It happens more often than not that eventually, the road traveled in relationships makes a stop in an unwanted destination. It is not a place anyone really intend to visit, much less actually stay. Yet so often it is exactly where we end up. It is neither heaven nor hell, good nor bad. In fact, it is something close to being somewhere and nowhere at the same time; I am talking about Limboland.
That place of undecidedness, of ambiguity where your relationship is neither joyful or miserable; it is unremarkable and even difficult to describe because there is nothing of real significance in it. It is where we end up when we find that we are both traveling, but not together. It is a place that is noted by the emotional distance between two people who are living within inches of each other.
Occasional visits to Limboland are actually quite normal in relationships that have stood the test of time. But beware. Limboland is a dangerous mine field and has claimed the happiness and stability of many relationships. It is not to be taken lightly or ignored when you suspect you may have landed there.
Ask Yourself These Questions
How do you know if you’ve landed in relationship limbo? The fastest way to determine this is by asking yourself (and being brutally honest in the answer) these few questions:
1) Do I miss my partner when he/she is away? (this can also be asked as “do I look forward to seeing my partner when we are apart?”)
2) Do we still have fun together? (I mean the kind of fun where you think back on it and it still makes you smile).
3) Do you both love and still like each other? (you want both to be yes)
4) Are there significantly more good times than bad times together?
5) Are either of us thinking about leaving the relationship?
If your answers are yes, yes, yes, yes, no. Then you are NOT in Limboland (and you likely already knew that). Go hug each other, make some meaningful eye contact and revel in the connection you have.
If your answers had no in the first four questions, you may be heading to, or have just visited Limboland. Raise your awareness of the value of each other and what makes your relationship special. Take some time to notice what is good about each other and have a go at verbalizing this to each other. Some extra effort to show each other some extra love and care is in order. Don’t delay. You want to make sure to close the gap between you as quickly as you can.
If your answer to question 5 is “yes”. You and/or your partner have arrived at Limboland, but the train may still be at the station. There is no time to waste. It is time to take some very serious and targeted action to determine which direction you are going to go.
Love Limbo is an incredibly uncomfortable and confusing place to be. Being in a state of limbo (ambiguity, undecidedness, questioning) is fraught with emotional confusion. Determining what is best for you and figuring out whether or not your best move is to stay or is to go is gut wrenching at the least. People don’t commit to relationships with the idea of ending up not knowing if this is where they really want to be or not. If one of you is thinking about leaving but having trouble knowing if that is the “best” thing to do or not, here are three more questions to consider:
1) Are you both motivated and willing to make changes that your partner might need in order to fix what isn’t working?
2) Are the problems that are driving you to indecision too serious to be fixed? (for example, is one partner having an affair, or is there an active addiction going on, is there domestic violence or other abuse happening?)
3) Are you sure you are seeing your situation clearly?
Now is the time to get some clarity. Living in Relationship Limbo is an empty, unfulfilling way to live and all of our time here is limited. Limbo is not something that usually rectifies itself (it doesn’t get better until you figure it out and do something about it). There are few situations that I find more heartbreaking than couples who live for years in limbo, neither happy or miserable enough to go. Their lives pass them by and the years roll on without either of them experiencing the joy and connection and love that they really had been looking for when they “committed”. Relationships are meant to add joy, warmth, happiness, security and love to our lives. They are meant to be something that helps us grow and learn and expand into our greatness. They are not meant to be a trap, a burden, or a life sentence to mediocrity.
Decisions in limbo are not easy to make. Once you have clarity, the limbo is over. Life changing decisions are best made with clarity, not confusion.
Not clear? Now is the time for action. Time to get some help from a relationship trusted advisor who can help you clear the fog and get out of limbo before you either make a poor decision, or lose too much of your life to living in the numb.