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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Relationships: Knowing When to Stay and When to Go

Knowing when to stay and try to work things out versus when to end a relationship can be challenging, especially when there have been longstanding problems. Often, people feel they've invested so much in the relationship that they want to do everything they can before giving up. But, for many of these relationships, both people feel they've exhausted their internal resources and they don't know what to do to make things better. They might flounder for months or years in an emotional stalemate.

Relationships: When to Stay and When to Go

Staying for the Sake of the Children?
Many people decide that even though the relationship no longer works for either of them, they will stay together for the sake of the children. This rarely works. I've had many adults clients tell me in their psychotherapy sessions that they wish their parents had divorced rather than staying together for the sake of the family. Usually, they say that they and their siblings sensed that something was wrong between their parents, even though the parents thought they were hiding it well. This creates a great deal of tension in the household with the parents attempting to keep their problems a secret and the children feeling confused about what they're sensing.

Relationships: When to Go and When to Leave.  Staying Together for the Children?

Wanting to Escape When Things Get Tough
There are those people who tend to want to escape from relationships when things get rough. Often, they haven't learned the necessary skills to stick with it and work through normal, everyday problems. Most of the time, these people didn't grow up in families where they saw good communication and problem solving modeled so they're at loss about what to do.

Relationships: When to Stay and When to Leave.  Escaping When Things Get Tough

Staying Because You're Afraid of Being Alone
Other people are on the other end of the spectrum: They don't know when the relationship has run its course. They keep trying to salvage the relationship, even when nothing works any more. In some cases, they fear being alone. In other cases, they don't want to feel they've "failed" in their relationship. There can be so many reasons.

When to Stay and When to Go.  Staying Because You're Afraid of Being Alone

Doing Some Soul Searching
Knowing when to stay or when to go can be daunting. It can take a lot of soul searching on your part as well as open and honest communication between you and your partner.

When to Stay and When to Go.  Doing Some Soul Searching

Needless to say, if you're going to try to work things out, both people must be willing to make the effort.

Getting Help
When you and your partner aren't sure if the relationship can be salvaged, you could benefit from seeing a couples counselor. An experienced couples counselor, who is objective, can help you and your partner sort through the current emotional stalemate to either work things out or end the relationship in an amicable way.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist who sees individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006.