a restaurant with friends or family, take particular notice of how you read the menu. How do you choose what you are going to order? Do you wait to find out what everyone else is having?

Or as you read the menu do you imagine what the food will look like and taste like? Perhaps you may find it really difficult to make a decision at all. This is just one example of any number of different situations that you may begin to notice how you make decisions and when you choose not to say something even though you disagree.

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TOUGH CONVERSATIONS!

You have just been told by your partner that he wants out!  Or you have told him you want out!

Apart from everything else that will be going on for you right now, your mind will be racing with thoughts, questions and decisions.
Your emotions will be out of control.
Tears will be sitting delicately waiting for the right moment for you to let them fall uncontrollably.
And the first people you must have a conversation with are the people you love the most in the world.
This may include your kids, your parents, your siblings, your in-laws and your very close friends.

How to tell your children about divorce?
How do you handle these tough conversations?

Obviously it will be a very different conversation you have with your kids compared to everyone else and will depend on their age.
My belief is that divorce impacts our kids in a very big way no matter what age they are.
It is not better if they are older or better if they are little.  It still sucks and it is still a life changing experience for them.
And they will not feel better because they ‘will just want you to be happy.’

I’m going to talk about how things could go in an ideal world.

Unfortunately few parents seem to be able to put their own differences to one side and think about what is in the best interests of their children.

Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world.

And if truth be told, this is so far from how things played out for me although at the time we were both doing the very best we could under the circumstances.

Nevertheless, here is my version of how this conversation could be handled in the best interests of everyone involved.

The first step is for both of you to sit down together and talk this through beforehand.  To have a solid plan on how to move forward to help make this easier for yourselves and everyone else and provide some sense of certainty and security for your children. The more information you can share with them about where to from here the better.  What your plans are and how you see things working out.

Allowing them the opportunity to tell you how they are feeling and really listening to what they have to say.

As the adults in this situation it is your responsibility to put your own differences to one side and do the very best you can to alleviate their fears and concerns.

For some of your relatives and friends their first thoughts will be about themselves.  This news will throw them into a tailspin.  They will be thinking about birthdays, social events, Christmas and so many other things.  If they really like both partners they will have a sense, rightly or wrongly, that they have to choose who they will support and who they cut adrift. In many cases the one who gets cut adrift will be the one who has decided they want to end the relationship.

As hard as it may be for you, give them the time and space they need to come to terms with what is happening.  Avoid engaging in conversations with them about what a bitch/bastard the other party is, or any other damaging conversations.

This does not serve anyone in the long run, doesn’t change the situation one little bit and will have you feeding on more negativity.

You have enough of that going on already.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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FIRST THINGS FIRST!

A break up can become a real crisis for most people, the pain is very intense and when I think about myself at that time I knew I was ‘out of control.’

I have heard it described as a death and I think that can be how it feels for many of us, whether you had the rug pulled out from under you or you were the one who decided you wanted out, it is the end of life as you once knew it.

Everyone has different coping strategies, some useful ones and some bordering on self-destruction, depending on how you feel about yourself. The tough part of this phase is that there are so many things being forced upon us. Decisions that have to be made – some really big decisions that have a very strong emotional charge and we are often not in the best state to be making these decisions.

Things like selling the family home, trying to put on a brave face for our kids and immediate families who are feeling their own sense of loss, realizing that from here on in we are financially on our own, and often seeing your partner moving on happily to create a new life with ‘someone’ else.

It is very important to spend time with people who will support you and be there for you.  If you feel like having a good cry, let it come, this is all part of the grieving process and the sooner you accept your feelings, the anger, the hatred, the fear, the regret, the sadness, the guilt and the loss, the sooner you go through this,the faster you will be able to move on.

  • Find help from a professional, a divorce coach is a very good place to start, someone you feel totally at ease with and comfortable to talk to about everything that is going on for you.
  • This is your journey – there will be lots of people giving you ‘good’ advice on what you SHOULD do.  From your mother and girlfriends to everyone else you come into contact with – they may mean well but they are not you, they are not feeling what you are feeling or thinking what you are thinking.  Trust yourself to do what is right for you.
  • Conversely, spend as much time as possible with the people you like to hang out with, positive confident people who will encourage you to try new activities, take good care of yourself, getting out walking or running, going to yoga or whatever feels right for you.  Moving the body is one of the best things you can do to clear your thinking and reduce the stress levels.
  • Be mindful of your internal dialogue – the gremlin that can take over our thoughts, send us into a spin and lead us down the rabbit hole – as soon as you notice it taking control of you and your thinking, put the tip of your tongue behind the back of the top of your teeth and this will instantly quieten everything down for you.

Over time you will notice that the end of your relationship has opened up the opportunity to learn so much about yourself, you will be stronger and more resourceful.  You will have the opportunity to really think about your future, what you want to create and get back in touch with who you are, and remember those dreams you once had about how you wanted your life to be.  You will also discover just how strong you really are, and with the right mindset you really can be, do and have whatever you want.

For now, take one day at a time.  Each day may bring up new and different emotions, questions and decisions, just taking one step forward at a time doing the best you can.

For every tough experience, life sends our way there are always good times to follow.  I will always remember this little phrase that I used, sometimes every single day, whenever life was really testing me.  “This too will pass,” and it always did.

When the dust has settled, life will return to some sort of ‘new normal’ and you may find yourself starting to think about your new life. Wondering what it will be like and perhaps, ready to do things you have only ever dreamed about in your previous life.

With love,

Jenny xx

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