This guest article from Psych Central was written by Danielle B. Klotzkin, MFT.
We make ourselves crazy trying to figure it out. We look for signs and ask psychics. We go over it again and again in conversations with ourselves and with our friends: "Is this the right relationship for me?"
Or we avoid thinking about it at all, and just go along with the other person’s agenda, only to find ourselves feeling stuck and dissatisfied in relationships that don’t fit us, go on too long, or end badly.
I wish I had a magic crystal ball to guide you, but I don’t. Decisions about continuing or ending a relationship are not easy. There are extremely complicating factors in our relationships, such as love, attraction, children, money and extended family.
Four questions, however, can help guide you. Ask yourself:
1. Most of the time, do I feel stronger or weaker when I think about my partner? Check out your physical, mental and emotional energy, your mental energy. Is this person mostly strengthening you, or mostly depleting you?
2. Most of the time, do I feel stronger or weaker when I share time and space with my partner? How do you feel when you hear your partner walk up the steps to your home? How do you feel when you are sitting in the car together? How do you feel when you are in a group of people? Again, check out your overall energy level. Do you feel stronger, or depleted?
3. Overall, does the energy and time that I invest in the relationship make it stronger and more stable? Often we can work on our relationships to try to shift them into being more strengthening and less depleting. The question is, does that work seem to actually pay off?
4. Given the reality of this relationship, pros and cons, am I done searching for something better? You never really know if there is something better -- there’s always a chance that there is. So, the question is, are you done looking? Some people are done in their 20s; some are never done. Just try to be honest with yourself and your partner.
And try to be patient as you try to figure it all out. No one gave you a magic crystal ball, either.