If You're Constantly Looking For Ways To Save Your Relationship, It Deserves To Die

Photo: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock
If You're Constantly Looking For Ways To Save Your Relationship, It Deserves To Die

A few years ago, I was writing a lot of op-ed articles about love and relationships, and I noticed that, every couple months, I would write about how something I tried had “SAVED MY MARRIAGE!!” Individually, nothing seemed weird about that; every couple has stuff they have to work through, right? But then I looked at the articles all together and realized my marriage seemed to be in constant triage. —

Which is why I'm ending it. 

RELATED: How To Fix A Broken Marriage — And Find Love & Happiness As A Couple Again

One of the most demoralizing things about finally leaving a relationship I started to suspect I should have years ago isn’t the people in my life telling me they’ve also been thinking it for a long time, although that feels pretty embarrassing. What’s worse than that is the stark evidence that I’ve invested a lot of time in lying to myself for no good reason, and I didn’t even do it convincingly enough to fool myself.

If you’re in a happy relationship, you don’t have to look for ways to save it.

And if your relationship becomes so unhappy that you have to find a way to turn things around, that should be a major once-every-so-often maneuver you work out with your partner — not a quick hack you read about in a clickbait article that you’re going to implement between the two of you and hope for the best.  (Or, in my case, a series of articles I wrote that publicly displayed just how many compromises I was making to stay in something that wasn't serving either of us.) 

And if you’re constantly having to troubleshoot your relationship and try new things and make all manner of concessions just for it to seem functional then it isn’t.

Even if both of you are working on your problems and you both agree that you love each other and want things to get better, your relationship isn’t working if all you’re focusing on is repairs.

This is not to say long-term relationships don’t have rough eras; of course they do! But if there are no sunny skies to offset your problems and you’re just jumping from one issue to another, it’s time to stop trying to fix it and ask what, exactly, you’re trying to save.

RELATED: 8 Things Couples Can Do To Fix A Broken Relationship

So I quit trying to save my something that wasn’t working and let it fall apart. I quit believing that endless compromises and talking through our gigantic pile of conflicting issues was going to magically transform us into people who thrive together, and I let myself move on.

Already, my life feels so much easier, like I can breathe again. From what I understand, that’s how my new ex feels, too, and that makes me happy. I have no doubts that walking away was the healthy choice; I just regret not doing it sooner when my heart knew we weren’t getting any better together.

Don’t get me wrong: I believe in couples counseling and working out your problems with the people in your life that you love — but only if your issues are actually improving. The majority of any relationship can’t be spent on trying to keep it alive and still be beneficial to either party.

Accepting that that’s okay is a major roadblock to deciding to let go, especially in a relationship you’ve committed to for life, but realizing that keeping you both together is causing more pain than separating also requires love. It is a loving act to set someone free from something destructive — even if that someone is you.

I know I can’t convince anyone reading this that my situation isn’t an anomaly, but if I’ve learned anything from rambling about sex and love on the internet it’s that none of us are experts and nobody on the planet knows what your life needs for it to flourish.

If you’re here reading for ways to make things better in your romantic relationship, I think that’s admirable and I hope you find everything you deserve in love; however, don’t forget to check in with your heart and ask what it really wants before taking the advice of anyone else.

No amount of anecdotes, opinions, or advice from others is going to help you fix something that’s irreparable and all of us deserve better loves than those we exhaust ourselves on in trying to keep.

RELATED: How To Tell If Your Marriage Is Worth Saving — Once And For All

Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer and activist based in North Carolina, where she overshares her bizarre journey through mental illness, recovery, parenting, and surviving Southern suburbia on her blog or anywhere she can get published. Her words have appeared in Huffington Post,, XOJane, Ravishly, ThoughtCatalog, and one time in the Letters to the Editor section of Playboy.