The Document That Will Help You Decide to Stay or Go

Lori Moulton
5 min readOct 16, 2023

You can’t deny what is written on paper.

Woman sitting in front of a laptop, holding a pen in her hand and writing on paper.
Photo courtesy of Canva

There have been so many painful times in your relationship, but then something great happens and you kind of forget about all those difficult times. Then something painful happens again, and you think, “Why am I still putting up with this?”. Your partner recognizes that you’re pulling away a little bit, so then they do something lovely again, like drive out of their way to pick up your favorite dinner dish, or they bring you flowers because the color reminds them of the flowers you had at your wedding, or they hint at how they are planning to take you on vacation to your dream destination. Yet again, you wonder, “Are things that bad?”

The Document That Was an Eye Opener

I can’t remember where I got the idea to do this, but one of my mentors suggested that I begin keeping track of every painful incident. She said to put it in a safe place, and to make sure to put a date for every time. I began writing every incident down, including the ones that were seemingly small but still painful. I kept them in the Evernote app because it felt private and password protected. I had it on my phone, so it was always nearby.

I wrote down incidents like, “He woke me up during the night and argued with me about money. I got really upset and cried. He was able to fall asleep afterward, and I couldn’t go back to sleep the rest of the night.” I also wrote down smaller incidents like, “He said I didn’t tell him that we had a wedding to go to this weekend, but I know I did. We talked about it last Monday, because he wasn’t sure which suit he should wear.” Anything that happened that caused me to pause and felt confusing, I wrote down on the list.

One day, as I was writing the latest incident, I scrolled down to the bottom of my list and looked at the date. I had been writing incidents for over a year! That was a huge eye-opener, because in the past, I had struggled to remember the difficult times. I knew my relationship could be painful, but I questioned myself because there were good times too.

I’ve learned from the book, Attached, by Heller and Levine, that people with an anxious attachment style tend to remember the good times in a relationship better than the…

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Lori Moulton

Certified Transformational Coach, Masters in School Counseling, Teacher, helping others heal from emotionally abusive relationships and build self-love..