Arguments, differences of opinion, issues stemming from insecurity, and possessiveness are common in a relationship. There are times people decide to part ways because of these. Or you put in extra effort to stay together because the relationship is worth saving. But how exactly do you go about drawing that distinction, to understand whether it’s worth putting the work into the relationship or not? How to know if a relationship is worth saving?
The beginning of a relationship is an exciting time filled with intense passion and love. It’s all rainbows, roses, and butterflies. Everything feels light and easy, and you can’t stop gushing over how perfect your partner is. At this point, you’re pretty much convinced that they will be your life partner.
Then, somewhere along the way, that high begins to fade away, and problems start to rear their ugly head. Every couple finds themselves stuck in these murky waters where you begin to look for signs if a relationship is worth saving.
To help you tackle just that, we’ve brought you a guide in the form of clinical psychologist Devaleena Ghosh (M.Res, Manchester University), founder of Kornash: The Lifestyle Management School, who specializes in couples counseling and family therapy. If you are at a crossroads where you don’t know if your relationship is worth saving or not, then read ahead.
How To Know If A Relationship Is Worth Saving?
If you’ve been asking yourself, “How to know if a relationship is worth saving?”, is it because of the frequent quarrels and arguments that are sowing seeds of doubt in your mind? You should know that every couple fights about things.
However, some find themselves caught in a vicious circle of one fight leading to another. That can be extremely frustrating. When your relationship is at breaking point like this, you might lose hope. But before you prepare to call it quits, take a moment to assess if it is worth holding onto the relationship.
Is a toxic relationship worth saving? Probably not. But is a relationship worth saving where you have occasional arguments but you generally resolve them and come to a mutual conclusion? Perhaps it is. You need to know when a relationship is worth fighting for and when to give up on it. Here are 13 tell-tale signs that your relationship is worth saving.
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1. You can’t bear the thought of leaving them
So, how do you know if you should fight for a relationship? Well, for starters, if the thought of leaving makes you shudder, there may be something substantial you share with your partner that is worth salvaging. But do think about this one carefully as well.
How to know if a relationship is worth saving shouldn’t be based on a fear of loneliness or of being single. Save it because you believe in them. Anyone who’s ended a relationship before knows that feeling of being done with it, and if you’re not there yet, it’s a reason to hold on.
Devaleena explains, “Definitely, a relationship is worth saving if you’re convinced it’s healthy and you can’t bear the thought of leaving it. Even if you do think it is spiraling down but you both can be committed to reviving it, it is definitely worth giving it a shot.”
2. You enjoy being with them
A young girl wrote to us looking for answers to why her boyfriend wasn’t spending time with her and how it was affecting her peace of mind. She felt like she was trying too hard in a relationship to spend good, quality time with her boyfriend but he was not reciprocating in the same way. When you feel like you two as a couple do not spend enough time together, it’s possible that your relationship is on the rocks.
Spending quality time together is an important link that holds a couple together. But on the other hand, despite the frequent fights and arguments, if your partner is still the one you look forward to spending all your time with…well then, you have your answer.
Maybe you had an intense argument in the morning but made up in the evening, and are now heading out to dinner together without giving the morning fight any thought at all. If your fights don’t seem to ruin your day or your week, your relationship might be worth saving.
3. You can’t picture being with anyone else
Wondering how to tell if a relationship is worth pursuing? Here’s your cue: If entertaining the very thought of being with someone other than your partner makes your stomach turn, you may have found “the one”. And that’s how you know you cannot walk away from this relationship at any cost.
A friend of mine once set up a Tinder date after an awful fight with her boyfriend, she even went to the pub the date and she had agreed to meet at. As she saw this other man walk through the door, she suddenly felt sick to her gut and stormed out. A little lapse in judgment made her walk out on her boyfriend but the moment she stepped onto the other side, she waltzed right back into her boyfriend’s arms and hasn’t left since. She and her boyfriend are happily married today.
4. They’re your safe place
Is the, “Is my relationship worth saving?” question weight on your mind? Consider this. Devaleena highlights, “First, define what a ‘safe space’ really is. Some people don’t understand the exact and accurate definition of this term because they hail from dysfunctional families or are in toxic relationships. One may think that an abusive dynamic makes for a safe space since that is something they might be used to. So before that, do understand if this is generally a safe space or if one has just gotten comfortable with the abuse.”
Once you know what a safe space really is, then judge whether you and your partner have created one or not. Think back on your dating experiences and past relationships. None of those compare to how secure and safe you feel in your present relationship.
You feel like you are on solid ground, and we suggest you hang in there until this storm passes. You can work out your differences and save the relationship if you feel that your partner is your home. Can relationships be fixed? Yes, provided you know this is what you want.
5. The fights are about an unresolved issue
Want to be sure if a relationship is worth saving? Take a moment and think with a clear mind about how you feel for your partner. Is there any disdain, dislike, or resentment in your dynamic? When your relationship is at breaking point, you will harbor feelings of disrespect toward them, dislike them for what they’ve done to you, and even resent them.
Are these strong feelings for each other masking some unresolved issue and tension? If yes, then instead of entertaining the idea of moving on from this partner, work together to resolve that issue. Or at least, try to figure out what it is. Sometimes, a breakup seems easier than weeding through the issues, but both of you will be up for it if you feel the relationship is worth saving.
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6. Their absence makes you feel lost
Devaleena says, “This can go either way. A lot of times, we feel hooked to certain feelings and relationships which is why we feel lost without them. It may even qualify as an addiction. In such a case, feeling the absence of the other may not be an indicator of a relationship worth being saved. If the person is not good for you, then no amount of missing them is worth working on this relationship. But in a healthy partnership, if a person’s absence makes you realize their value, then it is definitely worth saving your bond.”
Something similar happened in a case I’m familiar with where my friend realized her partner’s worth after a very ugly argument. This couple had been going through a torrid love-hate patch. Their fights got ugly and often out of control, and the girl often told her partner to get lost. After one such argument, he did, and checked into a hotel. Those 48 hours spent apart made them realize what they meant to each other.
They went to individual therapy, even tried couples therapy exercises at home, and spent the next few months working on their relationship. And things just took off from there.
7. The problem lies elsewhere
Any sudden or significant life changes can adversely impact a relationship, even if the affected person doesn’t mean for it to happen. If either you or your partner is going through any such major transitions – a new job, stunted career growth, loss of a loved one, to name a few – understand that the problem lies elsewhere and what’s happening in your relationship is just a manifestation of that. In this case, instead of wondering, “Is it worth holding onto a relationship”, work toward strengthening your bond.
8. You share core values
“Is my relationship worth saving?” Well, it most certainly is if the following is true. It is a rarity to find a significant other who shares the same core values as you. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re going to agree on everything, but there are a few things you must have in common with your partner for a relationship to really flourish.
Agreeing on everything might just be plain boring. But if you share your outlook toward life goals, children, finances, politics, and religion, you have a ready and strong foundation to build a lasting relationship.
As Devaleena further points out, “A lot of times, people might feel at the onset of dating that they are similar in many ways. But you must still assess if you have common goals in the relationship. Without those, the relationship might fall apart, even with common values. So while your values are certainly important, do give equal importance to goals and thoughts about the relationship as well.”
Related Reading: 12 Core Values In A Relationship For A Happy And Lasting Bond
9. Your arguments are usually silly
How to know if a relationship is worth saving? Think about what your arguments stem from and what they feel like. So you left the wet towel on the bed again! You left the lights on! Your farts are annoying! You’re a terrible driver!
If such silly arguments are the common triggers for all your fights, you don’t need to worry about if a relationship is worth pursuing. In fact, you should probably never ask yourself that question again. You could do something else though. You could probably both use some loosening up and learn to not sweat the small stuff.
Couples do all kinds of silly things when they are together. The silly arguments are part and parcel of life but if the relationship is worth saving, don’t let it irk you or convince yourself to call it a dead-end relationship.
10. Your anger triggers thoughts of moving on
Take a moment to remember when you find yourself mulling over the philosophy of “What makes a relationship worth saving?” Is it only after you’ve had a raging fight and are still fuming with anger? Unless the thought of breaking free from the relationship is a constant nagging feeling at the back of your head, there is still hope for you.
It is possible to save a failing relationship if two people are still madly in love and cannot stay without each other? To answer that, think whether your negative thoughts are stemming from something real, or are just products of heat of the moment.
11. You kiss and make up a little too quickly
My partner and I have our share of fights, sometimes really ugly ones too. But we cannot stay mad at each other for long. An itch to set the tone right begins to build up if we go more than a day without talking to each other. So, one of us buries the ego to make amends, and the other follows suit.
That’s why we think we have such a healthy relationship. We never go to bed angry and we always find a way to apologize and make each other happy again.
Devaleena adds, “Yes, this is an added advantage if you two have mastered how to move past fights and look forward to better times. Just be careful though of how that process goes though. There are many couples who do not fight as much, or they put the problem behind themselves for convenience and to save time, or they just do not want to take any action at all. So do ask yourself, what makes you two move past fights so quickly? What is the motive? If you’re not ignoring the elephant in the room, then you two must be doing something right.”
12. You make each other laugh
Believe me when I say laughter is the life and blood that sustains a relationship, long after the fantastic sex and romance have fizzled away. So, if you can laugh together, share a ton of inside jokes, and have a good time in each other’s company, you’ve found something rare that’s not just worth saving but worth fighting for too. It’s your sense of humor and the urge to make each other giggle in happiness that can help you sail through all the difficulties.
13. The sex is mind-blowing
While it’s the sad truth that there will come a time in your relationship when your libido will give away, that’s a worry for another time. In the here and now, if over and above the love and affection, you also feel a compelling attraction toward one another that ends up in hot, steamy sex, you’ve got a relationship that’s for keeps. If you have good sexual compatibility and you feel comfortable around each other, then it is a good enough reason to make the extra effort to save your relationship.
How To Know When A Relationship Isn’t Worth Saving
How to know when a relationship is worth saving is one thing. But how do you determine when you should walk away from one? Despite their flaws, some relationships have the potential to survive and thrive. But not all relationships are made equal.
Can a bad relationship get better? If yours is bringing you more misery than happiness, it may be time to consider an out. In this case, a bad relationship will not get better and it’s not worth trying to save it. Stop trying too hard in a relationship if you are convinced that the following is true. Wondering how to know when a relationship isn’t worth saving? Let’s find out.
1. Your partner is abusive
If you’ve been at the receiving end of sexual, physical or verbal abuse from your partner, they neither value nor love you. You’d be much better off without such a constant negative presence in your life. It’s time to give up on the relationship, there is no need to think twice about it. Ask yourself, is a toxic relationship worth saving?
2. Your partner has strayed
“It happened only once!” or “It meant nothing to me”, or the plain old “I made a mistake”. That’s what they all say when they get caught. But if your partner has strayed – unless of course, you’re in an open or polyamorous relationship – it’s a red flag that must not be ignored. It’s actually more than a red flag. For some, it is a complete deal breaker.
3. You don’t feel an emotional connect with them
Maybe the sex is great, or you’ve both grown used to each other’s presence over time, or you’re too afraid to start over. If these are your reasons to stay, you need to re-evaluate that choice. Unless there is a strong emotional connection between a couple and the sight of your partner makes your heart skip a beat every now and then, you’re both flagging a dead horse.
4. Your life goals don’t meet
Maybe he wants kids, and you want to prioritize your career. Or she wants to move to a different country, but you want to stay close to your parents. You want marriage, and they don’t. When you and your partner cannot agree upon the fundamentals, it is near impossible to build a future together. Sometimes, even when it seems like the hardest thing to do, it is best to let go of a relationship that may be weighing you down.
On the other hand, even when your relationship seems to be hanging by a thread, it’s worth fighting for if you see all the right reasons to save it. So, how to know if a relationship is worth saving? Look for those reasons that we talked about. To know with certainty if your relationship is worth pursuing, you’ve got to look for all the signs, and then give it your whole heart.
A toxic relationship can be fixed if there is no physical or emotional abuse involved, if two people still love each other, and they want to get rid of the toxicity that has crept in.
You will know you have fallen out of love when you do not feel any emotional connection with the person. You don’t enjoy sex with them or their company.
There are times you do not really have a choice but to give up on a relationship. If your partner wants to move on despite all your efforts, you have to let go. It’s not easy to do that but you can take some concrete steps to move on too.