This Independence Day, I'm suggesting a call to arms for everyone suffering needlessly through bad relationships. You're miserable, yet you haven't quite figured out if or when you should walk away. Here are five clues that it might be necessary to claim your independence:
1. When the behavior becomes crazy, needy, or desperate. We all have our crazy "check my phone every 10 seconds" moments, but when worst case scenario thoughts start to dominate your brain space continually and you find yourself unfocused at work, disengaged from friends, or basically not enjoying life, it's time to take a breather. The relationship is causing more stress than benefit.
2. Serial Infidelity. There are certain people who will never be faithful. If time and again you find yourself on the receiving end of a cheater's disrespectful behavior, realize that you are worth more and deserve better treatment.
3. You have feelings for someone else. Juggling more than one relationship, particularly if one is in secret, is exhausting. Not to mention, you are unable to give yourself completely, physically or emotionally, to one person. One person deserves all of you. Make your decision and cut all other ties.
4. You begin to lose your identity. Are you eating in a vegan restaurant but secretly wishing for a steak? Do you ears want to explode yet you insist on attending that country music concert he loves? Compromise and learning to appreciate someone else's lifestyle is healthy, but if you change your behavior and preferences merely to fall in line with your partner's beliefs you aren't being true to your own wants and needs. It's perfectly acceptable to have differing hobbies, taste in television, or music. Don't forget who you are.
5. If the answer to "Does this relationship enhance my life?" is no. Relationships shouldn't be your life, but they shouldn't detract from it either. If, over a period of time, you realize a relationship is not enhancing the way you feel or live then it's not serving the correct purpose.