So, have you heard this before? Did you listen? Most of us didn't. When you fall in love with a car, a house, a boat, an airplane or a person, the power of that desire often covers up all of the good reasons why you should walk away from the deal. With cars or houses or other toys it isn't really difficult to see the reasons why you should walk away. More often than not you are taking on a (financial) commitment that you knew deep down inside was a bad idea.
If you've fallen in love with a person it may not be quite so easy to walk away. You love them! You want them! You can't see how anything could be wrong because you love them so much! You can even see how much they love you! Why on earth would you want to walk away from all of that love? Love will conquer all. Right?
If you are asking yourself these questions you may need to seriously consider at least stepping back from the relationship for a while. How can you know for sure? Ultimately it's up to you, but I can offer a few guidelines that I have seen work for others who were asking themselves similar questions. I'm sure there are more and would welcome your comments and suggestions, but here is today's list.
- Do the two of you share similar values? About love, family, finances, boundaries, spirituality, and commitments?
- Are there things about your potential partner that irritate you now but which you are sure "will change after we are married?"
- Is their something in your potential partner's history that raises red flags? Multiple short relationships? No relationships? Multiple divorces? Addictions? Serious financial problems? A pattern of dishonesty? There may be significant parts of his/her history about which you know nothing. Does that feel safe?
- How about your interests? If one person cherishes outdoor activities and the other is an indoor person, how will that be handled? Do you love dancing while the other hates it? Golf? Bowling? Travel? No, your interests don't have to be the same but you should be able to see the path to compromise.
- Are children involved? Do you feel that your children are accepted by your partner? Do you accept his/hers? How do the children react to the presence of your partner. You shouldn't let your children dictate your relationships but you are asking for trouble if you can't see a way for them to learn to accept, if not love, this new person.
- In my opinion, the most important reason for you to at least back off and maybe even walk away from an otherwise attractive relationship is your gut. Do you have a "gut feeling," or "feeling in the pit of your stomach" that something is just not right? It doesn't matter what it might be. What's important is the feeling. We regularly ignore these feelings of intuition or foreboding and very often this leads to problems that could have been avoided had we trusted our feelings and intuition.
Of course there are relationships that work well even though there were serious doubts in the beginning. Unfortunately, I believe those are the exception. If there are serious questions or doubts or if you simply can't see how you can make the differences work for you then you should definitely walk away. Don't wait one or five or ten or more years to realize this relationship is wrong for you. Make the break now. Grieve the loss now. Use the years you might have spent in a bad relationship to celebrate the good one you allowed yourself to find. The longer you wait the more difficult it will be to recover from the heartache. And the longer you wait the more people you involve in the loss.
Yes, you must be able to walk away. Although it may not feel like it at the time, you will find just the right car or house or person with whom to spend the rest of your life.