Let’s say you’ve been dating this great guy for a while and then things start to go south.
Maybe you’ve been arguing a bit more. Or perhaps you feel a bit more distant and disconnected from each other lately. Or maybe the sex isn’t as good as it once was.
One of the most excruciating dating dilemmas is having to make that difficult decision of whether to salvage a relationship or terminate it.
These situations are made that much more torturous when you recognize your partner is a really good catch and you have a lot in common with mutual attraction.
But something seems off and you’re really torn about what to do, not wanting to make a horrible mistake that you’ll regret for the rest of the your life.
Below are some questions you might want to ask yourself if you find yourself in such a pickle before you make that most difficult choice.
The important thing is to avoid making impulsive decisions about your relationship status in the heat of emotion. Allow yourself time to really reflect and use your wise mind to take inventory of your needs and your relationship’s viability.
1. What do I need from my partner to make this more fulfilling?
Get out some paper and a pen and make an exhaustive list of all the things you need from a partner and relationship. From those things, decipher between the ones that are negotiable and the ones that are deal-breakers.
You and your boyfriend will then want to exchange lists and dialogue about what’s listed to identify your relationship strengths and what’s missing. Can any compromises be made?
2. What are my contributions to the relationship discontent?
It’s quite easy to point fingers for our relationship unhappiness by laying blame on our partners and finding fault in what they are or aren’t doing to please us.
But it takes two to tango and it’s important to uncover the possible ways you might be contributing to the problems.
Since we can’t control our partner’s behavior, we only have control over our own actions and choices. What can you do on your part to improve the status of things?
“The key is to communicate with your partner
the moment you detect something awry.”
3. How committed am I to making this relationship work?
On a scale from one to 10, with one being “I want out of this relationship” and 10 being “I am committed to making things work,” how would you rate yourself?
If you’re above a five, there’s still some energy there to try and uncover the sources of your relationship unhappiness and begin the work of repair. If you’re below a five, you may want to spend some time in individual therapy to clarify your feelings and needs.
4. Am I OK with the status quo?
If things in your relationship stayed exactly the same as they are right now, knowing things wouldn’t get any better and this was going to be as good as it gets forevermore, could you stay?
You’re going to want to examine your values, priorities and relationship needs and communicate with your guy about whether there is alignment with his.
5. Have I done everything humanly possible to make this work?
This is perhaps the most important question. If you were to walk away today, can you say in all good conscience you’ve done everything you could to make this relationship viable and satisfying?
If there’s even the slightest hint of a no here, I can assure you this question will eat away at you for months to years to come after you’ve broken up.
There’s nothing worse than questioning yourself after a decision has been made, so be sure to take some time to be honest with yourself. The two of you could consider couples counseling.
It can oftentimes take upward of six months to a year or more to change habits in a relationship for the better due to the learning curve for learning and consolidating new skills and habits, so you need to make this type of commitment moving forward.
However, you can usually tell within three to six months of consistent and persistent effort at improving things in the relationship if you’re motivated and if your heart is in it. This can be a helpful barometer in gauging your progress.
When it comes down to it, most relationship problems can have resolution if both parties are committed and motivated.
Discrepancies in values, an absence of chemistry/attraction, domestic violence and substance abuse and addiction tend to have the poorest prognosis.
The key is to take your time in making this potentially life-changing decision and communicate with your partner from the moment you detect something awry so you can prevent relationship problems from deepening and snowballing.
What are some of the methods you’ve used to handle this dilemma of whether to stay or leave a dating relationship?
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