Lauren Saccone
February 12, 2017 2:13 pm
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

As much as we’d like to believe that every relationship has a happy ending, sometimes they just don’t work out. Sometimes it’s easy to know when it’s time to throw in the towel and walk away from your partner; other times, it’s all about knowing the right questions to ask before you breakup with your partner to make it a little less complicated. (Though it’s never not complicated, let’s be real.) Maybe there’s a lot of good mixed in with all that bad; maybe breaking up seems like a lot of work right now; or maybe you’re just not ready to call it quits. When you’re on the fence about whether to end a relationship, there’s one person in particular you should talk to: your significant other. Before you make any decisions, sit down with them (like a grown-up), and have a frank conversation about your relationship. Stumped as to how to work things out?

Here are a few places to start.

‘Are we just angry because of a fight?’

Freaking out and breaking up because you’ve had an argument (even a big one) is not a great idea. Wait until you’ve cooled off to see if this is a real issue, or just a temporary case of rage.

‘Is this an ongoing problem?’

Every couple has their issues, but if the things in your relationship that bother you aren’t getting fixed, you could be facing a serious conundrum.

‘Why are we together?’

Is it just easier to stay in an unhappy relationship, or do you really appreciate being with this person (and vice versa)? This is one you want to mull over yourself before you start the uncoupling process.

‘Can we work it out?’

Be honest about whether you’re willing to work on things in the relationship. If you’re not going to put in the effort (or your partner isn’t), then a break up might be the best thing for both of you.

‘What do you need to be happy?’

Ask this of your significant other, but ask it of yourself too; it’s important that what you want and need from the relationship align, otherwise you’ll both end up feeling angry and disappointed.

‘Are we happier together or apart?’

If you think that being alone will make you happier in the long run than staying with your partner, that’s a pretty powerful sign that the relationship may not make it.

‘Have we both been trying our best to make it work?’

You can’t blame a relationship for faltering if you’ve been faking it (or not doing your share of the emotional heavy lifting). If one or both of you admits that they’ve been coasting, you might just need a romance boost instead of a break up.

‘Are we still in love?’

This is a big one; if you’re still willing to fight for the relationship, maybe it’s not quite time to call it quits.

Walking away from a relationship is never easy, but once you know what you need from a partner and what they need from you — and whether or not you can both provide those things or make compromises, it all gets a little clearer. Communication is always your best bet.

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