How to Know When It’s Time to Move On

How to Know When It’s Time to Move OnHow do you feel about the idea of quitting?

I mean quitting on a relationship when there is still a mix of both good and bad. Your stomach just rolled, didn’t it?

Yeah, I feel the same way. I don’t like the notion of giving up, either. And we’re not alone.

How many times have you heard, “Winners never quit and quitters never win?” Our culture has this shared conviction that it’s always noble to press on, even in the face of overwhelming odds.

That’s why we like movies about underdogs, from Rudy to The Devil Wears Prada.

But what if you’re after something that’s genuinely unattainable? What if you have a goal that you really can’t reach? What if you’re the underdog, but it’s impossible for you to come out on top?

Psychologists Gregory Miller and Carsten Wrosch asked that very question. They spent a year tracking 90 teenagers who were goal-setters. The ones who couldn’t let go of their unachievable goals paid for it with their health, showing early signs of conditions that lead to diabetes, early aging, and heart disease![i]

The researchers’ conclusion was simple. There are times when quitting is the best option.

Ready for this to get WAY more personal? Think about that truth in light of your dating life.

Which begs the question, how do you know when it’s time to give up on a relationship and move on?

Counseling psychologist Will Meek has a simple rule for knowing when to give up. He says it’s time to call it quits “when something is not improving with substantial effort.”[ii]

Relationships are just like any other living thing. When they’re healthy, there’s growth.

Think about the beginning of a romantic connection. The two of you are all about talking for hours, deeply invested in getting to know each other. You want to spend all your time together, go on adventures together, and explore the world together.

Relationships that are meant to last will continue to thrive, even beyond the infatuation stage.

But if you get to the point where growth stops, that’s a bad sign. Then it’s time to ask yourself some serious questions.

Have you made a sincere effort to rekindle the passion? Have you asked him what he needs from you? Are you doing your best to be the person he fell for in the first place? Have you told him what you want out of the relationship, yourself?

How to Know When It’s Time to Move OnIf you answered “yes” to those questions, but there’s no momentum building toward improvement, then it’s likely time to move on.

I know that’s not an easy thing to hear. We all hate the idea of giving up, and it always hurts when a relationship comes to an end.

But the ultimate goal is to find someone who really gets you. If you can’t have that with your current partner, it may be time to end things and find a better match.

Don’t get stuck in a situation where you can’t win.

If your current relationship has hit a wall and none of your efforts to get it back on track seem to be working, be brave enough to consider moving on.

You deserve happily ever after. Sometimes the trick to winning is to quit.

[i] Miller, G. E., and C. Wrosch. “You’ve Gotta Know When to Fold ‘Em: Goal Disengagement and Systemic Inflammation in Adolescence.” Psychological Science 18.9 (2007): 773-77. Web.

[ii] Meek, Will, Ph.D. “The Virtue of Quitting.” Psychology Today. Sussex Directories, Inc., 13 Apr. 2014. Web. 14 July 2016.

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6 thoughts on “How to Know When It’s Time to Move On

  1. Linda said:

    After 50 years of marriage, my husband decided “we don’t get along” and filed for a divorce. His idea of “getting along” focused on my not agreeing to sell our house and move 900 miles to another state because “the weather is warmer.” He refused my offer to take a trip there so he could show me the area and why he liked it so much. Instead of taking that trip, he filed for divorce.

    This article’s good advice should be only for those who are merely dating someone.

  2. Kelly said:

    Hi James I have been married for 18 years and when my husband turned 50 he had a mid life crisis couldnt stand getting old started taking a pile of steroid drugs obsessed with working out spending a fortune on clothes cosmetic procedures to eventually having an affair with a 30 year old employee. In this time I began resenting him as he just wasnt around for me or our children and I just couldn’t communicate with him anymore. He went into an anxiety panicked person spiralling out of control. We lost our connection briefly only to regain it tenfold through all the turmoil and discovered a closer bond that we ever had through the 18 years of marriage. For a myriad of different work related reasons he wouldn’t let go of the employee and still continues to employ her even though he claims their is nothing going on between them anymore. I got him to leave our family home a few weeks ago as I couldn’t and didn’t want to deal with it anymore and he then began taking all the pills again even though when we reconnected he was off most things and somewhat back to being the husband and father we all loved. He misses our family a lot and we both share a love for each other but I believe because he lacked the ability or courage to fight for me or his family I needed to find the courage to move on and get past this now as I do not believe he wants to save our marriage he is incredibly lost and I have been through so much with him I must get to a healthier and happier state of being for me and my kids. Our marriage never felt over to us through this all consuming time I just wish now I hadn’t connected with him in a way I never had with another human before it has just made it that more difficult to let go / our family is the most important thing to me in my life and I fought for it. Please could you give me some ways to move on and some ideas to not allow any thoughts or feelings for him to keep popping up hoping we could get to a better place when I feel we can’t now. Too much damage has been done combined with the cheating lies and mistrust he is just not the kind of person I want to be with anymore even though he never displayed any of those characteristics ever before in our 18 year marriage. It’s a confusing time but a necessary one so I can finally move on. Any help would be amazing!!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Kelly. I’m sorry for the pain you and your family are going through right now. It sounds like you are a brave person. And I admire your emotional strength, but also understand why you could use a boost and maybe a little advice during this painful time.

      I actually did write a special report on this topic. I’m not sure if you are a member of our insider’s club, but if you are you can access it for free here. If not you can find out how to get a copy of it here as well.


  3. Munchkin in love for ever. said:

    that all sounds great but what happens when you have fallen in love with a man been with him going on 9yrs and you find out that he has married a black women with 5 kids with a dog and a cat and these are things that he said he didn’t want to deal with at all, he tell you that he cares about you and he is addicted to you because of the sex is the best he has ever had, and that he don’t want to give you up but He don’t want to lose everything in a divorce because of the cheating so he wants to keep seeing you no matter what but you can’t call him because the number has been changed you only hear and see him when he calls and stops by,but your in love with him. how do you turn the table to your way and get him to stay or fall in love with you and be happy like you were before she moved in on your man.

    • JL said:

      I’m sorry, but that man has conned and lied to you. He is using you and you deserve better treatment than this. Run, run as fast as you can away from this man and don’t look back. It might be hard, but you will get stronger and get over him. Renew or build up your female friendships to keep you from being lonely. Once you get over him, you can find a truly decent man. Love yourself enough to break it off and find someone better. Make this your New Year’s resolution. I wish you strength, peace, and love in the New Year.

  4. charity mubanga said:

    Wow that’s very deep and true James….. I feel encouraged and fulfilled by every word spoken.

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