Too good to leave, too bad to stay

Excerpts from “Too Good to leave, Too Bad to stay” by Mira Kirshenbaum

1. Thinking about that time when things between you and your partner were at their best. Looking back, would you now say that things were really very good between you then?

2. Has there been more that one incident of physical violence in your relationship?

3. Have you already made a concrete commitment to pursue a course of action or lifestyle that definitely excludes your partner?

4. If  God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would you feel tremendously relieved and have a strong sense that finally you could end your relationship?

5. In spite of your problems, do you and your partner have even one positively pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) that you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, something you do together that you both like and that gives both of you a feeling of closeness for awhile?

6. Would you say that to you, your partner is basically nice, reasonable intelligent, not too neurotic, okay to look at, and most of the time smells alright?

7. Does you partner bombard you with difficulties when you try to get even the littlest thing you want; and is it your experience that almost any need you have gets obliterated; and if you ever do get what you want, is getting it such and ordeal that you don’t feel it was worth the effort?

8. Does it seem to you that your partner generally and consistently blocks your attempts to bring up topics or raise questions, particularly about things you care about?

9. Have you got to the point, when your partner says something, that you usually feel it’s more likely that he’s lying than that he’s telling the truth?

10. In spite of admirable qualities, and stepping back from any temporary anger or disappointment, do you genuinely like your partner, and does your partner seem to like you?

11. Do you feel willing to give your partner more than you’re giving already, and are you willing to do this the way things are between you now, without any expectation of being paid back?

12. Do both you and your partner want to touch each other and look forward to touching each other and make efforts to touch each other?

13. Do you feel a unique sexual attraction to your partner?

14. Does your partner neither see nor admit things you’ve tried to tell him/her to acknowledge that make your relationship too bad to stay in?

15. Is there something your partner does that makes your relationship too bad to stay in and that s/he acknowledges but that, for all intents and purposes, s/he’s unwilling to do anything about?

16. This problem your partner has that makes you want to leave; have you tried to let it go, ignore it, stop letting it bother you? And were you successful?

17. As you think about your partner’s problem that makes your relationship too bad to stay in, does s/he acknowledge it and is s/he willing to do something about it and is s/he able to change ?

18. Has your partner violated what for you is a bottom line?

            * If my partner did……………………………………………………………………………..

            …then I’d feel I’d have to leave the relationship

            * If my partner didn’t do……………………………………………………………………

            …then I’d feel I’d have to leave the relationship

            * If these things were true about my partner…………………………………

            …then I’d feel I’d have to leave the relationship

20. Is there a clearly formulated, passionately held difference between you that has to do with the shape and texture and quality of your life as you actually experience it?

21. In spite of all the ways you’re different, would you say that deep down or in some respect that’s important to you, your partner is someone just like you in a way you feel good about?


* Things I look forward to in my new life when I think about leaving

* Things I’m afraid of in my new life that make me think about staying.

For each item on the list ask:

* Is this true?

* Is this likely?


* What else is possible?

* What’s most likely?

22. With your new, more complete, more realistic set of information about what it would be like for you if you left, have you discovered new, more probable realities that now make leaving seem impossible, difficult or unpleasant?

23. With your new, more complete, more realistic set of information about what it would be like for you if you left, have you discovered new, more probable realities that now make leaving seem easier, more attractive and make staying no longer desirable?

24. Does your partner do such a good job of conveying the idea that you’re a nut or a jerk or a loser or an idiot about parts of yourself that are important to you that you’ve started to really become demonstrably convinced of it yourself?

25. As you think about your partner’s disrespect, is it clear to you that you do everything possible to limit your contact with your partner, except for times where you absolutely must interact?

26. Do you feel that your partner, overall and more often than not, shows concrete support for and genuine interest in the things you’re trying to do that are important to you?

27. Whatever was done that caused hurt and betrayal, do you have a sense that the pain and damage has lessened with time?

28. Is there a demonstrated capacity and mechanism for genuine forgiveness in your relationship?

29. Is it likely that, if you have a reasonable need, you and your partner will be able to work out a way for you to get it met without too painful a struggle?

30. Is there some particular need that’s so important to you that if you don’t get it met, looking back you’ll say your life wasn’t satisfying, and are you starting to get discouraged about ever having it met?

31. Given the way your partner acts, does it feel as though in getting close to you what he’s most interested in is subjecting you to his anger and criticism?

32. When the subject of intimacy comes up between you and your partner, is there generally a battle over what intimacy is and how to get it?

33. Does your relationship support your having fun together?

34. Do you currently share goals and dreams for your life together?

35. If all the problems in your relationship were magically solved today, would you still feel ambivalent about whether to stay or leave?




  1. Posted February 2, 2008 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    heavy stuff as the Valentines season rolls round

  2. Posted May 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting that! I was looking for those. Glad I left my last relationship and so fortunate to have my current one!

  3. me_voy
    Posted September 23, 2009 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Have been struggling for a longtime on whether or not to leave my marriage. It has snowballed from bad to worse in the past 8 months.
    I felt sad and yet enlightened reading those things because my answers to them proved taht I have been unhappy for a long time and there is blatant disrespect going on from him toward me. There is no reaching the middle at all. He won’t budge.
    I am definitely leaving this marriage as it’s defective & this man won’t give me an inch of room to feel like there is any improvement that can be made.
    It’s all horribly depressing yet I now know it’s time to move on so that can finally feel happiness and feel I can be myself.

    • Victoria Mitchell
      Posted November 16, 2011 at 4:00 am | Permalink

      Did you leave? What’s happened since?

      • mango
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Permalink


        It si a very hard decision. Does your partner know how you are feeling- do you think any of your problems can be solved.

        I had a strange experience. I came across a letter (wasnt snooping it was with a mixed pile of letters of mine and partners) that his previous partner had wrutten to him over 15 years ago when she left him. I could have written the letter, in fact some of the sentences were things I have written in my journal.

        Strange that a another woman after living with my partner had come to the same conclusion I had and the fact he hadnt changed in 15 years. The previous woman like me wasnt angry or vengeful but knew for her emotional, physical and financial health she needed to move on.

        Meanwhile I have decided it is over but partner wont move out of my place. I remain strong and dignified

        Take care Victoria and all others reading this and hope things work out.

  4. April
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    I just started reading this book. A friend gave it to me, because she knows that I am struggling to decide whether to stay or leave my marriage. I’m only about half-way through, but I already have the answers that I need. CLARITY IS SO SWEET!

    One thing, with #2 (physical violence) listed above – thankfully, it doesn’t apply to me – but what about emotional and psychological abuse? I realize that those types of abuse would fall under the whole “Power” issue. However it’s abuse and leaves psychological scars in the same way that physical abuse leaves bruises. So technically, my answer to #2 is “NO” but I answered “YES” to it because I’m in an abusive/controlling relationship.

  5. Christina
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Due to my communication issues, throughout the last few years, I have told my husband the things that bother me in a very polite non-aggressive way, as I don’t like confrontation, verbal abuse, or violence. He pushed the problems aside and it made me bitter towards him for not changing, nor making an effort to change for any long period of time (temper, doing the dishes, etc.) He always has made time for “us” though (planning date nights, going out with friends, shopping together, taking me out for my birthday) But now, it’s gotten to the point with me that I am now completely unattracted to him and the thought of sleeping with him completely disgusts me. I ended up sleeping with someone else (which I unfortunately regret in some ways, but not others) Now I have this terrible feeling inside that I am absolutely horrible for not addressing these issues in a more assertive way originally and I have ruined the only good thing that will ever come into my life. Now that I have told him I’m completely unhappy he wants to change, be motivated, involved in my life more, take massage classes, would never be verbally abusive again, etc….However, these things do not make me more attracted to him and I don’t think I ever will be. I am scared to leave for fear of not finding someone again who will care about me the way he does and go through terrible relationships again and again like I had in the past. Anyone ever had this happen to them? I feel so alone and confused. Should sex be that important in life? I am a very sexual person so it is very important to me, but that makes me feel dirty and like a self-centered jerk.

    • Joseph
      Posted November 16, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      You’ve a lot of interconnected though independently complex issues that you need to parse in order to deal with effectively.

      I have no immediate advice for you.

    • Louise
      Posted February 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      I am so with you… you just told my story verbatem…. where are you now in this??? I feel so stuck and all to my own doing…. I want out but feel like I must stay and try now because of what I have done… good luck to you…

      • Tracey
        Posted January 22, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        You are in a verbally, mentally abusive relationship, I have been in 1 for a very long time, the best thing that you can do is find a domestic violence counselor, they will help you deal with the mental abuse, there are also many articles which you can read on the subject which helps you understand the cycle. It is a definite cycle that over time erodes your self respect, self esteem, self worth the counselor will not tell you if you should end or save your marriage they will help you to recognize the cycle and become strong again. Trust me it helps. I have been in counselling for 6 months and plan on leaving, once the love is gone it’s gone don’t try and fool yourself into believing you can get it back. A healthy relationship should meet the needs of both partners not just the needs of 1. I am a victim but working very hard to become a SURVIVOR and you can too!

  6. John
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    I have not read the book, but reading the questions there is way too little taking the responsibility for your own behavior in it. A lot of the questions go into the direction of how do I feel about my partner when you are obviously already thinking about leaving. I do not think that is fair to yourself or your partner. With the exception of question #2 (and, of course, significant emotional abuse – even though that could be repaired if you read Stosny’s Love without Hurt), these are not questions that lead you to the right answer. Love is decision, it is something you decide to do, it is an act, not a feeling. And you have to ask yourself whether you do love your partner (do you actually do something that shows her/him that you love her/him). If you do everything you can and work on your marriage and you still do not see a reaction in the right direction on your partner’s side, i.e. he does not love (perform loving acts to) you back, then you may decide it is time to go.

    Take question #14 for example: Does your partner neither see nor admit things you’ve tried to tell him/her to acknowledge that make your relationship too bad to stay in? When you are thinking about leaving and possibly even have someone else you feel attracted to, you are infatuated and cannot answer these questions honestly. So be careful making your decisions based on these questions. Ask yourself: do you love (perform loving acts) your partner the same way you think you deserve to be loved?

    • Maxine
      Posted February 6, 2010 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      John, please read the book. To just read the questions takes them right out of context. The book needs to be ‘worked through’.
      I came across the book at a garage sale, and a friend insisted I take it. It makes a lot of things so much clearer.
      If I can find a way to do it, I would like my hubby to read it, too.
      The examples, real stories about real people, make it clear what the question is really about. And, it does make one take stock of ones own part in the issues.
      For me, it has been a bit of a shock to find that my ‘bottom line’ was crossed about 2 days after the wedding, and another on return from the honeymoon, another when the kids were toddlers….
      Why am I still here? (20 odd years later) I don’t know. But, this book is helping me to understand so much.
      I would recommend it to anyone who is feeling confused about how they feel in their relationship.

      • John
        Posted February 24, 2010 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        Maxine, I do not want to argue about a book I do not know. But I do argue the point that you would be able to answer these questions objectively (even after reading the book).

        How was your bottom line crossed 2 days into your marriage without you noticing? Maybe, because your bottom line has changed after 20 years of inflicting pain on each other?

        Let’s face it: In almost all marriages, once the infatuation of falling in love has faded away, the power struggles begin. All of a sudden, your partner does meet your expections and needs. I always wonder how you can blame your partner for not giving you something you do not have either.

        The reality is you project your own shortcomings, your own inadequacy, your own weakness, your inability to love yourself on the easiest target available, your partner, to boost your own ego. And since your partner fights back or simply retreats, he must be the wrong partner.

        Maybe I am old-fashionend, but I think the answers to these questions may help you justify your decision to end your relationship, but make no mistake, you will take all your problems right into your next relationship. The key to transforming your relationships and achieving true happiness lies within yourself, not your partner.

      • mango
        Posted February 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        would you say that in a relationship where a partner is physiclaly or emotionally abusing other partner, or where the partner is cheating, gambling, lying, an alcholic or a drug addict , that it is still up to the other partner to change themselve and thet should just lie back and put up with abuse or someone gambling or their money?

        I think some of what you say makes sense but you cant make generalisations beacuse every relatiionship is different

      • John
        Posted March 10, 2010 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        I mentioned in my initial post that physical (and to an extent emotional) abuse is a valid reason to end a relationship or demand fundamental change from your partner. The same goes for addictions as you mentioned them. But the interesting part is that most people who finally got out of an abusive relationship stumble right into the next abusive relationship. It almost looks like they are attracted by abusiveness. So I believe, yes, you should take a serious look at yourself when your partner is or becomes abusive or addicted.

        As for the cheaters, it depends on whether this falls into the addiction category (serial cheaters) or if it is just a blatant sign of trouble with your partner. I would even go so far and say that in a lot of cases the left-behind spouse, the partner who was cheated was the one who left first.

        So the short answer is: no, you do not have to put up with everything your partner puts you through, but I would suggest you always take a very close look at yourself and identify your role in the drama.

    • Tracey
      Posted January 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Sorry but I don’t believe love is a choice, it is a feeling that comes from you heart, the head and heart battle sometimes because the head controls choices and the heart controls feelings. Mental abuse is classified as domestic violence and is just as bad if not worse than physical abuse, bruises heal but the mind NEVER forgets. I have been seeing a counselor who specializes in domestic violence and unless you have lived it you will NEVER understand it, I have lived it for years there were many warning signs which I didn’t see because I loved him, but the never ending criticism, humiliation, walking on eggshells because answering a question in the wrong tone of voice could set him off, even if it was just a normal tone of voice, having my phone calls monitored, having cameras installed on the house to see when I came and went on my days off or to see who came to the house were a result of HIS insecurities not mine. I have spent a long time in denial that it is in fact OVER, I asked him to leave a year ago and we are still living in the same house, I will be leaving. In that year he has boasted how he has changed and he has not he still is trying to work the cycle. Google search Domestic violence there is a good article is the website read it. I didn’t choose to stop loving him he made it impossible to love him, I have tried to fix it over and over and that’s not how a healthy relationship works none of my needs were ever met in my relationship it was a 1 way street not a partnership. I will not be a victim forever I will be a survivor and no man will ever treat me the way he has…NO WAY NO HOW!!!!

  7. Sally Browne
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I think the questions are very interesting- I havent read the book but have read other articles about this topic.
    My first marriage lasted 20 years and I have been with present partner for nearly ten years- we have no children from this relationship.

    I think you can read a thousand books, listen to many friends, make dozens of lists but in the end one must make the decision. I am not good at making decisions and so by not making a decision , I have made a decision and I stay. I know I have many faults – I take full responsibility and wonder sometimes whether 2 people can bring out the worst and best in each other.
    I am not scared of being alone- I am worried if I leave I will feel worse than I do now and the emotional upheaval may effect my mental health.

    We do have a strong physical relationship but I wonder is this enough. I cry a lot but this could be my time of life- and maybe I am not thinking straight.

    Can anyone relate to any of my situation.

    • Tracey
      Posted January 22, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      The fact that you are crying alot should be a sign that you should think about your relationship and the possibility that it might be over. There are more needs to be met in a relationship than just sexual needs. Emotional needs are important as well. See a counselor and look at your relationship with open eyes. The decision to end a relationship is not easy for anyone because we were raised to believe in til Death do us part…the reality of this statement is that it was written in a time when people only live to be 40 or 50 years old and is an unrealistic expectation. Remember that friends can have biased opinions…if you break up it puts stress on their life so many times they hope you will fix it. Take as much time as you need to make whatever decision you need to but make a choice to stay or to go evryone is entitled to be happy do what is gonna make your heart smile!

  8. Maxine
    Posted March 4, 2010 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I have just re-read all the posts. I also read the questions again, and still say the book needs to be read to understand them.
    John – I didn’t know ‘bottom lines’ had a name. Pre wedding everything was “we”, after wedding “I”. Pre wedding “How about we do this?” followed by a chat & decision. After wedding, no chat, just “I’m doing this”.
    I figured I’d done something wrong, so tried to fix it. Subsequently, I have tried to ‘fix it’ ever since. I’ve been the one staying. I’ve had counselors tell me to leave, but I never have, saying “It’s me that’s the problem, not him”.
    It also seems you take it that those writing here don’t admit fault, and are the cause of the issues. It takes two to tango, and it has taken me years to see what outsiders see clearly. A counselor put it this way. I am a peace-keeper, not a peace-maker. I take all the troubles as my fault and ‘keep’ them.
    So I have tried for 20 odd years to be there for my hubby, support him in his work and help him achieve his dreams. But it is all one way.
    I know I have short comings, we all do, but it is not right for a person to aggressively rip into their partner verbally, in front of children & employees, over anything.
    You are either one of the fortunates to have a very balanced relationship, or no relationship, or you can’t see your own faults.
    You comment about “I always wonder how you can blame your partner…..” Ever thought the writers here may be the partner copping the blame?

    • Mark
      Posted May 10, 2011 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      When you read the questions I would advise you to imagine how your partner would answer them, you are as responsible for failings in an equal share!If you take the ethos that answering negatively to any of the questions (having also read the ‘filters’) means you should leave, then I would suggest you would never be in a relationship for more than 6 months in future! this is a book designed to tell the self centered selfish people of the world that its okay to live with a mantra of me,me,me!

  9. Maxine
    Posted March 4, 2010 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Sally. I found this book to be so simply written, it is clear and easy to read. The examples are what makes the difference. I found I’d read a question and think yes or no, and after the examples I was re-thinking.
    You cry a lot. So. Think about this. Are you happy? Can you think about that and have a smile come to your face? If not, then your crying might be a symptom of a troubled relationship.
    I don’t know. If I did, I wouldn’t even be reading and writing here, would I?
    I’ve read so many books over the years, and this is the first one that simply states facts. It doesn’t get in to analysing, just, here is the question, an explanation of what the question means and what others (real people) in that situation (real situations) found if they chose stay or leave (the real results).

  10. Bren
    Posted March 8, 2010 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Sally: I can totally undertstand your situation, your self doubt, your fragile emotional makeup. It is probably the very reason you read so many books, ask friends for their opinions, etc. All of it probably makes you more confused. I share your dilemma.

    In the end, I do think John has made some very good points. I can see that it does boil down to dealing with your own feelings of inadequacy, weakness, emptiness. Because the bottom line is, love is a choice – whether the relationship/partner is worth it or not is a personal choice….only you can make that choice. A book cannot make it for you. It is just a tool, a perspective.

    If you are not in a position of having confidence in yourself, then you will doubt any choice you make, and worry that you will be able to endure either scenario – staying or leaving. So I can see where focusing on oneself is the best place to start. You are the only person that you can control. But building up self esteem and inner strength – that is the real battle.

    • mango
      Posted March 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comments.
      I think it is hard to know someone from one post so I will let you know I have self confidence and my self esteem is fine.
      Do people who go to councellors lack self esteem or confidnece- i think people who seek help from others are the strong confident ones because they know no man is an island(Thank you donne)

      Is it inadequate to admit one is having problems in one relationship?

      Maxine thanks for your thoughts- and I do smile as well- hormones can affect moodswings!!

      BTW Bren and John I am wondering why 2 such together and confident people read blogs about whether to stay or leave-

      Keep up the healthy dialogue!! I like reading replies especially ones that dont have a different point of view.

      Is it inadequate to read widely and ask others for advice?

      • Bren
        Posted March 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Mango – I’m sorry – I think you misunderstood me completely! My comments were directed to the post by Sally Browne (perhaps Sally/Mango are the same person?) who said she was not good at making decisions…and you’ll notice I said I “shared her dilemma”: That is to say I LACK CONFIDENCE in my decision making, hence I share the crisis of deciding whether to walk away from or stay in my 10 year relationship. Which is what brought me here. To this site. With you. And everyone else.

        In no way did I mean to imply that seeking advice or seeking counseling meant a person is inadequate (I have done both). Perhaps you misread my post as implying that I already have the confidence which in fact I am still desperately working on. And I may have misinterpreted the comment by Sally to mean that she lacks overall confidence, which she in fact may not.

        I would not interpret John’s comment that a person should focus on changing him/herself as opposed to trying to change their partner as meaning that a person should “lie back” and accept abuse. I think what he meant was you *cannot* change other people, so instead you’d be better of focusing that energy on strengthening yourself…to the effect that you are better able to cope with a difficult relationship (make it better by being able to love more during the worse times), or to leave it if necessary, without becoming a broken, bitter person in the end.

  11. Bren
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I still haven’t gotten my hands on an actual copy of the book, “Too Good to Leave…” but I read the 35 questions posted on another site and they left me just as confused. Half of the questions point me toward staying, the other half toward leaving.

    As commented by Maxine, I hope reading the book in its entirety will give me some clarity. I did read a post by the author, Mira Kirshenbaum that I found somewhat helpful/encouraging in my case (see link below).

    • mango
      Posted March 12, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Do get the book- I have started reading it and it is very detailed.

      Fo each question there are lots of examples, stories and discussions on the question’s menaing and then there is the guideline and even more discussion.

      Hopefully you will be less confused.

      BTW John the book doesn’t apportion blame in fact it really goes out of the way to explain to someone thinking of leaving that things arent that bad and it is possible to change.

  12. mango
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I think by the time most people come to read a book or come to a site like this they have done lots of soul searching and are well aware of their faults.
    Both people are responsible for the relationship , I agree with that, but if one person feels that after all the time of effort of both trying to make things better and things dont get better- isnt it better to leave than to go on making each others lives miserable.

    You seem to point all the blame on the person who wnats to end the relationship- I know of many cases where the other person is relieved that their partner has finally made a decision to end the relationship.

    We are all humans, we all have faults and make mistakes.

    Of course there are people who sadly go from one abusive relationship to another- but that doesnt mean they ask for the abuse or they should put up with it. Often these people had an abusive parent and seek out similar people. Sure they need help to break the pattern but they shouldnt be criticised.

    I agree one should identify their role in the drama, but if one is living with an addict , an abuser or a cheater and one acknowldeges their role but their partner doesnt , it is a stalemate.

    Addicts often blame everyone for their drinking etc, and while circumstances can exacerbate the addiction, the addict must take responsibility and acknowledge they have a problem.
    My friends husband used to tell her that he drank because of her, yet had had been drinking long before they married.
    She did admit that some of her behaviour may have made things worse- she went to Alanon, she went to counsellors and tried to understand and change her behaviour. However, despite all her changes and admitting her role, her husband didnt change and kept saying it was all her fault.

    John, should she have stayed ? She did all that you have recommended but it wasnt enough. She left and her husband many years later is till drinking and still blaming her-now he blames the fact she left on his drinking!!

    I think because someone wants to end a relationship doesn’t mean they dont take responsibilty for their actions- in fact in my case I feel maybe I am not good at relationships and would be better off alone and my partner would be better off with a different partner.

    So because someone is thinking of leaving or reads a book doesn’t mean that they havent thought it all through.
    It often means they have really tried to change things and have taken stock of all their flaws but are realistic to know that things wont change.

    I am wondering John, if you have had a personal experience that has made you very critical of a partner who wants to leave.

    I enjoy reading your comments

    • Posted April 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink


      I just wanted to thank and congratulate you on the well thought-out and reasonable response to John. Your rendition of the person who wants to leave is so accurate and humanely addressed. I will use it to help address my own guilty feelings for not being able to “hang in there”. Too many years are spent chasing your tail when a partner says the right things, but makes no real changes, and years later, you are still grappling with the same detrimental issues. The person who finally decides to leave is usually burdened with the added responsibility of filing for divorce, trying to diplomatically explain to other family members, trying to maintain civility with in a very stressful situation, all while the unresponsive partner who ignored the state of their failed relationship can feel quite justified in assigning blame at his partner for finally ending the stalemate. It’s no wonder people stay in bad relationships…it takes a courageous person to deal with this much adversity, especially, while simultaneously dealing with your own grief and loss of hope. Again, thank you. Gina

      • mango
        Posted April 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate them and I wish you well.

        My problem is my partner, although he calls me a loser, is away 50% of the time, and says i cause his high blood pressure and his drinking- will not leave- I own the house . I have even given him a large amount of money but he won’t move, and now says he wants more money.

        Of course there are two sides and I have many flaws, but I wish this relationship of over 8 years can end with dignity.

        You words were most welcome.


  13. Posted March 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    My husband will go to great lengths and even be the planner when he is going out with his guy friends hunting, fishing, camping. Yet, when it comes to me he won’t make plans. Everything I want to do is a lot of work. I heard him tell a friend of his after I remarked about how fun what he said would be, my husband said “that’s just great now I have to take her”. It was an epiphany for me and I told my husband, after his friend left, that I don’t want him doing anything with me again. He said he was just kidding about the comment but I don’t believe him. I made him a list about a year ago of over 50 fun things I would like to do. He hasn’t done any of them with me. The sad thing is once I leave I know he will realize what he’s lost but I won’t come back. I guess I still hope that he will wake up but I don’t believe it anymore. A year from now I will be with someone who gets excited about doing things that make me happy.

  14. mango
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible to plan something together instead of waiting for him to plan something?

    Is that the only thing wrong in your marriage or is it an example of what is wrong?

    How can you be sure you will find someone in a year- or have you already someone in mind?

    I can see how frustrated you must be and how hurtful his comments and behaviour are.

    I suppose only you know if its worth the effort to organise a fun event for the two of you or to ask him to help.

    Cheers all the best


  15. Maxine
    Posted March 15, 2010 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure the way to copy a link, but I hope this is right. Some really interesting reviews on the book. Worth a read.

  16. Maxine
    Posted March 17, 2010 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I thought there was a question missing!

    #8 Do you have a basic, recurring, never-completely-going-away feeling of humiliation or invisibility in your relationship?

    #27 Would you lose anything important in your life if your partner were no longer your partner? Is what you’d lose something that makes you feel good about your partner for being able to provide it?

  17. Posted July 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    In my personal opinion, there is always bound to be some differences between two people no matter how much they love each other, these question does not necessary mean that one should try to end one’s relationship if his partner does not pass on these tests. There are instances when out of anger or some situational differences occur, and the person who did it may feel extremely sorry about it, but it should not be counted as a act of physical violence. Think of this in this way, even if you end one relationship just to start a new one, how sure would you be for the next one. If everyone is searching for these questions and evaluating the relationship based on these questions chances are every other person feels the same way and wants to end their relationship.
    Objectively, dont follow some questions to evaluate your relationship, think of how important the relationship is for you, not just the person, because it takes years to make a relationship and more years to forget and start a new one.

  18. John
    Posted July 21, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    used the book to help me to make a very difficult decision to leave my first marriage! It was indispensable tool for me and I have suggested it to many others with great success.

  19. David
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Folks, you’ve got to read the book before you can condemn it. The author does an excellent job in presenting multiple sides of every discussion point. If you have an analytical personality, this book will provide clarity on your decision. It has certainly helped me.

    Good luck to all.

    • mango
      Posted April 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      I agree- I have read the book now- in fact several times, and each time I get different answers.
      It is a well thought out book that doesnt apportion blame.

      I would endorse reading the book before making a judgment on it too.

      Hope things are going well for you David.


  20. Frank
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I find it interesting that the book seems to be attempting to enable folks looking for validation that they should leave, but I don’t see anyone saying that the book provided a positive reinforcement to put forth effort with the result being that they succeeded. So I’m inclined (prior to reading this book in the next week or so) to say that the book is a reinforcement of negative thought processes – which is typically how people destroy their own relationship and/or self destruct. I encourage people to challenge themselves to do something positive, to seek out ways to succeed rather than to find ways/things that encourage failure, as though that is some sort of achievement. I look forward to reading the book but I will say that in the questions you may notice the sexist tone if you are reading with an open mind… check out question 31, referring to he and his. If that is how it’s written in the book it certainly speaks volumes about the author.

    • MamaCheshire
      Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Actually, I was someone who was firmly pointed to stay when there was a major breach of trust between myself and my then-fiance (now husband) ten or so years ago. Something happened that made me seriously question whether I should call the wedding off, and going through these questions provided the reassurance I needed that the answer was no, it was OK to get married to him, that what we had was worth saving.

  21. Brandy Monnens
    Posted October 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to this amazing excerpt my husband has decided that divorce is the magical answer to our marriage after only a year and a half. Anyone else surprised by this fact? This book is incredibly biased against working on a marriage and gives an easy out for those who do not have the objectivity to answer these questions fairly. Ridiculous piece of work that should have never been written.

  22. Posted April 11, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on 1 lover, 1 husband.

  23. amaria
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Well it is a nice book indeed, but those are guidelines not a set of rules. Take those with cautiousness.

    I wrote my story here, and my thoughts on the book. here ->

5 Trackbacks

  1. […] between the splitters and the love-birds are the ambivalent couples stuck in marriages that are too good to leave, too bad to stay. They’re bound by shared history and finances, and feelings of loyalty. But they’ve drifted […]

  2. […] Kirshenbaum’s book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay the other day, and read with interest a list of questions taken from the book on the Divorce Source Weblog – and the comments that […]

  3. By Too Bad to Stay | The House on Chestnut Street on June 16, 2014 at 7:17 am

    […] my last post I linked to the Divorce Source Weblog, where there is a list of questions taken from Mira Kirshenbaum’s book Too Bad to Stay, Too […]

  4. […] I’m going to be looking at some of the comments from the Divorce Source Weblog post on the topic of Mira Kirshenbaum’s book, Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to […]

  5. By To Divorce or Not: Questions to Consider on October 3, 2014 at 5:00 am

    […] go to Divorce Source, where you can find the 36 questions Kirshenbaum poses in her book. Each addresses an important […]

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