October 17, 2017

Question: Why can’t I just walk away like I have in other relationships?

 

I have been in a relationship for six years. No matter how many times he lies and leaves me for other women I continue to see him and always take him back. We are great when we are together but even though I know he will cheat again, I still want him. So I let him continue to lie although it hurts so badly. Why can’t I just walk away like I have in other relationships?

~ Anonymous

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Dear Anonymous,

I can tell you are in pain and troubled by the situation you find yourself in. I’m sorry you are hurting. I can also tell that you would like to find the strength in yourself to end the cycle and I respect that. You had the strength in the past—you can find it again.

So here’s where to start. Look 5 years into the future. On a piece of paper or in your journal, make a list of what your life will be like if you continue on with the habitual cheater. How will you feel? What will the patterns be then—the same as they are now? Will time make this any easier? I think you know the answer to that.

Next, write down small steps you could take that would make you feel more empowered. The first small step toward empowerment might be making this step-by-step plan!

I suggest that you focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want.

To change or end a toxic relationship requires self-reflection, inner work, healing, loving yourself more, setting firm boundaries, and speaking up for yourself.

Step one. Acknowledge it is a toxic relationship. I feel that you have already done this, at least with your mind if not yet with your heart.

Step two. Know that you deserve to be treated with respect, love, and consideration.

Step three. Work on changing the relationship. Here are some steps to help with that:

~ Know your emotional and physical boundaries. Be true to them. If being cheated on repeatedly is a deal breaker—stick to that. Even though you still love him, you probably don’t love the way being disrespected makes you feel inside.

~ Speak your truth. When you talk to him about this, be kind and use “I” statements. “I feel upset/inadequate when you treat me as if I don’t matter by going out with other women, and I’m asking you to stop. Are you willing to do that?” or “Please don’t treat me in this way. If you continue I will spend my time elsewhere.” (Instead of “you” statements like “You make me feel horrible” or “You have to change your behavior or else.”)

~ Be calm and don’t engage. If you allow yourself to be caught up in an argument, you are giving away your power and energy.

~ Separate yourself from the toxic source. By creating distance, it does not mean the relationship is over. It means you are taking care of you while the relationship evolves to a better place – a safer place for both of you. While you sort things out, you may even want to go stay with a friend.

If step three does not work, move on to…

Step four. End the relationship. I realize you are writing to me because you are not sure HOW to end it. But if you have done the steps above—really engaged him in your thinking and shared honestly with him—it may get easier.

Whether you are able to change the relationship for the better, or you have to end it, it is important that you take time to process. Ask yourself, “What kept me in this relationship? What did I get out of it?” You may have felt comfortable because it was familiar. You indicated that you’d had past relationships with cheaters. Though you found it easier to leave them, why do you think you are you repeating that pattern?  Figuring out why would be so good for your healing.

Don’t beat yourself up. It is very common for us to repeat the familiar even when it does not serve our highest good. Getting clear on what happened will be worth the work as it will help you avoid attracting toxic relationships in the future.

If you end the relationship, don’t spend a moment trying to figure out what made your partner tick. That is irrelevant at this point. Focus on you. Love yourself more. Forgive yourself for your contribution to the relationship. Do things for yourself that bring you peace.

It takes courage to take the right action in order to move out of a situation that is not working and make room for one that does.

If you don’t take a stand for yourself, who will? If I can support you further please click the below link for your free “GETTING IT RIGHT STRATEGY SESSION.”

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