If you are starting to wonder whether the relationship you are in is right for you, you have probably
researched articles, talk d with trusted friends and family, and wavered between being optimistic and
completely fed up.
There are probably days when you feel connected to your partner, and hopeful that the relationship will
work out. You may start to believe that your partner will change, and everything will go back to how it was in the beginning – or, at least, not be as bad as it is now. And you probably have other days when you feel ignored, disrespected, unappreciated, and frustrated. You have probably debated this decision for a while, and you still just
don’t know what you should do.
Relationship decisions are never easy. Deciding whether to leave or stay is one of the biggest decisions of your life. There is a lot at stake, and often years of memories and shared lives to consider. Ending a relationship – especially
a long one – is a difficult journey, and often involves untangling layers of combined lives and
experiences. The process of leaving may take time, and will undoubtedly have difficult moments. You
may also be worried about whether you can afford to leave. Your partner may have the primary income source, or may have control over the finances. There are truly legitimate things to consider in making this decision.
But, often, the hardest part is not weighing the pros and cons, figuring out the property division, or
planning your next step – it’s just deciding what you truly want and deserve. That sounds easy enough, but it is often what causes the most confusion. Thankfully, there is a simple and easy question to help you decide whether to leave or stay in a relationship: What would you tell your best friend?
Imagine your best friend comes to you and shares details about her relationship, which is exactly like
yours. If you can do so safely, take a few minutes to write each of these facts down. Write about how
her partner treats her, talks to her, and whether he respects and supports her. Write about if he hurts
her emotionally or physically, and if he supports her goals and dreams. Write about how he makes her
feel. Write about her frustration, her pain, her anger, and her sadness. Pretend she is sharing all of this
with you, and asking for advice.
Now, as her friend, decide what you would tell her to do. As someone who cares about her, how would
you view this relationship? Do you have any concerns about her safety or well-being? What would you
like her to know? Does it sound like she is being valued, respected, and treated in a way that she
The fact is that we are often much better at loving and supporting our friends than we are at loving and
supporting ourselves. Think about how often you’ve thought that a friend was settling for less than she
deserved, or times you noticed red flags about a friend’s boyfriend before she did. Unfortunately, it’s often much easier to see the big warning signs and concerning behavior from the outside, rather than when from the middle of the relationship, living it each and every day. So, step outside of your relationship for a moment and ask yourself: What would I tell my best friend?
This simple question, when considered thoughtfully and answered honestly, can help you see things
more objectively. And it can help you make a decision based on love and compassion for yourself, which
you absolutely deserve.
Remember, everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect – including you.