Love may be a battlefield, but just like in life, it’s important to pick your battles. And while movies and TV shows have romanticized the idea of fighting for love, it’s possible that your relationship just isn’t worth the fight. Don’t get me wrong — conflict is inevitable and even necessary in healthy relationships, as people can’t simply co-exist without reasserting their differences. Sometimes, you’ll need to fight for what you love (and who you love), but it’s important to know when fighting to make your relationship work simply does not work.
"The hallmark of a healthy relationship is one where the couple remains connected, despite external or internal stressors,” NYC-based relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter previously explained to Elite Daily. “No matter how great the challenge at hand, both individuals commit to working it out, together. They look at each other as their teammate, their partner, their confidant, and their support system.” You and your boo should feel like you’re fighting a battle together, and if instead you feel like you’re fighting them, then it may be time to put down the gloves. Here are some reasons why the person you’ve fighting to keep may not be worth your effort.
Your Partner Won’t Compromise
Compromise is an essential part of relationships, but when only one person in the partnership is open to compromise, then it becomes sacrifice. Rather than two people working together to figure something out, arguments demand one person give something up, and if that person is always you, then it’s possible your partner is more concerned with getting their way than making sure both of your needs are met.
According to family and relationship therapist Nicole Richardson, if you feel like your opinions are being diminished by the person you’re dating, then this is a sign they’re not willing to engage in a productive dialogue with you. She also notes that it’s a red flag when they’re constantly convincing you to see things their way. “If you can get clear about what your needs are and communicate them to your partner without retribution, there is hope for the relationship,” she explained. If not, then you’re likely fighting a losing battle that only requires sacrifice from you, not them.
Your Partner Can’t Empathize
It’s OK if your SO doesn’t always understand what’s going on in your head. It’s possible you don’t even fully understand what you’re thinking and feeling at times. But when two people are equally dedicated to making a relationship work, then they’ll make an effort to see things from the other person’s point of view. A person who simply refuses to consider your side of the story isn’t fighting with you — they’re fighting against you.
Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, told Elite Daily it's essential for your partner to validate your emotions, and if they don’t initially understand why they feel the way they do, then they should work on coming from an empathetic place. When a partner can’t “learn to understand and empathize with [their] partner’s experience,” then it will constantly be a battle to get them to see you... and sadly, you’ll likely end up losing every time.
Your Partner Doesn’t Offer Support
Teammates support each other. Competitors don’t. And while it’s unrealistic to expect that your partner is going to fulfill all your emotional needs (which can be seen as codependency), you should be able to expect your SO to pick you up when you have a bad day and bolster your self-esteem when it starts to falter. Your dreams should be their dreams, and you shouldn’t have to fight in order to earn your partner’s support and encouragement.
According to Chris Armstrong, founder of the relationship coaching company Maze of Love, there’s no point in fighting for an unsupportive partner, as they’d never do the same for you. “If our partner is not supportive, not only are they not complementing us, but we are picking up their slack while carrying our own,” he previously explained. “What's more, we are carrying the weight of knowing that we are picking them up without reciprocation.” Why go to bat again and again for a partner who would never return the favor?
Your Partner Doesn’t Show Respect
Love is essential in a relationship, but that love means nothing without respect. A partner who frequently talks over you, interrupts you, makes decisions for you, and dismisses you likely doesn’t respect you (or, at least, show you as much respect as you deserve). And while you can fight to make someone stay or to make someone happy, you can’t fight for another person’s respect — that has to be earned, and you can’t earn it if you partner refuses to give it to you.
“Gaining respect may take some time to build, but honestly, it shouldn't take much time to be treated with kindness, courtesy, and gratitude,” Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples' therapist in Los Angeles, told Elite Daily. “If you have brought the subject up, likely multiple times, and your partner isn't changing, then you need to decide if it is healthy for you to be with someone who doesn't respect you.” You shouldn’t have to fight to earn your partner’s respect, and you shouldn’t have to fight for the love of someone who doesn’t respect you, because there are plenty of people out there who will.
Your Partner Betrays Your Trust
Like respect, trust should be mutually felt in a relationship. Even if your SO fibs or misleads you at times, you should be able to trust them when they show remorse and promise to be better. It’s even possible to forgive a cheater — as long as you feel like you’re fighting for someone who won’t hurt you again. But if someone continually betrays your trust and doesn’t show remorse for doing so, then they don’t deserve your effort.
According to dating coach Monica Parikh of School of Love NYC, “I think you have to understand that, in every relationship, it takes two people to make it and to break it ... I think fundamentally, you have to ask yourself, ‘Is this a good person? Are they trustworthy?’” And if the answer to either of those questions is no, then Parikh said it’s time to stop fighting the inevitable and end our relationship.
You may like the idea of having to fight for love, but the reality is that you shouldn’t have to fight all that hard if the love is real. And while only you can decide whether a relationship is worth the fight, Dr. Brown previously said, “You know it is worth fighting for if you are compatible in at least 80% of the things that are important for each of you — including your values and your general outlook on life.”
When you have a partner who’s willing to compromise, empathize, and show support and respect, then you can trust that you probably share similar values and goals. But if your SO doesn’t possess these qualities, then making a relationship with them work may be harder than it’s worth.
Susan Winter, relationship expert and love coach
Nicole Richardson, family and relationship therapist
Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love
Chris Armstrong, relationship coach and Maze of Love founder
Dr. Gary Brown, couples' therapist
Monica Parikh, dating coach for School of Love NYC
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
This article was originally published on