Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s.  There were many great songs.  One of them was from the English punk rock band the Clash.  The Clash did not have many hits but one of their songs made it big.  Really big.  So big in fact that in 2009 it was ranked 42nd on VH1’s program 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.  “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” was the name of that song.  I can hear the beat and sing the lyrics even now as I write this blog:

Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

For many of you the lyrics and heart of this song is applicable to where you are right now in your relationship.  You have been wrestling with the major choice of deciding to stay or go.  There are really countless reasons why people would be debating this decision.  Because there are so many and because those reasons are so personal I will not even try to list them.  The purpose of this blog is to highlight the emotional process we all go through when we are weighing such heavy decisions such as staying or leaving a relationship.

This indecision’s bugging me (esta indecision me molesta)
If you don’t want me, set me free (si no me quieres, librame)
Exactly whom I’m supposed to be (digame que tengo ser)
Don’t you know which clothes even fit me? (no sabes que ropas me queda)
Come on and let me know (me tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

I know you can’t resist singing along.  It’s catchy.  However, making the choice of staying or going can be difficult.  Sometimes, though, it is a no-brainer.  The person cheated on you, they lied, they’ve been abusive, or maybe you just know the relationship is not right.  There are too many red flags.  For others the decision is agonizing.  It’s like being on an emotional roller coaster.  One minute your up.  The next your down.  Then you are totally upside down!

Like the song says, “The indecision’s bugging me.”  This is true when anyone is contemplating a potential big change.  Emotionally you may feel scared and unsure.  You may filled with guilt or shame.  Anxiety and uncertainty are also common emotions all of us experience when facing staying or leaving a relationship.

Psychologists and counselors have identified several stages of change that all of us go through when we making choices, especially potentially life altering choices.  One of those stages is what is know as the Contemplative Stage.  In the Contemplative Stage we tend to experience a lot of ambivalence.  In the dictionary, ambivalence is described as, “the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.”

Should I stay or should I go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
Should I stay or should I go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
If I go there will be trouble (si me voy va a haber peligro)
And if I stay it will be double (si me quedo sera el doble)
So ya gotta let me know (me tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

“So ya gotta let me know…Should I stay or should I go?”.  This is the question.  In fact, the bigger and more complex the decision we are contemplating equals the more ambivalence we feel.  Navigating decisions like this alone can be overwhelming.  We all need guidance and support.  All of us also have blind spots.  Having a trusted relationship counselor or therapist to get in the roller coaster with you can help you to make a well informed decision.  At Crossroads Counseling we offer “Couples Counseling for One” services for individuals who are at that place of debating should I stay or should I go.

A word of caution:  a good relationship therapist will not tell you what to do or make the decision for you. Instead, they will help you to process through the stages of change and help you to work through your ambivalence.  They will help you see your blind spots and process your emotions, thoughts, needs, and wants.

Making the decision to stay or go is sometimes clear.  It can be clear and easy.  Other times it can be clear, yet still very hard and painful.  And there are other situations where the choice to stay or go is very convoluted.  If you want help processing through the decision reach out to a Crossroads Therapist and ask about our Couples Counseling for One service.  Call us at 623-680-3486.  Our Phoenix and Scottsdale Relationship Centers are conveniently located.

And for your listening pleasure check out the video below of the Clash singing “Should I Stay or Should I go”: