As amazing as it is to get together with someone you care about, the flip side is that you run the risk of someday coming apart. Making that call is incredibly important, and definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly. In the age of dealbreakers and instant gratification it can sometimes be tough to determine whether a relationship issue is the end of the road, or just another hurdle.
So how do you know when you shouldn’t give up?
1You don’t actually want to breakup.
This might sound totally silly, but the easiest way to determine if you should give up is if you actually want to. Your gut is the most important tool you have when you’re deciding to enter or exit a relationship. Think quietly to yourself, “Do I want to give up?” If you realize the answer is no, than it is worth it to stay.
Cathy Vandewater from Bustle sums it up thusly:
“If you feel like your person still brings out the best in you even during tough times — if you find yourself apologizing when you’re wrong, trying to be a better listener, or laughing your way out of arguments — you’ve got a relationship worth working on. ”
2You haven’t discussed the reason for breaking up with your partner yet.
Oftentimes, you shouldn’t give up on your relationship if your reason for leaving is an issue that you haven’t tried to discuss with your partner yet. Maybe you find the idea of discussing or confronting them about the issue overwhelming. Maybe you’re afraid of how they’ll react. Maybe you have something to tell them that you’re afraid will make them leave, so you rather leave first.
Relationships are about communication and building trust, so it’s important to try to hear people out before calling it quits.
3You’re dealing with an issue that has never come up before.
Another good sign you shouldn’t give up on your relationship is if this is the first time you’ve encountered the problem. If your partner has done something that has upset you, and it’s the first time it’s happened, that’s a good sign that you should talk about it. We’ve all been at that point where we’re so upset we rather leave than talk it out, but if it’s the first time it’s come up it might be a better move to go cool off and come back and discuss it later.
Psychology Today describes it this way:
“All relationships have heated moments of tension…when we build a case against our partner, we tend to be set off faster, jumping on them the moment they slip up or overreacting to them.”
4They are making sincere actions toward change.
If your partner is making sincere actions toward changing the problem that is giving you pause, that is a good sign that you shouldn’t give up on them. Here it is however important to differentiate between talk and action. If your partner is saying they’ll change a behavior and not actually doing anything to change, that is a clue to leave.
5You are getting your information from someone other than your partner.
Even if it is news from someone who cares about you and means well, you should always discuss it with your partner first. Sometimes situations are misconstrued, or people are working off hearsay or rumors. Whatever the truth is, it’s important to try to get it from your partner, and no one else.
6You’re aware you’re bowing to outside pressure.
If you’re feeling pressured to end your relationship, and you know you don’t want to, that is a great sign to not give up on your relationship. This could be anything from your family not approving of your partner’s religious beliefs, to your friend’s thinking that they are too nerdy. The truth is at the end of the day, you’re the one in a relationship with this person. Not your family, and not your friends. If you are truly happy with them that’s all that matters.
eHarmony has this to say on the topic:
“Who in your life is on Team Breakup? Are there friends or family members pushing you toward this decision? Evaluate their motives — they may have identified relationship red flags that shouldn’t be ignored, or they may have selfish, unhealthy reasons for pushing you toward a split — and make sure that you’re at peace with your decision, regardless of outside influences.”
7You’re dealing with an honest mistake.
Sometimes people mess up. We’ve all been late or said the wrong thing in the heat of a moment. It’s important to stop and think about if the reason you’re thinking about giving up is an honest mistake that won’t happen again.
eHarmony has this to say about reacting to quickly to a mistake:
“Before you make a decision to end things, make sure you’re initiating a breakup for the right reasons. Don’t impulsively call it quits. Slow down and evaluate: Is this decision purely an emotional one? Wait until you’re calm and can carefully weigh your breakup motivation. It’s easy to give up when you’re exhausted or in the middle of unresolved conflict.”
8The problem is a behavior that can definitely be fixed.
Maybe your partner plays too many video games. Maybe they sometimes space out or interrupt when they talk to you. Maybe they just can’t seem to remember to take out the garbage. If the problem that is making you question whether to give up on a person is one that has a clear solution, it is a good sign to talk it through.
Cathy Vandewater from Bustle has this to say on this particular issue:
” Are things tough because you have conflicting work schedules, because one of you is going through a stressful life event, or because you’re dating long-distance? Maybe you’re sharing a studio, and you just want to get in the g-damn bathroom once in a while? You might come out of this tough time even stronger, if you want to keep trying.”
9You’re reacting because you’re scared of getting hurt again.
A very hard-to-place but good sign to not give up on a relationship is to recognize if you’re reacting to a past relationship trauma. Maybe your ex cheated on you, and that past hurt is making it hard for you to trust you’re current boo. Maybe you fought a lot in your last relationship, so your first fight in your new one makes you feel like leaving. While it’s important to self-advocate and be aware of patterns, we also have to remember that the person we are dating is not the sum of bad things that have happened in the past.
Psychology Today puts it this way:
“Without knowing it, we all have defenses in us, based on hurtful past experiences, that can now operate to push love away. So, when it comes to deciding whether to call it quits on a relationship we once valued, the first things we have to ask ourselves are: How much are my own defenses at work? and, What am I bringing to the table that could be sabotaging closeness?”
10The problem is your own, and you’d like to work through it.
Sometimes it might feel easier to give up than risk hurting the person you’re with based on your own issues. However if you really care about the person you’re with, and want to be with them, it is important to give them a chance to help you work through whatever is you’re dealing with. If they love you and care about you they will definitely want the chance to do this.
Psychology Today puts it this way:
“When approaching the actions you should take before choosing to break up, it’s important to adopt the attitude that the only person you can truly change is yourself. You control 100 percent of your half of the dynamic.”
Every relationship is different and it is important to assess the situation best you can. While no one wants to get stuck in a bad relationship or situation, sometimes there is more to a problem than meets the eye. In these cases it’s better to move forward with empathy, kindness, and forgiveness than pulling the plug on a relationship that is otherwise good. The relationships that are worth staying in are truly the most incredible, and someday you might be happy that you worked through it instead of giving up.