If you're reading this article, then the end might be near. A relationship that you cherished is about to come to a close, and you're looking for any way possible to extend it, and maybe even save it. After all, it's human nature to become attached, and when you've put so much of yourself into something, it's hard to let that something go. Fortunately, there are signs within relationships that can give you hope, and lead you out of this dark hole you find yourself in; you just need to look beneath the surface to see if those signs exist.
First, though, I must include a stipulation; before we begin, you must take all emotionality out of this equation. You cannot make your decisions based on that speck of love you still have in your heart, or else you may end up in something that you don't really wantâ€”regardless of what you think at this moment. You must understand that some relationships are fated to come to an end, even if you really don't want them to. And, to force those relationships is something that you will regret the rest of your life. So, keep that in mind as you read the following entries, and make sure that this is truly what you want. Without further ado, here are some signs to look for to see if your relationship is able to be saved.
Is your Significant Other Willing to Work Things Out?
This is the first thing that I normally ask people when they come to me seeking relationship advice. Obviously, if you're trying to make this relationship work, then you are willing to change things about yourself that your partner might deem unattractive; but, is your partner willing to do the same? When it comes to relationships, it is always a two-way street, regardless of how either party sees it. Both parties need to be willing to work their problems out, get to the core of the issues while changing things that the other person has issues with. This is a sign that both think the relationship is worth saving, which may mean you have good reason to give your SO another chance. Of course, words are words, and even if your partner says they want to change, it doesn't mean they will; but, if you come to them with your problems and concerns, and they don't completely rebuff you, maybe it's worth it to give them some more time to shape up. You never know what will happen!
Is it a Fundamental Issue that Needs to be Changed?
To preface this, I live with a house full of roommates, all of which have been my friends for quite some time. Of course, as roommates are wont to do, we have disagreements all the time, some of which get quite heated, and others which end with one of us swearing we'll be moving out the next day. Normally revolving around things such as doing the dishes, stealing food, and other minor problems, these are what I love to call "roommate problems" and they have absolutely nothing to do with the friendship at hand. They are simply problems that arise from constant contact and living with each other, and they are going to happen, regardless of how much we love each other as friends. This is the same with actual relationships.
If you're thinking about breaking up with your SO, then it's time to really look at the reasons behind it, particularly if you live together/have been together for a long time. Are the reasons really fundamentalâ€”i.e. they're a mean person, they aren't compatible with your interests, etc. etc.â€”or are you just angry at "roommate issues"? If it's the second one, then there's a very good chance that you can save this relationship. Obviously, you can't simply let them get by with not cleaning or being slobs, but you need to weigh the problems you're having against your love for your partner, and show what kind of psychological harm he/she's causing you through these "roommate issues" that you two are having.
Chances are, if you don't realize that the reasons behind your anger are a bit petty, once he/she realizes how much these things mean to you, they'll try to change, and you can get on with your life.
Will they agree to Professional Help?
If, at the end of everything, you simply can't get on even ground, you may want to suggest getting professional counseling to try and make things work, especially if you're hell bent on staying with them. If they don't agree, and they don't try to change things, then it's time to move on (coming back to my original point); but, if they are willing to at least talk to a counselor, then they are invested, like you, and may want to at least try to save the relationship. It might not work, and counseling might even go up like the Hindenburg; but, it is a step, and it's just one more sign that the relationship may be worth saving.
Tyler Fleck is a blogger living in Arizona with 4 ornery roommates and a wonderful girlfriend. He writes this article on the behalf of Heidi Seifert NCY Psychotherapist, who offers services for couples counseling in NYC.