Relationships are hard. That's no secret. When things start to go wrong, it's easy to begin to question whether the two of you belong together. Even in a truly loving partnership, you may find yourself wondering, "Is my relationship dead?"
But the truth is, all couples have bad times, because, well, life is sometimes difficult. That said, though, the differences between relationships that come to an end and relationships that are able to make it through are often very stark. And if you're going through a hard time in your relationship, you might be looking for some signs that can help you figure out.
Here's a list of indicators that your relationship still has the ability to keep going strong, if you want it to, despite your doubts that you might've reached the end.
1. You Still Enjoy Each Other's Company
Sometimes, toward what feels like the end of a relationship, it can seem like you're always fighting. But the truth is in, in a salvageable relationship, you'll still have moments where you really enjoy each other's company.
If you still like to do some of the things you used to like doing together, then there's still hope for your relationship. For example, maybe going to try new coffee shops was your thing, or maybe you just like to watch movies together every Friday night. In a relationship that still has a chance of working out, the two of you will remember how much you really like each other's company and will continue to enjoy it, even if you've been fighting.
2. It's External Stress That Has You Fighting, Not Your Relationship
If you paused and took a moment to reflect on the things that are upsetting you, would it really be your partner, or would it be everything else in life? Sometimes, you may realize that you're actually stressed about school or work or other life changes. If this is the case, your relationship is still definitely salvageable and worth fighting for.
Sometimes, when the stress starts to add up in our lives, we take it out on the person closest to us: our partner. Once that stress becomes consistent (and it's even worse if our partner is stressed, too), we start to feel like we're in a constant cycle of fighting and bickering with our partner.
But if, when you sit down and really think about, it's not your partner who is making you stressed, then you might want to try working on it before you say goodbye. Often, it's just a question of better stress management, which you and your partner can figure out together rather than apart.
3. The Thought Of A New Partner Makes You Cringe
Does the thought of dating or having sex with someone new send shivers down your spine? If so, you could be hanging on to your current relationship — in a good way.
If you really wanted your relationship over and done with, you'd probably be thrilled with — or at least toy around with — the idea of finding new lovers. You'd strongly consider dropping the monotony of your current partner to go out and meet new people and have new sexual experiences.
If, instead of excitement, you're feeling dread or disgust, then you're not done with your current love. If they are still the only one you want to be with sexually and romantically, it's worth continuing to work on your relationship.
4. You Can Still Talk To Each Other
Even if you blow up at each other more than you used to, can you still truly talk to each other when the stress isn't so high? If so, this is a relationship worth hanging on to.
For couples that are truly at a real breaking point, they may find that they can't even have a normal conversation anymore. It's a bad sign when every single interaction is just the two of you screaming and yelling at each other, and it's probably an indication that things won't work out in the future.
But if you're still able to talk like normal people when you aren't so stressed out, there's a good chance your relationship can make it through. Focus on the talking, instead of the arguing, and you'll be able to talk through more of your issues, rather than just having useless fights.
5. You Only Think Of Breaking Up When You're Fighting
If you think of breaking up constantly (when you're sad, when you're glad, when you're having fun), then you might truly want to break up with your partner. But if you only think of breaking up when stuff is bad, then it might just be your reaction to stress, not an indicator that you really want things to be over.
Relationships are hard, especially long-term, committed relationships, and even the best couples have moments where they wonder if they should be together. But if those moments really only manifest when you're in the middle of fighting, don't take this as a sign that those feelings are sincere. Instead, take it as a sign that you should both learn to work through disagreements better.
Don't let your relationship go unless you're sure — all the time -— that you want it to end.
6. You Still Laugh Together
One of the things that bonds couples in the first place is usually their ability to laugh together. If, despite all the bad things that may be happening, you and your partner still find a way to laugh together, you may want to continue trying to make it work... because you probably can.
Laughing is not only a stress reliever, but it's a great way to spend some moments forgetting the stress of being in a relationship. The truth is, no matter how happy you are, sometimes, it will feel hard. And sometimes, that feeling will last for days or weeks.
If you and your partner still easily laugh together, though, this means you still might have a genuinely happy connection. It also means that by focusing on the love and laughter, you can start bringing the positive aspects of your relationship back.
7. The Idea Of Ending It Feels Terrible
When you think about ending things with your partner, are you excitedly looking toward the future or do you just feel really terrible? If thinking about ending your relationship doesn't fill you with at least a small sense of relief and, instead, fills you with only a sense of dread and sadness, then you probably don't really want to end things in the first place.
If your relationship were truly all bad all the time, you would probably want to get away at all costs and not really look back. But if there's still good left in it, even a little bit, then thinking of breaking up with your partner probably doesn't make you feel very good at all.
8. You Both Want To Make It Work
Of course, the biggest sign that the two of you can make it work is that you still both want to make it work. No matter how that looks, if the two of you are committed to being with each other in any way, shape, or form, you'll make it happen.
Anita A. Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, says a big indicator it could still work is if the two of you are willing to try getting help:
As a relationship therapist, one of the areas I specialize in is helping clients, either individually or as a couple, figure out if they should stay or end their relationship. Perhaps surprisingly, most decide to stay together. Why? Because they didn't know [how] to make a relationship work.
If you are both committed enough to your relationship that you know you want to make it work, and you're both willing to try something new, like therapy, it's a good sign that things will work out in the end.
Nearing what feels like the end of a relationship can be really devastating. It's hard when someone you loved so much turns into someone you just fight with constantly. That said, there are certain indicators that you really can make it work, so if any of the things on this list sound like you and your partner, you may be ready to turn a corner in your relationship.
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