March 7, 2024

Should I Stay In My Relationship Or End It?

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Deciding to end a relationship is complicated. Being alone, throwing away a potential future with another person, and not to mention going through a breakup is hard and overwhelming. Figuring out whether you should call it quits or work through any problems you have is not an easy decision. If you’re stuck and unsure what to do, know that your feelings are valid, and you can work through this. While you are the only person who can really decide to leave a relationship, we’re here to help. 

How Do You Know If You’re Unhappy In A Relationship?

Healthy relationships are built on trust, honesty, and respect. While no relationship is perfect, if you feel the bad times outweigh the good, you’re likely at a crossroads. 

If you often feel unhappy, unheard, or unappreciated, it could indicate a potentially unhealthy relationship. 

Unhealthy relationship qualities include: 

  • Intimate partner violence
  • Lack of social support 
  • Infidelity
  • Dishonesty 
  • Other forms of abuse 
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation 

Incompatibility can come from a number of factors like values, goals, and finances. A national survey from financial services company Bread Financial found that 64% of coupled consumers admit to financial incompatibility with their partner. The most common financial deal breakers for single people were a gambling problem and investing too much in crypto. 

Another study found that the most common reasons for relationship breakdowns were:  

  • Communication issues 
  • Unfaithfulness
  • Lack of respect 
  • Arguments 

Other signs that you could be in an unhappy relationship include: 

  • Feeling frequent negative emotions in the relationship, like frustration, sadness, or irritation 
  • Difficulty expressing feelings, needs, or concerns 
  • Having regular disappointment due to unmet needs 
  • Feeling a loss of personal identity in a relationship 

Remember that occasional challenges are typical within a relationship, but if you’re constantly experiencing concerns, then it’s normal to question your relationship. If efforts to address problems prove unsuccessful, it might be worthwhile to seek the support of a couples therapist to help navigate and understand the dynamics of your relationship.

Ready to choose your therapist?

How Do You Decide To Stay Or Leave A Relationship?

Maybe you feel like your relationship is one-sided or disconnected from your partner; there are many reasons why individuals think about ending a relationship. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding about the future of your relationship. 

Evaluate The Potential For Improvement 

While no one has a crystal ball, and guessing the future of your relationship is in no way an exact science, you can think about specific elements that can influence the potential to improve the relationship.  

Are both partners committed to improving or making a change for the better? A relationship involves two parties that require mutual effort. Open communication, honesty, and learning from previous mistakes are all important. 

Some negative signs in a relationship don’t necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed. Work stress, family relationships, and money worries can all take their toll on the relationship as a whole. But if there are several signs that worry you and there is no mutual effort to make a change, it could signal a deeper problem. 

Identity Deal Breakers 

One study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology asked participants about hypothetical relationships and looked at “dealblenders” instead of deal breakers. The study revealed that one dealbreaker may not be enough to end a relationship, but over time, problems add up, and dealblenders become deal breakers. 

Another study identified six qualities that are most likely to lead to romantic rejection in both short-term and long-term relationships: 

  1. Gross
  2. Addicted
  3. Clingy
  4. Promiscuous
  5. Apathetic
  6. Unmotivated

Determining your deal breakers in a relationship involves thinking about what’s important to you. This can look different for everyone as deal breakers are subjective. Consider things like respect, communication, shared goals, values, intimacy, and lifestyle compatibility.  

Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re struggling to make sense of your relationship and feel stuck, consider seeking professional guidance from a therapist or counselor. While self-reflection is essential, nothing can replace speaking to a mental health professional. If you’re considering a break-up, there are several benefits of speaking with a relationship therapist, either as a couple or individually: 

  • Gain clarity and perspective to help you unravel complex emotions 
  • Examine relationship dynamics from an unbiased third-party
  • Develop coping mechanisms and manage difficult emotions 
  • Learn relationship tips to improve communication skills as a couple and individually 
  • Prepare yourself for a transition 
  • Find support and professional guidance 

Weigh Up The Pros And Cons 

Should I break up or stay together?

If this question is running through your head, knowing which direction to go in can take time. When considering a break-up, weighing the pros and cons can help you sort through how you feel. Alongside speaking to a mental health professional and talking to a loved one about your doubts, writing down the relationship’s advantages and disadvantages can help you process your thoughts. 

One study found that the fear of being single may drive some people to settle for less in a relationship. Considering that 75% of Americans find it hard to meet potential dates without looking online, and 69% of the people who have used dating apps don’t like them, being single after a relationship can feel daunting.   

Reach Out To Friends And Family 

Friends and family can be a source of emotional support, offering a different perspective on a situation. Having a support system in place can help you get ready to transition to a new phase and talk through your emotions. While your support system can be a sounding board, ultimately, breaking up with a partner is a personal decision only you can make. 

Communicate The Decision

Break-ups are never easy for either party. But whether you’re ending a relationship or looking to improve the partnership through couples therapy, how you communicate the decision is essential. 

Statistics show that the most common way to break up with someone is in person, followed by a phone call, and then by text. Think about your timing and directness, too. Try to avoid delivering any news during a heated argument or when emotions are running high. 

Researchers found that in 2022, approximately 58% of respondents stated that their breakups tended to be messy and dramatic. 

The reality is that breakups sting. Psychologist and author of How to Fix a Broken Heart, Dr. Guy Winch, states, “Real heartbreak is unmistakable, from the intensity of the emotional pain it causes, to the totality with which it takes over our mind and even our body. We think of nothing else.”

Whether you’re on the receiving end of a break-up or are ending the relationship, it’s a hard place to be. But if you can, break up with someone with kindness and respect. Be honest and empathetic. 

Why It’s Important To Prioritize Your Happiness And Well-Being 

Your emotional needs, happiness, and well-being matter. If you’re in a relationship that depletes your energy, drags you down, or causes regular emotional distress, it’s natural to consider ending a relationship. 

Staying in an unhappy relationship can lead to negativity, resentment, and frustration. While choosing to break up with your partner is a difficult decision, prioritizing your happiness could mean the potential for a healthier relationship and personal growth in the future. Choosing your own happiness and well-being is an act of self-love. 

Deciding whether to stay in a relationship or leave is a deeply personal and complex process. While no one else can make the decision for you, a therapist can help guide you through self-discovery, fostering open communication and assisting in developing healthy coping mechanisms.
Book an appointment online today with one of our caring therapists, or call our offices. We have locations in most major cities, including NYC, LA, and San Francisco.

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