Should You Stay or Should You Go? Relationship Experts Weigh In

posted: 09/20/17
by: Katie Morton
Silhouette of a angry woman and man on each other.

Anyone who has been in a committed relationship knows that strong, happy relationships take work. What if your relationship is no longer feeling supportive, caring, or healthy for you? The decision on whether to throw in the towel or stay and do the work is a deeply individual choice. You have a tough decision to make. Relationship pros share guidance on how to make this tough decision.

Step One: Ask Yourself the Tough Questions

Each relationship is unique and there's no singular one-size-fits-all approach to determining whether it's worth saving. When trying to decide whether to call it quits or stay the course, it can be helpful to mentally process the important issues. By asking and answering key, challenging questions, you may find unexpected clarity about the "right" answer for you.

If you're considering ending a committed relationship, Psychology Today recommends that you ask yourself a variation on the following questions:

  • Do you believe in the good of your pairing?
  • Are you afraid or stuck?
  • Is your relationship damaged forever?
  • Can your relationship be healed?
  • Do you have the courage to deal with your problems?
  • If you have children, how will the children fare if you stay?
  • How will the children fare if you go?

Step Two: Determine Whether You're Just in a Relationship Rut

Relationship experts say that ruts are common, and certain situations or behaviors can be worked on in therapy, if both partners are willing. Common examples include:

  • Lack of sex drive or passion
  • Lack of meaningful conversations
  • Repeated arguments on the same topics
  • General boredom
  • Poor communication skills

Step Three: Are There Any Relationship-ending Deal Breakers?

Unfortunately, some relationships are not worth saving. In a situation where you're dealing with physical or emotional abuse, the relationship is not a safe or healthy one. The cumulative harmful effects from abuse on a person and on the family are multiple and well documented in research.

If you're dealing with abuse and are planning to leave, the National Domestic Violence recommends that you prepare a safety plan for how to leave:

  • Identify safe areas of your home
  • Plan an escape route
  • Keep a charged phone with you
  • Know who to phone for assistance
  • Create an emergency code word for friends and family
  • Keep your gas tank full and your car in the driveway
  • Call 911 if you're in physical danger

The National Domestic Hotline is available 24 hours per day for those who need help.

Step Four: Know Your Choice is Valid

Deciding whether to stay in your relationship or whether to end the relationship won't be an easy choice. Know that you deserve to be loved, cared for, and supported. Whether you choose to work toward that goal or end the relationship, it will take soul-searching and introspection. Whatever you choose, there is hope for a brighter future!