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You Are Dating Him / Her On And Off Again - When Is It Time To Walk Away?

Are you in a dating relationship that is neither moving forward nor behind, one that is on-again and off-again, or one in which you are in some ways hurting each other but the attraction and chemistry is so strong that you can’t imagine life without him/her. If you are, then you are locked in what I call “madness for two.”

Sometimes it is best to walk away from an unhealthy relationship especially if it involves abuse, control, manipulation, entrapment and codependency issues - which in most on/off relationship is the case. But what if you are not in any physical danger but just riding the emotional rollercoaster with the object of your affection and strong desire, when is it time to walk away?

I personally do not think people should rush to end a deep connection that is so strong unless they've explored all the avenues, looked at it from all directions and done whatever is reasonably possible to make it work. Maybe what you have is good enough and you’d be a fool to abandon it in search of a better relationship you may never find.

Besides, there are some relationships that are just meant to be.

So before you go looking for something better (that you may never find), make sure you’ve tried all you can to make this one even better:
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1. Get clear about what the problem is. What most people do is weigh the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving. The trap is that there are always pros and cons in every relationship, and if you really want to stay you’ll find more reasons to stay and less reasons to leave. You are not really weighing anything. And leaving a relationship before knowing what the real problem is self-defeating. Whatever caused this relationship to end will be carried over to the next relationship.

2. Take 100% responsibility for your own feelings and needs. Be totally honest with yourself, after all you are the very person hurting from your choices and decisions. Get to the bottom of what you are reacting to in your partner’s behaviour and what they are reflecting back to you (anger, neediness, emotional distance etc).

3. Change what you need to change. It’s not about if he/she changes then we’ll both be fine or I can’t change if he/she doesn’t change. The only person you can change is you – others react to the change you’ve make.

4. Talk to somebody. Get expert advice from someone who has worked on their own issues and not simply reacting from a place of pain and hurt themselves (you can always tell where someone is at in their own lives by how they react to experiences that bring out hidden pain). Talking to another objective person helps you ask yourself the questions you probably would not ask yourself. A expert can also help you out of your comfort zone and push you to make the changes you need to make.

When you’ve done all you can and feel happy, joyful and peaceful, and the relationship is still stagnant or on/off again, then you can leave and start the next relationship where you ended this one.

If you are struggling (or going crazy) with getting over a relationship that drifted apart for no apparent reason, the break up was your fault and you think it could have been prevented or if you are considering giving your ex a second chance (and not sure if it’s worth a second try), I have a whole section on my website dedicated to men/women trying to love again but feeling stuck on an ex; and anyone convinced his/her current lover is stuck on an ex (some tell-tale signs that he/she is really over an ex).

Christine Akiteng is an author.
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