If A-Level Psychology taught me anything it’s that relationships function on a system of input and output (or a balance system, to use the right term!) and it is when that system becomes disturbed that problems will arise in the relationship. A simple explanation that seems to make perfect sense.
The one thing that theory failed to explain to me was what happens when that imbalance occurs. “Problems arising in the relationship” doesn’t exactly pin-point what you should be looking out for, and it also doesn’t pin-point what you should do when these certain things happen.
So, when it’s a case of input and output, when is the time to get out?
During a rather drunk debate with a young gentleman in a nightclub the other week, the knowledgeable fellow informed me that love has an expiration date, and that even the most in love couples will inevitably fall out of love for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons he proposed was that eventually one person will get more from the relationship and when that imbalance happens and the scales tip, people leave (I could only presume that he took the same A-Level course that I did!). Despite not wanting to agree with his cynicism, I couldn’t help but wonder how true the idea was.
It seems that we need to approach our relationships with the same attitude that we approach our bank accounts: when the money going in doesn’t cover the money coming out, you’ve got a problem! When this happens with our finances, and we suddenly find ourselves in the red, we panic; but when this happens in our relationships, and we find ourselves in emotional debt, we insist that it’s just a bad time and that things will work themselves out. But what if they don’t?
So here we are, kidding ourselves into believing our lop-sided relationships will eventually regain balance, and maybe sometimes they will. However there seem to be some occasions when, regardless of how much you’ve invested in the business, it might be time to get out while you still have the chance to. The idea of a relationship is that you support each other, you provide a shoulder when the other person needs something to lean on and in return they provide a shoulder for you. When you find yourself constantly being leant on, with no support in return, it’s really only a matter of time before you crumble, and you’ll take what’s left of the relationship down with you.
It might be a difficult decision to make, but I’m a firm believer in doing what’s best for you, and not necessarily what’s best for the person you’re in a relationship with (obviously there are circumstances that offer exceptions to my perhaps slightly selfish rule!). Perhaps this analogy will make things clearer: if you’re standing on a relationship where the scales have drastically tipped, it’s probably only a matter of time before one of you falls off, and if you’re not the one to fall, then you’re the one to be dropped…
When you hit this point, a little cost/benefit analysis is probably the best way forward before you find yourself in more debt than you can clamber out of.