2. What is the real issue (or issues) between you?
‘We just aren’t getting along’ is vague, and ‘the spark is gone’ is a coverup for deeper issues.
Try some deep journalling. Keep asking yourself good how/what questions. A good one is, ‘and what is behind that?’.
For example, ‘she always nags me’ and what is behind that, ‘it annoys me’ and what is behind that, ‘it makes me feel not good enough’ and what is behind that, ‘I often feel she only married me as her ex left her’. And then, ‘should I end my relationship over this? ‘No, sounds like something I can work on’.
3. Is the trust intact between you, even if it’s just a tiny spark?
Issues, no matter how large, can be worked on if the trust is still intact. Some couples find trust even after things like betrayal. They find all sorts of little ways they still trust their partner and grow it from there.
If you always lose attraction at the six month mark, or always go cold once marriage comes up, there is something to be said for getting support to try and work it out. You’ll likely just create the exact same experience yet again in the next relationship anyway.
5. What was the beginning like?
Once we physically engage with someone, our bodies release chemicals that affect our clear-headedness. Once that wears off, the familiar can become what lulls us.
But the truth can be found in the beginning. Did you have any funny feelings or instincts you overrode? Or see something you felt you couldn’t live with, but rushed in to a relationship anyway? Or did you genuinely think he or she was the right one for you?
6. From where you are now standing, how much was withheld from you?
If a partner hides a lot then slowly leaks out big truths, it can feel confusing. But going to that beginning again, how much was withheld?
Did he or she hide big things, such as a child, parents that were moving in, being married, terrible debt, or a criminal offence that limits your future options?
If you knew then what you know now, would you honestly have gotten involved?
7. What are your personal values? And do you share these with your partner?
If there is one thing you will constantly find in healthy long-term relationships, it will beshared values. This is why couples who seem on the surface a mismatch can last. Whether it’s a love of helping others, a love of adventure, or a belief in family, they share personal values.
Mismatched values are often the real reason why someone ‘gets on our nerves’ or ‘drives us crazy’. Their little habits run counter to our deeply-held values. Their being late for everything grates at your value of respecting others, their refusal to apply for a promotion is directly against your value of ambition, and their uncertainty around kids denigrates your value of family. Contrasting values rarely a good relationship makes.
The point of relationships is to grow together. But if one partner doesn’t want to, or you take vastly different directions, it can signal the end.
If one partner, for example, is suddenly taken bypersonal development but the other doesn’t want to change, or one partner wants to start volunteering and the other becomes obsessed with fame, eventually the divide signals the end.
9. Are you still on the same page after a life change?
One of the ways we can end up growing in different directions is when a life change happens to one partner.
Notice it says was, not is.Sexual attraction can come and go. In fact it inevitably does with enough time.
But if you are in a relationship where there never was attraction, and you were hoping it would grow but keep struggling with it?
It might be time to admit you are in a friendship.
12. Is there any form of abuse going on?
Not all forms of abuse are obvious.Emotional abusecan always be behind doors until you feel it’s ‘all in your head’. Financial abuse can be so difficult to face and talk about you can deny it even to yourself.
But abuse is abuse and it’s a red flag to get all and any support you can to find your way out. Be very wary of accusing your abuser, which can put your health at risk or leave you more manipulated and stuck. If you don’t know who to turn to, consider calling a helpline.
So what is it – stay or go?
With the right support, issues we think might devastate a relationship can and often are overcome by couples. This can include things like betrayal, lying, boredom, and sudden lack of sexual attraction.
Couples counselling is highly recommended here. The counsellor does not tell you what to do, he or she simply helps you both communicate and seek solutions.
What tends to make an ending more likely is ifyou don’t share values or a vision for the future, you’ve rushed in and/or built a relationship on illusions, or you are simply are not going to grow in the same direction any further.
If it’s abuse you are dealing with, regardless if you are the abused or the abuser, do reach out for support. Abuse tends to be an addictive pattern. Unless we admit we are powerless in our efforts to stop accepting abuse or abusing others, the pattern tends to continue. Support can help you finally end the cycle and find the strength to make better choices.