Has your marriage or partnership hit turbulent times? While loving relationships can bring immense joy, you are probably all too aware they can also bring an equal amount of pain. It’s a fact of life that relationships require hard work and commitment. There may even be times when you ask yourself if it’s all worth it. If you are having sleepless nights analysing the health of your relationship, you’ll probably have considered if it’s time to go separate ways.
Almost all couples argue at some time or another. It’s human nature that we don’t agree on everything. The daily challenge of managing work, housework, and childcare can become a point of conflict. When every day becomes a battle, it’s easy to forget the reasons why you ever got together in the first place.
Making the decision to throw in the towel isn’t an easy one. Just because there is conflict, it doesn’t
necessarily mean it’s time to leave.
There are no easy answers and every relationship is different. For most of us, it’s confusing and stressful to
make a decision either way, especially amidst difficult and turbulent times. The decision to end a
relationship requires a lot of soul searching, and it’s important you try to develop some insight before
coming to any rash conclusions. To achieve some clarity, ask yourself the following:
1. Are you hanging onto a relationship purely out of a fear of being single?
2. Are you looking at the whole relationship, or are you reacting to feeling hurt from a particular
3. What is the main reason you want to break up?
4. Are you expecting your partner to fill a void?
5. What can YOU do to bring happiness to your relationship?
6. Does your partner add to you or subtract from you?
7. Are you ready to let your partner go?
8. Do you see yourself together in the future?
9. Do you really love each other?
10. How will you feel if you don’t end this relationship?
11. Are you making too many sacrifices just to make the relationship work?
12. Do you share the same goals for the future?
There are many signs you may be trapped in a loveless relationship, but answering these questions honestly may help you to shed some light on the situation, and help you to reach the right decision. Before you pack your bags or ask your partner to leave:
Take a step back
Many hurtful comments are said in the heat of the moment, and it’s always easier to see things from your point of view, and not your partners. Each will blame the other for the conflict. Research has shown that distanced perspective during conflict can have a positive impact on marital (or relationship) quality.
Distanced perspective involves thinking about the last big fight you had with your partner. Recall the fight, close your eyes, and try to see it in your imagination. Then take a few steps back. Watch the fight unfold from a distance. Imagine that you are a neutral third party observer who just wants the best for both of you. Try to focus on getting something good out of the disagreement.
Talk things through
Mediation or relationship counselling can be really helpful for couples stuck in a rut. Relationship counselling can help you to see things with a fresh perspective, and provide a safe space for you to tackle difficult issues. Relationship counsellors, such as those offered by Relate (the UK’s largest provide of relationship support), are fully trained in relationship counselling.
If your partner refuses to engage in relationship counselling, communicating in a neutral space outside of the home may help. A lack of communication is the biggest reason a relationship can fail.
Do what is right for you
Don’t stay together just for the kids. Divorcing or leaving a partner isn’t a pleasant experience, but it could be the right thing to do in the long term for both of you. Staying together for the sake of the kids is probably one of the most common reasons couples grit their teeth and carry on, but for the children it isn’t necessarily the right decision for them either. If they are subjected to an environment where there is bickering and arguments, they will pick up on the anger and resentment and be adversely affected too.
Give it one last chance
Breaking off a long-term relationship isn’t something you should do without giving the matter a great deal of thought. There may be no going back once the stable door is open and the horse has bolted. Try talking things through (again) and put in place some small changes that you both agree on to try and salvage the love you both once had for each other. If trust has been broken, then a certain level of forgiveness will be required, as well as reassurances that undesirable behaviours won’t happen again. Nothing hurts more than a betrayal of trust, but there are things you can do to rebuild your relationship.
Yes, of course, there will be instances when breaking up is the right thing to do, but if you’ve tried to do all that you can to fix the problems, you’ll never be left wondering if you turned your back on something worth fighting for.