Should I Break Up With My Significant Other? 8 Signs You Shouldn’t End It, At Least Not Yet
How much time should pass between the moment you decide to break up and the moment you do it? While nobody likes to drag out breakups, it’s easier to decide you want to stay together after all before you break up than it is to break up and then try to get back together. So, it’s worth taking the time to reflect on your relationship and see if it’s salvageable before ending things.
"If you’ve been miserable for years and have been to counseling and don’t see any changes in sight, break up," Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Chandrama Anderson, LMFT tells Bustle. "Give yourself and your partner a chance to be happy with someone else. You deserve to be loved and appreciated."
However, she says, “Many people decide to break up way too soon. Have you tried talking everything through? Have you gone to couples counseling? Many issues can be resolved with professional help. ... Relationships take work; you get out what you put in."
There's nothing wrong with moving on if that's truly what you want to do, but don't jump to the conclusion that there's no more hope for your relationship before you try to fix it. If you’re thinking about breaking up with your partner, here are some signs that you should reconsider, at least for now.
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1. You Haven’t Tried Everything
Before you decide that your relationship’s not salvageable, you have to actually try to salvage it, whether that’s through a one-on-one discussion or with a therapist. Life Coach Nina Rubin, M.A. tells Bustle she suggests asking yourself: “Have you given it your all? Have you said everything on your mind? Is it worth saying?”
2. You’re Angry
If you decide to break up in a fit of anger, you might regret it later. “When we feel hurt or disappointed, we want to inflict pain on our partner, and sometimes we do that by threatening to leave,” therapist Evie Shafner, MFT tells Bustle. “We might be in the flight part of our fight-or-flight brain and think we wouldn't hurt if we left. But that might be very far from the truth. You could leave and still find yourself very unhappy. Calm yourself before you say words you regret. Don't play games and use threats about breaking up as a way to get closer. It won't work in the end.”
3. The Needs They're Not Fulfilling Could Be Met Elsewhere
If you’re unhappy with your partner for not meeting certain needs or yours, ask yourself if there are other ways you could get them met. Maybe there are friends who could provide you with the kind of conversation you crave, or maybe you even want to consider polyamory if there are unfulfilled sexual needs. “Part of being a grown-up in a relationship is recognizing that our partner can't meet our needs all the time and be our endless source of love and comfort,” says Shafner. “So ask yourself if your expectations have been realistic.”
4. It’s Not Them, It’s You
If you’re dealing with an issue that keeps coming up in every relationship, the solution may be to work on yourself rather than end your relationship, says Anderson. “Because of how the brain is wired, you will likely end up in a similar situation with your next partner six to 18 months down the road when the happy hormones in your brain wane.”
5. They’re Kind & Generous
These are the two qualities that best predict how long a relationship will last, David Bennett, certified counselor, relationship expert, and co-author of seven self-help books, tells Bustle. “If you're considering breaking up, but you have a partner who is kind and generous toward you, it may be worth saving.”
6. You’re Still Physically Affectionate
Research shows that couples who sleep close together are happier in their relationships, body language expert Patti Wood tells Bustle. Kissing and hugging when you greet each other, say goodbye, or go to bed are also signs that you still have a connection.
7. You Still Have Hope
“Hope is not the same as wish,” Licensed Counselor and Life Coach Monte Drenner tells Bustle. “Hope means there is some confident expectation that things can work out, not just a desire for the relationship to work out. Hope can be gained from the fact that the relationship has been through other difficult times and can therefore make it through this one.” It doesn’t mean things will work out, but it means it could be worth the shot.
8. The People You Trust Think You Should Stay
Sometimes, our friends and family can see our relationships more clearly than we can. That goes both for situations where they think we should go and ones where they think we should stay. “These trusted advisors can often see the relationship from another perspective, which can provide some confidence that the relationship can work out,” says Drenner.
The presence of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean you should stay. “It may be that it is time to end a relationship,” says Shafner. “We don't want to stay because we are afraid to feel loss or grief. But becoming very aware, conscious, thoughtful, and a having a willingness to look in the mirror might well heal those places that have made us want to go.”