My boyfriend and I have been together for three years. Over the last eight months or so we’ve spent more of our time together fighting than doing anything else. Something seems to have changed, but I don’t know what. Sometimes I feel I never understood him to start with and this relationship has been a colossal mistake. Should I break up?
Pooja from Thane is not alone. All relationships hit lows, and we’re often kept guessing which ones can be worked out and which ones can’t.
“Should I stay and work it out, or should I break up?” If you’ve ever been in a relationship, that question has probably crossed your mind more than once. Today’s post is an exploration of that question.
Fortunately, there’s just ONE question you need to ask yourself to know exactly what to do. That question is:
“Is this relationship giving me what I need from it?” You stay only if the answer is, “Yes.”
But what does it mean to “get what you need from your relationship”? Here are the top four indicators.
#1. Is communication easy? Even during fights?
One of the surefire signs of a fulfilling relationship is ease of communication.
All couples fight.
During fights, do they call you a “&*^%”, “^$$#”, “****”?
Or they catch you completely off-guard every time by throwing your shortcomings – which you confessed to them at a vulnerable moment – back at you in a cruel way?
Do they shout their lungs out?
Or they catch you completely off-guard every time by citing incidents from the past which apparently annoyed them, but they never told you at the time?
Fighting, and making your displeasure clear to the other person is natural. It happens in every relationship. You fight, but even when you fight you don’t have any problem understanding each other (even each other’s displeasure).
But if you feel manipulated, baffled and accused in completely unexpected ways all the time, there’s a communication gulf between the two of you. Somewhere you don’t understand each other, each other’s language, each other’s thoughts, expectations and needs.
If you don’t understand them, you’re most likely not fulfilling them.
#2.Does their vision of the future look alarmingly different from yours?
On one of those rare occasions when you’re not fighting and yet talking, they announced their dreams of living and working in different countries throughout their career.
Your heart sank.
You remembered how you whispered into each other’s ears your dreams of settling down back in your quaint little hometown, in the initial days of your relationship.
This isn’t sounding like the old him/her you knew. Somewhere along the way the needs and wants from life have changed – their, or yours.
A relationship is not about one of you fitting into the other’s journey. It’s about figuring out your journey, and finding someone who shares it. More or less. So, if you have very different needs from life as of today, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.
#3.Whenever you’re alone with your partner, do you wish other people were around?
Communication has broken down, and you’ve come a long way from each other. Emotionally. The alone-time you both so looked forward to is now something you both dread. Alone-time now looks like nothing more than an opportunity for Apocalypse-time.
You don’t have anything to talk to each other about. If you try, it ends in an argument.
You’re judging each other all the time, waiting for signs in their behaviour which validate your newly formed set of negative expectations.
If you prefer being with others more than with each other, it’s time to assess things very carefully.
#4. Are you always critical of each other?
His mannerisms come across as obnoxious to you. He looks at you and thinks, “I could get a so much more beautiful girl.”
Worse – you compare each other with others. In your mind, of course.
Even worse – you try to change them. You well-meaningly suggest how they should become a better person.
And before you know it this has led to yet another nerve-racking fight.
Forgiveness thy name is love. All of us have flaws. But if you’re in love with someone you’ll look past them – even find them cute. And so, if irrational displeasure at almost everything your partner is and does has crept into the relationship, it’s more a sign of the relationship wilting than some real new shortcomings you both have magically developed.
There are dozens of signs – small and big – to look for, when it comes to deciding, “Should we think things through once again?” Over to you…