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Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay Summary
Kirshenbaum says that, if you’re in a relationship that seems both too good to leave and too bad to stay in, you’re in a state called relationship ambivalence.
When you feel ambivalent about your partner you take distance from them. You spend less time together. You talk less, and about less important things. You stop doing things together. There’s a cool, formal, ritualistic quality to the relationship. You take distance from your partner because you’re having an emotionally intense affair with your own ambivalence.
The balance-scale approach—piling up all the evidence for staying and against leaving—doesn’t work for anybody.
To find your way out of relationship ambivalence, make a diagnosis the way doctors do.
3. Issue: Danger Signs
Diagnostic question #1. Think about that time when things between you and your partner were at their best. Looking back, would you now say that things were really very good between you then?
Guideline #1. If, when your relationship was at its “best,” things between you didn’t feel right or work well, the prognosis is poor. I feel comfortable saying that you’ll feel you’ve discovered what’s right for you if you choose to leave. Quick take: If it never was very good, it’ll never be very good.
“You can often fix what was broken, but you can rarely fix what never worked in the first place.”
What makes a relationship too bad to stay in is when it has, what Kirshenbaum calls, a basic discord—an emotional, psychological fracture or dislocation or disconnection.
Diagnostic question #2. Has there been more than one incident of physical violence in your relationship?
Guideline #2. Abuse that happens more than once means you must leave the relationship. Otherwise, it will happen again and again, and it will get worse, and your self-esteem will fall, and your sense of being trapped will grow, and you’ll wish you’d started the process of getting out right now, however much you love the person and whatever the pluses in your relationship. The only exception to this is when the abusive partner is currently, actively, and motivatedly participating in a program designed to treat abusive partners and stays in this program for at least a year. Quick take: Physical abuse means love is dead.
You destroy self-trust every day you give yourself the message that you’re not able to figure out what’s best for you.
“The more we try to weigh the mountain of facts and feelings we’ve accumulated, the more confused we get. The more confused we feel, the less we trust ourselves. The less we trust ourselves, the more we feel we have to wait, allowing more confusing evidence to pile up. This is where relationship ambivalence becomes a self-perpetuating trap.”
4. Issue: If You’ve Already Decided to Leave
“Sometimes the best way to figure out your truth is to look at what you do, not at what you say.”
Diagnostic question #3. Have you already made a concrete commitment to pursue a course of action or lifestyle that definitely excludes your partner?
Guidelines #3. If you’ve actually made a concrete commitment to pursue a course of action or lifestyle that excludes your partner, then on some level you’ve already decided that you’ll be happier if you leave your relationship. Most people who’ve done this are not happy when they stay. It’s as if you’d already advised yourself to leave. Quick take: If you look like you’re leaving your relationship and act like you’re leaving it, you’re leaving it. You know best.
Here’s where having an affair means you’ve “made a concrete commitment to leave”:
- If you stop caring whether your partner finds out or not, then an affair is a sign of your having taken practical steps to set in motion some course of action or lifestyle that definitely excludes your partner.
- Trips for which you don’t bother to give an excuse.
- Mysterious late night phone calls or gifts or lipstick stains you don’t try to hide.
“If your answer to question #3 is yes, you’ll know it by now. It’s not that you’ve just ‘done something,’ it’s that you’ve done something to burn your bridges behind you or to pour the foundation for a bridge to a new future that excludes your partner. You don’t have to decide to leave. You’ve already decided.”
“You have to treat feelings carefully. They’re real and important but they can also be complicated and misleading.”
“Having had an affair can make you feel guilty, grief-stricken, fearful, enraged, self-satisfied, empowered, and a lot of other emotions that can lead you to think you’ve done something to end the relationship when you really haven’t. You’ve only done something to end the relationship when you’ve done something that actually ends the relationship. In and of itself an affair is not necessarily that.”
Diagnostic question #4. If God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would you feel tremendously relieved and have a strong sense that finally, you could end your relationship?
Guideline #4. Imagine how you’d feel if God or some omniscient being said you had permission to leave your relationship if you wanted to. If this suddenly gives you a strong sense that it’s all right for you to end your relationship, you’ll most likely feel you’ve discovered what’s best for you if you choose to leave. Quick take: If God’s saying “Hey, whatever you want is okay with me” is all you’d need to feel it’s okay to leave, it’s okay to leave.
“Your answer here is only meaningful if a clear, definite yes came through without hesitation or confusion. If you have to stop to analyze your feelings to see if your answer is yes, it’s not yes.”
5. Issue: Preconditions for Love
Diagnostic question #5. In spite of your problems, do you and your partner have even one positively pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, something you do together that you both like and that gives both of you a feeling of closeness for a while?
“If you want to look for a sign of life you’ve got to look beyond the children for it.”
Guideline #5. If there’s even one thing you and your partner experience together and look forward to (besides children) that reliably feels good and makes you feel close, there’s the possibility you’ll be able to clean out the crap between you and have a viable relationship. If you had just met, there’d be the possibility of your falling in love. Quick take: Real love needs real loving experiences.
A guideline that says your relationship is too bad to stay in overrules any guidelines that say your relationship is too good to leave.
“Guideline #5 has a special importance for people who are in what clinicians refer to as dead or devitalized or roommate marriages, where the really bad thing that bothers them is that there doesn’t seem to be anything really good. Guideline #5 is a test for whether this is really the case. Some relationships are more cool and distant than others. But if there’s a positively pleasurable connection and you answered yes to question #5, then your relationship may not be as lifeless as you think.”
Diagnostic question #6. Would you say that to you your partner is basically nice, reasonably intelligent, not too neurotic, okay to look at, and most of the time smells all right?
Guideline #6. If you can say that right now you feel your partner’s reasonably nice, smart, sane, not ugly, and okay smelling to you, you’ve removed an important obstacle to your finding your way back to each other. When people say yes to this question, the possibility of love still exists. Quick take: You just can’t love someone who’s mean, dumb, crazy, ugly, or stinky.
6. Issue: Power
Diagnostic question #7. Does your partner bombard you with difficulties when you try to get even the littlest thing you want; and is it your experience that almost any need you have gets obliterated; and if you ever do get what you want, is getting it such an ordeal that you don’t feel it was worth all the effort?
Guideline #7. If your partner bombards you with difficulties when you try to get even the littlest thing you want, and if almost any need you have somehow gets obliterated, and if whenever you do get something you want it’s such an ordeal that you don’t feel it was worth the effort—then you’ll be happy in the long run if you leave and unhappy if you stay. Quick take: Power people poison passion.
Diagnostic question #8. Do you have a basic, recurring, never-completely-going-away feeling of humiliation or invisibility in your relationship?
Guideline #8. If your partner gives you a basic, recurring, never-completely-going-away feeling of humiliation or invisibility, then you’re in the kind of situation that people report they were happy they left and unhappy they stayed in. Quick take: Humiliation is the barometer of hatred.
7. Issue: Communication
Diagnostic question #9. Does it seem to you that your partner generally and consistently blocks your attempts to bring up topics or raise questions, particularly about things you care about?
Guideline #9. If your partner constantly and unyieldingly prevents you from talking about things that are important to you, so that you have a sense of being shut down and shut up, then you’re faced with a destructive problem that will not get better by itself. I feel comfortable saying you’ll be happiest if you leave. Quick take: You’ll suffocate if the dirt hits the fan whenever you try to shoot the breeze.
“It’s not the things that make communication difficult that make a relationship too bad to stay in. Rather, it’s the things that make communication impossible that make a relationship too bad to stay in.”
Diagnostic question #10. Have you gotten to the point, when your partner says something, that you usually feel it’s more likely that he’s lying than that he’s telling the truth?
Guideline #10. If you find yourself thinking, “He’s probably lying,” whenever your partner says anything, or even if you just find there’s a tightening in your gut that indicates you’re expecting a lie, nothing good is going to happen for you in that relationship. Everyone else in this situation is happier leaving and you’ll be happier, too. Quick take: When you’re married to a liar, your marriage is a lie.
8. Issue: Is There Real Love Left?
“Feeling love doesn’t mean that your perceptions are accurate or that the realities warrant your feelings. In other words, feelings are not necessarily appropriate just because you have them.”
Diagnostic question #11. In spite of admirable qualities, and stepping back from any temporary anger or disappointment, do you genuinely like your partner, and does your partner seem to like you?
Kirshenbaum ask, when it counts for you, do you really like your partner the way you like a friend or someone else you feel comfortable and happy being with?
Guideline #11. If it’s clear to you that basically and overall you just don’t like your partner, then your love is a ghost, no matter what else you have going for you and no matter how loudly your heart cries out that you love him, and you’ll be happiest if you leave. And if your partner makes it clear to you that he just doesn’t like you, then in this case, too, you’ll be happiest if you leave. Quick take: In the long run—no like, no love.
“There are studies to show that some of the people we like best in our lives are the people we started out not liking so much.”
“Not liking can turn into liking, but liking that turns into not liking can rarely turn back into liking. Particularly not after the kind of time and commitment you’ve given to each other.”
Diagnostic question #12. Do you feel willing to give your partner more than you’re giving already, and are you willing to do this the way things are between you now, without any expectation of being paid back?
“When the satisfaction or the security of another person becomes as significant to one as is one’s own satisfaction or security, then the state of love exists.”—Harry Stack Sullivan
Guideline #12. In spite of how hurt and deprived you feel, if you are still willing to deliver a concrete expression of love, without expecting anything back in the near future, there’s a real chance there’s a solid core of aliveness in your relationship. If you won’t give unless there’s a clear expectation of getting something in return, that’s evidence you won’t be happy if you stay. Quick take: When there’s nothing left to give, there’s nothing left at all.
9. Issue: Sex and Physical Affection
Diagnostic question #13. Do both you and your partner want to touch each other and look forward to touching each other and make efforts to touch each other?
Guideline #13. If either you or your partner has stopped wanting to touch the other or be touched by the other, and this goes on for several months without any sign of abating, then you’re making a profound statement about how alienated you are from each other, and based on the experience of other people in this situation you won’t be happy if you stay and you will be happy if you leave. Quick take: If someone makes your flesh crawl, it’s time to crawl out of the relationship.
Diagnostic question #14. Do you feel a unique sexual attraction to your partner?
Guideline #14. If you feel a physical, sexual attraction to your partner that puts him or her in a special category for you, where you’re drawn to him or her strongly and in a way you’re not drawn to anyone else, then I feel comfortable saying you’ll be happy if you stay because most people in this situation are happy they stay, as long as there are no powerful reasons to leave. Quick take: If you’re especially attracted to your partner, there’s something special about your relationship.
10. Issue: Your Partner’s Problems
“You’re entitled to feel you want your partner to change things about himself.”
- Can your partner acknowledge their problem?
- Are they willing to change?
- Can you let go of being bothered by the problem?
- Are they able to change?
Diagnostic question #15. Does your partner neither see nor admit things you’ve tried to get him to acknowledge that make your relationship too bad to stay in?
Guideline #15. If there’s something your partner does that makes your relationship too bad to stay in, and if you’ve tried to get him to acknowledge it and he simply cannot and does not, then that problem will just get worse over time. If the thought of a lifetime with it getting worse is not acceptable, you’ll be happiest if you leave. Quick take: If your partner can’t even see what it is about him that makes you want to get out, it’s time to get out.
Diagnostic question #16. Is there something your partner does that makes your relationship too bad to stay in and that he acknowledges but that, for all intents and purposes, he’s unwilling to do anything about?
Guideline #16. If there’s something your partner does that makes your relationship too bad to stay in, and he acknowledges it, but he’s, in fact, unwilling to do anything about it, and if his unwillingness has been clear for at least six months, you’ll be happier if you leave. Quick take: If you’re waiting for your partner to want to change, you’re waiting for Godot.
Diagnostic question #17. This problem your partner has that makes you want to leave: have you tried to let it go, ignore it, stop letting it bother you? And were you successful?
Guideline #17. If you can really let go of the problem that’s most making you feel you want to leave your partner, if you can stop paying attention to it or stop letting it bother you, there’s a real chance this relationship is too good to leave. Quick take: In a relationship with a future, people can let go of the problems they can’t solve.
Diagnostic question #18. As you think about your partner’s problem that makes your relationship too bad to stay in, does he acknowledge it and is he willing to do something about it and is he able to change?
Guideline #18. If your partner shows a real sign of being able to change with respect to a problem that makes your relationship too bad to stay in, there’s a good chance there’s something healthy and alive at the core of your relationship and you won’t be happy if you give up on it at this point. Quick take: It’s the ability to change that turns frogs into princes.
11. Issue: Personal Bottom Lines
If you’re having trouble coming up with your bottom lines, say this to yourself: “Even though I love my partner and even though I’d rather be in a relationship than be alone, there are some things that if they were going on would mean I just could no longer be happy or at peace in this relationship.” Then let yourself imagine what those things are for you and put them on the list.
Diagnostic question #19. Has your partner violated what for you is a bottom line?
Guideline #19. If you’ve made it clear what your real bottom lines are and your partner’s violated them anyway, then by definition you will not be happy if you stay and you will only be happy if you leave. Quick take: The bottom line is the end of the line.
12. Issue: Differences Between You
Diagnostic question #20. Is there a clearly formulated, passionately held difference between you that has to do with the shape and texture and quality of your life as you actually experience it?
Guideline #20. If you and your partner have passionately felt but profoundly divergent preferences about how to live, and if the lifestyle you prefer is impossible with your partner, and if it’s clear that you’ll be happier living that lifestyle without your partner than living with your partner without that lifestyle, then you’ll be happy if you leave and unhappy if you stay. Quick take: You live a life, you don’t live a relationship.
Diagnostic question #21. In spite of all the ways you’re different, would you say that deep down or in some respect that’s important to you your partner is someone just like you in a way you feel good about?
Guideline #21. If you truly feel that your partner is like you in some way that’s meaningful and that you feel good about, there’s a real chance your relationship is too good to leave. But if there’s no similarity at all in any way that’s important to you—so that you feel as if your partner is alien—most people in similar situations ended up being happy if they left. Quick take: Somehow, somewhere, when you look deep in your partner’s eyes you’ve got to be able to see yourself.
13. Issue: Post-Relationship Options
If you’re trying to decide if you’ll be happiest if you stay or leave, you can’t look only at what’s going on in your relationship. You have to look at what your options are outside of it and at how clearly and realistically you’ve been thinking about them.
At the top of one sheet of paper write the words: “Things I look forward to in my new life when I think about leaving.” At the top of another sheet of paper write the words: “Things I’m afraid of in a new life that make me think about staying.”
For each item on your list ask yourself, “Is this true?” “Is this likely?” Then ask yourself, “What else is possible?” “What’s most likely?”
Diagnostic question #22. With your new, more complete, more realistic set of information about what it would be like for you if you left, have you discovered new, more probable realities that now make leaving seem impossibly difficult or unpleasant?
- Where will you live?
- How will you be able to afford it?
- Will you be able to commute to your job from there?
- How much savings will you have available to you after you leave?
- How much of your income will you have available?
- Will that be enough?
- What are your prospects for meeting people?
- This is a time to be brutally honest: do you have the characteristics that’ll make it relatively easy to find dates?
- Will you want to go through the process of meeting new people?
- Is it realistically likely that you’ll be lonely in your new life?
- How well do you cope with loneliness?
- What’s going to happen with the kids?
- Is joint custody a possibility, and do you want it?
- Is not having custody likely for you; is that acceptable to you?
- Is having custody more likely, and have you thought through what it’s like to parent kids on your own?
- What will being on your own do to your ability to work?
- Is it realistic that the friends you’re counting on being there for you will end up being there?
- How do your relatives feel about what you’re wanting to do? Will they provide moral support? Perhaps more important, will they actually deliver the practical or financial support they might have been promising?
Guideline #22. At this point in the process, as you look more realistically at what it will be like for you to leave, if this fresh look clearly makes leaving seem too difficult and makes staying seem desirable, then you’ve gotten the clarity you were looking for and you know you’ll be happier staying. Quick take: If staying makes sense when you really check into it, it makes sense to stay.
Diagnostic question #23. With your new, more complete, more realistic set of information about what it would be like to leave, have you discovered new, more probable realities that now make leaving seem easier, more attractive, and make staying no longer desirable?
Guideline #23. If looking more realistically at what it will actually be like for you to leave your relationship clearly makes leaving seem easier and more attractive to you and makes staying seem like a bad idea, then you’ve gotten the clarity you were looking for and you’ll be happier if you leave. Quick take: If leaving makes sense when you really check into it, then it makes sense to leave.
14. Issue: Do You Respect Each Other?
Diagnostic question #24. Does your partner do such a good job of conveying the idea that you’re a nut or a jerk or a loser or an idiot about parts of yourself that are important to you that you’ve started to really become demonstrably convinced of it yourself?
Guideline #24. If your partner is starting to convince you through disrespectful words and actions that you’re a nut or a jerk or a loser or an idiot about parts of yourself that are important to you, then he’s starting to damage the way you see yourself and your entire sense of what you’re able to do. For almost everyone in a relationship where disrespect reaches this point, they’re happy when they leave and unhappy if they stay. Quick take: If someone is starting to cut your legs out from under you, you’ve got to walk out while you still have legs.
Diagnostic question #25. As you think about your partner’s disrespect, is it clear to you that you do everything possible to limit your contact with your partner, except for times where you absolutely must interact?
Guideline #25. If your partner is all too often all too disrespectful to you and you realize that you do everything possible to limit your contact with your partner, except for those times where you absolutely must interact, then the level of disrespect has spoiled the atmosphere of your relationship and you’ll be happy if you leave. Quick take: The water’s too bad to drink when you find you’ve stopped drinking the water.
Diagnostic question #26. Do you feel that your partner, overall and more often than not, shows concrete support for and genuine interest in the things you’re trying to do that are important to you?
Guideline #26. If you feel that your partner shows support for and interest in the things you’re trying to do that are important to you, and does so in ways that are substantial and concrete and that make a real difference to you, then most people who’ve been in your situation have said that they’re in a relationship that’s too good to leave. Quick take: Being there when it counts is respect that delivers.
Diagnostic question #27. Would you lose anything important in your life if your partner were no longer your partner? Is what you’d lose something that makes you feel good about your partner for being able to provide it?
Guideline #27. If it’s clear to you that you wouldn’t lose anything you couldn’t do without if your relationship were over, then your partner doesn’t have anything real to offer you and he’s not a resource for you. Even if your partner does provide things, if what he provides are things you don’t particularly respect him for, he’s not a respected resource for you. Most people in this situation were happy when they left the relationship. Quick take: There’s no need to keep something you wouldn’t miss if it were gone or that you don’t value when you’ve got it.
15. Issue: Hurts and Betrayals
Diagnostic question #28. Whatever was done that caused hurt and betrayal, do you have the sense that the pain and damage have lessened with time?
Guideline #28. If, according to the following timetable, there continues to be a lessening in the sense of pain and hurt and fear and anger after the “crime” you or your partner committed, then there’s a good chance that your relationship can heal the damage caused by this “crime.” In that case, if this was the main reason you were thinking of leaving the relationship, the odds are in your favor that it’s too good to leave. Quick take: Time heals all healable wounds.
Diagnostic question #29. Is there a demonstrated capacity and mechanism for genuine forgiveness in your relationship?
Guideline #29. If there’s a demonstrated capacity for genuine forgiveness, including the ability to let go of anger and hurt, the ability to feel forgiveness, and the ability in the other person to show that he feels sincerely sorry, then this relationship can survive an injury that would otherwise make it too bad to stay in. But if not, and, based on guideline #28, if there’s also been no healing over time, then the damage was probably so great and the capacity for healing is so small that this relationship is too bad to stay in. In such a case, most people are happy they left and unhappy they stayed. Quick take: If you can’t find your way back to forgiveness, you can’t find your way back to each other.
16. Issue: Getting Your Needs Met
Diagnostic question #30. Is it likely that, if you have a reasonable need, you and your partner will be able to work out a way for you to get it met without too painful a struggle?
These then are the four mechanisms that make people feel it’s just too hard to get their needs met:
- “I can do whatever I want, right?” Your partner’s making unilateral moves: doing what he wants when he wants it by himself without talking to you about it.
- “It’s such an ordeal talking about the littlest thing.” This is when negotiating solutions together is virtually impossible.
- “You never do what you say you’re going to do.” This is where the issue of trust comes up in relationships. When people make agreements and then break them, the relationship is not only a place of fighting and deprivation, it’s a place of betrayal.
- “We’re very polite with each other.” This is what happens to people in a relationship when they’re furious and exhausted from pointless fighting, broken agreements, and unmet needs. There’s no fighting, there’s just despair.
Guideline #30. If you’ve lost hope that you’ll be able to get a reasonable need met without a too-painful struggle to arrive at a solution, then I feel comfortable saying you’ll be happy if you leave and unhappy if you stay. Quick take: Frustration, fear, and deprivation are nature’s way of telling you that this relationship is not your home.
Diagnostic question #31. Is there some particular need that’s so important to you that if you don’t get it met, looking back you’ll say that your life wasn’t satisfying, and are you starting to get discouraged about ever being able to get it met?
Guideline #31. If you have a need that’s so important that, if you don’t get it met, looking back you’ll say your life wasn’t satisfying, and if your partner stands in the way of your getting your need met and you don’t believe that you’ll ever be able to work out a resolution, then you’ll be happy if you leave and unhappy if you stay. Quick take: Beware of unmet needs so important they sow the seeds of hate.
“Look at what you need to be happy in life. Look at what you’re doing to get those needs satisfied. If those needs are so important that they’ll make all the difference between your being happy in life or not, then either you’ve got to find a way to get them satisfied in the relationship—and that means learning to negotiate and get whatever other help you need—or you owe it to yourself and your partner to leave the relationship.”
17. Issue: Intimacy—How It Feels to Be Close
Diagnostic question #32. Given the way your partner acts, does it feel as though in getting close to you what he’s most interested in is subjecting you to his anger and criticism?
Guideline #32. It’s normal to get hurt occasionally when you get close to someone, but if you feel that your partner’s main interest in getting close to you is making you feel his anger and criticism, then you’ll never feel close or safe in your relationship and you’ll be happier if you leave than if you stay. Quick take: If getting close to your partner feels like you’re getting into the boxing ring with him or her, then it’s time to end the match.
Diagnostic question #33. When the subject of intimacy comes up between you and your partner, is there generally a battle over what intimacy is and how to get it?
Guideline #33. If you and your partner cannot agree about what intimacy is for the two of you and how to get it, and if holding on to your positions is more important to you than bridging your differences, then most people in your situation end up not being happy they stayed in the relationship and end up happy they left. Quick take: If getting close drives you apart, you can never get close.
Diagnostic question #34. Does your relationship support you having fun together?
Guideline #34. If you feel that you and your partner have turned a corner where having fun together is simply not a possibility at all, and you’re living without hope of the two of you having fun together again, then most people in your situation are happy they leave and unhappy they stay. If the possibility of fun between you does seem fully alive, then that’s a sign your relationship is too good to leave. Quick take: Fun is the glue of love.
18. Issue: Feeling You Belong Together
Diagnostic question #35. Do you currently share goals and dreams for your life together?
Guideline #35. If you and your partner share a goal or a dream for the future, if there’s something you organize your lives around and care about more than almost anything else, and if it’s something you do together in some way that not only gives you a sense of satisfaction but a sense of meaning, then for most people in your situation what you’ve got going for you means your relationship is too good to leave. Quick take: Sharing a passion makes it easier to share a life.
Diagnostic question #36. If all the problems in your relationship were magically solved today, would you still feel ambivalent about whether to stay or leave?
Guideline #36. Even if there were no problems, if you still don’t know whether you want to be in this relationship, then you’re indicating a deep discomfort with something about your partner or your relationship. People who felt this way were happy they left and unhappy they stayed. Quick take: If you don’t know whether you want to stay even if nothing were wrong, then you don’t want to stay.
“Your relationship is too bad to stay in as long as your answer to any question produced a guideline that said that most people who gave that answer were happy they left and unhappy they stayed.”
“Just because other questions don’t point you toward the exits doesn’t change the fact that your answer to this particular question does point you toward the exits. One clear negative sign is all you need, and it doesn’t matter what all the other signs say.”
“Your relationship is too good to leave if no guideline points to the fact that it’s too bad to stay in.”
19. Next Steps
“Your sadness doesn’t mean that the truth you’ve found isn’t your truth.”
- Coming Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma
- The Good Divorce by Constance Ahrons
- Our Turn by Christopher Hayes, Deborah Anderson, and Melinda Blau
- Uncoupling by Diane Vaughan
- Divorce Busting by Michele Weiner-Davis
- Intimate Partners by Maggie Scarf
- Lifemates by Harold Bloomfield and Sira Vittese, with Robert Kory
- Love Is a Verb by Bill O’Hanlon and Pat Hudson
If you like Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, you may also enjoy the following books:
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
- Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs
Buy The Book: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay
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What is an ambivalent relationship? It means a partner cannot decide if they want to be in a relationship with someone or not. They can feel connected emotionally to this person, but they sometimes think they can have a better partner. They also feel frustration and anxiety because they cannot leave this relationship.
- 'I Have Something To Tell You' by Natalie Appleton. ...
- 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: A Guide To Knowing If Your Relationship Can — And Should — Be Saved' by Lundy Bancroft & JAC Patrissi. ...
- 'How To Be A Person In The World' by Heather Havrilesky.
- Has good communication between you been maintained throughout your relationship?
- Do you speak to each other respectfully?
- Are resentments being held onto and rehashed?
- Are you going through a period where everything seems to be going wrong?
- Practice forgiveness. Resentment, anger and blame are normal reactions when your loved one does something hurtful. ...
- Be realistic. Every long-term relationship will have its share of disappointments. ...
- Develop rituals. ...
- Listen actively. ...
- Be honest. ...
- Fight fair. ...
- Get help if you're stuck.
- Patience is a virtue.
- Get a life that is independent of him.
- Make him know that you can be trusted.
- Let him define the pace of the relationship.
- Stay away from labeling the relationship.
- No conversations about the future.
Intimacy refers to a level of closeness where you feel validated and safe. In relationships, four types of intimacy are key: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.
- 1 Tell your partner you need to talk.
- 2 Be ready to answer the question, “Why?”
- 3 Use “I” statements so they don't feel attacked.
- 4 Keep your message short and direct.
- 5 Share the news with friends and family.
- 6 Be honest but sensitive if you have children.
- Your Partner Isn't Truthful With You. ...
- You're Not On The Same Page Financially. ...
- You Don't Fully Trust Your Partner. ...
- You Have Different Goals For The Future. ...
- Your Partner Is Inattentive In Bed — And Unwilling To Change. ...
- Your Communication Just Isn't Working.
- Tell your BF or GF that you want to talk about something important.
- Start by mentioning something you like or value about the other person. ...
- Say what's not working (your reason for the break-up). ...
- Say you want to break up. ...
- Say you're sorry if this hurts. ...
- Say something kind or positive.
Ask her what she wants to do in the bedroom. Mix things up by trying something new and exciting to make her happy. Tell her often how much you enjoy being sexually intimate with her. Let her know that you are having the best sex of your life with her.
- Realize your own worth first. ...
- Take a step back. ...
- Try a little radio silence. ...
- Keep yourself occupied. ...
- Stop trying to tell him and start showing him his behavior is unacceptable. ...
- Learn to say no. ...
- Assert your independence. ...
- Focus on you and what you enjoy.
Clear communication, openness to new experiences, and respect for your partner are key if you want to build a lasting, loving relationship. 1. Make your partner a priority: Take time often to let your boyfriend or hubby know how special he is to you.
- Let him take initiative. ...
- Don't let him think he has you too soon. ...
- Don't say 'yes' to him every time. ...
- Make him feel like he can't live without you. ...
- Make the time you spend together amazing so he wants you around more. ...
- Make him miss you by not contacting him.
To get a man to chase you, flirt with him by making eye contact, playing with your hair, and teasing him, to get his attention. Another way to get his interest is to let him see you talking to other men, since he'll want you more if he thinks there's competition.
- Date him for who he is, not for his potential. ...
- Create emotional safety for him. ...
- Keep things light and playful. ...
- Be vulnerable. ...
- Give him space to chase you.
Where physical intimacy is lacking, this can cause self-esteem problems. If your partner shows no interest in you physically, you might feel like they're not attracted to you anymore, and this can cause you to question yourself.
To feel unity with your partner, you can make sex a sacred act of love. Moreover, there are other loving acts on a physical level. e.g. kissing, cuddling, or holding hands. Holding hands especially can become the most intimate act of love.
While women definitely have physical needs, men tend to have higher physical needs than most women. The reason for this is that men are genetically different than women. Men truly crave sexual intimacy.
- TALK TO EACH OTHER. The first step to improving any relationship is effective communication: ...
- TALK TO OTHERS. ...
- ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR DIFFERENCES. ...
- EDUCATE YOURSELF. ...
- CONSIDER GOING BACK TO SCHOOL.
The Most Important Factor in a Relationship Is Not Communication, But Respect. What I can tell you is the #1 thing . . . is respect. It's not sexual attraction, looks, shared goals, religion or lack of, nor is it love. There are times when you won't feel love for your partner.
It's never easy to leave someone you love, even when you know it's the right thing to do. It takes courage, clarity, confidence and compassion. And if you take time every day to close your eyes and get really still, you will find all that and more within you.
One of the biggest reasons why walking away is powerful is because it builds respect, creates standards and boundaries, and increases your value. You will love taking control of your future, whether that means winning back a changed ex or moving on to bigger and better things.
- #1 – Ask yourself how determined you are to do this. ...
- #2 – Make three lists and refer to them often. ...
- #3 – Cut him off. ...
- #4 – Believe that you will find another love. ...
- #5 – Get back out there!
Lily hadn't heard from Atlas since then and always felt sadness that Atlas never tried to find her as he promised. However, she knew now that her future was with Ryle. This seemed to be the case as Lily met Ryle's parents, and she and Ryle decided to get married.
If you're new to Colleen Hoover books, you can't go wrong with It Ends with Us, which has garnered the most ratings and reviews on Goodreads. For readers who prefer young adult fiction, begin with Hopeless. And if you're looking for a white-knuckle psychological thriller instead of a romance, start with Verity.
Suitable for readers 17 and up. Trigger warnings for violence & attempted rape.
having two opposing feelings at the same time, or being uncertain about how you feel: I felt very ambivalent about leaving home. He has fairly ambivalent feelings toward his father.
- Here are some tips when your partner is being ambivalent:
- Listen to your partner. Allow them to express their fears and confusion. ...
- Give it some time. ...
- Revisit your needs. ...
- Draw a line. ...
- Accept that you can't control your partner's feelings.
First, please know that it is totally normal and natural to have second thoughts or ambivalence in your relationship! Yes, really. Contrary to what Disney movies, Rom-Coms, and most pop songs teach us, love and being with the “right” partner doesn't always look like fireworks or being certain about the other.
Ambivalence refers to a psychological conflict between opposing evaluations, often experienced as being torn between alternatives. This dynamic aspect of ambivalence is hard to capture with outcome-focused measures, such as response times or self-report.
Ambivalence is often conceptualized as a negative predictor of attitude strength. That is, as an attitude becomes more ambivalent, its strength decreases. Strong attitudes are those that are stable over time, resistant to change, and predict behavior and information processing.
Emotional invalidation is the act of dismissing or rejecting someone's thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. It says to someone: “Your feelings don't matter. Your feelings are wrong.” Emotional invalidation can make you feel unimportant or irrational.
Emotional ambivalence is a particularly complex emotion characterized by tension and conflict that is felt when someone experiences both positive and negative emotions simultaneously.
Men like the chase
You might not know that men like the chase, which is why walking away is powerful. If you take the opportunity to walk away from an individual that isn't putting in the same effort that you are into the relationship, this might cause him to want to chase you and make it up to you.
In an ambivalent relationship, neither the positive nor the negative predominates; your feelings about the person are decidedly mixed. Sometimes this person is encouraging, and sometimes they're critical. Sometimes they're fun, and sometimes they're a drag. Sometimes they're there for you, and sometimes they're not.
- Reassure and connect with them. ...
- Don't leave them waiting for a reply. ...
- Be consistent with them. ...
- Don't suggest their needs aren't "right" ...
- Understand it's not up to you to "fix" them.
For the ambivalent man, the inability to commit in an emotionally valid way may, paradoxically, reflect an emotionally vulnerable self that he is afraid to recognize out of fear that it will overwhelm him or make him less of a man.
- Remember: Ambivalence Is Normal. ...
- It's normal to get stuck in a state of ambivalence. ...
- Don't Take Sides. ...
- The way to find a pathway through ambivalence is to shed light on both sides of the coin – making space for the validity of both the reasons to stay the same and also the reasons for change.
- Be aware if anxiety is taking you away from yourself, and return to a healthy sense of who you are.
- Be willing to take the long view. ...
- Dont play the role of therapist with your partner.
- Dont pressure your partner or try to solve their dilemma for them.
- Avoid numbing or self-defeating behaviors.
Emotional overload often comes from having conflicting feelings, too many feelings happening at once, or not being able to act based on your gut feelings. We have emotions for a reason – they're there to tell us something.
It's common to think that you can only feel one way at a time, but we can actually feel two or more things that conflict or don't match up at the same time. No single feeling is more valid than another – they can all coexist. To cope with conflicting feelings, you can set personal boundaries for yourself.
Adults with an avoidant-dismissive insecure attachment style are the opposite of those who are ambivalent or anxious-preoccupied. Instead of craving intimacy, they're so wary of closeness they try to avoid emotional connection with others. They'd rather not rely on others, or have others rely on them.