7 Good Reasons To Hold On To A Relationship Even If It Feels Like It's Falling Apart
Your relationship isn't always going to be perfect. Every relationship goes through ups and downs. But if things haven't been going so well, how can you tell if your relationship is worth holding on to?
In order to decide, Sonia Frontera, family law attorney and author of Solve the Divorce Dilemma: Do You Keep Your Husband or Do You Post Him on Craigslist? tells Bustle, the first step is to do some emotional inventory. Get to the bottom of why your relationship is in trouble. "If there's abuse of any kind, [it may be best to leave]," she says. "But if there isn't, you may want to give your relationship a reasonable chance."
Not every relationship facing tough times is doomed to fail. There are some good reasons to keep holding on, as well as some bad ones. For instance, history is a bad reason. "History alone is not enough to keep two people together," Jenna Birch, CEO of Plum dating app and author of The Love Gap, tells Bustle. "Don’t get stuck thinking in terms of the 'sunk costs' fallacy, when there’s not enough chemistry and compatibility to hold you together."
While having history with someone may not be the reason to keep going, here are some better reasons you should hold on, even if things feel like it's falling apart, according to experts.
1. Your Issues Are Temporary
"No need to throw in the towel if the problems are caused by issues that are temporary in nature," Frontera says. For instance, your partner is depressed because they lost their job and now they're not as loving as they used to be. If the issues you're experiencing now are likely to self-correct or can be fixed if both parties are willing to work on them together, Frontera says, "Go back in the ring and try to make it work."
2. You Share The Same Values
If you both want the same things out of life and you have shared values, don't be so quick to move on. "In this day and age, it can be hard to find someone else moving in the same direction you are," Birch says. "If you’ve gotten that far, it’s worth fighting for."
3. You're Still Best Friends And You're Still Attracted To Each Other
At some point in your relationship, the lust factor may die down a bit. It's common to feel comfortable after the honeymoon phase ends. While boredom isn't great for a relationship, it is something you can turn around. If you still physically want your partner and you still have a solid friendship, Birch says, you should attempt to work things out. Being more playful, flirty, and spontaneous are surefire ways to keep that spark alive.
4. Things Started Falling Apart After A Major "Event"
"Life happens," Birch says. We all experience major events that can shake you such as illness or a death in the family. If you can pinpoint the start of your problems to a specific event, your relationship is worth holding on to. According to Birch, you won’t always know how to handle these situations by yourself, let alone with your partner. "If it was the first one of its kind and you have no precedent for dealing with it, your bond can start to erode," she says. The best thing for you to do in this situation is to wait it out a bit. After some time, see if you can get back on track.
5. Your Partner Is Still The First Person You Think Of When You're In The Middle Of A Crisis
"It’s a great test of intimacy and trust to think about the first person you’d call in a crisis," Birch says. "Typically, that’s the person you trust the most and feel most comfortable with." If you're going through something and your partner is the first person you think of, that's a really good sign to hold on to your relationship. Regardless of how bad things are, they're still reliable and you can still trust them.
6. Your Relationship Continues To Help You Grow
"One excellent reason to stay in a relationship that seems to be a constant struggle is when it inspires you to grow as a person," Rachel Heslin, author of Navigating Life: 8 Different Strategies to Guide Your Way, tells Bustle. According to her, we often choose partners who mirror us — sometimes, the things that bother you the most about your partner are the qualities, traits, and behaviors you may not like about yourself. For example, learning how to compromise in a relationship doesn't come easy for everyone. If you and your partner always need to be right, trying to meet each other in the middle can be frustrating. If this is the case, Heslin says having the ability to look inward is key. "If we use those triggers to step back and make an effort to deal with our own issues, we can end up with not just a better relationship, but happier and more fulfilling lives in general," she says.
7. You Know Where Things Need To Improve
Recognizing your problem areas is the first step to turning your relationship around. Maybe it’s communication, showing affection, complimenting your partner, or anything in between. "If you see obvious areas for improvement where you’d feel significantly happier as a result, then work on that," Birch says. Regardless of why things are starting to look bad, your relationship is only worth holding on to if you and your partner are willing to work things out.
Again, you should never stay in a relationship if you're scared of starting over, or if you feel pressured to work things out. But if any of the above reasons ring true, your relationship may be worth fighting for.