Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
Can This Relationship Be Saved?
Break up or stay together? Who hasn't wondered the same, during a seriously difficult time in their relationship? Or, entertained an even bigger question: Should you try to save a relationship? Especially a relationship that has been feeling really hard and unsatisfying for a long time? How do you know when it's time to call it quits?
I've been an online couples therapist for years, a Denver marriage counselor for over a decade, and a married person for even longer than that. I can say, with confidence, that all relationships go through hard times.
Strong, healthy couples with a lifetime of love ahead of them can have weeks, months, or longer where they do not feel good about their partnership. Communication is hard, they're upsetting each other, and one or both people can even start to wonder if they're compatible after all.
This is normal. Couples go through this and can come through the other side having grown as people and having stronger relationships than ever before. I've seen it happen, and it's happened in my own marriage. Not getting along for a spell is does not neccesarily mean you should break up.
Break Up or Stay Together: How to Tell
Yet there are situations where relationships are too far gone to be salvaged. There are partnerships where partners are fundamentally incompatible. And there are toxic, unhealthy relationships that aren't good for anyone. Sometimes, breaking up is the best thing for both of you.
It is very difficult to know sometimes what is “normal” relationship turbulence and what are signs that you should break up. The dilemma about whether to break up or stay together can be even more pronounced if you have complicating factors, like shared children. Other cases of whether a relationship can be saved seem more clear-cut, but even then people wonder if they're doing the right thing by ending the relationship or if they should give their relationship another it one more chance.
Because deciding whether to break up or stay together is such a hard decision, we have many questions come through from clients, listeners of our podcast, and readers of our blog wanting help in deciding if their relationship can be saved, or if it's time to throw in the towel. They want to know things like:
- “How long should it take to see improvement in my relationship?”
- “In my heart, I don't want to be married to this person anymore. Will it ever come back?”
- “Is what I'm seeing solvable, or is this a sign we should break up?”
- “Once a cheater, always a cheater? Or can you have a good relationship after infidelity?”
- “I'm not being treated well by my boyfriend. Can this change?”
- “How do I know if I've tried hard enough to save my relationship?”
If you've been going through a hard time in your relationship that has led you to have doubts, I hope that this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast can help shed some light on signs that it's time to break up, or whether your relationship can be saved.
P.S. We discussed a number of resources on this show. Here are the links for more information if you want to check any of them out:
- Dr. John Gottman's research on marriage
- The “How Healthy is Your Relationship” free online relationship quiz
- What to Do When Your Partner Has a Problem
- How to Stop a Divorce and Save Your Marriage
- How to Communicate With a Partner Who Shuts Down
- What to Do When Your Partner is Always Angry
- Repairing Trust After Infidelity
- Signs Your Relationship is Failing
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Should We Break Up or Stay Together?
Music Credits: The Velvet Underground, “Pale Blue Eyes”
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