At the beginning of the relationship, you felt happy. You wanted to be with your partner every day, and they made an effort in the relationship. Both of you felt so lucky to be with each other, but now, all you are is stuck. Are you in a relationship rut? Don’t know whether to stay or leave? Answer these questions to find out.
Does your gut say to go?
No: Fight for your intuition.
Sometimes, our bodies know the answer before we do. If you ask yourself, “should I leave” or “should I stay” and listen, you will most likely find the answer you are seeking.
Dr. Forrest Talley, a clinical psychologist from Folsom, California, says that a period of boredom and frustration doesn’t have to signify the end of a relationship for a couple.
“Most people will then have moments where the seeds of regret begin to form,” Talley says. “They need not, however, take root.” Talley notes that sometimes when you are in a long relationship, things can take a toll. Relationships are complicated and require a certain give and take. There are sacrifice and forgiveness, and compassion involved. Not every day is going to be happy, and that is just the nature of relationships.
Are you able to fully be yourself in the relationships?
Yes: This is a good sign the relationship is worth fighting for.
Dr. Supriya Blair, a licensed clinical psychologist, says that asking yourself this question is imperative. When you love and accept yourself, you can give love to others. It is also healthy to have a self and other balance — making sure that you are your own person and not someone else’s [wife/girlfriend/etc.]
Blair explains, “Once you’ve answered those questions, then imagine how you’d feel if the bonds keeping you tied together —like an interconnected friend group, or mingled finances— went away. If that changed tomorrow, would you still want to stay?” Being brutally honest is the key here. If you are not honest with yourself, you are just prolonging the pain.
Are your needs being met?
Being in a relationship requires a particular give and take. We may get into romantic relationships because the other person may offer what we are looking for — i.e., intimacy. While everyone has different needs, if you have communicated your needs and are still not being met, this is a red flag.
In another sense, are you seeking the needs found within your relationship with someone else?
Julie Wadley, founder, and CEO of matchmaking and coaching service Eli Simone, says it is great to have trusted colleagues at work, but if you are turning to your work husband or work wife for support because you know that you are not going to get support from your partner, it may be a red flag.
“If you’re like, ‘I have a choice between talking to my boyfriend and talking to my guy friend, the guy who is constantly giving you that emotional affirmation that I need — I’m going with the friend,’” Wadley says, “Something’s not right.”
Are you afraid to ask for more?
If your needs are not being met and you are uncomfortable about a situation regarding your partner, it is always best to sit down and communicate with them. However, people may not want to ask for more for fear of sounding needy or emotional, says Wadley. This can do more damage than good. “Hiding your true feelings about how your partner is treating you likely prolongs the unfulfilling relationship, rather than saves it,” Wadley says.
Do your friends and family support the relationship?
Yes: Take all things into account when you re-evaluate your relationship.
No: You might want to split.
In this scenario, we are talking about if they approve of the person for their personality rather than superficial reasons. “If nobody in the community supports your relationship, that’s a red flag,” Lindsay Chrisler, a New York-based dating and relationships coach, says.
If they see on the outside that the relationship is not making you happy, it is a good idea to listen to their opinions, says Chrisler.
Do you feel obligated to stay with them?
Yes or no: Ask yourself why and if that is a good enough reason to stay or split.
You’ve been in a relationship for a few years now, and now you are not feeling right. You feel like you are in a rut, and you just can’t get out of it. In this case, you need to ask yourself if you are staying with them because you’ve been with them for a long time and don’t want to throw anything away or because you genuinely love them.
“When it comes to people and relationships, time does not necessarily equal success,” Wadley says. She also added, in a Time Magazine interview, that many of her clients are reluctant to leave an unhappy relationship because they want to reap the rewards of their investment.
Do you feel less stressed when you’re away from your partner?
No: Is it because you feel calmer when you’re with them or is the relationship causing you to feel equally stressed when you’re away from them ( *ahem* split)?
Every relationship has its disagreements. Some days you work hard on your relationship, and that is okay. Chrisler says people in healthy relationships maintain the mindset that “this [person] is my friend, and I’m going to get through this with this person.”
Alternatively, do you feel happier when you are away from them? Do you prioritize your family and friends over them every single time? Having independence outside of the relationship is good, but if you don’t ever want to see your partner (or feel okay not seeing them), it may be a problem.
This may make it harder for you to go through difficult times with them. According to Chrisler, the key is to listen to the logical part of your brain instead of submitting to the euphoric chemical reactions that love can cause.