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Relationship Advice: When To Pull The Plug

Aug 17, 2007
Reader #1: "Steve, is it possible to win over even the stubbornist of men without them knowing what has hit them and how? I want to improve the bond between us but how? What can spark off 'Chemistry' ?"

Reader #2: Hello, Steve, I want to know how to get your man back after you have lost him, or at least ways you can win him back, or how to make him jealous?

Response: How does a person know when to "pull the plug?" In other words, when do you know it is time to stop trying?

When relationships are cooling off or ending it is natural to try to save them. Sometimes it is possible to do so, and sometimes it is not. Sometimes it may be possible but is not advisable. How do we know? Here's a few indications:

Time To Pull the Plug:

How's your self-esteem? If you have to behave in a compromising way that damages your self-respect it may be time to let go of the relationship.

When you repeatedly invite the other to engage in developing the relationship and nothing happens, it may be over. Notice that I did not use the word "manipulate." Respectful behavior calls for straight forward communication and negotiation. If you have to manipulate to get the other back into the relationship it's not a sign of good relational health.

Are you being realistic? Has your partner said "No" in every way possible, but you refuse to pick up on it? Are you being foolishly optimistic?

Sometimes true love means letting the other go. Do you love your partner enough to embrace what's best? What if the other's spiritual journey does not include you at this time? What if something has to be worked out separately first?

If your partner's behavior is dangerous for you it's time to consider distance. Drugs, irresponsible sex, violence, or demeaning behavior can seriously endanger you. We all want to stand by our loved ones as they work out their problems, but denial of the seriousness of such problems may get in our way and endanger us.

Time To Keep Trying:

Whenever there are children involved it is worth the effort to see if the relationship can be salvaged. Children are always the ones hurt the most when relationships go bad or break up. They are definately worth our best efforts as adults at such times.

When your partner is still giving mixed signals it may mean that there is still a chance. He may not be sure yet. She may not really know her true feelings. At such a time, respectful invitation to relationship is appropriate. Too much distance or too much clinging are not very helpful. If there is a hint of "Maybe" then there is a chance.

Many times I have couples keep at it because they believe it would be a great waste to let the relationship go. Years of effort, tons of emotional energy, or missed opportunities that may still be available can suggest there is still a chance.

One of the easier couples to help is the compassionate couple where neither wants the other to hurt. Compassion and empathy are great building blocks for any relationship. Passion can often be re-created when such caring partners decide to try again.

To Try Or Not To Try?

You're not alone in the dilemma of decision. Most couples experience it at some point, if not repeatedly. Just be sure that everyone is safe, that you are not being unrealistic, and that your self-respect always remains intact.
About the Author
Steve Roberts is an experienced Marriage and Family Therapist sharing real life relationship secrets from over 20 years of practice. Get Insight & Wisdom for your Relationships at:
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