Our personal relationships with other people should be one of the biggest sources of our happiness but sometimes those same relationships can become just the opposite. The problem is sometimes the changes are only temporary; the relationship can be restored. Other times, the only way for you to regain your happiness is to move on. But how do you know when to hang on and fight and when to let go and flee?

First, you’ve got to think about when the relationship starting interfering with instead of adding to your happiness. If you’ve been unhappy more than you’ve been happy, the relationship may not have been a positive one for you even early on. If the opposite is true, you might have a case where you don’t want to give up prematurely.

Keep in mind that our present biases our past. Our memories are not static images or scenes recorded in our minds. We see the past differently in hindsight. For example, a person’s annoying habit during the relationship may be viewed as an adorable quirk when the relationship is over and missed. If you are currently angry or upset with the other person, your perception of the memories you shared will tend to be negative.

Second, you need to consider the other person. Sure, you can decide to work on the relationship but relationships take two people to build and to fix. If the other person doesn’t see a problem or is already looking at alternative ways to solve the situation without you, then those are signs you need to move on. In other cases, the person may not realize you have been unhappy and simply talking to them might help move things in a positive direction. That’s why you don’t make the decision to move on without careful consideration and some discussion.

Finally, you’ve got to consider whether your love AND like the other person. These are two separate emotions that sometimes – but not always – go hand-in-hand. For example, you may have people in your life that you like who you enjoy spending time with who add to your happiness but who you don’t love. On the other, you may always care about and want good things for your sibling or child but that doesn’t mean you like them as a person or that they are a good influence on your life.

If you don’t love and like them, then your relationship with them may not be one that contributes to your happiness or to theirs.

Remember that sometimes it’s better for everyone involved to move on then to continue a relationship that isn’t healthy for anyone.

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