Whether your troubled relationship is a difficult marriage, uncomfortable work situation or toxic family drama, these steps will help you decide what to do.
First, here’s a comment from a reader who took too long to make a decision about her troubled marriage:
“I’ve been separated from my husband for a year,” says Tonya on How to Decide if You Should Reconcile With Your Husband. “He left me for someone else, and I have tried in every way to let him go. But after 28 years of marriage, three kids and four grandchildren, I can’t. We have become friends again. I’ve even been friendly towards his girlfriend, whom he has had an extremely toxic relationship. I hate that we had to separate for me to see how much I love him, but our relationship was troubled and stormy the whole time. I could never decide what to do so I did nothing. Now I see where we went wrong and I want so bad to try to get it right. I’m never going to stop loving him, he is the only man I want.”
The Blossom Tip: Commit to a specific, commonsense decision about your relationship, and start proceeding in that direction. Stop if you feel God pulling you back or leading you down a different path.
Sometimes, the biggest risk you can take in a relationship is to do nothing. You let small slights become big fights, or allow little resentments turn into toxic battlefields. But how do you know when to take action, and what exactly you need to do?
Deciding What to Do About a Troubled Relationship
The first step is recognizing you have a problem. If you’re here, you know or suspect you’re in a troubled relationship. That’s good! Though it feels terrible — I know.
Avoid asking people for advice. Nobody knows your relationship, personality, or problems the way you do. Talking through your problems with a wise, trusted person is an excellent way to decide what to do about your troubled relationship. But, don’t ask other people to tell you what to do. Only you can make life-changing decisions, because you’re the one who has to live with the consequences.
1. Make a decision about your relationship
What have you been debating or waffling about, with regard to your relationship? Maybe you’re considering marriage or family counseling, or quitting your job. Today, make a firm decision. Decide that, yes — you will attend counseling alone, even if your husband or family don’t go with you. Yes, you will quit your job because you’ve been struggling in a toxic work environment for years.
If you’re not sure you’re in a “troubled relationship”, read 10 Warning Signs of a Bad Relationship.
2. Start proceeding in that direction
Gather information, research and intelligence about the decision you made. No longer are you wrestling with how to decide what to do about a troubled relationship! Now, you are proceeding in a specific direction.
Don’t announce your decision to divorce your husband or quit your job or get a puppy to the world just yet. Just collect information that will take you further down the line. This will help you discern whether or not you’re going in the right direction. Here’s how…
3. Pay attention to God’s guidance
Pretend your decision is to end a troubled relationship. You start by gathering facts about divorce if you’re married, or emancipation if you’re younger than 18 years old (read How to Cope With Controlling Parents When You Live at Home). Then, you realize that there is another way! You can do X, Y, or Z. You can start with A, B, or C. God is checking you, leading you in a different direction by closing doors, providing alternate routes, or leading you to resources you didn’t even know existed.
Commit to a specific, commonsense decision about your relationship, and start proceeding in that direction. Stop if you feel God pulling you back or leading you down a different path. Then, start slowly moving in a different direction. Repeat Steps 1, 2, and 3.
Try this, and tell me how it works for you. If you don’t want to make a decision because you’re scared of the “what if’s”, read How to Cope With Your Fear of the Unknown.
How I Coped With My Troubled Relationship With My Mom
I ran away from home when I was 13 years old in a most unusual way: by calling Social Services and talking to a social worker. This isn’t a typical way for a kid to handle a troubled relationship, but I’d been in foster homes in the past. And they were good. I’d stayed in foster homes with compassionate parents, warm beds, food-stocked fridges, and help getting to school.
For me, the decision to leave my troubled family relationship was a no-brainer. My mom was schizophrenic, and getting physically and mentally sicker and sicker. She kept going on and off her medications, struggling with the side effects of the powerful anti-psychotic drugs. She was also trying to hold down a teaching job while raising two preteen girls as a single mom. Her struggle led to all sorts of troubles experiences at home. I couldn’t live with her anymore, especially since she was getting better at hiding her symptoms from the doctors.
So I called a social worker for help. I knew there was always the possibility of ending up in an unhelpful or even abusive foster home, because I’d heard they existed. But I knew staying with my mom was riskier than running away.
That was the first major decision I ever made about a relationship, and it went well. It wasn’t easy or fun…but deciding to leave my mom by calling Social Services was the best decision I ever made as a 13 year old girl.
What about you — how do you decide what to do about troubled relationships? Feel free to share below; I’d love to hear your story.
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
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