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  • The decision whether one should stay or leave is one of the most consequential and painful any of us ever has to make.


  • On any given day, many millions of people worldwide will be secretly turning the issue over in their minds as they go about their daily lives.


  • Their partners beside them, possibly having little clue as to the momentous decision weighing upon them.


  • The choice is perhaps more common now than it ever was.


  • We expect to be deeply happy in love, and, therefore, spend a good deal of time wondering whether our relationships are essentially normal in their sexual and psychological frustrations,


  • or are beset by unusually pathological patterns which will impel us to get out as soon as we can.


  • What films or novels we've been exposed to, the state of our friends' relationships, the degree of noise surrounding new sexually-driven dating apps,


  • not to mention how much sleep we've had can all play humblingly large roles in influencing us one way or another.


  • Awkwardly, it seems that no one else actually really minds what we end up doing, which gives the decision a degree of existential loneliness it might not always have possessed.


  • Historically, the choice was, in a sense, a good deal easier because there were simply so many stern external sanctions around not leaving:


  • religions would insist that God blessed unions and would be furious that they're being torn asunder,


  • society strongly disapproved of breakups and cast separating parties into decades of ignominy and shame.


  • And psychologists would explain that children would be deeply and permanently scarred by any termination in their parents' relationship.


  • But, one by one, these objections to quitting have fallen away;


  • religions no longer terrify us into staying, society doesn't care, and psychologists now routinely tell us that children would prefer a broken family to an unhappy one.


  • The burden of choice therefore falls squarely on us.


  • The only thing determining whether to stay or leave is how we feel, which can be a pretty hard matter indeed to work out for ourselves,


  • Our feelings having a dispirited habit of shifting and evading any efforts of rational qualification.


  • In the circumstances, it might help to have a set of questions, devil's advocate in nature, to fall back upon


  • a kind of checklist to dialogue within one's mind, in the silent hours of the morning, from the chill vantage point of the spare room couch.


  • How much of our unhappiness can be tightly attributed to this particular partner.


  • And how much might it, as we would risk discovering five years and multiple upheavals later,


  • turn out to be simply an inherent feature of any attempt to live in close proximity to another human.


  • Though it is, of course, always essentially their fault, what tiny proportion of the difficulties might we, nevertheless, be contributing to the discord?


  • In what modest way might we be a little hard to be around?


  • Consider the annoying traits in all previous partners we've had and people we've known that our current partners happen not to have,


  • what do we manage not to fight about?


  • Start to probe at any new infatuations or crushes, largely by getting to know them better.


  • Observe closely how many sexually available and intelligent people the single types around us, especially those hooked up to those new dating apps, actually manage to encounter day-to-day.


  • Try to have another conversation with your partner in which you don't accuse them of mendacity,


  • and instead simply explain, quite calmly, how you actually feel and how sad you are about quite a few things.


  • Reflect on how you'd really feel as a child, if henceforth, you were to have two tiny bedrooms, two new step-parents, and possibly a few more new half-siblings,


  • compare with the scratchy reality of the current setup.


  • Question how normal it is for any couple to have great sex after twenty-two months.

    對於一對情侶在交往 22 個月之後還能擁有很棒的性生活是否正常提出疑問。

  • Ask yourself if you're ready to face the risk of perhaps achieving no more than exchanging a familiar kind of unhappiness for a new and more complex variety of unhappiness.


  • Wonder whether you really want to choose hope over experience.


  • Then, if you still have the impulse to leave, with chances of subsequent regret lessened to at least a touch, with a heavy heart, and a cautious mind, leave.


The decision whether one should stay or leave is one of the most consequential and painful any of us ever has to make.


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