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Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-By-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay in or Get Out of Your Relationship
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Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-By-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay in or Get Out of Your Relationship

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  679 ratings  ·  81 reviews
The author draws on years of experience as a counselor to lead readers through relationship ambivalence. A careful line of questions and self-analysisis designed to get to the heart of relationship problems.
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 1st 1997 by Plume Books (first published July 1st 1996)
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I imagine most readers of Mira Kirshenbaum's "Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay" are leaning towards the going. Most of us tend not to mess with the good, or spend time analyzing why we feel bliss; rather we seek out deeper understanding only when something hurts. Human nature, I suppose. Take notice only when life becomes a pain. But as I read Kirshenbaum's easy to absorb guide on fencesitting relationships, I realized this is a good read even for the best of relationships. Even for those curr ...more
Stephanie Michaud
Jul 22, 2007 Stephanie Michaud rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mid life crisis ladies
Insightful. Crazy. Depressing. Hopeful. Clarity. Shocking. Confusing. A really good read for people really fucked-up in their marriage.
You'll still be confused as hell, but at least you will feel normal. Situation after situation, I could relate to.
If u can relate to the title then this is a must read. I read it in 3 days. While i left the book still feeling 50/50 about the relationship, it was a logical, well informed 50/50 rather than a previously confused state.

Over time that 50/50 lead to a big STAY, with the help of other books like Hold Me Tight by Dr Johnson, Dealbreakers by Sharon Marshall and 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman.
Sep 23, 2007 Cheryl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks considering ending relationships
I liked the cut & dried, black & white approach to this book. Author is forward about what she thinks is wrong or right in a relationship. Sometimes, I want someone to just tell me, strait up, "hey, that stinks" or "hey, that's ok". I won't always agree, but I wnt feedback. Somehow, the way she portrays certain couples, she is pretty specific when she says, "this couple probably shouldn't be together" and "this one should". That doesn't mean it's easy for me, the reader, to really decide ...more
I still hang on to this book even though (thankfully) I haven't needed it in a really long time. It is so good when you're dealing with some ambivalence regarding a romantic relationship. If you need to remember the good things, it helps to point that out and then to remind you of them. If you really do need to get out and remembering the bad things is the way to do it, it helps remind you of that. I have given this book as a gift more than once. It may seem like a strange book to be passing out ...more
Mar 23, 2008 Christine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with relationship issues
Recommended to Christine by: rory
this books is a really good guide for those trying to figure out if they should stay or go in a relationship... it starts you out with a scenario, followed by question(s) which build upon each other and lead up to your answer: stay or go. it is a combination of self-help and workbook. if you're one of those that keep falling into the "gray" of the relationship, this book will help you keep things "black and white", which will help you be more objective when evaluating what can be a major life de ...more
Jeff Poole
The premise of this book is that trying to weigh the options of leaving or staying in a relationship is a losing game...but it's also what most of us do when we feel uncertain about the relationship we are in. A relationship can feel good one day and bad the next, so it is almost impossible to weigh the good against the bad.

Instead, this book takes the approach of asking a series of questions. Some questions focus on what we might think of as minimum qualities for a relationship: When the relat
This book was sitting in my queue for over 5 years, and I FINALLY got to read it. All I can say is that if I had read the book when I first discovered it and went through all the diagnostic questions laid out in the book, then I would have identified myself as being in the ‘relationship ambivalence” state a long time ago and did something about it a lot sooner.
The book goes through a series of diagnostic questions to provide clarity on whether an “iffy” relationship is "too good to leave or too
This book was amazing in helping me decide what to do about the ambivalent relationship I have been in for over 5 years!!!!
If you've been juggling whether to stay in a relationship or leave, seriously....pick this book up & give it a whirl!
It defines issues in a diagnostic fashion instead of weighing pros & cons.
Aug 09, 2007 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women who need the courage to move out and move on
i have recommended this to several women STUCK in relationships that were exactly that: too good to leave (translated "dont wanna be alone") and too bad to stay (unhealthy or violent or going nowhere). in every case, they found the courage to leave forging a new life and often finding new, true love - never once looking back.
I'm going to quote a top Amazon review:

My wife and I have been married six years and have had marital troubles for nearly a year. However, we are taking very concrete steps to try to address them and we're making good progress. We're learning a lot more about ourselves and each other, about personalities and temperaments and what influences them. Now we are better able to appreciate how those factors manifest in our day-to-day behavior. It is hard work, but we both agree that in the end it's wor
This an excellent guide for people who are stuck thinking about leaving their relationship but haven’t been able to come to any conclusions. Mira throws out the ‘balancing scale’ approach to decision-making (how do you weigh up hundreds of pieces of ever-changing information anyway?) in favour of a clinical ‘diagnostic’ approach. This is a genius move because it means that just one critical piece of information can effectively make the decision for you. Which makes a lot of sense – if your husba ...more
Colleen Wainwright
A little lingo-cutesy in places, could use better indexing, and falls short of the "step-by-step" promise in the subtitle (although that looked like an overpromise to begin with). And I recognize there's a danger in codifying something like this, both from the standpoint of the person who breezes through their unexamined life and someone too broken to recognize hazards to their physical safety. But for the overthinkers and self-flagellators, parts of this book are a boon, even post-relationship.
Reminding us to avoid the trap of false dichotomies (column A good, column B bad, whichever list is longer dictates what you should do), this book offers a way to examine a relationship (any relationship, not just with your S.O.!) and identify patterns that are likely to result in problems, and figure out how many of the issues apply to your situation and to what degree.

A thoughtful and powerful way to begin thinking about and fixing your relational patterns.
given to me by a fellow therapist about relationsip ambivalence. the questions are probably the most helpful. given that its the first book I've seen on a subject that seems to have little written, its probably the best out there (from what I know) but it seems to lack some depth - I was hoping it might invite exploration of the underlying emotions/desires/longings. That being said, it's probably quite helpful for the 'decision-making', cerebral view.
When you are ambivalent about a relationship, you close down and spend all your energy defending your heart. Reading this book made me realize that I have an amazing partner in life. The questions make you analyze those things that make a relationship strong -- despite the curveballs that life throws us. I think this is a good read for people thinking about marrying and really helpful for those of us who temporarily forgot what made their hearts sing in the first place. The best part I think is ...more
This book was an easy read. Although, it was not a book I would say absolutely solves your dilemma, it will give you topics for thought. If you are considering this book, it is a good book to get you thinking about your relationship, but I wouldn't go into it expecting an answer. I also wouldn't go into this book feeling like the authors thoughts/guidelines are the 'be all - end all'. You have to decide for yourself where you are in your relationship, but use this book to read about other couple ...more
It's a refreshing spin on the "how to make a relationship work" book. This one asks questions to help you clarify whether or not it's worth it and why--basically helping you find peace with whatever decision you ultimately make.

I'd recommend it, if nothing else to help people stop thinking in circles.
Men D.
Only the second self-help book I've read and the first I've finished. The mere fact that I read this book says less about my relationship than about my interest in finding vocabulary to talk about my relationship.
Vanessa Baldwin
Recommended reading by my grad school professor. It is really well-spoken advice. Considering I'll need to dispense such advice as a counselor later, I know this will go on my shelf at the "office".
extremely helpful not just for me but for others I have lent it to. It may just clarify what you already know on some level, or it may open your eyes to a new way of seeing the situation.
This book helped me move out of ambivalence and see that my marriage was the source of my unhappiness I recommend this to anyone who feels stuck and unhappy in a relationship.
Meh... This book mostly focuses on pretty clear cut examples of whether to stay or leave, which would leave probably the majority of the cases who read the book still in limbo. It focuses on beatings, verbal and physical abuse, any common interests that may be left, etc., in which case if you need a book to tell you to leave there's probably bigger issues you want to deal with first... that said, there's a large percentage of people out there who simply wonder if there is anything better for the ...more
Helped propel me out of a bad relationship - should be required reading for anyone on the fence about a personal relationship, romantic or otherwise.
I love this book, it helped me to put perspective in my life and to evaluate the relationships I allow.
This book was very helpful in helping me clarify my thoughts about my relationship. She starts out saying that people who are stuck in ambivalence limbo are there because they are trying to weigh *all* the good things about the relationship vs. *all* the bad things and somehow hoping one side will come out ahead. But of course that isn't really going to work, because the values of all those different experiences constantly shift. Plus throw in "but I love him!" and the whole thing becomes useles ...more
Jon Longworth
This book was really, really helpful for me. I'd already left my marriage of 22 years for 6 months or so but I was wracked with conflicting emotions - guilt, incredible relief, and everything in-between including confusion. The author helps give a rare degree of perspective and objectivity which is almost impossible to get otherwise. To get that perspective you can't ask your friends, co-workers, you can't ask your family - you certainly can't ask a new partner or your old partner. You're alone ...more
If you are on the fence about whether to stay in a relationship or to get out, this is unquestionably the best book I've ever come across for helping to assess the situation realistically and to decide if there's actually a chance, or if you will be just wasting your energy to continue to try to work things out.

It does this not by preaching, but by asking a series of questions - and then telling you how many relationships the author, a therapist, has seen survive who answered the question eithe
After years of vacillating, this book helped me decide that my marriage was, indeed, too good to leave. It's a no nonsense, itemized breakdown of the components of marriage. It allows the reader to take a step back and really think about things and helps remove the urge to impulsively storm out the door. It's not written in a way that would try to talk everyone into staying. It breaks things down and then adds everything back together to help the reader decide for him/herself.
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