Center for Shared Insight, PC

Moving on: What to do when your relationship isn't meeting your needs

May 13, 2019
Posted By: Kristen Hick, Psy.D.

When you enter into a relationship, you are likely optimistic that the relationship will last and are hoping for a true long-term connection. When you start to question whether the relationship will last, it might take a while to get honest with yourself. You might initially make up excuses for your partner’s behavior or the lack of overall chemistry. Overtime, you’ll come to terms with the fact that the relationship doesn’t fully meet your needs and can’t be fixed. Likely there is a lot of letting go that needs to happen individually before you feel confident sharing your feelings with your partner, and ultimately get the closure that you desire

Nowadays, moving on often looks like ghosting or even prolonged benching of your partner. However, it’s still important for both you and your partner’s healing and well-being to move on in a respectful way.

Here are three important steps to consider when moving on from a relationship that isn’t meeting your needs.

Communicate your concerns & get closure

Ghosting or “disappearing” from a relationship is easy because you don’t have to communicate your concerns to your partner. You don’t have to own your part of the relationship failing and you don’t have to get into an uncomfortable space with a person you likely will no longer spend time with. While the desire to “ghost” is strong, it’s not going to lead to good relationship or dating karma, and you may miss opportunities for growth without a good final conversation. This is a great time to ask your former partner for feedback on things like your communication style and where he or she thinks you could have done better in the relationship. If you are both able to remain calm and open, this step can be highly valuable and the insight can lead to better relationships in the future. Take the time to get the closure you need, ask questions, and seek clarity to make it easier to move on.

Examine sources of help

As you make peace with the end of a relationship, it’s important to turn to relationships role models to reset your needs and expectations. Relationship role models are couples that do relationships well. It might be your best friend and his or her spouse, a neighbor couple, or maybe even your parents. You can look to these couples throughout your life to remember what a sustainable relationship looks like and the ingredients that make it work long-term. These role models can likely provide some insight and advice during this time of transition out of your current partnership.

Therapy is also an important resource to explore during this time. After a break-up, you are likely highly reflective, eager to understand what happened in the relationship, and willing to work on yourself. Usually, you want to talk, at length, about your recent relationship and what went wrong. While friends can be a source for casual conversation, deep work and progress is best left to a team of therapists who specialize in relationships, like our Denver-based team at Center for Shared Insight.

Take some time to reflect

The fastest way to console a tender heart is to jump back into a relationship. It’s exciting, it takes your mind off your last relationship, it fills your time, and it likely feeds your ego. This is almost always a mistake and leads to poor decision-making about your next partner. Give yourself time for self-reflection, take a break from dating, and get comfortable being alone - or rather being with and in relationship with yourself. The length of time you should take is usually proportional to the length of the relationship. Now there is no exact formula for how it will take you to get over a previous partner, its safe to assume that longer relationships require more time for reflection and healing. Give yourself the time you need to learn and grow from your latest dating experience instead of diving back into the dating scene right away.

At Center for Shared Insight in Denver, Colorado, we help clients identify when they may need to leave a relationship, whether they are getting their needs met, and strategies to help them work through challenging times. If you are contemplating whether a relationship is right for you, or it’s time to move on, our team can help you process and understand what you are feeling and what to do about it. Give us a call to schedule your free consultation today.

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