Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

The cards will never tell you what to do but they can help you gain insights about the best way forward. Deciding to leave a long term partner or spouse is a massive step and some people deliberate for years before they make their move. Any guidance the Tarot can offer before making that final decision is gratefully accepted.

Very often, one person feels that they have outgrown the relationship because they have done a ton of work on themselves: taken responsibility for their lives, let go of the past, learned to communicate without blame, quit addictions and other destructive behaviour and started to make better choices in every way. However, their partner is not ready for change. This can be very frustrating, especially after years of trying to make it work but getting nowhere.

I like to use a spread I call ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?’ for this. It takes into consideration a third option. Yes, there is a third option. It’s called ‘Staying for now in awareness.’ It’s not fence-sitting out of indecision, it’s actively deciding to stay and to accept things the way they are.

Shuffle the deck well and locate the Justice card (this is a card that deals with marriage and divorce). Place the it and the cards you find on either side of it on the table. This tells you the balance (another theme for Justice) between the mind and the heart.

Shuffle and cut the remaining cards and randomly choose three more cards to place as shown in the picture below.

I’m using the gorgeous Lover’s Path Tarot by Kris Waldherr to illustrate this spread:

Tarot Spread

1. Your Heart. This is what your heart tells you and how you feel deep down about your relationship.
2. Your Mind. This is your deepest held belief about your relationship.
3. Staying. This tells you the reason you might decide to stay.
4. Going. This shows you why you might opt for singledom.
5. Advice. This card tells you what needs to change for you to decide to stay permanently.


1. HEART: Temperance. You truly love the other person and are searching with all your heart for a vision that will unite the two of you, ending the sense of separation you are experiencing.
2. MIND: Prince of Arrows (Swords). You are aware that communication between the two of you is a constant source of conflict but you believe that there is a way through and a possibility of finding a better way to communicate.
3. STAYING: Ace of Staves (Wands). You are still passionate about your partner.
4. GOING: Queen of Pentacles (Coins). Work and health matters currently weigh in favour of a separation.
5. ADVICE: Ace of Arrows (Swords). You need to change the way you think about your partner if you want to stay. How will you use your tongue (sword of communication) in the future? How willing are you to replace the thought ‘If only he would change?’ with ‘I love him just as he is and accept that right now he is not ready for change?’

I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.
~ William P. Young



17 replies »

  1. I love this :) I don’t know how you do it.. but most of the spreads you post makes sense when I do it on readings. Normally, other spreads don’t quite make sense of the topic I am concern with, lol! I don’t know why either, so far.. your spreads are awesome. Keep it up. Love it!

    I just like to share my try on this:
    1. Emperor – I feel that I want to have balance in the relationship. Like no one is giving too much and taking too much, I did take a drastic move to be certain that this will happen – such as stopping old cycle that is not being healthy in the relationship.
    2. Temperance – Balance and consistent communication is needed. Probably, testing if this relationship indeed has a chance.
    3. Empress – Haha, Well I had no idea how I should relate this card to the spread, I just thought it’s a nice card that represents – me, I guess. :)
    4. 2 of Wands – Waiting mode. Will I wait forever? That kind of thought came to my mind, plus we are now apart because he went abroad for work. That makes me think of uncertainty at some point.
    5. I got two cards on this one – 10 of Pentacles and The Star. I guess it suggests for me to be more hopeful on this situation and see this and trust myself I guess that a new beginning will take place for us both. Nothing is ever set in stone anyway. Lol, I’m not sure but that is what I thought. :)

    Anyway, keep it up. I am going to save this spread for future purposes, thanks again!

  2. Thanks Heart Divine. Glad you like my spreads :) As you have Temperance and both the Emperor and The Empress here, it looks to me like a soul mate connection and working through major archetypal themes in order to balance the divine feminine/masculine within. The Emperor in the heart chakra tells me that he is mirroring a lot of your masculine power. The 2 of Wands wants to know if you are ready to own it. Just a few thoughts from a slightly different angle :)

  3. Great spread, I did for me and my Knight of Wands

    1. Six of Wands: My heart definitely tells me that we finally won despite all the troubles. suddenly I’m feeling happier and closer. Its an awesome feeling.

    2. Four of Swords: it puts me to mental ease, it seriously does. besides the card reminds me of the prayer I make every night before going to sleep, for me, for him and for us. Its so peaceful and its going so smooth.

    3. If I stay, Nine of Wands: getting up after falling back, finding the strength back to fight the things that have been haunting me for so long. Yesterday I was down because of something and I rang him up and he instantly cheered me up.

    4. If I go, King of Wands: feeling ambitious, goal-oriented. May be even meet another fire sign male.

    5. Devil: need to let go of the obbsessions which are unhealthy.

    Its really nice that I have got us no cups or diamonds, lol. but three wands. Should I expect lots of energy and activity in the relationship?

  4. Thanks for this spread! So great. I’m fairly new to Tarot, so here’s what I’ve got:

    1- the star: I feel as though I’m supposed to be with him for some reason, to experience something in this relationship as a learning experience (unfortunately I’m not sure what)

    2- 9 of swords: I interpreted this as trying so hard to keep things smooth in the relationship, and putting my all into everything, even losing sleep over some of our problems, yet there’s still fear surrounding the relationship.

    3- strength: maybe my reason for staying is to find my inner strength to be myself, and truly be open in this relationship, without needing to control. Or maybe without being controlled by it all the time. So in other words, exist in my own right, without being defined by my relationship. Maybe.

    4- 2 of wands: this card made me feel as though I have the whole world in my hands. Just a sense of freedom, or being able to go my own way in life. Lots of decisions, though, as many choices may be presented to me.

    5- 9 of cups: this makes me feel as though what’s represented by the strength card is why I need to stay. Learning to love myself and not be defined by my relationship will bring me happiness, and I need to stay put until I learn that lesson.

    I would so love if you have any input on that, as I’m not sure I interpreted any of those right!
    But thanks so much for the spread, you’re wonderful!

  5. Hi Delaney, the first card tells me that this relationship fills you with hope. It’s like a bright dawn after a long night and that is making you pin a lot of expectations on it. Unfortunately those very same expectations are what is bringing you down in the 9 of Swords. I believe the 2 of Wands is telling me that going is a choice but not really an option because your feelings for this man are too strong (Strength). The advice card tells you to let go of your expectations and stay heart-centred throughout. Enjoy the relationship moment by moment…

  6. I’m not sure if you still check these comments but after a very difficult period with my significant other I decided to give your reading a go. Now I’ve done other readings and the cards tell me not to make any hasty decisions and there is a new perspective I need to take first. So when I came across your reading I thought I’d give it a shot. Let me know what you think of my interpretation.

    1. The star: after a long dark period with him, I still have hope.
    2. 2 of Cups: I hope that we can work on things and that we will be together in a committed relationship again. Maybe heart ruling the mind?
    3. Knight of Swords: not sure how to interpret this in this position. Is he the knight of swords I’d be staying for? Or maybe I’m the knight of swords looking at the big picture and working diligently to get down to the base of our relationship problems?
    4. 9 of pentacles: not sure how to interpret this either in this position. If I left I’d be fine on my own because I would be confident, and emotionally independent?
    5. The world: as advice the world is telling me to start a new phase, learn from the past, face my fears and build something new.

    I’m still learning the different interpretations for different questions that each card has so any help would be appreciated.

  7. This reading stands or falls on how YOU interpret the Knight of Swords here… only you know who this person is… what it means to you and if it is worth staying for. Generally though, unless you are really fond of arguing a lot (which the Knight of Sword does!), I’d say you’re better off without.

    • Thank you for your reply. The funny thing is, the knight of swords represents the worst side of him ( stubborn, sharp tongued and argumentative because he thinks he’s always right) while at the same time the best side of me ( driven, hard working, seeing the big picture and having the determination to get down to the bottom of things, seeking the truth). So maybe it represents both of us. In these moments are clarifier cards useful?

  8. This is my spread…
    1. (Heart) Knight of pentacles. I dont really understand, so I draw another card which is knight of wands.. still not understand…
    2. (Mind) The Hermit
    3. (Staying) Strength
    4. (Going) The Chariot
    5. (Advice) The Lovers…

    Lisa, please help me with this :(

    • Pulling another card because you don’t understand the original card doesn’t really work. If you understand it but want more information, you can pull a ‘clarifier’ card but you can’t clarify something you don’t understand at all… So let’s start with the Knight of Pentacles. Who is he and what is he like… He is stubborn and digs his heels in. Slow to change but also slow to give up on a relationship… I’d say you don’t really want to go and need to reconcile yourself with the fact that when you commit, you really mean it.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, feedback and questions. Please note that, while I'm happy to answer questions about individual cards, I don't interpret spreads. I get several requests every day about interpreting DIY readings based on my spreads. Even if I had the time, I don’t think it would be a wise investment of my time to ‘read on readings’ – A reading is done in synergy between the cards, the question and the reader… in the MOMENT.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s