Wondering if you should break up or divorce your partner? While all relationships ebb and flow, sometimes it’s a little worse than that.
However, if you’re having problems, it doesn’t always mean it’s time to cut ties completely– sometimes it’s not as clear as it might seem on the surface.
That’s why if you’re asking yourself, “should I break up?” or “should I get a divorce?,” you owe it to both of you to carefully consider these seven important questions first.
1. Do You Share Common Life Goals?
If you’re completely against having children and your partner is dying to have a big family, there is a definite time limit on your pairing. It’s unfair to stick around hoping that they will have a change of heart on the big stuff in life. If your partner wants a commitment, to live across the country or you are seriously incompatible in ways that you can’t seem to get past, this might be a deal breaker.
2. Are You Both Okay Just Like You Are?
Are they seriously trying to change you? Do they bristle every time you do something that they just don’t like ? Do you feel constantly criticized?
Have you noticed that the little things s/he does drive you up the wall? Have you been twisting them into a pretzel with your needs and requirements? Has your partner consistently mentioned feeling criticized by you?
Being able to truly be yourself in a relationship is critical. If either one of you feel like you can’t really be yourselves, it’s not a good sign. If you’re been silently hoping that they’ll change, it’s time to think about your expectations for the relationship and whether they are reasonable and if your partner can actually meet them.
3. Is There Abuse?
Are you facing problems with verbal or physical abuse? Is one of you saying hurtful things a little too often? Abuse is a big, flashing red flag, and an excellent reason to leave a relationship at break neck speed. If you’re experiencing abuse, it’s clearly a deal breaker. If your behavior is abusive, then you MUST work on yourself before you’re safe for anyone else.
Know that the odds are against you if you decide to stay in light of abuse. Research shows that abuse escalates over time, and abusive relationships only rarely ever improve.
4. Are There Other Deal Breakers?
Other deal breakers are much more individualized. Have you been telling yourself that it’s okay that he does certain things (smoking, drug use, unkindness, etc.) that you either didn’t realize he was a part of or glossed right over when you got together? Have you been hoping that these things might change?
Let’s get real for a moment. Do you want the type of relationship that you have to settle for or the kind that you’re so excited to be a part of that you won’t shut up about it? Overlooking clear deal breakers is a real quick way to resentment and regret.
5. Are They Someone You Could See a Future With?
When asking yourself if you should stay with someone, think about the future. Is this person someone who you could see yourself growing old with? Was it a summer fling that has just gotten stale? Are you having fun now, but know in the back of your mind that the relationship is not going to work long term?
Flings are fine as long as it makes you happy. Once you’re deciding on the bigger picture of your life though, it’s like trying to have a healthy body while living on junk food. Won’t do a ton of damage in the very short term, but long term, it’s easy to look up and wonder where the last three years disappeared to.
6. Are Your Times Together More Negative Than Positive?
Do you find yourselves arguing more often than not? Does it seem like the relationship is a heavy weight that you have to lift each time you’re together?
This is not a sign of a good long term pairing. However, there is a big difference between the occasional failure to communicate and doomed. All couples (I don’t believe anyone who says things are always peaches and cream) go through rough patches where the partners just can’t agree on anything. This doesn’t mean that it’s time to pull the plug.
However, when you feel like your honest attempts at getting along are never good enough, it might be time to rethink things.
7. Do You Have That Nagging Feeling?
In your gut, you know when a relationship has hit it’s expiration date. If someone is just not compatible with you, then you’re doing both of you a disservice by staying. Sometimes the spark is just gone. It’s hard to quantify “spark” but if it’s gone, you know. This is about the time that people start to complain they feel like roommates.
If you’re reading this in the first place think about how you got to this article right now. Are things just tough, or should they be over? Only you can tell for sure if it is time to break up.