Knowing When to Sever the Ties that Bind

Written on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 4:01 am by Adaire
Filed under Lifestyle.

I’ve heard some rather unfortunate news lately – a few of my favorite couples have decided to call it quits and break off their relationships. Don’t worry, I’m most certainly not talking about Ric and Liz. They’re one of the happiest couples I know of, and I don’t think anything can break them apart. :)

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of rocky relationships, and so have my friends. The hardest thing to do in any relationship is to actually make the decision to break it off. Sometimes you just want to hold on to an unstable relationship and try to work things out, but sometimes that just prolongs your agony. So when should you decide to take that big step and call off the relationship altogether?

In his Healthy Wealthy nWise article Bonding or Bondage? How Does Your Relationship Stack Up, Dr. Noel Nelson cites a specific scenario that he uses as an example of “bondage” being mistaken for “bonding”. He talks about couples forcing themselves to do something that they’re not interested in simply because the other is. Of course, doing things together is one of the main ways that couples bond, but as Dr. Noel says: “It’s natural and wonderful to want to stay close, but there’s a world of difference between being close emotionally and mentally, versus being joined at the hip in your every activity. Forcing yourselves to do things together that one or the other doesn’t enjoy isn’t bonding, it’s bondage.”

Though Dr. Noel does make a good point there, I don’t think that this is the only aspect of relationship “bondage” that may give you enough cause to break-up. In truth, the kind of bondage described by Dr. Noel can easily be fixed through enough communication and an honest appreciation for the joy that your partner’s interest stirs within him or her. The kind of “bondage” that I feel is dangerous and merits a break-up has to do with tying yourself down to a relationship even though it’s hopeless no matter how much you’ve done to fix it.

In another Healthy Wealthy nWise article called Why Do Relationships End? Pitfalls and Deception, Janina Judek describes two relationship problems that may turn out worse for you unless you manage to break out of it when you need to.

Lack of interest

One of the reasons for break-ups that Janina describes is the opposite of what Dr. Noel described – not spending time together. While forcing yourself to do things with your significant other even if you’re not interested at all is bad, not spending time together is also a bad sign. Sometimes we start off relationships with a bang – you can’t get enough of one another, and the many hours you spend together never seem to be enough.

But after that initial thrill wears off, you may find yourselves in a bit of a standstill. When you notice you don’t seem to be spending time together the way you used to, you can try to take the initiative and organize a date or a vacation – anything exciting and new to both of you. If you still have that spark between you, this should be enough to ease your way back into really spending more time together as a couple. Talking also does wonders – knowing what it is that’s making your partner a bit frigid will help you set the relationship back on track. But if things don’t seem to be picking up at all after you’ve done these things and you find your partner simply doesn’t seem to want to be with you anymore, then it’s best that you just end the relationship right then and there. After all, why should you stay in a relationship when your partner isn’t even interested in you anymore?

Broken trust

For me, breaking your partner’s trust is one of the worst things you can do in a relationship, second only to physical/verbal abuse and harassment. When you enter a serious relationship, you both make the conscious decision to commit to each other and trust one another. Breaking that trust, especially through infidelity, is a serious offense. Like Janina says, “there are no easy solutions” for this kind of situation. It depends on what the one partner did to break the other’s trust, and how often it’s happened. Sometimes the transgressions can be forgiven over time, but if your partner keeps on breaking your trust repeatedly, then it would be best for you to break the relationship off. Relationships are supposed to be built on love and trust, and you really shouldn’t feel beholden to someone who deprives you of both.

Freeing yourself from bondage

As Janina says at the end of her article, the “ultimate” question that you need to ask is: “Is this relationship worth it?” There may be many reasons for you to keep trying to repair a problematic relationship. You’d probably be doing it for love, for the sake of the happy times you’ve shared, for the children…but if nothing happens after all your efforts, then perhaps it’s time for you to move on instead of allowing yourself to remain tied down. Relationships should be making couples feel loved and happy. If you find that you’re constantly unhappy with a relationship or feel like your heart’s being shattered into a million pieces by your partner’s actions, then you really have learn to let him or her go.


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