Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double

The Clash


Marriage. Humphhh.

Are you feeling broken hearted in your marriage? Have you been asking yourself this question, should I stay or should I go, recently? Or, maybe for quite awhile now? 

What I actually appreciate about this question or questions like this is that marriage and staying in a marriage or leaving a marriage is a choice and when it is a conscious choice, a choice made with awareness, it can be an empowered, clear choice. 

I recently had a new client reach out to me, expressing his interest in working with me but concerned there may be a conflict. He summized that I may hold a belief that a marriage is something to work on and work out and stay in.  After years of contemplation he was ready to leave, this he knew, but not sure how. 

Here is what I do hold around marriage and any other aspect of life. I am not attached to people choosing to stay in their marriage. In fact, I am not attached to any choices people make around any aspect of their life and I don’t hold any opinions on what people should do. I support people to find the clarity (if they don’t already have it) to be in conscious choice and to do the difficult work they are ready to do to make the courageous choices that are truly truthful to them at this point in their life. I act as a strong partner to help people surface the clarity and the strength they have within, to take action they know they need to take. This action may involve having a courageous conversation with their spouse, asking for what they need, setting clear boundaries, taking long overdue time for themselves or millions of other options including leaving the marriage.

Decisions like these are not easy and of course, not to be taken lightly. What I mean by the common phrase, not to be taken lightly, is that the reasons that have you question whether to stay or leave, the broken-heart that you may feel, the frustration, sadness, anger and all of the other emotions that occur on this precipice deserve a depth of exploration and awareness so that you can powerfully and resourcefully find out what is really going on for you and in your marriage.

If you find yourself asking this question, and if you feel you have been here for a long time, not taking action, stuck and yet frustrated and exhausted with your stuckness you may be caught unconsciously in the last 2 lines of the lyrics above, if I go there will be trouble, if I stay there will be double – between a rock and a hard place. In any aspect of life, marriage included, we (humans) often don’t take action when the reason (why) not to take action is unconsciously stronger than the reason (why) to take action. Who would want to take action when you feel damned if you do and damned if you don’t? When you start to explore with questions, that you have not yet been asking yourself, when you are able to get clear on what values are not being honoured in your current situation and what values are now important to you, you move out of that stuck place and start to connect to the why behind new action. When the why behind the new action becomes stronger and clearer, action emerges in a new way from there. This is where and how further clarity supports people on this precipice. It may not be around what to do (stay or leave the marriage) but why, which then gives the what to do more energy and fuel. 

I may, in this description, make it sound easy and it is not and it is and it is not and it is. Marriage is one of the biggest, most sacred commitments that 2 people invest in. In the beginning, the dream is dreamy, fairy-tale like. At this point of love and commitment, I believe most couples do not imagine themselves getting to a place of heart break, feeling lonely within the marriage, feeling intensely challenged, facing these questions. So, when you find yourself here, you are often also disillusioned, confused and feeling like you failed in some way but the reality is….most couples get here at some point throughout their marriage. For some, this is an opportunity for each individual to grow and for the relationship to grow, together, for the couple to choose to stay in the marriage for now. For others, the opportunity to grow individually may actually involve choosing to leave the marriage they once committed to.

Only you will know what is right for you.

Only you get to consciously choose.


Kristen Bentley