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Love & Dating


Should You Walk Away From Your Relationship? A Simple Test to Help You Decide.

 By Laura Giles
 Healthy Living

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Relationships go through predictable cycles of intimacy, conflict, and withdrawal. When weíre in withdrawal, we often ask if our relationship is worth continuing. The key to keeping a relationship healthy is to be aware of the cycles and successfully resolve issues in the conflict stage so that you spend little to no time in withdrawal. Allow me to explain the cycles further so you can see what I mean.

Intimacy is that warm and fuzzy stage where everything is beautiful. Each partner goes out of his way to make the other feel comfortable and important. Itís a joy to please the other. Each partner is willing to sacrifice for the otherís happiness and well-being. Both partners give and take. The synergy feeds the sense of being in love.

After a while, the relationship inevitably moves to conflict. Conflict is often avoided (through deception) because some people feel that conflict is a bad thing. Conflict is actually healthy because it represents a chance to grow closer. When conflict is successfully resolved, it leads to bonding and a greater sense of security and happiness and the couple goes quickly back to the intimacy phase. When it is unresolved or ignored, the couple moves to withdrawal.

Withdrawal is an emotional state where one or both partners turn away from the other to avoid being hurt. In withdrawal, there is reduced interaction, little emotional sharing, and decreased emotional attachment. The longer the relationship stays in withdrawal and the more frequently it goes here, the less chance there is for a long-lasting, satisfying relationship. Relationships are living things. If they are not attended to, they eventually die.

So how do you know if itís time to give up on your relationship? Thatís not a question anyone but you can answer, but there is something you can do to help yourself figure it out. For two weeks, pretend that you are madly in love with your partner. No matter what he (or she) does to make you angry or hurt, ignore it and respond as though he is the most important thing in the universe. Do little things to show how important he is like calling to say hello, sending text messages with goofy, cute messages, cooking his favorite meal, and complimenting him. Avoid doing things that you know he doesnít like. In other words, make him the center of your universe the way you probably did when you first met.

Donít worry. I am not asking you to be a door mat. You have the right to do what you want, feel what you feel, and be heard too. If your efforts pay off, your partner will be in a better frame of mind to take care of you and listen to you. So, be patient. You will get your turn.

At the end of the two weeks, do a mental inventory of how much response you got for your efforts. Did this exercise bring you back to intimacy? Did your partner seem to enjoy the attention or did he pull away even more? If you experienced periods of closeness, was it satisfying to you? Or did it feel forced or like something you didnít really want? Pay attention to your feelings. They are just as much an indicator of future success as your partnerís reaction to your efforts.

This exercise will not tell you whether or not itís the best thing to stay together, but it can tell you how much work it will require to get things back on track and give you an idea of whether it is worth it. If your partner quickly turned around, your problems are not that serious. If it took a lot of effort to stay positive and keep trying, your relationship is in serious trouble. This doesnít mean itís not worth saving, but it will take a lot of effort.


Conflict is actually healthy because it represents a chance to grow closer.
About the author
Laura Giles, MSW specializes in women's issues, relationships, and families with children from affairs. She is the author of "The Other Child: Children of Affairs" and "Growing Up Crazy." Laura is a frequent radio talk show guest. She does online counseling for clients across the country and can be found at http://healthy-living-solutions.com or by email at realassist@yahoo.com

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Article Overview
So how do you know if itís time to give up on your relationship? Thatís not a question anyone but you can answer, but there is something you can do to help yourself figure it out.


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