We have all been there. The person we love the most is talking about exiting the relationship. And we are not on the same page. The feelings that follow for you are unbearable. You are panicked, terrified, obsessed, and crazed. You are truly in crisis. It is a terrible place to be. Those feelings can lead to a complete melt-down. Some people experience the inability to work, parent, or even function. Some cope better than others but most have difficulty dealing with this life challenge. And one of the ironies of this state of mind is that if there is a possibility that your relationship is salvageable you may be sabotaging this opportunity. And that is the last thing you want to do!
One of the problems that this crisis creates is that for some folks they become very clingy. If you are experiencing this, you may be haunting your partner with long relationship conversations, you may be spying, snooping, texting, and calling continually. You may enlist friends and family to make calls to your partner as well. This is normal behavior because you want reassurance that there is a chance you two will stay together. It is natural to want to seek out information that helps you to feel in control (especially if you suspect or know about infidelity). Sane, high-functioning people can be brought to their knees in this situation.
However this behavior often creates less than desirable results in your partner. I have observed in these situations that the more one partner chases the faster the other distances. So keeping this in mind can assist you in not destroying the last possibility left to work with your partner on your relationship. I have some advice for you if you are in this situation. It may or may not work for you but I have seen it help others in this truly painful situation.
Stop the Snooping. Yes this is hard to do! It may even feel like an addiction as you walk over to the computer or look through drawers and monitor phone bills. But this will create more obsessing for you and push you farther into bad behaviors directed at your partner. It will lead to testing to see if they are lying. It will lead to more sneaky behaviors on your part. Often people get caught doing this and it increases the anger from the partner who wants to go. They will find even more reasons to leave the relationship.
Stop the Constant Relationship Talks. Often a person who wants to leave feels like they have no space in the relationship. They are often shut down and unwilling to talk about staying. Sometimes they are confused and not sure what they want to do and they don’t want to lead their partner on. I have seen spouses leave faster because they were forced to make a decision before they were ready. See if the two of you can schedule relationship talks once a week. This contains the intensity for both of you and allows much needed space for you and them. Let your partner know that you can manage respecting their need for distance.
Pull Back On the Impulse to Overdue the Compliments and Statements About How Much You Love Your Partner. This leads to more smothering. And your partner will smell a rat when suddenly you triple the compliments, gifts, thoughtful texts, and phone calls. So pair this down. You can tell them how much they mean to you, especially if they are asking for this. But if they want space, you overdoing the loving gestures will create more distance in your partner.
Get Support for You. Isolating is a good way to increase obsession and depression in this situation. Talk to loving friends and family. If you find you are unable to function in your normal manner you may want to seek assistance of a licensed therapist. This is a good place to have the help to reel yourself in on some of the behaviors I have written about. Of course if you are suicidal than you need to seek this assistance immediately. Suicidal feelings can lift with the assistance of a professional. These feelings are alerting you to the clear message you need more support than you are currently receiving. Also your self-care and grounded responding is far more attractive to your partner then if you are a bottomless hole begging to be cared for.
I hope that these are helpful suggestions for you if you or someone you love is in this painful situation. Of course every relationship is different and yours may need a different response. But if you found some of these feelings and behaviors familiar as you read them, these tips may help you as well. One thing to remember is that you are not alone. Most of us have been there and understand that pain. I have watched people come out of that darkness with their partner or without. And I have witnessed their grief pass. This situation may lead to more depth in your relationship or growth on your part. But taking an active role to increase your self-care and coping is the most important gift you can give yourself and your partner during this painful crisis. I send you positive thoughts and encourage you to gather the strength to get a hold of yourself and calm down for your sake and for the sake of the possibility of recovering your relationship.