Moving On: When it’s time to leave a relationship or job


August 1, 2011
Tracey L. Chavous
Health and Wellness Writer
Healthy Living

Unhealthy relationships can be quite damaging to your sense of self-worth over time.  Therefore, it’s crucial to know the long-term impact of negative relationships, how to recognize the symptoms and how to obtain the help you need to break free from a harmful association if and when that is the best course of action. The longer an unhealthy relationship continues, the more damaging it can become and the more difficult it can be to engage in a healthier and more productive one in which there is genuine love and acceptance in the future.  Claire Arene, LCSW shared the following list of symptoms:

What symptoms do you look for when assessing the health of your relationships?

  • Are you afraid of your spouse or significant other?
  • Do you feel controlled or unable to express your true feelings and thoughts?
  • Do you breathe a sigh of relief or suddenly feel much happier when this person leaves the room?
  • Are you really unhappy in this relationship, but continue to hang in there, because you are afraid of being alone, or because you lack an adequate support system?
  • Does this person make you feel small, inadequate or frequently belittle you in word and deed?
  • Are there unresolved hurts that creep into your daily arguments on an on-going basis?

If you answered yes to a few symptoms, then chances are it’s time to evaluate the true benefit of the investment in your relationship(s).  Strategically weigh your involvement versus the potential long-term effects on your emotional health. We all have a responsibility to preserve our emotional and mental well-being in as much the same way we preserve our physical health. That is a personal responsibility that no one else can fulfill.  Ask yourself, if you are you going to work on changing the dynamics of the relationship with the hope of making it better or are you going to move on?

Stress manager Elizabeth Scott noted that, “relationship conflict and stress have been shown to have a clear negative impact on health, affecting blood pressure, contributing to heart disease and correlating with other conditions. That’s why it’s in your best interest to minimize or eliminate negative relationships in your life.”  Friends should be there to support you and to enrich your life. If they’re bringing you down, it’s time to move on. The people you choose to surround yourself with should also be great spirits who inspire you to be the absolute best you can be.  If you find that you are constantly feeling drained or worse after being around a particular friend or group of friends, then it’s time to consider moving on to building other friendships that elevate the real you.

According to ( there are often clear signs that a couple needs to seek therapy immediately to nurse their relationship back to health. What symptoms do you look for when assessing the health of your relationships?  If you find that the symptoms listed above are what exist routinely , seeking therapy could assist in determining if the relationship is fixable or in need of letting go. Breaking up can be challenging, however, in much the same way as moving on from a job.  So do not burn bridges, but establish respectful feelings that serve you in a capacity to bring out the best in you.

Places of employment often require a person to have to work harder on their social skills than their job skills. Some common factors in motivating people to look for new jobs include consistent frustration over salary/pay level; ongoing problems with one’s boss and/or coworkers; lack of professional development opportunities; lifestyle change requiring job adjustment, such as relocation, birth/adoption of a child or divorce; concern over the current company’s stability; interest in changing careers and a job that is no longer challenging.  The larger roadblock in learning to manage feelings of productivity and job satisfaction can at times force one to contemplate moving on from a job in order to find peace.  Many people understand the process of finding a job, from how to write a good resume to how to negotiate salary and compensation, but who has the skills to leave a job at the right time and for the right reasons? At pivotal times like these, one must streamline their intentions and begin to develop a specific plan that can have a number of outcomes.  Research shows the following:

  • Changing careers by finding a job that draws upon your strengths and interests can bring a new sense of personal and professional fulfillment.
  • A change of environment may be necessary to stir up your professional creativity. A lateral move from one firm to another can beneficial to a career (There can be significant differences in the way workplaces define and view identical jobs.).

If and when you decide to move on from a job, remember to do it professionally and without burning any bridges.  Your professional path may overlap with a former supervisor or colleague.  Fear is the main reason why people don’t move on when they should argues Kristin Taliaferro, founder of, an international coaching service based in Dallas. “They are afraid of not having enough money; they are afraid of seeming disloyal; they are afraid of the unknown; they are afraid of giving up the community of friends they’ve built up at work and they’re just plain afraid of change,” says Taliaferro. It’s important to realize that postponing change doesn’t make it any easier. Taliaferro continues, “People become more and more beaten down and lose their confidence the longer they’re in a job they shouldn’t be in.”

Regardless of the type of relationship you feel needs letting go, envision the positive by losing the negative. In doing so, you open yourself up to allow the positive to enter your life.


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