Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Should I stay or should I go?

Many people have come in lately asking me if their relationship can be saved. They report that their relationship has been bad for years, that they’re pretty sure they want to leave, and they want to know if I think they should get a divorce.

So here’s where I have to admit some bias….I am always on the side of marriages staying together.

However, here’s what I would say to someone wondering if they should stay or leave their marriage:

I’d always encourage you to act in ways that make you feel good about yourself and your life. If this relationship has reached a point where it can no longer be saved, that’s a decision for you to make. I always believe there is hope and that any marriage can be made better, but as to whether or not we should keep trying, that’s something I cannot tell you. Any decision needs to be yours because you know yourself and your feelings better than I ever will. I am always on the side of trying to make things work, but if you do not feel that’s in your best interest or that it can work, I will certainly understand and support you. You deserve to be happy and to be in a relationship that brings you joy.

Here are some questions to ask yourself and to think about:
-Can you say that you have done all you can to make this work?
-Have you taken responsibility for the things you have done that have caused the relationship to be in this state?
-Is anyone else a factor in this relationship?
-Do you have realistic expectations of what things would be like if you left?
-Can you feel comfortable looking at your kids 5-10 years from now explaining the decision you might make?

Your answers to these will be so telling….

It would be easy for me to tell you to stay or go, but in so doing, I am “playing God” – I can’t know what’s right for you, I can only say that I trust that you to know what’s right for you, that you have the answer inside of you, and that the best I can do is help bring that answer to the surface.

But to run with it a little more – how would you feel if I told you to throw in the towel? If you're answer is "Phew, I'd be relieved," then that may tell you that you've been trying for a long time and it's time to consider a change. Act in ways that make you feel good, honest, genuine, and true to yourself.

If I can help you, feel free to drop me a line.

All my best,
Dr Kathy

Dr Kathy Nickerson is an expert marriage counselor in Orange County, California. Her practice focuses on preventing divorce, helping marriages thrive, improving communication in couples, and affair recovery. You can learn more at www.DrKathyNickerson.com.

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