When to Call it Quits in a Relationship

Deciding when to end a relationship is very difficult and complicated. Here, I try to offer a little clarity to a very difficult issue. If you’re thinking about ending your relationship, this video has a few things to think about relating to your boundaries, needs, and desires.

Hi, Michael Salas from Vantage Point Counseling, and I want to welcome you to our YouTube channel. And I am going to take a little time and talk about a common question that I get in couples therapy. But also in individual therapy, which is “when is the time to call it quits?” “When is it time in a relationship to accept the relationship is over?”

Unfortunately, a lot of times, by the time somebody comes into relationship therapy, the relationship is really at a crossroads. They’re not sure that they want to continue with it. This isn’t true for everybody, but for many it is. And so one of the things that they have to think about is “do they continue to put for the effort that it’s going to take for them to come back together and find that connective space again?” Or are they going to need to go their separate ways in a cordial way?

You know, as a therapist I to have to give people that frustrating answer [to these questions], which is “I can’t really tell you what to do with your relationship.” However, there are a couple of things that I do tell people to think about:

#1 Identify whether or not you have hope in the relationship. Is there any hope that you can rely on or use as a resource through the tough kind of journey that they might go on ahead? If they say “no” and they don’t have any hope, then what they have to at that point is start to look at one of two things.

  • Is there are way to develop some hope? (Is there any way to develop some hope?)
    • If there is no hope, then it might be best to just go through separate ways and end things where they are at.
  • Another thing that I encourage people to do is to consider what the deal breakers are.  A lot of times in relationship therapy/couples therapy, there are a lot of things that both people are looking to negotiate, and trying to reconcile. However, there are things that a person is not willing to give up, a person is not willing to bend on. It is not bad. It’s just important to know what those things are.
    • Couples that do very well are couples that are able to accept those things about the other person. However, if you look at it and and you decide that these are things that you can’t accept about the other person, you don’t want to treat those things like their still negotiable. What I mean by that is that if you are treating it like this is something that is still something that might change. And there’s no indication that it’s going to change. And the other person is telling you it’s not going to change, you have one of two paths in the situation. One of them is to accept it, and try to find a way to move forward with it. The other is to accept that you are unable to accept this. In that kind of situation, it might be that this is such a big deal that you do have to walk away.

That’s a really hard thing. It’s especially hard if you’re in a relationship where there’s not a lot of chaos, and you really do still love and care about the other person, and you don’t want the other person to hurt… And you’re not sure about your own future as well. There’s a a concern that you might not find somebody [else] who’s been as compatible  as this person.

Because of how tough that position can be, I tell people to really take your time. But don’t take too much time. Because if you take too much time, you’re going to tend to build up resentment, and become a pain in the neck. The other personal will start to resent you for that as well. And that’s not good for anybody.

So the bottom line of all of it… The one word that I would pull out of all of it would be “acceptance.” You have to accept how you feel about it, but at the same time you have to accept the other person. You have to accept yourself, accept the emotions behind it, and accept what you need. If you’re gonna stay in the relationship, you have to accept the other person, and what they bring to the table. And [accept] what they’re willing to do and what they want and need out of the situation as well.

You also have to accept what they’re not willing to do. And that can be very tough. Out of all of that, acceptance  seems to be the key thing that I think you have to really think about.

Regardless, I think it’s important to note that this is tough. It’s a tough decision. Take your time with it. And always
just do the best you can. I hope this is helpful… It’s complicated.

Thank you for watching.


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