Working out if a relationship is completely over versus going through a bad patch can be a difficult thing. Relationship breakdown is a process after-all – but not a linear one. It often involves a see-saw of emotions; attempts to leave and reconciliations. It can be tricky to know how you really feel or when you have passed the point of no return. To help you figure things out, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Did your partner fulfill your needs?
Did the relationship really fulfill your needs on a day to day basis, was he or she emotionally there for you? Did your ex look out for your welfare and happiness – and vice versa? Were the relationship foundations in place. Relationship foundations include: Love (erotic, friendship, caring), Trust, Respect, Willingness to Communicate/Resolve Conflict, Empathy (understanding how the other person is feeling) and Commitment – if they aren’t there – Don’t go back!
2. Have you overcome went wrong the first time?
If the basics were in place but the relationship faltered – ask yourself honestly what went wrong…Do you both agree on what went wrong – chances are if you don’t that reconciling won’t work. Sometimes relationships are tested by factors that are outside of your control. Like living long distances away from each other because of work. If you both think there are things in the way that can be changed, then quite simply change them. You only live once so what are you waiting for?
3. Do you know what makes you happy?
Expecting someone else to make you happy can be difficult if you don’t really know yourself. Relationships are about understanding each other and accepting each other’s quirks. If you’re assessing whether it’s really over between you but don’t have an understanding of your own needs, then it’s going to be difficult to understand if the relationship will ever make you happy.
4. How does it feel if you imagine life without your partner?
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, relationships are full of ups and downs. If you’ve spent time working through in your head what life would be like both practically and emotionally and it’s a reality you’re ok with, this can be a sign that it’s over.
5. When you argue do you sort things out after?
Most couples bicker and argue but how often does this happen between you? Think back – have you argued for a long time and how fundamental are these arguments? When the bickering is over, do you park the argument and move on? It’s natural to disagree from time to time but if the arguments outweigh the good times and the same issues come up, then maybe it’s time to move on. Being able to resolve conflict is a fundamental of any relationship.
6. Do you want to make things work?
A relationship can’t work if one person isn’t really committed to working on it. If you’ve both got hope that it can work, then give it another go. There are many reasons people stay in unfulfilling relationships – for some, it becomes a way of life they choose, either consciously or unconsciously, or feel trapped in because of confused loyalties or the mistaken belief its best for the kids. You both have believe that you can be happy together and it’s a relationship that supports you both to fulfill your dreams and goals.
A decision like this requires dedicated time. Set aside time and headspace with no distractions (yep, I’m afraid you can’t do this type of thinking effectively in front of the TV or wedged into a train on your commute). Contemplate what you want from the relationship and whether this one has any real prospect of making you both genuinely happy.