The Art of Endings

The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward

Necessary Endings

In my work as a clinician, a leadership consultant, and a fellow sojourner, I have found something to be true: in both our personal and professional lives, it is often the exact same issues that can hold us back, or even derail us. Find a control freak at home, and chances are that their their co-workers have the same complaints that the spouse has. Read More

Financial impacts of endings

One thing alluded to, but not addressed directly in the article is the issue of the impact of financial issues on the timing of making a 'Necessary Ending'.

Often, I have found that I prolonged an ending because the timing would impact me too negatively in the financials department.

This can be a big factor in personal relationships as well as business relationships. In business, we make investments of funds and don't want to walk away from it until we recoup our losses...

In a marriage, for example, especially with women, there is often a great disparity between the earning power of a wife and husband; and to leave the relationship would mean severe financial hardship.

So, there are situations where we know on a mental and emotional/psychological level that we need to leave but get 'stuck' in the financial logistics...


That is so true, Anonymous. I am thankful I am the breadwinner of my household. I am one of those women who has a "househusband." A woman should never have to be in an unhappy marriage because she can't afford to leave, especially if she is the one who did majority of the child-rearing.
I can't tell you how many times I have let fear of the unknown drive my decisions though. So many people get stuck in a rut. It is downright sad. If we all took a good look within ourselves and did what we were truly designed to do with our lives, who knows what the world would look like? Instead, most of us cling to the bits of costume jewelry we are familiar with, never realizing giving them up could mean diamonds in the future.


@Serendipity. You don't think a woman should be in a situation where she can't afford to leave. Yet you have no problem with your husband being in that situation as a househusband. Pure hypocrisy.

Financial hypocrisy?

I think anyone in a marriage should have the financial standing to be able to leave. Unfortunately, for many years, it's been the woman who suffers because of the traditional roles. The truth remains, however, that men on average make more than women, and should a dissolution of the marriage occur, the man usually ends up able to make more and be better off financially.

Courage to End

I have always considered marriage to be a permanent condition yet found myself in an abusive relationship with an unfaithful spouse. For years I felt powerless to change things and accepted things I never should. The unfaithfulness eventually proved the catalyst by which I had the courage to insist on change - when that boundary was not respected, I gathered the courage to end the marriage.

It's tough, but possible and yes - he earns more than me, but I'm making it as a working mother of three little ones. Therapy helped me see the reality of my situation and access the strength God supplies.

Fan of Dr. Cloud

Dr Cloud's advice and wisdom are always helpful during critical turns in my life. I have a collection of his books. Thank you.

Cooking games

Hello there, To begin with, cheers administrator with this good writing in this nice web page ( I actually cherished that article greatly and I think you may impart us with extra possibility to uncover more about this subject matter in not to distant future in future posting…Hahah. Thanks again.

Dr. Cloud-Aren't you thankful

Dr. Cloud-Aren't you thankful that Jesus didn't practice "the art of ending"? Aren't you grateful He didn't set up the "boundaries" between us and Him as you encourage your patients to do?

Speaking of things that need to be ended...

...irrational religions holding humanity back

Holding the bag

I am the higher breadwinner and my estranged husband has for yeArs remained under employed, threatened my financial ruin, and done whatever he pleases because he knows I don't want to financially hurt my kids or become their burden in the future. This will eventually have a necessary ending, but I have tried two Marriage counselors, supported him in individual counseling and many other efforts to no avail. I feel the children and I can't enjoy the fruits of my labor and the freeloader is winning -- and may win in court too due bizarre laws that account for the fact people manipulate circumstances.

Best wishes to you and your

Best wishes to you and your children

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Henry Cloud, Ph.D., is a psychologist and bestselling author whose new book Necessary Endings will be published by HarperBusiness in January 2011.


Subscribe to The Art of Endings

Current Issue

Dreams of Glory

Daydreaming: How the best ideas emerge from the ether.