When someone asks me this question the answer I give is very simple, many will give you many complex answers, but the reality is very simple.
I have been in a few sessions and have witnessed first-hand the moment a relationship dies for good.
I remember one lady who was giving her husband a chance to rebuild a connection with her. He had many patterns that were not helping and alcohol addiction was one that was causing havoc.
I had my doubts about their chances, but they both wanted to have a go, so I agreed.
He was doing great and she had hope for the future again.
All he had to do was keep going, he was stepping up and winning her back.
During a session, he lost control of himself and everything he learnt went out the window.
My concern was always about his ability to commit to himself and now my fear for them was playing out.
I looked at her eyes as this happened and saw she had instantly emotionally died, connection and hope gone.
She sat staring into the distance motionless until he had finished his rant.
She decided to see me on her own, but with a new brief to rebuild her life.
He still wanted it to work, but I had to tell him the chance she gave him was the last chance.
He had no idea what he did to her at that moment whilst out of control of himself, people do this all the time.
This was for her the tipping point of no return.
So the moment a relationship dies permanently is when both people give up and for this couple that happened in less than five seconds.
When one person gives up there is a window of opportunity for the other to step up.
You see no matter how certain a person communicates to their partner the relationship is over for them you can bet there is a part of them wondering if they are doing the right thing.
It’s why when there is a significant break of trust and a partner allows a window of opportunity it’s important to know that window can close no matter how much they love their partner.
I remember a gentleman telling me he was working flat out on a presentation he hadn’t eaten and didn’t have time for a break due to a deadline.
He knew his wife was passing his office on the way to her friends’ house for coffee that day.
He text her and said would she mind dropping off a sandwich on her way through.
She replied on text with these words, “I’m not your slave!”
That for him was a tipping point it was yet another selfish act that showed she wasn’t part of a team.
In his mind, she had clearly given up caring about him but seemed happy for him to work whilst she socialised so he mirrored her, at that moment he decided to divorce her and he did.
She was unaware of the impact of that moment and the devastation that would unfold.
It’s why ultimatums are so dangerous.
One person is saying there is a condition where I will be out. If the condition is unacceptable or perceived to be unreasonable the other person will also be out.
I remember a gentleman told me his wife said “it’s the motorbike or her” he told me he chose the bike.
So the moment a relationship is over is very clear.
Is giving up the right decision?
What is not clear is if two people giving up is the right decision for them this is where too many couples make terrible mistakes.
You see many people give up for the wrong reasons and this creates for them an ongoing problem.
One gentleman came for help with his wife, she decided not to accept the help and left him.
He would have given up if I hadn’t instructed my team to help him back into the process.
I showed him exactly what to do to win her back and it worked.
You see divorce and leaving a relationship doesn’t make people better and more intelligent partners.
It’s why affairs are not reality and the feelings affairs create shouldn’t be trusted.
Affair relationships will help individuals feel significantly better, but not because they are both magically better partners.
Once the excitement/chemistry wears off we still got two people not knowing what they are doing riding a wave of chemicals that will die away.
There is no education in a having divorce that will lead to understanding the marriage and this is a problem, especially for those who may want a relationship again.
Some learn so little from the relationship and the divorce all they gain is how to attach fear to relationships. Now the thought of being vulnerable to someone again becomes a place so entrenched with pain, that they never want to commit to anyone again.
One lady repeated her pattern in 4 marriages and was about to give up. She was smart, intuitive, and successful and she was convinced her husband and ex-husbands were the problem!
While I’m sure they were not perfect, I could see she was part of creating husbands that in the end, she didn’t like.
She was totally unaware of the impact of her own behaviours because all she could see was her own perspective.
I had to tell her the core problem was her – she was initially shocked, but smart enough to agree once she saw what I pointed out to her.
One gentleman had divorced his wife due to an affair, he then married the affair partner and created the exact same problem with her didn’t like it so divorced her as well.
He blamed her of course.
He was a bright successful businessman but was too busy blaming others as he could only see the world from his own perspective, this disabled his desire to start learning.
He didn’t think he needed to.
He was now back home he had remarried his first wife but was now more confused than ever because the cycle was starting all over again.
He caused himself so much stress he hit the bottom and knew he needed help.
For some, they like to learn the hard way which means they will do it their way until they can see their way is actually hurting themselves.
Relationships are over when people give up, but people give up because they don’t understand.
This doesn’t mean that every couple should work.
What it means is that each person can learn how they are a part of creating the very problems they don’t like.
If they don’t learn they will do it again and again and again.