How to Tell if You Should Stay in a Relationship

by Nina Edwards
If you have not started mentally separating yourself from your partner, you may be leaning toward staying.

If you have not started mentally separating yourself from your partner, you may be leaning toward staying.

It is hard to leave a relationship that is challenging or failing. Often, it is even more difficult to stay when the signs point to leaving a relationship. Knowing is half the battle, however. It is natural to take the easy way out and end a relationship that is plagued with challenges, but sometimes it is wiser to be patient and discover if you should keep going.

Avoid Regrets

Leaving a relationship when you should stay can sometimes be a bigger mistake than staying when you should leave. Sometimes, people are diamonds in the rough. To leave and only realize later that you should have stayed can be painful. Regret does not discriminate; it can be as powerful for one as it is for the other. So, it pays to take a step back, be objective and reflect.

A Relationship Worth Saving

Certain factors suggest if a relationship can be worked on and saved, or if it is doomed to fail, says Susan Gadoua, in her article, "How Do You Know If You Should Stay or Go" on Gadoua calls them workability factors and outlines things like ability and willingness to communicate. Another factor to consider is infidelity, and serial infidelity is a serious deal breaker for any relationship, states Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., in his article, "Ten Reasons to Leave a Relationship." If there has been only a single affair and you have worked through the painful process of rebuilding your relationship, there might be no reason for you to leave.

Go Forward by Going Backwards

You should ask yourself if your partner is generally reliable and dependable, because history often repeats itself, says Preston Ni, in "Seven Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success" on A wise person looks into the past from time from time. If your partner is generally reliable and dependable, you should consider staying. People sometimes make mistakes; if they are genuinely sorry and ask for forgiveness, you should know that everyone deserves a second chance.

Determine the Commitment

Check to see if your partner is equally committed to making the relationship work. If he is, there is hope. The difference between a relationship that fails and one that succeeds is the commitment of the partners to make their relationship work. Do you still think of yourself as being part of a greater whole that includes your partner? Or as a separate individual? The answers to these kinds of questions reveal commitment, says research by Christopher Agnew et al. in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.”

About the Author

Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.

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