#AskAlex : I'm Unhappy...When Is It Best To Leave My Relationship?

Dear Alex,

How are you? I love your blog, your style of writing and the honesty in which you communicate. You may not know this but your articles have inspired and helped me become a more self assured lady and I'm glad you have taken the naked conversation to radio. Congrats on that. Well done. But I need your advice. I've been in a non-commital relationship with a man for 4 years. Though I love him very much, our relationship doesn't seem to be going anywhere because he still considers himself single and available even though he spends a lot of time with me. My friends think I'm crazy to be in a toxic one sided affair with a man mocks and teases me before his friends and that I should cut him of and leave. I'm not happy, so When do you think is the best time to leave a relationship? I'm still hoping things will change with time though. Charity.

Hello Charity,

Thank you for the kind words. I try my best to be as honest as possible because they say if you tell the truth it becomes a part of your past, but if you tell a lie it becomes a part of future. And I chose to live a truth. Note that I'm not a professional love coach but I've earned a lot of the WISDOM I share based on my own personal experiences. I mean who best to teach you than experience, right?

I'm really sorry about your relationship, believe me....I know too well what 'unrequited' love feels like, dammit. I mean I've been the woman who has loved one man for 7 years....Truly truly, even with growing apart, all the drama and my own effort at forging ahead and building a future that didn't include him....second chances, third, forth and fifth....believe me, I know where it hurts you bad. That being said, When it comes to relationships, some of us have had the unfortunate but eye-opening EXPERIENCE of being in an extremely toxic one.

Most likely, our first experience was enough to be our last, if we were lucky enough to learn from our mistakes and never get involved in one of those types again. But sometimes, we are so DEEPLY involved, that we can’t even see the mess we are in....until it is too late.

We humans have the tendency to IDEALISE the things that we want. And studies have shown that the feeling of being in “love” actually makes your lover seem more attractive, intelligent and desirable than they really are. But isn't that what love is really about? - To make an effort to UNDERSTAND someone so much so that you accept them the way they are....Until ofcourse, you realise they aren't willing to do the same with you. They aren't willing to understand you and your needs and accept you the way you are. And until something SNAPS in you, to make you leave and perhaps wonder when you look back at your ex and exclaim “Wow, what the fuck was I thinking?” — That's exactly my point.

Let me put this in perspective...

Three years ago, after dealing with my separation from my husband and some personal issues related to my newly found reconnection with 'Tiger' (not his real name)....

We worked together on a few projects (the work took my mind off my pending issues and spending time with him made me realise I still had unresolved feelings for him and that I wanted to still be with him. At some point, I thought he wanted the same thing, maybe even more and we were back and forth on a sexual relationship that was simply a convenience for him (and I say for him, because from day one I had been clear and honest about what I felt and what I wanted).

Just like you, I had invested my emotions and my time, yet he still considered himself single and available to mingle. Now the truth is, this time 2 years ago, I wanted to start 2013 fully sorted out in my personal life, nothing like that happened.

A year ago I made the same resolution to move ahead in 2014, once again nothing happened. I stayed stuck in my TOXIC pit....Why? Because I was hoping something miraculous would happen and the planets will finally CONSPIRE to lock our destiny together once again. (I know, Yea! I'm that closet romantic) Hahahah.

That is how powerful being infatuated or falling in love can be. It is so POWERFUL that we literally fall head over heels into an obsession with the other person, and in most cases, the IDEA of what the other person should or could be.

When it comes to 'dysfunctional' relationships, people usually hold on because they are deeply invested; whether it be finances, dependance, emotions, or even because so much time has passed that we feel there is no way out.

People will try to make the best of the situation they are in, ENDURE hardships if they aren’t too extreme, or even try to convince themselves of reasons not to leave their current shifty relationships. We become obsessed with hope and see things how they could be rather than how they really are. This is an extremely flawed way of thinking and will bring nothing but long-term pain and suffering for both people involved, but especially for the person who has seemingly invested more heart, more time and certainly more love.

So what are some signs that it is time to leave your relationship?

#1.) Physical Abuse

Whether it is a one-night thing where you got slapped by your drunk partner, or it’s a continual barrage of chronic physical abuse that comes from EMOTIONAL arguments; when it gets to these points, trust is broken and it’s probably going to be over. The person you used to look to protect you has now become someone you assume could HARM you, when things go wrong.

You can try to forgive and forget the first incident, but don’t blame them if they do it again. Maybe they will never hit you again, but you will never forget that they have and this will leave a deep unforgiving scar. Unless you can truly forgive what happened, chances are your relationship is over. And it definitely should be over if this is a habitual thing.

Note: Yes, I remember having an argument about where the baby will sleep because I got tired of constantly standing up between feeds to pick him up from the cot....He was only 2 months old and I wanted my new born to sleep in the middle between us, but he wanted me to sleep in the middle and Ray on the outside of the bed. Let's just say a little argument about it and I received a huge painful kick in my belly....Oh! 

Did I add that I was still trying to recover from a Caesarean Operation and it wasn't the first of such.  it was only 8 weeks and my stitches hadn't even healed. Let's not add the other time I almost strangled him for hitting the baby in a fit of anger and almost getting us car killed. 

My point is....if your partner, whether male or female is trying to hurt you, or if you find yourself becoming violent as a response to your partner's ill physical treatment. That's not love— it is time to go.

#2.) Addiction

Whether it’s gambling, drugs, alcohol, PORN, sex or something else, when your partner has become addicted to the point that it becomes a problem and is affecting your well being, or they have betrayed your trust, the relationship is doomed. If they do not wish to stop and continue their addictive behavior, then it would be in your best interest to leave.

If they are not willing to change or they cannot change, you don’t have to feel sorry for them. You are in a relationship to be someone’s partner, not to be their babysitter or their SHRINK. If things don’t change, you know where the door is. Maybe you leaving will force them to realize it’s time to make some serious ADJUSTMENTS in their life.

3.) Deception

Although the media tries to make us believe LYING is normal for men and women, I know for a fact, it is not normal for a healthy relationship. The most important thing that needs to be in place in order to have a REAL, deep and meaningful relationship with someone else is TRUST. If you can’t tell someone the truth and are constantly finding ways to avoid being in trouble, or avoid confrontation, then you should reconsider what you are doing wrong.

If you can’t be yourself or you can’t do things you want to do because it will hurt the other person, maybe you should find someone else who will appreciate you for you or not be in a relationship at all.

Note: I can't count the number of times I discovered lies upon lies upon lies that simply made me DIZZY from shock....and for someone like me who tries my best to be honest and appreciates honesty in return, no matter how painful it is. 

Out rightly, constantly lying to me is a MAJOR deal breaker, because I do not cut corners with TRUST. If I can't trust you then why torture myself to invest my heart and time with you. (Besides, I always eventually find out the truth, so what's the point).  

If you are being lied to or you are constantly lying to someone else to maintain peace, it’s time to stop deceiving yourself and end your relationship. If you can’t be honest with yourself; there is no way you can be honest with anyone else.

#4.) Cheating

Unless you have an AGREEMENT to both be in an open relationship, cheating is downright unacceptable (and for so many reasons including your sexual health, as well as multi physio-spiritual connections with multiple partners). It is possible to forgive someone for cheating and move on, usually if the situation was extremely complex and both parties contributed to it. Forgiveness may work ONLY if both parties are willing to make the necessary CHANGES and put the past behind them. It won’t be easy but it is possible. However, if the person is a habitual cheater who just wants to eat their cake and have it too, regardless of your feelings, then it’s time to walk out the door and have some RESPECT for yourself.

#5.) You’ve Grown Apart

This happens often. Over time, people just naturally begin to drift apart; interests change, goals change, and people begin to want to take a different path in life. If you are starting to feel this way towards your relationship, you MUST tell your partner the truth. It is unfair to keep dragging yourself and your partner along just because you are afraid to HURT someone’s feelings.

Note: Besides being angry at first - that my son and I were abandoned for a while.... now having enough time to think it through. I realised it was for the best, because my goals and the path I wanted for my life and child was totally different, from the way my ex wanted to live his own life.  I had a career, dreams and goals ahead of me and most importantly I wanted to live in peace and tranquillity. And I needed to do what was necessary to achieve that. 

People’s feelings will always get hurt, and it’s their problem, not yours, if they can’t ACCEPT the truth.

You must be real with yourself and end the relationship, otherwise, you will build resentment towards your partner simply because you didn’t have it in yourself to do the right thing. If you are feeling GUILTY because you don’t feel the same anymore, then that is another sign that it’s probably time to walk away.

6.) Disrespect

This can come in many forms, but in this case I am referring to someone mistreating you through constant VERBAL attacks/abuse, mind games and degradation. If you’re in a relationship where your partner is the type to put you down, talk down to you, and make a fool of you, then it’s time to reconsider your relationship.

Note: Again, I grew up in a background where dialogue was pretty much used to solve many issues. If I did something wrong, my father would have a sit down with me and tell me in direct clear words that he was DISAPPOINTED in me. My parents never did the name calling, not to any of us and certainly not to themselves either. So to be married to a man who's favourite past time was to call me all forms of 'unprintable' names - that crosses his mind, was not only a shocker but an uncomfortable experience for me.

No one has the right to call you a BITCH, a WITCH, a LIAR, the DEVIL etc, unless of course it's true that you are one....lol.

But then again, where is the love in name calling? Your only move at this point is to put out an ULTIMATUM and demand they instantly stop this disrespectful behavior towards you or you will leave. If they don’t stop, then stop disrespecting yourself by dating someone like them, who's a sour mouth and thinks like a TRASH can. You deserve someone who will respect you and treat you well, and the only way to find someone who will, is to walk out that door.

#7.) Bad Communication

If you are in a relationship that has crappy communication, it will naturally fail on its own over time.

Constant miscommunication will turn small issues into giant ARGUMENTS that could have been avoided, and eventually, will one day lead to a break up.

If you can’t talk to your partner like they are your best friend, then you are really just in a "Situation-ship" based on convenience rather than a relationship based on deeper connections.

Try to EXPRESS yourself to your partner and open up the connection. Unless you like someone who doesn’t talk much, then this isn’t a problem for you.

But if you are looking for a DEEP, meaningful connection where you can SHARE everything that’s on your mind and have great conversations, I suggest you walk out that door, otherwise you will be forced out the door after lots of painful FRUSTRATION that stem from the inability to communicate your needs.

 #8.) It’s Unbalanced

If you find yourself in a relationship that is totally unbalanced in the favor of your partner, then you are not in a relationship, you are in a dictatorship.

A healthy relationship is BALANCED and both partners play off each other; each contributing to one another while complementing each other. There may be a time where you need to help your partner, and another time, when they need to help you.

If you are treating them like ROYALTY while they leave you feeling like a tiny-worthless-nobody in the equation, then it’s time for you to get moving, baby.

It may be difficult for you to leave when you feel less appreciated, but that in itself should be enough to go out and get someone who will appreciate you more. Yes Boss!

#9.) Egocentric / Ego Based

If you are in a relationship where you have realised that you somehow have let your ego fool you into dating someone you would never date, whether it’s because you’re lonely or to feed your hunger for attention, then it’s definitely time to re-evaluate what the hell you are doing.

Many times, someone will become the object of our 'desire' simply because they present a CHALLENGE of some sort to us.

We can easily fall victim to this ego trick, especially when we want to CONQUER what we think we can’t have - by doing or allowing things we would never tolerate, in order to obtain them.

This usually becomes infatuation and, in time, a complete disaster.

If you’ve finally realised that you have gotten yourself STUCK with someone - whom you may have sacrificed your own STANDARDS to be with. You need to stop and realize that this person knows that you may value your desire for them, more than yourself, and will use it to MANIPULATE you.

You may have already realised this to be true. The only way to WIN yourself back - is to get the hell out  FAST.

10.) It’s Only Physical

Oh! this is the current situation with me and Tiger. We get it on, only when I mysteriously show up in his neck of the woods and can't make my way back home.

Our love has been nothing but the case of the booty call, as much as it hurts to say so. After so many years, I realise NOW, that the strategy to defeat my FEAR of losing him is not by being strong, but by actually being REAL and telling myself the NAKED truth about the way things really are.

If the only thing you have going in your relationship, is physical attraction and SEX, eventually it will come to an end.

But if there are no problems and the sex is good, then you have to stop and consider where your partner STANDS regarding you. If your partner has more feelings than you and wants more, and you don't want the same, then the right thing to do is LEAVE them still.

If you are not the actor featuring in your own relationship soap opera, then it it’s time to get the hell out of it. (I would know, right?) End of story.

If you hate the drama, the inconsistency or the non-challance of your partner and you aren’t walking out of the door, the very sign that you are in for a long uncomfortable ride, then you have no right to blame anyone but yourself.

Yes, love may not have grown enough in their heart but be thankful that at least it GREW well in yours and just teach yourself to love them from afar. Don’t make excuses for this person, just make moves straight for the door, if you can find the strength.

Now, I recognise that we are not all the same, nor are we all in the same exact situations, but we must be wise and careful about what we TOLERATE. I learned the hard way, that you teach people how BEST to love you by what you accept. If you accept bullshit, best be sure their love will be filled with nothing but BULLSHIT with pink ribbons.

We must learn the difference between FORGIVENESS and weakness. My erroneously stating to Tiger in a moment of sexual weakness that "Scheduled Sex was better than No Sex..." didn't surprise me much when he laid the penis on me and then fled into his usual seasonal silence.

But, I lied....Had he known it was my little test to see what he would do if he got what he wanted - Had he known - would he not have checked up on me? The truth is I want "Soul Sex or No sex at all" and at this very instant, I'm waving goodbye to him with the failures of 2014. Whoop! Whoop!

So sometimes, the situation does present itself and people can choose how they want to handle their relationships.

I have seen people get cheated on and actually become a stronger couple after their love has been tested, but in this case, common sense should tell you, if your partner continues to do you WRONG, and it causes your heart to bleed in pain, even if you love them, then it’s probably wise for you to turn your back and walk away.

Yes, you can still love them, but please love them from afar.

In the end, that choice is really up to you.

Do let me know what you decide dear. Xoxo. Alex.

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