As a counselor, I often hear the question, “How do I know if it is time to leave my relationship?” People are often confused and afraid of making a mistake, either by staying or by leaving. If you are feeling confused about whether you have any remaining desire to stay in your relationship, consider taking a step back from that decision for a while.
If you have even the slightest feeling that perhaps you should try to work things out, then you owe it to yourself to be sure before you end your relationship. Decide to hold on to yourself and deliberately move toward what you want your relationship to be like. Start acting as if you had a strong desire to strengthen and to be in your relationship. Don’t think of this as pretending. You are not pretending. You are acting as if things were already the way you want them to be. You may be amazed at how your feelings will begin to change and how your relationship grows from simply acting as if you had a strong desire to be in your marriage. Acting as if you are passionately in love may begin to kindle those passionate feelings.
Withholding love has the same result as refusing to water your plants. First they will wilt and eventually they will die. Relationships rarely survive a cold war of withholding and punishing.
As you change your behavior, you may find that you have greater clarity about your relationship. Be aware that “acting as if” will not work if at the same time you are busy keeping score or if you have the attitude that you are entitled to something in return. When you are generous, it is likely that your partner will be generous in return.