As tough as breakups are, what’s worse is staying in a relationship that has ended a long time ago
Breakups are never easy-not for the person being dumped, nor for the person who made the decision. Whether they’re acrimonious, amicable or fall under the ambiguous category of ‘conscious uncoupling’, they still come with a world of heartache and self-doubt. When is the right time to throw in the hat and go your separate ways? At what point do you decide that things aren’t working and you no longer want them to work? But as tough as breakups are, what’s worse is staying in a relationship that has ended a long time ago. Sometimes, you’re single in all the ways that matter a long time before you actually cut ties. If you’re grappling with whether to split up or not, first, ask yourself these six important questions.
What made me want to be with this person?
When you’re reeling from a fight or a setback in a relationship, it can be tough to immediately see your partner in a kind light. But if you’re unable to see the good in your partner over a sustained period, it might be time to part ways before things get worse. But before you do that, if you’re seriously considering ending the relationship, take some time to think about what made you want to be with your partner in the first place and what has now changed. Even if it doesn’t make you change your decision, at least you’ll be able to give your partner honest, articulate reasons when you have the breakup conversation with them. Everyone deserves that much, at least.
Do I want to raise kids with this person?
When you’re oscillating between wanting to breakup and giving the relationship another shot, just ask yourself if this is the person you would want to raise kids with. It doesn’t matter even if you don’t ever want to have kids, if your partner is someone you look up to enough to imagine co-parenting with them, maybe the relationship is worth salvaging. If the answer is a clear ‘no’, you’ll know that breaking up is the right thing to do. If thinking about hypothetical children is not your jam, think about your closest friend or sister and ask yourself that if they were dating a person like your partner, would you tell them to stick on or pack their bags and leave?
Are we growing together or apart?
Relationships, like people, aren’t static and need to keep growing to stay relevant to the life stages of the people in it-individually and together. But they can also be tricky, because there’s no guarantee that the couple will go together and in sync, instead of separately and apart. When you’re contemplating the future of your relationship, it’s worth it to step back and assess whether you and your partner have grown together over the course of the relationship, and if the people you are today are compatible with each other. In an ideal case scenario, you make each other interesting, not boring.
How do we resolve fights?
Even if you’re not big on confrontations, every couple has to arrive at its own healthy way to resolve conflicts, arguments and even full-blown fights. If you find that you’re constantly ending disputes by sweeping the matter under the carpet, or by caving in just to move past the issue, you’re on a slippery slope that ends in a lot of resentment. If you don’t know how to resolve disagreements and you’re already rethinking the relationship, how are you going to negotiate your way back to each other?
Could I be the problem?
Barring extreme situations like infidelity or abuse, relationship trouble is very rarely all one partner’s fault. While it’s easy to assign blame and chalk the breakup down to your partner’s flaws, it’s also important to examine your own flaws and the part you played in exacerbating the problems you faced. Shouldering part of the responsibility doesn’t mean you stay in a relationship that has run its course, it just helps you learn your lessons and make more self-aware choices in your next relationship.
Is there a way to make things work?
If after all the soul-searching, you decide that your partner and relationship are worth fighting for, you have to go through the process of finding out how you can make this work and whether both of you are committed to putting in the time and effort it will take to fix the relationship. That might not always be the case, which means that even though there is stuff worth salvaging, it’s time to let go.
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