Relationships are a two-way street, and for as many critiques you have about your partner, it’s also important to exercise self-awareness: that is, looking at the ways you are contributing to problems in the relationship. Beyond that, many of the problems we do end up bringing to the table in relationships stem from inner healing we’ve yet to do.
As couples’ counselor Margaret Paul, Ph.D., previously explained to mbg, “Many people who leave are no happier than they were in the relationship. If you have been making your partner responsible for your feelings and you are blaming your partner for your unhappiness, then it probably isn’t time to leave. You have your own inner work to do.”
To that end, certified sex therapist and couples’ counselor Jessa Zimmerman also previously noted there’s the potential to learn a lot by trying to understand the issues in the relationship instead of just immediately jumping to end things when the going gets rough. “We’re going to carry any unresolved issues or work into our next relationship [anyway],” she says, which is why she recommends avoiding the tendency to make rash or sudden decisions in a difficult moment.
In short, before you decide to commit to a full-fledged breakup, take some time to reflect on who you are as an individual and how you’re showing up for your partner in your relationship. Recognize where you’re neglecting your own needs and inappropriately placing the burden of satisfying them onto your partner.
As Paul puts it, “If you ignore your feelings, judge yourself, turn to various addictions to numb your feelings, or make your partner responsible for your feelings of worth and safety, then you are rejecting and abandoning yourself, and you have inner work to do to learn to love yourself. People tend to treat us the way we treat ourselves, so focus on how you are treating yourself rather than how your partner is treating you.”