Make it work…or let it go?
Sometimes even relatively healthy relationships come to an end, for a variety of reasons. After all, many relationships come and go as life changes; we learn new things about ourselves, discover what we like and what we don’t like, and what we want and what we don’t want. This is called growth, and it’s a good (although sometimes painful) thing.
A relationship that starts out great might evolve into something not-so-great. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship has become abusive. It could mean that it just isn’t as fulfilling as you’d like it to be. Maybe you’ve realized that you both want something different, you’ve grown apart, or the relationship is no longer meeting your needs. This is really tough when you care about your partner and you don’t want to hurt them (or yourself). But sometimes you have to make a choice: should you stick with the relationship, or is it time to let go?
It’s not always an easy decision to make, we know.
If you’re struggling with this situation, try thinking through the following questions:
- Are we both happy in the relationship most of the time?
No one is happy in a relationship ALL the time; there is conflict even in healthy relationships. But if you’re struggling with feelings of unhappiness, or you just feel like something’s off and you and your partner aren’t connecting for whatever reason, these could be signs that your relationship needs a tune up. However, if you and your partner aren’t willing to work together to keep the relationship afloat, it might be time to consider ending it.
- Are we on the same page about how we communicate?
Open communication is a huge part of a healthy relationship, but the trick is we all have our own communication styles. To create a healthy relationship, both partners need to be willing to find ways to communicate that work for each person. Sometimes that involves compromise and respecting each other’s boundaries. But sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. Maybe your communication styles are too different, or one or both of you is not willing to compromise. If this is the case, the relationship may not be right for you.
- Has something changed in one or both of our lives that is making me/us reconsider this relationship?
Change happens. People’s situations change, people change their minds, and these changes can affect relationships. It could be a life change like moving to a new place or going to a different school. Sometimes people stay together in the face of these changes and have happy, healthy relationships, but sometimes they don’t. People don’t always want the same things, so for one person a long-distance relationship might be totally cool, but it’s just not right for the other person. Or maybe you’ve realized you each want something different in your future (like marriage/domestic partnership, raising kids, living in a different country or traveling the world, etc.). Neither of you should have to give up your needs and dreams just to stay together.
- Are we staying together because we're too afraid of being alone?
Being in a relationship is often a source of comfort for people, and that can be a good thing. But it’s not healthy to stay in a relationship just because you’re too afraid to be single. Neither of you will get much fulfillment from a relationship that’s held together because of this fear. Besides, being single can be a lot of fun!