Few decisions are harder than trying to decide if you should break up or make up with your partner. There usually isn’t one good reason to stay or leave. The decision has to factor in dozens of aspects of your life, emotions, desires, and connection with your partner.
If you are considering whether it is time to bring a relationship to a close or put in the work to make it last, here are some questions to help you decide.
8 Questions to Help You Decide to Break Up or Make Up
#1) Is your partner asking you to change?
Making changes for your partner can be healthy for a relationship. Compromise can lead to a stronger partnership. For example, starting to wake up a little earlier each day to help your partner prepare breakfast for your kids or making an effort to stop leaving dirty laundry on the floor are positive changes.
But, there are unhealthy and unfair ways for people to ask their partner to change. Your partner should not make requests for you to change in ways that separate you from your authentic self or the things you love. You should never be forced to change in unhealthy or unfair ways in order to save a relationship.
#2) Can you express your authentic self to your partner?
The strongest relationships are partnerships where each person can be 100% themselves. This doesn’t only mean that each of you can relax and be your goofy, unfiltered self with each other. It also means that you don’t feel like you need to worry about what you say or how you act around your partner.
Not sure if you should make up or break up? A relationship may not be worth saving if one or both partners feel like they need to monitor their actions or words around each other. You should feel comfortable, confident, and able to communicate with your partner, not constantly worried about being judged.
Related: Communicate Better With Your Partner in 7 Steps
#3) Is contempt the primary emotion in your relationship?
Contempt is a pattern of treating someone with disgust and disrespect and intentionally pushing their emotional triggers. Relationship expert John Gottman has determined, through years of researching couples, that contempt is the “most poisonous of all relationship killers.” Contempt is the worst of the four horsemen of toxic relationships. When it is present, it is often one of the most difficult bridges to mend.
You can bounce back from feelings of contempt in your relationship. Gottman recommends building a culture of respect — particularly sharing five times more positive feedback than negative. But, if contempt is the primary emotional fuel in your relationship, it’s not usually a good sign.
Related: What Is Love & How Can You Keep It Alive?
#4 Do you trust your partner?
Trust is at the core of a strong partnership. When you have a foundation of trust and can believe and believe in your partner, it will be much easier to get through the tough times that every relationship will eventually go through.
If you are constantly questioning your partner or feel them questioning you, it might be more difficult to resolve even the smallest issues in your relationship. A lack of trust and secrets can slowly tear down a relationship that is otherwise strong.
#5) Does your partner abuse you?
Abuse comes in many forms — and none of it should be tolerated. There is never a reason why your partner should hurt you. While most people think of physically hitting or hurting someone when they think of abuse, there are many other types of abuse. None should be tolerated.
If a partner is abusing you physically, sexually, verbally, emotionally, psychologically, or financially, it is not acceptable. Get away from the abuser and seek support.
#6) Do you want the same things in the future?
All the love in the world can’t mend a relationship that is headed in two different directions. Part of having a life together is wanting to walk down the same — or at least a similar path. If one of you sees your future filled with children and a house in the country and the other has only ever wanted a fast-paced city life free from responsibility and children, it might be difficult to bring those paths together.
Talk to your partner about what the future looks like for them. While your paths don’t have to look exactly the same, consider if there are any roads that veer too far away from each other to bring you back to the same place.
#7) Do you feel obligated to stay with your partner?
Kids, finances, not wanting to hurt your partner, time invested. There are many obligations that can lead people to want to stay in a bad relationship. But, those obligations usually aren’t good enough reasons to make a relationship work if other important elements aren’t there too.
Love, trust, friendship, intimacy, compatibility, shared goals. You need more than obligations to stay in a relationship.
Recommended Reading: 7 Ways to Increase Intimacy and Reignite Your Relationship
#8) Do you both want to work on your relationship?
A strained relationship will rarely get better on its own. Inaction will not result in positive change. You have to want to work on your relationship for it to improve. More importantly, both of you need to want to work on your relationship for it to improve.
If something is leading you to wonder if you should break up or make up, discuss it with your partner and decide if you want to work on it together. Couples counseling, therapy, and putting in the work can help you reconcile and reconnect. But, if only one of you wants to work on it, it likely isn’t going to reunite your relationship.
So, Should You Make Up or Break Up?
Still not sure if you should break up or make up? Know this, not all relationships are worth saving. Not all couples are meant to be together — and that is okay. If you want to end your relationship, trust your heart. You know what is best for you and your life.
If going through these questions made you realize you have a relationship worth saving, great!
But, don’t expect that things will just get better on their own. Rough patches are normal in relationships, and you can work to repair a bond that has a strong foundation. Make a commitment to put in the work and ask your partner to do the same.
If you’re ready to get started with reigniting your relationship, consider enrolling in Loving Life’s four-week online couples program. Reignite Your Relationship in 4 Weeks provides daily articles, journal prompts, worksheets, meditations, and activities designed to help couples get their spark back.
Take a step to build a stronger future with your partner. See how you can Reignite Your Relationship in 4 Weeks.