Courage comes in many different forms. Often we think of courage as what the men and women of our military display when they’re in combat situations. Many times we think of courage as being able to speak out for or against something when you have an unpopular point of view. The recent presidential election is an excellent example of this. People form all sides that spoke out were often attacked for their beliefs.
From a relationship perspective, there is another type of courage. It’s the courage to make difficult decisions that impact your relationship. According to research, anywhere from 40% to 60% of couples are unhappy. The reasons vary from lack of romance, lack of trust, and terrible sex life just to name a few. Most relationships go through tough times. That’s no secret and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. What is a surprise, at least to me, is how many people I talk to that are in poor or abusive relationships, are unhappy, yet won’t (or can’t) make the necessary changes to be happy.
Over the past few weeks I’ve had conversations about courage with a number of people. In each of these cases, the person was facing very difficult emotional times. Each one was either facing the difficult decision to leave a relationship or had already made the decision to leave their relationship. One person decided to leave their fiance’ because of a hidden addiction that was discovered during pre-marital counseling. It is heartbreaking to leave the person you love because they are addicted to alcohol or other substances. Another person made the decision to finally leave a long-term emotionally abusive relationship. Living in daily fear of what might happen emotionally, physically, financially, or socially can keep you a hostage in what should be a loving relationship. In both of these situations it took great courage to make the decision to walk away.
The Fear Factor
It’s easy to stand on the outside looking in and say “Well duh! Those decisions should be “no brainers!” The reality is that when you are in the situation, your judgement is clouded by emotion. Your intellect tells you that you need to leave while your heart says stay. We’d all like to think that we could make the decision easily and quickly. Some of us can. Most cannot or do not for various reasons that mostly revolve around fear.
Each could have chosen to stay by using the excuse of “But, I love him (or her).” In many cases the decision to stay is made out of fear. The fear of leaving a bad relationship is greater than the fear of staying. It could be the threat of physical or emotional harm. It could be the threat of financial abuse by withholding support or assets from the relationship. However, some of the biggest fears include fear of being alone, fear of not finding anyone better, fear that I don’t deserve any better, or fear that true love doesn’t really exist.
In each of these situations, one person was faced with a decision to stay or to walk away from the relationship. These are some of the most difficult decisions we may make in our lifetimes. Walking away from someone you love is not an easy decision. It may, however, be a necessary one.
Addressing the problem
Let me be perfectly clear hear. I’m not suggesting that you walk away from a relationship just because times get tough. All relationships face problems. But, problems don’t go away if they are not addressed. They must be worked through or they will remain a barrier to growth and happiness. All relationships take work. However, there comes a point in time when you realize that the situation will not get any better, no matter how hard you try.
One of the hardest and most courageous decisions you can make is to leave a relationship that is not extraordinary especially if it is toxic or abusive in any way. It takes courage to admit you probably chose poorly. It takes courage to have the adult conversation to leave a relationship. Don’t be afraid to make the difficult decisions. It is always easier to make a difficult and sometimes heartbreaking decision as soon as you recognize that the situation will not change than to prolong the inevitable in hopes that something might change.
Make decisions using your head and not just your heart. Date consciously!
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About the author
Rick Soetebier is an Author, Blogger, Speaker and Dating Coach. He has been a student of self and relationship improvement for more than 30 years. He is an astute observer of people and relationship issues. Over time and through a relationship and marriage that ended after 25 years, Rick started to develop some of the fundamental principles that are found in his book, Dating Backward: A practical guide to dating and finding your soul mate. You can benefit from his observations, education, research and personal experience by letting him help you make better relationship decisions. Date consciously and settle for nothing less than extraordinary in your next relationship.