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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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,806 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Mira Kirshenbaum (I Love You, But I Don't Trust You), an international bestselling author and world-renowned therapist, draws on years of counseling experience to lead readers through relationship ambivalence. A careful line of 36 questions and self-analysis techniques designed to get to the heart of relationship and marriage problems. This straightforward and practical ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 1st 1997 by Plume (first published July 1st 1996)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,806 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Start your review of 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
Oct 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Mar 04, 2008 rated it liked it
You'll still be confused as hell, but at least you will feel normal. Situation after situation, I could relate to.
Jeff Poole
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Stephanie Michaud
Jul 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Nov 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dian Bentinck
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I found the book to be well written and easy to read. The information was presented objectively. Diagnostic questions, examples, real life stories helped put things in context. I think the book is useful regardless of your relationship status. It helps identify positive and necessary aspects of relationships as well as thoughts on how they can be improved and warning signs. The author seems to have a plethora of relevant experience that made the book very credible.
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Helped propel me out of a bad relationship - should be required reading for anyone on the fence about a personal relationship, romantic or otherwise.
Aug 29, 2009 added it
I love this book, it helped me to put perspective in my life and to evaluate the relationships I allow.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Disclosure: I doubted whether to add this book to my Goodreads collection, as the subject could be considered highly personal. However, reading books about relationships, or processes, doesn't necessarily mean that something is.. good... or.. bad... or... even happening. Reading books about zombies: does that make me want to eat human flesh?

Relationships never 'just' exist. Both partners nees to put in sufficient time, attention and effort to make it work, or to keep on making it work. This book
Michaela Riley
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It can be the hardest decision you will ever make, trying to decide if you stay with someone who you love, but can do really hurtful things. This book helped me figure out what I needed to do. Thank you Mira, for your insight and candor.
Jon Longworth
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A friend talked about this and I decided to take a look. It's an excellent book that is intended to be a relationship diagnostic tool. She breaks down issues into some key deal breakers (an obvious one: physical abuse - written for people who are still in a relationship despite physical abuse), and then continues to break it down to more subtle things that erode a relationship over time (a partner struggling for power/control, someone who refuses to address difficult topics, etc.). The tone is ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: revisit
Mira Kirschenbaum’s book “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay” provides quality questions to help readers assess their current situation and start the process of fixing their ambivalence. I found that this book was useful for dealing with feelings of ambivalence in all parts of life and not just relationships. Kirschenbaum provides insight into how others have dealt with their situation and whether they were happy after. I don’t believe this to be a cut and dry formula for determining whether its ...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.
Greg Davis
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Really disappointing, in the end, as the book primarily focuses on asking the reader to clarify the failings of their partner (rather than on the relationship), as a tool in deciding whether to stay or leave.

Intoxicating, however, as it leads the reader down the path of decision, in a direction that may ultimately be not in their own best interest, notwithstanding that it feels good to have a partner in angst.

Can't really recommend it.
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Laura Flowers
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has helped me twice now

The first time it told me that my relationship was too good to leave. 12 years later it has shown me that I will be happier if I leave. It’s a heartbreaking journey, but this book will always point you in the right direction. I recommend it to everyone.
Men D.
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
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