Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum

This is a best selling relationship manual for those who just can’t figure out whether their relationship is worth staying in or not. It’s the book you reach for after all else has failed.

Personally, I love it. It’s very clear with respect to telling you what has a chance at working and what (in all likelihood) does not. It discusses topics such as how to recognize when someone is playing  a game and what you need to do, as the responsible person that you are, before you call it quits. Or stay, the decision is always left up to you.

Based on the premise that 1/5 Americans are stuck in relationship ambivalence, the book goes through diagnostic steps (from the most obvious ones to the trickier ones), discusses specific cases as examples, provides guidelines (i.e. conclusions based on how you answered each diagnostic step) and provides answers to questions that the reader is bound to have, such as: “how can you tell me to leave”? or “what if I still love him?”

Example:

Diagnostic question #1: Think about that time when things between you and your partner were at their best. Looking back, would you now say that things were really very good between you then?………

Guideline #1: If, when your relationship was at its “best”, things between you didn’t feel right or work well, the prognosis is poor. I feel comfortable saying that you’ll feel you’ve discovered what’s right for you if you choose to leave. Quick take: If it never was very good, it’ll never be very good.

It also discusses games that we play with ourselves:

The Waiting Trap: ….say you’re waiting for a bus. If you wait for 10 minutes, you immediately convert that waiting time into a kind of investment. Because you’ve invested 10 minutes in waiting for the bus, it feels stupid not to invest another 10 minutes. Before you know it, you’ve invested 20 minutes, and with an investment like that, how could you not keep waiting more and more. This is how you end up waiting 45 minutes for a bus to take you somewhere you could walk to in 15 minutes….[Sally] was married to her alcoholic husband for 32 years, because she was a victim of the waiting trap….

And, then, the author gives you concrete advice regarding how NOT to become a victim of the waiting trap.

In a nutshell: the books looks at deciding whether to stay or go with sensitivity, but also logic, based on experience and data gathered from other couples and their results. It looks at of the all angles, all of the tough issues without allowing you to get mired in a fearful, emotional bog. And if you are in one, it will help you get out…one way or the other.

Photo credit: from author’s site and Pinterest

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