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  • Writer's pictureStacy Taylor, LCSW

The Tipping Point

Sarah has complained about her boyfriend, Mark, for years. She's unhappy that he works so much. She wants more attention, more nights out. Sarah also finds him a bit dull.

And, yet, Mark is loyal and dependable, easy going and calm. So she feels immobilized not knowing whether to stay or split up.

There's a book that talks about this type of stuckness. It's called, "Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay." The book contains numerous stories of people like Sarah, who are ambivalent about staying or leaving.

What will it take for Sarah and others to finally make a decision: for Sarah to either accept Mark the way he is or move on? The concept of the "Tipping Point" is a helpful one.

For Sarah, something may need to happen to help her decide one way or another. If, for instance, she finds provocative texts from another woman that would be enough for her to throw in the towel. If he became abusive or started drinking too much that would be the end.

Tipping points don't just apply to relationships. They could be about anything: jobs or where you live, for instance.

Several people I know became fed-up with the traffic and the crime in this area. But there are so many great features to the Bay Area that they stayed. It took the fires a few years ago for a couple of them to actually pack up and move.

What are you supposed to do until the Tipping Point happens? It might be a matter of patience. You don't want to leave too soon or too late.

Eventually, something may happen to make you decide one way or another. Your great boss may leave, with your new one intolerable.

Or a life crisis, such as a serious illness, could change priorities. For instance, if Sarah's father became very ill or died, suddenly Sarah's priorities may change.

She wouldn't focus on Mark's dullness, but that he was really there for her during a very difficult time. And then maybe, finally, she could make a decision about their relationship.

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