Ending a relationship is always a huge decision to make.
Whatever the circumstances, a breakup will cause pain and hurt, and can lead to big changes in your life, and the lives of others.
These decisions can occasionally be fairly straightforward and black and white. Sometimes, you just know it’s the right thing to do.
But, most of the time, these decisions will involve a lot of confusion and ‘what-ifs,’ and you’ll never quite be sure if you’ve picked the right road.
Because of that, it’s all too easy to just keep putting a decision about a breakup off, burying your head in the sand, hoping that things will all just magically sort themselves out.
But don’t panic! Just because you’re considering the option of breaking up with someone, doesn’t mean that your relationship is necessarily doomed to end.
If you’re having these thoughts, your relationship definitely needs work, as something isn’t right between you, but it might not be the end.
Either way, how do you know what the right thing to do is?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this one. The only person that can know what’s right for you is you.
No one can tell you how you should move forward from here, but here’s a list of questions you can ask yourself to figure out what the next step should be for you and your partner. A little quiz, if you like.
Ask yourself these questions, and don’t shy away from the truth.
You need to do what’s right, and as we all know, what’s right isn’t necessarily always what’s easy.
1. Am I happy?
This one is pretty fundamental. Of course, your happiness should never entirely depend on your relationship status.
Happiness has to come from within and depends on all kinds of things that have nothing to do with your partner.
But… if there’s something not right in your relationship, it can be hard to feel happy or content with your life.
If you’ve got a nagging feeling that something’s a bit ‘off’ in your relationship, then you’ve got some thinking to do.
2. Is my partner happy?
There are two of you in this relationship, and if this person is important to you, I’m sure you’re just as worried about their happiness as you are about your own.
Do they seem happy to you?
Again, their happiness shouldn’t ever be your responsibility, and they might be unhappy for all kinds of reasons that don’t have anything to do with you…
…but if you think your relationship might be having a negative impact on them, that’s not a great sign.
3. Does my relationship help me learn and grow?
It’s time to think about the effect your relationship has on you as a person.
Try to think about it from the point of view of your best friend. Would they say that your relationship adds to your marvelousness, or detracts from it?
Does your partner bring out the best in you? Do they dull your sparkle, or make you shine brighter than ever?
Have they encouraged you to learn and grow? Have they introduced you to new things?
4. Does my partner inspire me to become a better person?
When we love someone, we think they’re pretty damn amazing, despite their flaws.
Their amazingness inspires us to be the best version of ourselves we possibly can be.
If your partner doesn’t, and hasn’t ever inspired you to better yourself, then it might not be the right relationship for you.
5. Do we support one another?
When you’re in a relationship, you’re a member of a team.
Both members of that team should be willing to support the other when things get rough.
If you don’t feel like you support them, and you don’t get the support you need back, that’s a bad sign.
It means your relationship will probably start to show the cracks when life puts it under strain.
6. How is our communication?
Do the two of you communicate well?
Are you able to discuss tricky, sensitive, personal subjects with them?
Are you able to be totally honest?
If your communication isn’t great, do you think it’s something you could work on, or could it be a fatal flaw?
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7. What are the main problems in our relationship?
It might be helpful to write a list of the biggest issues between you.
Putting your finger on exactly what is going wrong can help you to see if things could be fixed.
8. Have we discussed and worked on these issues?
Okay, so you’ve established what your main issues are. Are they things you’ve worked on in the past?
Have you had honest discussions about them? Have you tried to find ways to solve them, and genuinely put the effort in to make things right?
Relationships are hard work, and there are always going to be stumbling blocks in the road.
If you love this person, you should be able to say that you’ve done everything you can to make it work, even if it doesn’t.
If you aren’t willing to put that effort in, then you’ve got your answer.
9. Do I trust them?
Trust is the lynch pin of any relationship. If the trust between you has gone, and you don’t think it could be repaired, then there’s no foundation for the two of you to build on.
10. Am I willing to make sacrifices and compromises for this person?
When two people come together in a romantic relationship, there’s always going to be sacrifice involved.
Are you okay with that?
Do you love them enough to put their needs in front of your own when necessary?
11. Do I resent them?
Do you ever feel like the relationship has held you back?
We all have to compromise for love, but if you resent your partner because of the compromises you’ve made for them, that could slowly chip away at your relationship.
12. Can I picture a future with this person?
Picture your life five years from now, ten years from now, and thirty years from now.
What does your future look like? Is your current partner part of it? Can you see yourself building a life with them?
13. Do I share common goals with my partner?
No matter how much love there is between two people, if they don’t share the same outlook and have common goals, there’s not much foundation for a lasting relationship.
You don’t have to agree on everything (that’s where willingness to compromise comes in), but you do have to work toward a future that will suit you both.
14. Am I scared of commitment?
Are these thoughts about breaking up the result of a fear of commitment, on your part?
If that might be the case, think carefully about whether you’d regret it if you let these issues ruin your relationship.
15. Are there any deal breakers?
It’s time to be honest with yourself.
Is there anything about this person that could, at some point down the line, spell the end of your relationship?
Do they want to get married someday, but you’re against it?
Do they not want kids, when you’ve always dreamed of being a parent?
If there are any big things that you don’t see eye to eye on that you know could break you up later on, there might be a case for ending things now.
16. Do my friends and family like them?
Does your mum like them? Do your best friends like them?
They might not have actively expressed their dislike, but if they’ve never told you that they think you’re good together, they might have their reservations about your relationship.
Be honest with yourself about why that might be. The people that love us the most normally know what’s best for us, even if, a lot of the time, we don’t want to hear it.
17. If I could just press a big red button and end the relationship without any of the messy break-up stuff, would I do it?
This is something I’ve heard a lot in the last couple of years. The ultimate test to know if you should break up with someone is this.
Imagine you could walk into a room, press a big red button and end the relationship, with none of the awkward conversations, none of the tears, none of the heartache.
Would you do it? If you would, then you’ve got your answer.