Heart, Spirit & Mind

Love isn’t always enough


broken-loveYou have been with your partner for a long time. You have been through many trials and tribulations and you survived, but you aren’t thriving.  You have worked at your relationship and given it your all. You’ve even tried counseling. You have tried to put leaving the relationship out of your mind, but it keeps coming back.  You know things just aren’t working right, but you remain indecisive, unable to decide whether you should leave the relationship. 

The reality about relationships is that when things are no longer mutually beneficial, it may be time to move on. If one or both people remain unfulfilled, it is simply healthier to find a relationship that works for you and gives you what you need rather than cling to a relationship that doesn’t. Many people remain unable to leave unhealthy relationships. Instead, they use all of their energies to prop up a sagging relationship. Life is too short to spend the rest of your life “working at” making it work.  Relationships should enhance your journey.  One shouldn’t give up their journey in order to take on someone else’s.

It’s unfortunate, but many people do not decide where they are going, and then seek out others who are on a similar path in order to see where you might fit together.  Instead, they find a person, and try to fit a person into their path. And that only works if you are lucky enough to find someone on a similar path as yours.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Many people have given up their dreams, plans and future to “fit” into someone else’s vision of the future. It can be very difficult to end a long-term relationship because people forget how to be self-sufficient. Fear of loss and insecurity fuels desire to stay in unhealthy relationships.  If we accept that we’re alone throughout our entire lives, even when partnered, it can be quite liberating.

Reasons to break up

Most relationships experience their ups and downs.  Couples work through these times. There are no formulas for deciding when the time is right to end it.  But there are things you could look for.

  • You aren’t getting what you want or need from the relationship. If you’re not happy, your partner won’t be either.
  • You can’t communicate with your partner. If communicating with your partner is too much work because of dissimilar communication styles, that can be a problem.
  • You don’t look forward to spending time alone with your partner. Even if the sex is great, if you don’t enjoy talking with your partner, prefer time with others, then you have a problem.
  • You compare your partner to others. When you are in love with someone, you don’t compare him or her to others. If you find yourself doing this, you should re-evaluate your relationship.
  • You try to change your partner. Often we fall in love with people who don’t suit us.  Instead of realizing that, we try to change them.  If you find that is the case, it may be time to move on.
  • You’re doing all the giving or receiving. Relationships should be mutually beneficial. If it is unbalanced, then the relationship is unhealthy.
  • Your friends don’t like how you behave around your partner. Your friends are often the people who will be the first to see when your relationship has turned sour. If your friends have noticed, you should take notice.
  • You don’t feel good about yourself.  If you don’t feel good about yourself in your relationship than you may want to look at your relationship.

Even if it is perfectly appropriate to leave a relationship, you will still feel a significant loss. In order to get through this you have to feel sadness and grieve the end of your relationship fully before you move on.


  1. I found this post on your blog while doing a google search on “when sex is not enough, spiritual”. I’d yet to find what I was looking for, which had been spawned from a conversation with a friend in Europe about how we both found that in our youth, sex alone, even good sex, was not enough for satiate something within us. I wanted to see if I could find a correlation to this and a person’s unrealized desire for some kind of spiritual union that they hadn’t yet found in their life …basically because this is what I discovered, that all the love and sex with loving and beautiful people was still not enough.

    I wanted to share that early on in my marriage, I began to become acutely aware of a type of deeply seated selfishness on my part that is so prevalent in our society that it is not considered selfishness at all, but instead something like ‘actualizing your rightful independence’ or ‘intelligent self-actualization’. About this time in our marriage, I began to realize a relationship between my personal wants and desires and a steady flow of friction and pitfalls in coming to an eased and natural mutual compromise in our life together through a wide spectrum of things and situations. I recognized that this basically stemmed from me simply ‘wanting what I wanted’ with little thought or introspection into to how it might affect our mutual relationship and, as a result, I began giving over many of the useless personal pastimes I had to more time coordinating around the shared things that needed to be done and spending the balance of time either together or doing the things that were essential to me.

    Without feeling like I was compromising myself at all in doing this, I instead began to realize more and more how much I needed to be more deeply involved in the mutual decision making of ordinary things from researching and choosing a building contractor to coordinating the use of the car for the smooth flow of each of our days.

    To try to further explain what I mean, an example comes to mind of one of the last conversations I had with my grandmother before she passed away, alone, in a nursing home with none of her family by her side. I was sitting on her hospital bed beside her, holding her hand and at one point I realized how lonely she was. In that moment, I also realized that it is the choices that we make out of our sense of ‘rightful independence’, separate from the reality of our inescapable interdependence with others, that later down the road may separate us from happiness and force us to look at what we’ve never really faced until then: the choices we’ve made and how they affected the lives of ourselves and others.

    If we love someone or something and we’re attracted by the truth, it can impel us to let go of our self-centered ideals, not because we’re a doormat or lack personal interest or direction, but because something within us is saying that being a cowboy isn’t going to work anymore.

    In the end, we may realize what we ultimately always wanted in the first place, that if we loosen our personal ‘wants and needs’ for what could lie beyond them in mutuality, then we might get a chance to discover the single experience of mutuality in love and interdependence and how it shows up in relationship with everyone and everything.

    Coming full circle, and to address a few of your points about “Reasons to Break Up”, if we understand ourselves and a bit about our habituated agendas, we can communicate with our partner with much more disclosure, something they may well appreciate. Getting what we want or need is usually more a function of our own unrealized selfishness, unless the other person is simply trying to do the same thing as well. If one person wakes up to this, there’s a chance the relationship can change with mutual love, perseverance and good communications.

    all the best, Paul

  2. I agree with just about everything you said with one exception.

    “Getting what we want or need is usually more a function of our own unrealized selfishness, unless the other person is simply trying to do the same thing as well. If one person wakes up to this, there’s a chance the relationship can change with mutual love, perseverance and good communications.”

    Simply. You can do all the things suggested and still be fundamentally incompatible. People often don’t want to believe that, especially about people they love, but it can be true. People often weren’t together for solid reasons to begin with, or they have grown in different directions. Sometimes ‘compromise’ meaning neither party fully realizes the full potential of their dreams because their dreams are too different. A simplistic way to think about this is if one person favors white, and the other black, then compromise means grey. But if black is your passion, and white is your partners passion then that compromise will never be satisfying. If you meeting at the middle over too many issues, than that is simply trying to force a square peg in a round hole. You can make it work by sheer will power, but I’m not sure how fulfilling that will be.

    • I really agree. For example, free spirit person can become the person who can at least self control, but cannot become the one who restrict many things with rules from one to ten. I guess everyone has “unrealized selfishness”. But matured ones who know themselves do not speak or show that out in front of other people, unless they are enough to accomplish it.

  3. I disagree that these are clear reasons to break up. Most of them are personal issues that are toxic to the relationship but have nothing to do with the partner. If you have a partner who does his best and never gives up, it’s worth staying.

    • How many partners do their best rather than simply lip-service, followed by lost enthusiasm to recover? Also, what about Personality Disorders which are practically incurable?

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