Is It Time to Let Go of a Relationship?


5 Questions to Determine if a Partnership has Passed Its Prime 

Use these tools to figure out if a relationship has run it’s course.

Knowing when to say good bye to any type of a relationship is just as important as knowing if you should say hello – poor judgment in either situation can lead to a lot of wasted years and tears. It’s best to end a troubled relationship before it ends itself, but feelings of attachment and loyalty can cloud judgment and make it hard to tell if letting go is the right thing to do. Use the following 5 questions as analytical aides for maintaining objectivity when determining if a relationship has run its course.

Characteristics of Quality Relationships

All quality relationships have foundational aspects in common. At the very least, they must be quid-pro-quo, and at the best, are enriching. They are in the top 20th percentile for producing quality results when compared to other relationships, produce mostly positive feelings, and are appropriate for where a person is in their life cycle. Understanding the components that make up quality relationships will make it easy to know which ones to keep and which ones to let go.

Is It Time to Let Go?

Doing a writing exercise as a part of any decision process is beneficial because it makes thoughts and feelings concrete. When thoughts float around in our minds with no anchor in reality, they are easily influenced by feelings and can be fickle. For important decisions like determining if it’s time to let go of a relationship, anchoring thoughts on paper males them tangible. Anything that is documented is hard to dismiss.

The following questions are designed to help determine whether a relationship is worth keeping. They provide a process-focused analysis of some of the key factors that define the quality of a relationship. Once the quality is determined, it will be easier to determine if it’s time to let go.

Print out this article and use a pen to answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper, if necessary. Write additional notes about the relationship after each question to clarify thoughts. Once all of the questions have been contemplated and answered, write an analysis based on the information presented in the questions. Be sure to take some time to reflect before writing the relationship analysis.

1. Is the Relationship Quid-pro-quo? Quid-pro-quo is a legal term that describes relationships between equals like friends, acquaintances, colleagues. They characterized by even changes, reciprocity, and the concept of ‘taking turns’ in the sharing of time, resources and energy. Both sides give equally and are satisfied with the even exchange.

2. Is the Relationship Enriching? Enriching relationships can be between any two individuals, and they beyond quid-pro-quo. These relationships provide insight, humor, growth, love, and are the foundations for life-long friendships and partnerships.

3. Does the Relationship Pass the 80/20 rule? The 80/20 rule is an equation used in disciplines across the board which states that 20 percent of something is responsible for 80 percent of it’sresults; there are a vital few and trivial many. When applied to relationships, use this theory to determine which relationships produce the highest quality results. Then determine if the relationship in question falls within the 80/20 margin when compared to others.

4. What Type of Feelings Does the Relationship Evoke? Feelings are powerful tools to consider when determining the continuing viability of a relationship. They act as the body’s natural alarm system and use pleasure or discomfort as signals. If a relationship does not arouse appropriate feelings, take note.

5. Where Does the Relationship Fall in the Life Cycle? Consider the nature of a relationship – was it initiated for a particular reason, season, or for a lifetime? Reason oriented relationships are initiated to meet a specific need like to helping to secure a job. Season-oriented relationships are initiated during a particular period in life, such as college. Lifetime relationships can begin at any point, and endure.

Relationship Analysis

Use this space to write an analysis of the relationship based on responses to the information presented in the questions, and any additional notes.

Repair or Release

Before deciding the fate of the relationship, review the analysis section one last time to make sure that all of the information is correct. When the questions are answered honestly, the answer is clear. If the relationship is worth repairing, take steps to do so by contacting the party and, if appropriate, enlisting the help of a licensed professional to get things back on track. If it is time to let go, release the relationship with honor. Regardless of which method is chosen, ending on a positive note will preserve the good memories and leave space for the possibility of exploration in the future.

Most importantly, have the courage to take action. Think of a relationship like a garden; it requires attention and nurturing, but it also requires observation, maintenance, and pruning. Don’t be afraid to prune relationships. If they are worthwhile, the roots will remain and fresh new growth will spring forth. If not, when they are removed there will be space for new seeds to be planted.

Wishing you the best in Life & Love,





Kongit Farrell, MA


Quid-pro-quo definition:

Pareto’s Principle the 80/20 rule:

Originally Published by Kongit Farrell, MA at Suite101: Is It Time to Let Go of a Relationship?: 5 Questions to Determine if a Partnership has Passed Its Prime |

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About Kongit

Kongit is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (CA – 97773) and her therapeutic approach is eclectic, but firmly rooted in CBT, Narrative and Solution-Focused methodologies. She is an EMDR therapist and is completing advanced course work in Sex Therapy at The Buehler Institute of Orange County. Kongit is the Founder of the Inspired Journey Counseling Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

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