Loving Someone Else but not Being Able to Leave your Partner

· June 15, 2018

The thought of leaving your partner can occasionally turn into a dilemma that you can’t find an answer to. You might be aware that the love between you is gone, but there could still be a lot of other factors that stop you from making a firm decision to end the relationship.

There’s nothing positive about this situation. If you don’t realize it in time and take the right steps, it might just lead to huge confusion that affects everyone involved. It will also stop you from dealing with things in a healthy way.

“You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.”

-Nina Simone-

Things that stop you from leaving your partner

Guilt is the main thing that makes it hard for people to leave their partner, even when they’re in love with someone else. That feeling of guilt comes from the fact that they don’t want to hurt this person who’s brought so much to their life. They know that a breakup will be painful for the other person, and they don’t want to carry that burden.


girl who loves someone else but isn't able to leave her partner

Another common thing is doubt, which stops any decision in its tracks. What happens here is that you’re afraid of what might happen in the future. Even though you’re not in love with them anymore, you’re not sure whether it’s better to stick with something familiar or go for something new. Insecurity plays a huge role in this: “what if everything goes wrong and I want to go back to them, but I can’t?”

There are even times when you might want the new person to solve the problem. You hope that this other person that you already have a romantic relationship with (formal or not) will start to pressure you, insist, or “do something” to get you to leave you partner. Basically what you want is to avoid the responsibility that comes with the decision.

Waiting too long to leave your partner…

The truly problematic thing about not making the decision to leave your partner is that it leads to very unclear, unbeneficial situations. What happens a lot of the time is that it sets off a small chain reaction of unconscious actions that end up hurting people a lot more than simply telling the truth early on.

The main ways this put-off decision manifests itself are:

  • Psychological violence. Without realizing it, you might blame your current partner for existing and not letting you be with the other person you’re interested in. What this does is make you see everything they do or say as a problem. You’ll start to criticize their behavior more and treat them like they’re a nuisance.
  • Lies and deceit. Guilt, indecisiveness, and fear can also lead you into a confusing mess of lies. You lie to your partner and to your new romantic interest. You do it so you don’t have to leave your partner all of a sudden, and so you don’t lose the other person either. It’s a very immature way of putting off the inevitable.
  • Passive-aggressive strategies. These involve unclear attitudes like being emotionally distant or throwing out indirect accusations at your current partner. You act annoyed, but won’t express it outright, because you’re hiding the real conflict.
  • Leaving clues. This means letting them catch on to you. You leave some signs that the other person exists and that you’re interested in them, so that your partner will find them. That way they’ll be the one to break it off.

The effects of not acting maturely

When you wait too long to leave your partner, it usually ends up being painful for everyone. Your current partner will definitely have a feeling about the breakup that’s soon to come. They’ll try to understand what’s wrong, but if you don’t put your cards on the table it’ll just fill them with anxiety, doubt, and discomfort.

These are situations where your partner won’t know what they’re dealing with and won’t have enough information to make decisions. That leads to a kind of muffled suffering, along with baseless hopes and pointless expectations. You do a lot more damage with these kinds of psychological games than you would if you were honest.

The new romantic interest won’t come out unscathed either. They won’t know if they should wait for you to solve things, or just not stick around. They might also feel insecure and mistrustful, which isn’t exactly a good way to start off a relationship.

boy sitting in hallway with flowers symbolizing wanting to leave your partner but not being able to

Becuase of all this, waiting too long to leave your partner is basically just a sign of selfishness and laziness. You want to avoid your own discomfort, but it comes at the cost of everyone else having to suffer. At the end of the day, situations like that will probably leave their mark on you too. Fear, indecisiveness, and lack of self-commitment always take a big toll.