Eugenia from Calgary, AB Canada asks:
How could you know if the man you have stayed linked with for five years is the real one or if the relationship is meant to last more time?
Knowing whether to stay or go in a relationship can be very scary and complicated. But, the very fact that you are pondering that particular question is a red flag in and of itself.
While it may be painful, sort through your feelings. Your true feelings, not the ones you think you should have. Just because a relationship isn’t horrible doesn’t mean that it should last forever, but we often like to dismiss our deeper feelings and desires because we don’t have a black-and-white, justifiable excuse to bring a relationship to an end.
Trust your instincts. When your instincts are sending you those nagging sensations that something is wrong, or no longer beneficial to you, there usually is a pretty darned good reason. We may not understand all the intricacies of why we are getting the messages we are, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss or ignore them. We all have instincts and intuition, it’s just that some of us are more in tune and find it easier to trust our inner voices than others.
Spend some time thinking about your present and your future. Are you happy now? If you stay with your partner, can you see yourself being happy with him in five years? Keep in mind, ultimately everything changes. When you open yourself up to your future, especially your visions of a joyous future, can you picture your partner at an evolved state—participating in life and the relationship in a manner that supports you and your dreams, and makes you happy?
Take an honest look at your sex life. When, and why, did the passion start to fade? Is it you, him, or just the circumstances in which you are living that has put a dent into the romance? Do you cringe at the thought of his touch, or does that sensation of revulsion ebb and flow, depending on the day? Do you believe you can get back to a place where lovemaking is blissful and satisfying; and do you really want to, or want to try?
Weigh and measure your role in the current relationship. Are you with him because you want to be or because you feel as if you have to be? Do you feel or fear that you are choosing to cling to something that no longer serves you because the known is safer than the unknown? If so, is that enough for you?
Reflect on the relationship, and look at all the aspects and nuances that brought you to this point. Are there areas of this relationship that can be improved? Have you been honest enough with your partner that he actually knows what’s going on with you and how you are feeling? Do the two of you still share the same dreams and goals for the future?
Make a list of all the qualities of your man and of your relationship. Don’t hold back! Write down all the good and the bad. Make a list of reasons to let go and reasons to hold on. All of this is an assessment of how you feel and what you observe. Don’t worry about how it “looks,” or if you’re being reasonable or fair. This is a very private tool, and the only judgment that comes into play is your own. Unless and until you make a decision, time is on your side. It’s okay to have a contingency plan. In time, you’ll know whether or not you’re going to use it.
Your relationship is, and has been, in a lull. I see your relationship as salvageable; but in the comfortable, companionship kind of way. The love you had for one another has changed. There’s still love there—but it’s no longer the romantic love the two of you started out with.
Your boyfriend was what you needed at the time, but you’ve grown and changed quite a bit from then till now. Your man presents as if he’s sort of been floating along on your coattails, exerting control here and there, but mainly just along for the ride. He really isn’t aware of how deep your frustrations and discontent goes. He does take for granted that the two of you will remain together, and because of that feeling of security, isn’t paying attention to the signs and signals of how troubled things really are.
The bottom line is, this relationship looks as if it will continue on, unless and until you end it. While it can improve, you are harboring some deep sadness and resentments that you may not be able to let go of entirely, and your partner will struggle with his role as well. He can be quite stubborn and resistant, and these traits may keep him from rising to meet your expectations.
Take your time. Rash decisions can often lead to regret. But when you’ve done all that you can do, tried all that you can try, and looked at the good and bad from every angle—eventually, the answer will become clear. When you know, you’ll know.
I hope this helps you.
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