"Take a long walk off a short pier. Put an egg in your shoe and beat it. Make likea tree and leave, etc., etc., etc." Just what is a good way to say good-bye when the time comes that you no longer want that certain someone in your life? What's the best way to get out of any relationship that you've decided is no longer productive and is no longer fulfilling. It could be a short or long-standing marriage, a job, a career, a collaboration, any relationship in which you feel you need to end.
Many people have trouble getting out of relationships they no longer want to be in because they don't want to hurt the feelings of the other person. Some hesitate because they're married and have children. Others hesitate out of the fear of disrupting their lives and the dread of something bad happening. Others seem to be
able to negotiate the end of any relationship and seem to be going along their merry way, none the worse for wear.
An interesting aspect about the end of relationships is that the one who leaves suddenly seems like a stranger to the one being left and it often comes as a surprise that the other is leaving. That may be because they either haven't talked about it or one or the other didn't want to work to improve the problems. Usually, in a marriage, for example, the one leaving tried to talk about and do something about the problems
long before they decided to leave. But at some point they realized things weren't going to change and they realized they needed to leave.
Another interesting aspect about the end of relationships is that the person leaving probably knew for some time that the relationship wasn't suited to them but hung on anyway. In speaking with women who have divorced after retirement, many say that they knew from the beginning that they married the wrong man but they thought they could make it work. Then, children, financial commitments and accustomed lifestyle interfered with their leaving. While one could say that they were "meant to be" in the relationship for that long or that it was their "destiny" a point can be made that the sooner you get out of a relationship that you realize you don't belong in, the better.
Leaving a relationship that you don't belong in can save many years of disappointment, pain and misery for everyone involved, since most relationship problems can be related to the fact that one person doesn't want to be in it but stays. One caveat is a marriage involving children. Children need a stable home life with
both a mother and father. If the couple is ready to end the relationship but they are not
fighting, not violent, and have the interests of the children in mind, it seems that continuing in the relationship, at least until the children are grown, is in their best interest. Of course, "adult" children, as a rule, don't want their parents to divorce either but they're better equipped to handle it when they're on their own.
What divorce means to children of any age is that their "home" is gone. Everybody can deny it but when they go home there is always a "stranger, a guest, a non family member" there and it is never the same. Divorce is very disruptive to children. However, violence is more disruptive and has long-term negative effects.
A third interesting aspect about the end of a relationship is that the one leaving has thought about it for a long time and, by the time he or she leaves, she/he has already "grieved" the loss of the relationship. They're ready to leave, to begin their life anew. The one being left, on the other hand, is usually in shock, even if it was expected, and must just begin the grieving process.
Unfortunately, we tend to handle the end of relationships as an adversarial competition in this culture and wind up involving attorneys and litigation in the grieving process (feelings of denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) which can prolong the healing process.
Once the initial decision to leave has been made the one leaving may suddenly appear less distressed and the one being left may relax, thinking that everything is okay. The one leaving also seems to become more independent of the other, as they begin doing the things they need to do to take care of themselves, and that may relax the guard of the other even more as things seem to smooth over.
Usually, the one being left won't notice the signals that the one leaving is projecting because they're invested in maintaining the status quo. They're satisfied with the way things are and don't want things to change. Of course, the one leaving has usually realized the relationship is disproportionate in give-and-take activities and feels that the best thing to do, by that time, is to leave.
So, how do you do it? What is the best way to get out of a relationship? Actually, the best way to get out of one is to be honest with your partner and bring up the topic at a time of the day when you're getting along with each other (usually, early morning). You can also write a letter to your partner and either let them read it and discuss it later or read it to them. Of course, this means that you have to be getting along and you're reasonably mature, nonviolent adults.
Usually, when one person wants to leave it has less to do with the one being left and more to do with the one leaving. If you're the "leaver" do it the best way you can. If you feel you need help in leaving, seek out a therapist to help you. A therapist can meet with you and your partner individually, help you to decide if
leaving is what you really want to do, help facilitate a peaceful parting or help you work on the detracting factors in your relationship and provide you with information to help you strengthen your relationship. The best way to end a relationship is as friends rather than enemies.
If you're in an abusive relationship you're in DANGER and you need immediate help. You need to seriously consider working on the relationship and/or getting out. If you've had enough and you want out but are afraid of being physically attacked it's best to work with professionals experienced in the area of domestic abuse,
beginning with the local Rape Crisis Center. You may need a place to go and legal and physical protection which professionals trained in domestic violence can provide.
So, where are you in your relationship? Take some time to respond to the "Benedick Relationship Satisfaction Questionnaire." Each statement is important in itself and addresses the aspects of an intimate relationship that can make it strong or weaken it.
Answer on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the most satisfied, 3 being somewhat satisfied and 5 being dissatisfied. If, after completing the questionnaire, you are feeling comfortable with your relationship, you're probably doing okay. If, on the other hand, you're feeling uncomfortable with it, or disturbed in any way, please contact a mental health professional. You may also apply many of the statements to other
relationships, such as jobs and other working relationships to get an idea of how you're doing.
I am satisfied with:
1. The way we resolve conflicts.
2. The way we raise our kids.
3. The way you criticize me.
4. The way housework gets done.
5. The way we spend money.
6. The way we communicate.
7. The way you show affection.
8. The way you show appreciation.
9. The way decisions are made.
10. What we do for fun and relaxation.
11. Our sexual relationship.
12. Our friends.
13. Our trust for each other.
14. Our common goals.
15. Our commitment.
16. Our common interests.
17. Our religious beliefs.
18. Our relatives.
19. Our jobs.
20. The possibility we may separate or divorce. ©