As you may well know from reading this blog, I don’t believe that the “when you know, you know” narrative applies to every relationship. Relationships take work: the ebb and flow and change and break and grow and so many things in between. But there is one truth that I think is true in all successful, long-term relationships. This question was brought to me by a relationship counsellor many years ago, and I think it is the most important question that you can ask yourself about your relationship: Does my partner bring me joy, ease and lightness?
If your gut instinct is “no”, then it may be time to rethink your relationship. Ultimately, partners are supposed to be just that – they are supposed to be life partners that will stand by you and enhance your life, making hard times easier and good times better. If you find that thinking of your partner brings you feelings of sadness or shame, you need to acknowledge that feeling, and dive into it. It took me many years to realize that how you feel apart from your partner is just as important, if not more important, than how you feel when you are with him – it cannot be only the good moments in between the pain that keep you going.
I know that this is hard to hear, but there needs to come a time when enough is enough. I’m not saying that certain amounts of hardship aren’t normal or that things can’t improve, but if the scale is noticeably tipped the wrong way, then it is time for you to take control of your happiness. There is no reason for you to stay in a relationship that is weighing you down any longer than is absolutely necessary – rip off the bandaid, and get going to bigger and better things. Everyone deserves a life of joy, ease and lightness, but only you have the power to make it happen.