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When to sever a relationship

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ATLANTA -

If you've invested a lot of time in a relationship or a friendship, it's hard to say, "This just isn't working."

Pastor Kerwin Lee has been helping couples strengthen their marriage and get through the rough patches for 20 years. But even he says that sometimes moving on may be the healthiest option for both of you.

Lee, the pastor of Berean Christian Church in Stone Mountain,  says some relationships are meant for an eternity and some are meant just for an event, or a time in our lives.

"Where we make a mistake is relationships that we were supposed for an eternity, we make them for an event.  And relationships that we're supposed to have for just an event, we try to make them for a little bit longer," Lee said.

Lee says sometimes we just grow apart and that's actually OK.

"Maybe we don't share the same core values, and it's just hard to think that things are going to change when you're both going in a different direction," Lee said.

In workshops, Lee ask couples to try an exercise,

"They must take their right leg and their left leg and take them in different directions and see how far they can go without it being painful.  And it's the same way with a relationship.  That if two people are going different directions, it won't be long before there's much pain," Lee said.

But sometimes pain be a good thing because it can bring change. Lee says we can't correct what we can't confront, so be brutally honest about how you feel about the relationship.

"I think it's better to confront it in the early stages as opposed to pretending everything is OK," said Lee.

If you're not sure how you feel, Lee says ask yourself one question:

"Does this relationship cause me to live in an unhealthy way?  And if it's going to continue that way, can I endure this?  Or, is it best to just part ways?"

The flipside to all of this is that sometimes - the rough patches - can actually strengthen your relationship.

If you can't afford marriage counseling, a lot of faith communities offer workshops, or low cost -- even free -- counseling for couples.

Lee says to make counseling work, you both have to be committed to making changes.

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