Are you feeling uncertain about the state of your relationship? Should you try to save it, or are you better off just calling it quits? Your decision-making gets even more complicated when you consider children, shared financial assets, debts, as well as your lives, which have been intricately linked over a long period of time and which would need to be untangled.
Many couples remain in that “limbo” state of their relationship for way too long. It’s anxiety-provoking just to think about one’s options; the thought of leaving is about as frightening as the thought of staying in the dysfunctional relationship.
The truth is that things are not going to change if you do not take action one way or another. At some point, you have to move forward!
So how do you decide whether you should give it your all and try to save your relationship, or whether it is time to move on?
There are a few factors that you should take into consideration when making your decision:
Ask yourself if you still trust your partner, and if your partner still trusts you. If your trust in each other is eroded, or even if just one partner has lost trust in the other, it will be difficult to move forward together. If you want to give your relationship another try, both of you will have to commit to rebuilding the trust that you lost along the way. Rebuilding trust can take some time and the process will certainly have its ups and downs, but it is possible if both of you are committed.
Respect is a foundation of a healthy relationship and there’s a lot to be respected in any relationship: You need to respect each other as persons, but also each other’s needs, your boundaries, and opinions. If you or your partner do not feel respected and valued, you’ll feel resentment and will disengage from the relationship. Without a healthy dose of respect for each other, your relationship does not stand a chance. Once we have lost respect for a partner, it is hard to reestablish that respect.
If you want to give it a try, ask yourself in which areas you have lost the respect of your partner, and why. Is there anything you or your partner could do to re-create feelings of mutual respect?
Communication is important in any relationship. Once communication decays or even breaks down, your relationship will almost certainly be in deep distress. If you want to make your relationship work, you’ll have to be able to have open and honest conversations. If this is difficult, try to start small and make it a habit to share something significant from your day with each other each day.
Compatibility is one of the most important factors when you try to determine whether your relationship still has a chance. When you are compatible with your partner, you essentially feel like you get what you want from your partner and your relationship. There are three areas in particular that you should consider are:
Intimacy means that you share your thoughts and feelings with each other, that you show care and feel compassion for your partner, and that you feel like you are connected to each other. Are you happy with the intimacy you share with your partner? Do you have too little, or too much?
Are you excited about your partner, and maybe even a little obsessed with them? How much romance do you still have left in your lives? Passion can build up quite quickly, but it tends to wane relatively quickly as well. How much passion do you need to be happy in your relationship? Do you have what you need for your happiness?
Are both of you still committed to making your relationship work? If only one of you is putting in an effort to stay together and improve your relationship, and the other is not, then it may be time to accept that your relationship is over. However, if you’re both still committed and willing to work on your relationship, you have a chance to turn things around. Think about the things that made you commit to each other in the first place. Do they still hold true? Is it time to recommit? Or has your relationship run its course?
One thing you need to keep in mind is that, ultimately, your partner’s feelings are only of so much importance. What matters more is how you perceive your partner’s feelings – because we can’t ever be sure what a person really feels and thinks (and our research has shown that, even in great relationships, partners generally do not have a good handle on what their partner really feels for them).
If you’re still not sure what the future holds for your relationship, it may be helpful to look at your compatibility in more detail. We have a relationship assessment that’s been used with more than 60,000 people all over the world, and that allows you to go deeper and figure out where you’re great together and where your relationship has shortcomings, so that you can make your best decision about how to move forward. Check it out here.
So, when you try to decide whether your relationship still has a chance, take some time to consider factors like communication, trust, respect, and your compatibility with each other. If you’re both committed to your relationship and willing to work out your issues, you may well be able to make your relationship work. However, if one or both of you are not willing to put in the effort, are not interested in staying together, or you feel like you have too many differences, then it may be time to move on.