Are you struggling with the decision of whether to stay or go in your love life right now? Maybe you are worried about whether you should continue dating someone who’s already shown you some things you’re not quite sure about, or maybe you’re at the end of a relationship and wondering whether to leave or stay in it. You could even be after a relationship where you’ve had a breakup and you’re wondering whether you should go back or continue forward and meet someone new. This video goes deep on three very specific questions you can ask yourself to determine whether the right decision is to stay the course or to leave and find somebody else. All right, let’s get into it. I had someone come to me recently and say something interesting, slightly painful, and something that well was slightly painful because it also reflected a fear I have. This person was a fan, big fan of all of my work, but she said, “I sometimes think if I had followed all of the advice, I may never have said yes to giving things a go with my partner.”

I have felt like that at times, that the danger is that it’s very easy, the easiest position in the world to take when dispensing advice is leave. If a woman goes to her friend and says a guy did this and her friend says, ugh, leave, don’t go on another date with him. Or a guy says, “Oh, she did that? Ditch her. “We imagine that friend to be someone who’s wounded, don’t we? We imagine that friend themselves to be someone who’s either bitter or defensive or all too willing to write people off quickly. And I sometimes worry that in my advice over the years I’ve made too many people write people off too quickly based on some perceived red flag. And the truth is we love hearing about red flags. There’s a reason that red flag videos do so well on YouTube is because there’s something gratifying about it. Isn’t there?

There’s something about dating someone and seeing something that’s a bad sign, seeing something that’s a red flag, and then immediately getting to write them off in a righteous way. You did this? Ugh, move aside, I’m going to keep looking. The danger, of course, and I think part of the allure of looking for red flags in other people is that it’s also a distraction from our own red flags. God help us if everyone ditches us at the first sign of a red flag, because we all have them. The question of course, becomes which red flags are too dangerous to ignore and which ones are worth negotiating with. I have come to believe that relationships are incredibly complex, that we should have compassion when we look at other people’s situations from the outside. It’s a particularly easy thing to do when single to judge someone else’s relationship from the outside, because we don’t have our own complexity to compare it to.

So it’s very easy to say I can’t believe he or she puts up with that. I can’t believe they’ve put themself in that situation. I can’t believe that they’re okay with that because we have the righteousness of someone who has no complexity in their lives in that sense. It’s far harder to judge somebody else’s relationship and not have compassion when we ourselves have negotiated complexities. When we ourselves have overcome some mess to be where we are right now. When we ourselves have had to invest and figure out a way through. And in some ways, it’s hard to judge other people’s relationships if we just love people or like people. If we happen to like people, then we don’t so quickly write people off all the time because of a way that they’re different from us or because of some trauma or demon that’s coming out right now because we love people.

And we’re able to see behind those things, whether or not that makes them a good choice for us in our life is a different story. But we’re able to have a capacious enough heart for the differences between people. The things that they’ve gone through that have led them to be the way they are today. And also perhaps the acknowledgement that people might be doing their best and probably are doing their best, even if their best isn’t great in this moment. And that people would all change if it were easy to change, if there were a change light switch that they could just flick and be better, they would, but it’s not easy. And of course, the acknowledgement that some people are able to heal. I don’t like the idea that people can change because that seems dangerously close to dating someone in the hope that they’re going to be someone different a year from now.

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