Perhaps they don’t feel worthy, because they are no longer able to provide as they did before. They may even develop physical liabilities that make them feel unable to continue as they were before.
Sometimes, they feel an urgent need to seek a spiritual path. The partner left behind cannot understand why he or she is not good enough to be invited on the journey.
They cannot fathom why aloneness is better than a partnership.
8. Running From Maturity
Though this section is not meant to embarrass or humiliate those that leave for this reason, there are some people who fully intend to “grow up” within their committed partnership and then, sometime later, realize that the responsibilities of a life-long relationship are too much for them.
There are people who willingly and intentionally commit to a relationship with the full knowledge they would eventually take on financial liabilities, children, have to make compromising career choices, and commit to a monogamous sexual relationship.
And though they fully meant it when they promised that life to another, they later feel entrapped by their premature promises.
These people may be fearful of growing up because it feels like being stuck and limited.
As their partner is fully able to embrace those mature passages of life, they feel more and more constrained.
They want to return to an earlier time in their lives when they were free to go whichever way they wanted.
9. Wanting More
As relationships mature, many intimate partners find themselves seeking new adventures away from their primary partnership.
They once ached to share everything with each other, but now find that home is a place to refuel rather than regenerate and discover.
The relationship has gone from a haven to a place to just refuel.
These partners may have formed a comfortable and rewarding friendship, but it is no longer exciting or challenging. They love and respect each other, but one of them is feeling the need for greater adventure.
Many times, these feelings occur in mid-life and are seen as a common temporary crisis, but they can actually happen at any time.
One partner has settled into a relationship he or she feels deeply content within, while the other cannot live anymore within the relationship’s lock-ins.
10. A Mistake From the Beginning?
Sadly, many partners who leave relationships tell me that, looking back, they knew the relationship was a mistake from the beginning.
They committed nonetheless for many reasons. Perhaps they were caught up in the excitement of the moment. Maybe they just couldn’t disappoint the people they had committed to.
Sometimes they were pushed by friends who saw more than what was there.
Trying to deny their internal conflicts and to act with integrity, they did everything they could to “make it work,” while simultaneously knowing that they were not into the relationship and maybe never had been.
As the normal challenges to any relationship accumulate, these regretful partners feel an increasing need to bolt. At some point, often without the other partner having ever suspected, they feel imprisoned and are unable to stay.
I always ask those who felt they had to end an ongoing relationship with why they did not tell their partners what they were feeling before it was “too late.”
The two most common responses are that they either didn’t fight for change early enough and now cannot recreate their devotion, or that they did try to improve the relationship, but felt that their partners couldn’t, or wouldn’t, listen or want to change.
It is important to note that even wonderful relationships can end if their “time is up.” I’ve been with partners who once were everything to each other, but realized that one or both were ready to move on.
They’d been open, honest, and authentic from the beginning of their partnership, and neither would ever want the other to stay with them if they would be more alive and content somewhere else.
They honour and respect each other and the relationship enough not to hold onto something that no longer works for either of them.
Yes, there is grief when these relationships end, but it is shared and processed together.
The partner who was still content is understandably sad, but not bewildered or destroyed.