Tag Archives: Separation Advice

Ex-Files & Old Flames – Why Isn’t It Easy To Say Goodbye?

Ex-Files & Old Flames – Why Isn’t It Easy To Say Goodbye?

Saying Goodbye

The most compelling reason people continue to hold on to an old relationship is the fact that they have a shared history. The person who might be an ex-partner has a sense not only of who you are, but who you were with them and during your time together. To then say goodbye to them can also feel like saying goodbye to who you were during your relationship!

Things that can keep you hopeful, even if you aren’t happy right now, is the possibility that something will change and the good times you once shared and the positive aspects of the relationship will resume.

Another thing that can keep the glue between you from completely giving way is if one of you wants to hold on more than the other. When this happens the one who isn’t ready to finally end it might persist with calls, emails and texts, which can increase the doubts the other might feel as well as any guilt feelings he or she might have about ending the relationship in the first place.

The partner who wants to continue to be together might also make assertions that they will change whatever behavior may have led to the unhappiness between you. They might even start to do it, which can make the other person stick around with the hope that the negative behaviors will disappear completely. As a result a couple can often seesaw because even small changes can increase optimism and give someone the stamina they need to be willing to try to give it another shot.

In the case of a betrayal, when the initial and intense anger diminishes, there can be a willingness to give the person a chance to rebuild your trust. Also, when there are children involved there is often a desire to keep the family together for their sake. That can be one of the strongest driving forces of all. Whatever the case, certainly if a lot of loving feelings remain it is hard to imagine life without them in it.

The question becomes, how do you know if you are wasting your time, holding on with the hope that the happiness will be rekindled or the bad behaviors will change when there is the chance that neither of those things is likely? How can you know how much time to give it before reaching the decision to finally call it quits? Are there any strategies to employ for ending a relationship?

If you are moving forward with the intent to give your relationship a try and see if things can work out, it’s good to be clear about what specific changes you are looking for and how long you are willing to wait to see if they actually take place. For example, if you are looking to see if you can trust your partner again, the only real way to do that is to give them enough time to show through their actions that what they say and do is worthy of your trust. However if months go by and you continue to be disappointed because the promised changes aren’t happening, or they have happened once but were never followed up on, that can be a good indicator that things aren’t really going to be different from what had been upsetting you all along, and if you want to be happier it is time to let go.

If married or in a long term relationship you or your partner could look for counseling, which can help you either get your relationship back on track or help you reach the difficult decision that it really is time to say goodbye to each other!

 

Relationship Advice from Dr Jane Greer

Dr Jane Greer
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Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships: How to Get What You Want in Your Relationships (Paperback)

A classic and unique self-help book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus tackles the perennial problems faced by couples everywhere. Gray tells an allegorical story of the Venusians and the Martians who move to Earth, having enjoyed wonderful and fulfilling relationships with one another for many years. However, as soon as they arrive on this planet, amnesia sets in! They can no longer remember that they are from different planets and all sorts of communication and emotional problems set in. Written in an unpretentious and jargon-free style, Gray’s tactic of using “Venusian” and “Martian” to refer to the two genders (and he does comment that these roles are not necessarily based on sexual biology) avoids the dead-end path followed by so many people, of using sweeping statements such as: “men always…” or “women just don’t understand…”. Instead, he says: “Venusians are from a different planet, therefore…” or “Martians need…”. This in itself is a worthwhile tactic, removing blame and shifting communication onto a new level where it is OK not to be on the same wavelength all the time and not to automatically understand all your partner’s needs. His new naming strategy even manages to be amusing, in a way that many books in this area can fail to be, although the writing tends towards over-simplicity at times.

He discusses every aspect of relationships–but most importantly he does this in practical ways. For example, he lists common statements that people in relationships say to their partners, what is intended, what is actually heard. Gray goes on to suggest ways to say what you intended that are more appropriate for the Venusian or Martian audienc–he even compiles lists of translations of common male/female exchanges.

The tone of the book is always helpful, friendly and non-judgmental, kind and well-meaning, although the typical self-help strategy of repeating and summarising points results in the book seeming somewhat directionless. It is nevertheless an essential title for the bookshelf of every self-respecting self-help addict, and is a good place to start for the curious. It does also have some real gems of wisdom and new strategies. All in all, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus is a star guide to understanding the constellations of coupledom. —Alison Jardine


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