The High Cost of Loving

Love is such a wonderful experience for the lucky ones who have found a healthy relationship to share. However, there can be downsides. In fact, sometimes the people we love can be bad for us, and while we may love them with all our heart, it may be best to let them go. Here are a few common situations in which love is more of a detriment to us, and how to move on, even when the heart is telling us to stay.

Level of Satisfaction

If the partnership involves kids, some relationship experts advise sticking it out, but you will have to make that decision for yourself when the time comes. A good rule of thumb to gauging a healthy relationship, is that you are getting at least eighty percent of your needs met. Anything below this, and you have to seriously consider if you are doing you and your partner an unnecessary injustice – as chances are that they are unhappy too. When was the last time you laughed with your partner? Is it a chore to communicate with them? Do you find yourself doing all the giving?

Preparation for Exit

It is good practice to prepare a partner/spouse early on, by discussing your unhappiness as soon as it develops. This gives the relationship time to enter a healing phase, which may also involve counseling if you choose. Springing a breakup or divorce on an unaware partner can be a shock and can create a difficult transition for both of you. Once you have made the decision, do “the talk” in the early morning in a public place in order to avoid harsh words or actions. Prepare for promises and/or accusations meant to create guilt. React calmly and confidently in your decision, and use the word “I” during your explanation, rather than “you” (I feel this relationship has reached a stopping point).

Quality of Relationship

Sometimes the abuser has no idea they are abusive. One of the major warning signs of an unhealthy relationship is an overly critical partner who is always unhappy with certain aspects of their lover’s personality or appearance. (Why aren’t you more outgoing with my friends? Why can’t you be more like Charles/Charlene? Is that really what you are going to wear?) Romantic love is the ability to look past the small things, and see the big picture of the relationship. If you find your relationship on a constant up and down (happy/sad) roller-coaster, or you are more focused on changing a partner than on spending time with them, it may be time to ask yourself about the quality of your partnership.

Preparation for Exit

This is a difficult relationship to exit, as the struggling partner will already feel as if they are doing everything they can to make their lover happy. Unfortunately for them, it is not necessarily anything they have the ability to change. Sometimes people grow apart, and there is little that can be done to rebuild that connection. The “leaver” is in complete control of this scenario, so they must avoid accepting any pleas or promises, as prolonging an inevitable breakup is not good for either party.

Abuse (Verbal or Physical)

Abusive relationships can be tricky, as quite often the abuser finds a way to make the abused partner feel as if they somehow deserve it. The signs of an abusive relationship would seem obvious to many, but when entrenched in this deceit, it may take a list of warning signs to realize you’ve become a statistic. If you fear your partner, whether or not they have harmed you in the past, this is abuse. If you feel worthless, stupid, crazy, or unfit because of something your partner has either said or done, this is abuse. If your partner is controlling of your life and time, and you wish you could just run away, but are afraid of the consequences, these are all signs of abuse. Abuse may also include a substance addiction, causing a partner to only be cruel while under the influence.

Preparation for Exit

This kind of exit will take lots of support from family, friends and, in extreme cases, your local authorities. Let people know what you plan on doing, and where you will be when you do it. In case you have second thoughts, you can count on friends and family to give you support. Make sure your partner is sober and drug free, be confident, and set yourself on equal eye level when talking to them. Avoid getting angry or emotional, or triggering any of their known “buttons.” Keep in mind that most all cheating partners and substance abusers will tell you they can change, and while you may think that threatening them might accomplish this, statistics show that their abuse will only get worse under the stress.

What do you think – what are the signs that is it time to leave a relationship? And what is the best way to do it?

2 thoughts on “The High Cost of Loving

  1. pa75

    I have to disagree with you Nazia. There are good reasons to speak with someone in a public place. My story is that I wanted to leave a verbally abusive husband who has ADD, and we’ve had many discussions and arguments (in more than 20 years of marriage) turn into a yelling fit from him where I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. My attorney recommended that I talk about the details of our separation in a corner of a restaurant, so that he could keep control of himself instead of yelling and talk to me on an adult level. I’d also like to mention that I tried and tried to get him to go for medical help, once I realized that he has ADD, but he wouldn’t do it until we decided we wanted a divorce. Many good points in this article that I could relate to, Eric, keep up the good work.

  2. nazia

    Eric, this is a wonderful article, as usual.

    Most of your points are valid and express the sad part of loving that is ‘leaving’ -quite astutely.

    However, I feel that I would not be so quick to decide about the ‘leaving’ part in relationships if I love someone ‘with all my heart’ as you put it.
    To the one I love truly, I would definitely give more time, considerations and compromise (not to be mistaken with compromising self respect, but the tolerance of certain things that I may not like about my partner) and work on the relationship. Keep working. The only reason being love.

    I agree with you that at least 80% of our needs must be met, BUT I also feel that some areas would be left ‘high and dry’ and if I am not so particular about ‘percentages’, you know a little here and there then it would certainly not kill me to stay.

    There is a Greek saying, which says: “ Infatuation is an exaggeration of similarities, Resentment is an exaggeration of differences. Love is equally embracing the both.” I like to believe in this.

    But, there is one area where I am not ready to compromise and that is: ‘Substance Abuse’. This one leaves many bruises, physically and emotionally.

    I have worked in an organization where they taught life skills to people recuperating from substance abuse, and I know it doesn’t leave them ever. The craving, the yen comes back always as relapse, and such people (pardon me but I am not judging them) are very, very hard to live with.
    I would leave a relationship if I find myself in such a situation. And the best way to do it as you mentioned above, though in this case hurtful and even violent reactions are not ruled out. So I would suggest that one must not choose a public place, to call off the relationship.


    Nazia Mallick


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