If things are currently rocky between you and your partner, then you're probably on the lookout for signs the relationship is still worth saving. Should you stay? Or should you go? That choice is obviously up to you. But if you recognize some of the signs below, and realize you've actually got a good thing going, it may be worth sticking around and trying to improve the situation.
If you do decide to stay together, that's great. But keep in mind this means your work will have only just begun. While every relationship requires effort, this is especially true for ones that have been faltering and failing. "If you decide to stay and make it work, discuss your goals and possible changes with your partner," certified counselor and relationship expert Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "This can include counseling, learning communication skills, and other ways you’re both going to improve the relationship."
Making a joint effort to change for the better will help you both break out of whatever rut you'd fallen into, so you can create a healthier, happier relationship. Sound like something worth doing? Then read on for a few signs you should save your troubled relationship, and then do whatever you can to make it better.
1. You Remember The Good Times
Hey, if you're truly unhappy, then go ahead and get out of your relationship — regardless of whether or not things used to be good. But if you fondly remember those happy early days, and want to get back to that place, there's still hope for your future as a couple.
As relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW says, "If there was a time when you both were happy in the relationship, then you can imagine getting back to that state." These memories can give you hope. But more importantly, they can provide you with a goal worth working towards.
2. You're Both Still Sorting Out Your Own Issues
If there are specific issues driving you apart, consider hanging on and giving yourselves time to work through them. As Bennett says, "Lasting change doesn’t happen instantly and, if you see genuine evidence of progress, it’s a good sign you can make even more improvement down the line."
3. Your Friends Are Telling You To Stay
You should always take outside advice with a grain of salt, since friends and family can't see the full picture, much less what you two are alike when you're alone. That said, if loved ones are advising you to stay, it may be a good sign.
"While you need to put your happiness first, if all of your family and friends are advising you to save the relationship, at least hear them out," Bennett says. "They might provide a fresh perspective to help you see things differently."
4. There Are Other Outside Motivating Factors
If you've started a family, or have bigger issues than just yourselves to consider, definitely pump those brakes. "This desire to keep your family intact ... can be the initial motivation that is needed to keep working on the problems, and eventually get to a better place where you are staying in the relationship because you are happy in it," Milrad says.
5. Your Partner Has Quite A Few Positive Qualities
No relationship is easy, and ongoing problems can make you want to run for the hills. But if you really think about it, are there a decent amount of positives worth staying for?
"The human brain is wired to focus on threats, so it’s easy to become fixated on the negative aspects of a relationship," Bennett says. "If you’re thinking about breaking up, but find yourself constantly reminded of the good things about your partner, you might want to reconsider ending it. It’s possible you’ve been so focused on your partner’s shortcomings, you’ve missed his or her excellent qualities."
6. You See Eye-To-Eye On The Big Things
As long as you two agree on the big things — like your morals, standards, etc. — you shouldn't let life's little disagreements get in the way. "You may feel frustrated, irritated by their habits, their routines, their quirks — but if you trust them, you feel they see the world the way you do, and you can envision yourself with them, it may be worth it to stay," says clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow.
7. You Broke Up Once And Hated It
Remember when you broke up and quickly realized it was a horrible idea? If you got back together, were glad for it, and have tried to better yourselves since, take that as a positive sign.
"This is a sign that you both want it. You may be frustrated and feeling hopeless but you know your partner is in this fight with you," Klapow says. Not only does that mean there's still enough love to motivate you, but that things have a pretty good shot at getting better.
8. Compromise Is Still A Thing
If you're both still willing and able to compromise, go ahead and try to save this thing. "It means the relationship has room to flex, change, and grow," Klapow says. "If both sides are willing to compromise as you move forward there is room to save the relationship."
9. You Two Are Able To Communicate
Let's say you've been arguing or having issues for a while now, and are considering breaking up. One thing that might make you hold on is an ability to communicate, as well as an ability to openly express yourselves.
"If you are able to speak your minds and express your feelings to each other, this is really important in a relationship and may be worth thinking about," says NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW.
10. You Actually Really Like Each Other
Is your partner your best friend? Do you enjoy seeing them and talking to them, even if other aspects of your relationship aren't too hot?
"If the physical chemistry hasn't been the best, but you connect well on an emotional level, there is hope for this relationship," Hershenson says. "Focus on your physical intimacy and ways to improve that aspect of your relationship."
11. You Both Want It To Work
Even if you two are having problems, there's still hope if you both want it to work and are still willing to put in the effort. As Milrad says, stick around if "you both want the relationship to work, realize that it will take time and effort to get things right again, and are committed to going to couples counseling to address the issues."
Is that the case? Then it may not be time to break up, just yet. If you're both invested and want things to work out — and are willing to do what you can to improve your relationship — it has every chance to be healthy and happy from this point forward.
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