When Do I Know When it is Time to Leave?


“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; What matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”

-Paulo Coelho

I wasn’t planning on writing today, but I kept seeing messages that I couldn’t let slip by. One of the hardest decisions in a toxic relationship is knowing when and/or if to leave.

Years ago, I received a message well before I would ever need it. I wasn’t married and/or dating at the time. I don’t have a clue where the message came from or who, but the message stayed solid in my brain: You are only ready to leave a marriage when you can walk away without anger. I took that to mean all relationships. The point was, if we walk away before we are truly ready, we will repeat the pattern in the next relationship.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly DO NOT like repeating unhealthy patterns. If I am going to end something, I want to make sure that I’m ending it.  These 7 steps are not all in order, because the order changes. Here is what I learned from my experience:

1. Seeing the Problems Starts with Questions

  • Am I supposed to be here?
  • Is this the right relationship for me?
  • Is there trust?
  • Is there loyalty?
  • Is there betrayal?
  • Do I love him/her?
  • Do I fear him/her?
  • Are we compatible?
  • Do I like the person they are?
  • Do I want to change who they are?
  • Is being with her/him destructive to my well-being?
  • Do I feel safe communicating with him/her?
  • Do we have the same morals and values?
  • Do we respect each other?
  • Why is he/her treating me like this?

The list goes on and on, but these are an indicator that something needs to change. The question is what? These questions can be created by our own inner drama and until we work through that, we won’t see the answers to any question clearly.

2. Am I Expecting Him/Her to Be Someone They Are Not?

Unrealistic expectations on others have the power to destroy any relationship. When we expect people to be any person other than who they are we create a relationship nightmare. The key is observing the person we are with. Let him/her be themselves, then figure out if that is the person we want to be with. If he is doing things that I don’t like, the question is can I accept the behavior. I can’t change the other person. Here is what we can do:

  • Be aware of our reaction to the behavior
  • Look at the situation from other perspectives
  • How would I need to change my behavior to change my perspective? Is that an acceptable choice to me?

3. Communicate with My Partner

Healthy relationships have healthy communications. There is no name-calling and/or belittling. We need to accept our part in any communication. It is important to know we have done everything in our power to work through the issues at hand. Communication is key.

  • Take responsibility for our feelings. Speak to the other person from a loving place: I feel _________ when you do _____________. This is not saying, he/she made you feel something. They don’t have the power to do that. They can’t make you happy, sad, or angry. Our feelings our our choice. Communicating feelings in this way can help take the defensiveness out of the situation. If we are not blaming our partners, they may be able to see how their behaviors are effecting us. Many times, we don’t mean to hurt each other. It happens because we don’t know how our behaviors look to the other person. Most times, if not all, our extreme reactions come from past circumstances. It can go as far back as childhood.
  • Get help if the patterns have become so bad that communication is destructive.
  • Research and try different forms of healthy communication.

4. Make a List of What I Want in the Relationship

Keep the list positive! Read my article, 3 Amazing Jewels: Important Lessons in Understanding the Law of Attraction and see why it is important to be clear about what we want. We have to be the person we want to see on our list. How are we contributing to the relationship we want to have with our partners?

5. Pray for Answers!!

When we pray we will get answers. We might not understand them, and they may be different than what we expected, but they will be there. I know this first hand.

Here are some suggested prayers:

  • Please, give me signs if I should stay or go. Make them clear and impossible to miss because I want to make sure I understand.
  • Please help me see the lesson so that I can move on.
  • How do I find peace with this relationship?
  • What can I change about myself to help me do what I need to do?

Pay attention for the answers! Meditation is a great way to help to slow down. Even if it is 3 long deep breaths, it helps.

6. Work on ME

“If you cannot be at ease with yourself when you are alone, you will seek a relationship to cover up your unease. You can be sure that the unease will then reappear in some other form within the relationship, and you will probably hold your partner responsible for it.”

-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now p. 174

If things aren’t changing, it is because we aren’t getting better. Dive in and dive deep! Does this mean we are responsible for the other person’s behavior? Heck no! When we are ready, doors gently shut and all the right doors begin opening. We will no longer accept unacceptable behaviors. Our energy will change so much that the person will either change with us or the relationship will end.

7. Forgive Myself

I’m not a person who blames other people, but I definitely used to love blaming myself. What I found, blame is toxic to everybody; including me. If there is resentment against someone else, forgive them. That is toxic energy that is carried around and it gets uglier the longer it hangs on. The greatest act of forgiveness is a changing the way we treat ourselves and others. It’s time to let go of what we have done and become the beautiful person we were meant to be.


This process takes time, for me, it took about three years. I made sure without a doubt in my mind that leaving was the best choice. The signs I prayed for, couldn’t be clearer. My mom had told me, “When you are ready to leave, you will know it.” When I did leave, I was at peace and didn’t look back. I was able to move on with my life. There were a few issues I didn’t see clearly in that relationship that I worked out in the next, but it didn’t take long to work through them. Little things will always come up, but the more clear we are with ourselves, we will know it is our lesson to work on. When we face it head on, some doors will close while others will open wide.

All of my articles come from my journey through the darkness into a loving place. If this one helped you, you might also like:

Why Did I Choose Him?

5 Steps to Being Treated the Way You Deserve

10 Positive Lessons I Learned From my Parents

Discovering the Meaning of Love

5 Lessons in Personal Growth

Give Yourself the Love You Deserve

Lessons in the Drama

There are plenty more… Please feel free to send e a message on my Facebook Page: From a Loving Place!

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff




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