Is your relationship too far gone ... or is there still hope?
Why does it seem like we're often throwing away things too quickly and hanging onto other things too long? It happens with phones, tablets, laptops, cars, appliances ... and relationships, too.
There's no denying it. We live in a throwaway culture. A World Bank report looked at the amount of trash generated by people living in different countries and, as you might guess, it's the wealthier countries who throw the most away, with the United States leading this unsustainable and unhealthy trend.
The urge to "toss it and get a new one" can be difficult to ignore. These tendencies carry over to your relationship too.
When a relationship hits a rough spot because of mistrust, cheating, jealousy, fighting or the effects of merely growing apart, there's an internal push-pull that results. Will you work to patch together your relationship and hope for the best or will you walk away? To figure out what to do next, start out by asking yourself "Is my relationship beyond repair?"
Before deciding to stay or give up, go through each of these 5 steps:
1. Be real.
This is not the time to fantasize about how you wish your partner would look at you and talk to you. This is not the moment to pretend that your relationship is like what you've seen or heard about (whether better or worse). To make a decision about your future that will help you move toward happiness and the love you really want, you've got to be real.
As much as possible, take on the perspective of an observer. Focus on words, actions and feelings instead of attempting to come up with a "good" or "bad" judgment about your relationship (or your partner or yourself).
2. Check your facts.
When you're "getting real" about your relationship, restrict yourself to considering the facts. You can't know what your partner "really" thinks about you or what (or who) he or she "secretly" wants, but you can take a closer look at the reliable and verifiable information you have.
3. Get creative.
To fix the relationship problems you've uncovered as well as those you've known about all along, you're going to have to get creative. They say "If you keep doing what you've always done, you're going to get more of the same." It's trite, but it's true. Take that to heart.
Take out a sheet of paper, set aside your doubts and brainstorm possible resolutions to the difficult questions and conundrums you and your partner are dealing with.
4. Get uncomfortable.
As you ponder the "outside-the-box" solutions that you've brainstormed, pick one (or more) that you're willing to actually try. If your choice is something that you feel uncomfortable about, you're probably onto something really worthwhile!
Remember, there's an important difference between doing what's uncomfortable and doing what is inauthentic or what goes against your personal ethics. Listen to yourself and nudge yourself to take wise risks and practice new ways to be in your relationship.
Ask your partner to create agreements with you around these solutions, so that you're working as a team to repair your relationship.
Take notice when a new way of communicating or interacting with your partner brings you two closer together. Keep doing that!
Also, notice when the tension and the distance gets bigger or intensifies. As you reassess your relationship and recognize the improvements — or lack thereof — you'll know what's working and you'll see when the signs indicate that it's time to let the relationship go.
Here are a few situations when it's imperative that you make a quick decision:
- If you are being physically, sexually, emotionally, or in any other way abused by your partner, take immediate action and get to somewhere safe. Look online for resources, like a shelter or domestic violence prevention organization to help.
- If you are being abusive to your partner, take the initiative now to stop the violence and put some space between the two of you, temporarily or permanently. Get help from a therapist or counselor.
- If a child is being hurt or abused, make the child's well-being your top priority. Get the child to safety and with adults who will help him or her start to heal.
If violence and abuse are not going on, but you are unhappy, dissatisfied, hurting and wondering whether or not you should stay in or leave the relationship, use these 5 tips to get clear and make a decision that's best for you.
Deciding to stay in or leave your relationship can be one of the most significant decisions you'll make in your lifetime. Eliminate the uncertainty and move forward confidently with the help of our Stay or Go program.