Despite consistently working on the well-being of a relationship, things can sometimes go south. Every couple struggles with numerous temptations outside the relationship, work-related stress, social media distractions, financial issues, and more. The result? Partners drifting apart even though they could make it work with just a little effort. But if you can find a few signs you should not break up, this relationship may still have a lot of hope.
It takes a great deal of time, energy, and emotional investment to build a relationship from scratch and a single moment to break that bond. The way to end a long-term relationship – or even a short one – is as easy as sending a message, but the question is, should you? Are you willing to let go of years of hard work without so much as a fair fight? Instead of constantly thinking about the last screaming match you had with your partner, how about you look at the bright side? At all the good things that are still existing in the relationship.
I am sure there’s a silver lining somewhere around the corner. A pros-and-cons list might come real handy if your relationship is in crisis. To give you enough reasons not to break up even if you feel so, we spoke to psychiatrist and Cognitive Behaviour Therapist Shefali Batra, who specializes in counseling for separation and divorce, breakup and dating, and premarital compatibility issues.
18 Compelling Signs You Should Not Break Up
Trust me, we can decode that eye roll and imagine what’s going on in your mind: “Why should I save a bad relationship?”, “How do you know if your relationship is even worth saving?”, “What to do when you don’t know if you should break up?” All valid questions, but when you know how to focus on the positives instead of the negatives in your relationship (which seem to crop up every day), you’ll be able to appreciate what you have. And that’s exactly what we are going to help you with today!
When you decide to end a long-term relationship, you might have strong justifications to back up your decision. No one is denying them either. If you plan on finally staying in the relationship, addressing those issues will be your first order of business. Since this article is all about saving your relationship, we asked Shefali for advice on what factors you should consider before ending it. She points out the following:
- The issues you’re fighting about are not deal-breakers
- There is still interpersonal respect for each other
- Your partner is willing to talk and take corrective steps
- You still love and care for the person your partner is
- You have resolved differences in the past by talking
- Your partner is not being all out unreasonable
- Maybe you have been at fault too and are willing to work on your shortcomings
Plus, the fact that you’re here reading this article indicates that there’s an annoying voice in your head that’s not necessarily okay with calling it quits. To help that voice grow, here are 18 surefire signs you can’t ignore that tell you not to pack your bags and leave at the first sign of trouble:
Related Reading: 20 Signs He Is Not Into You
1. You still feel about them
“The burden is on you. Do you have enough distance from the pain that you see them differently? If you do not, don’t go that route. If you do, give it a second chance.” – Susan Winter, Relationship coach.
Sure, you may have just had the nastiest fight with your partner but that doesn’t necessarily spell doom for what you two have cultivated. Then again, say you have been through a significant amount of heartache and pain caused by your partner and you have temporarily fallen apart. If your partner comes back, you still won’t be able to love them completely, at least not initially.
But you think rebuilding trust, working on communication, and respect might help you overcome this rough patch and get back to where you once were. Still, wondering when should you not break up? The right answer is when you’re asking yourself that very question. The fact that you are still in two minds and looking for reasons not to break up with your girlfriend/boyfriend is an indication that things are salvageable.
Shefali says, “This is usually a tricky one. A lot of people continue in relationships because they feel there is love. But what you should really ask yourself is whether you still like your partner or not. Like is a different concept from love. Like is linked with respect and acceptance. If you find that kindness and compassion, care and consideration, then you should not leave just yet.”
2. Their actions prove it
If your partner has broken your trust, the way they behave afterward should tell you all you need to know. It’s not just words and elaborate expressions of true love, but actions that matter. You would know that they feel guilty and are not ready to lose you if they are genuinely trying to communicate and hear you out about the issues you might be facing.
Of course, there will be inhibitions about trusting someone after they hurt you but if you are not sure about breaking up, follow your guts. Did you discover a better and deeper version of them after your interaction with them? If yes, drop the idea of a breakup, at least for now. The future will unfold itself anyway.
3. A pause gives you a new reality
Susan’s relationship with Brad started off with good old infatuation, the kind that makes two people ignore every fault the other may have. As time went by, however, they realized that their different worldviews made it difficult for them to have a conversation without it turning into an argument.
“I, for one, can’t stand the clingy boyfriend scenario. I put my phone down for two hours, and he went ballistic with the suspicion that I was trying to ignore him. It came to the point where I was frantically looking for reasons why we shouldn’t break up,” said Susan, “To my surprise, it was Brad who decided that we should take a break for a few weeks. I never thought it would work but when we came back with a fresh perspective, it was easier to deal with our issues.”
Sometimes, the obvious signs you should not break up are right in front of you, you just need to look at them from a calmer state of mind. In situations like this, it can help to take a pause and breathe. Small arguments, slight differences in taste, or a short-lived difficult period in the relationship aren’t reasons enough to break up and pack up.
Shefali says, “Going by the norm that we are here to mend and not break, try one last time, and give it our best shot before leaving the battleground – I would agree that giving it time is good. But there is a difference between buying time and killing time. Taking some time out is fine if you are going to appropriately introspect, speak to a relationship therapist, and work on your relationship. Otherwise, you’re just killing time and delaying the inevitable and there is no point in that.”
Related Reading: The 5 Zodiac Signs Most Likely To Break Your Heart
4. You realize your partner’s expectations
Renowned relationship and life coach, Jay Shetty, says, “Love is not what you do for yourself, it is what you do to serve others.” Often, we end up giving people what we want, instead of trying to understand what they really want. Perhaps all your partner wants from you is your time and attention, but you shower them with material gifts instead. Basically, you often end up speaking different love languages.
You may love each other yet drift apart because you are not tuned in to each other’s needs. Put yourself in his or her shoes and look at the entire picture. If you comprehend their desires and way of showing love, you may find an answer to why and when not to break up with someone.
5. When should you not break up? When you’re overthinking your worries
Having doubts about your relationship every now and then is normal. Yes, constantly worrying about your partner’s fear of commitment is not exactly a fun ride but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the good times you have with them and break up immediately. After all, every relationship matures as you grow together and if you are a little patient, they might also see the future from your perspective.
Right now, what you can do is list out your concerns; see what’s fixable and what’s not. Perhaps you are worried about your partner’s huge credit card debt. Then have a heart-to-heart with them. If they’re willing to accept your opinion in this matter, implement the suggestions you offer, and do all they can to get out of this mess, it’s definitely one of the signs you can’t ignore that this relationship is worth saving.
6. You have mixed feelings
Even the best of us fall into this trap of confusion sometimes. Say your partner has driven you up the wall and now you want to split up. The next day, they make up for the fight by doing something that melts your heart like the April snow. Naturally, you can’t help but wonder what would have happened if you slammed the door in their face the previous day.
Making a decision as serious as ending a relationship based on momentary outrage will invite nothing but regrets. In case, your feelings tend to change with the way your partner treats you and you are not sure about breaking up, spend some time introspecting what your heart truly wants.
Shefali says, “This is what worries most people – the ambivalence and confusion. This is where I feel a relationship therapist is the best guide. When you are an integral part of the relationship, you are going to be biased. Opinions of your friends and family will also be influenced by their impression of your partner. At this juncture, I definitely suggest that you seek relationship advice from an expert who will be unbiased and can guide you to make the right decision.”
Related Reading: 15 Simple Signs Your Ex-Boyfriend Wants You Back
7. Your partner adds value to you
Looking for reasons not to break up with your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner? Here’s a good one: Think about the value they add to your life. Despite the occasional fights, do they make this world a better and happier place for you? Does your partner still bring out the best in you? If you like the version of yourself you are becoming in their companionship, it’s better not to untie that bond.
8. They have your best interest at heart
Never judge the status of your relationship by baseless assumptions or negative feelings that are fickle. Often, your partner, who you think doesn’t love you anymore turns out to be the go-to person when you are in trouble. Despite all your disagreements and misunderstanding, they still don’t think twice before standing up for you. No matter how difficult the situation is, they always have your back. Take that as a huge sign that you should not break up because these kinds of bonds are pretty rare.
9. You respect each other
We create a lot of hype about real love and often overlook the role of respect in a relationship. I have seen people talk about their ex-partners immense compassion, saying things like, “We were not meant for each other. But he/she was a genuinely nice person”. This is only possible when there was respect in the relationship and it never faded away. Simply because you and your partner couldn’t make it work doesn’t warrant you going around badmouthing them.
Respect is the trooper holding the fort alone when the two people in the relationship are about to give up. It can be conveyed in many subtle ways, from being considerate of your partner’s need for personal space to keeping the promises you made to each other. I think you would know when not to break up with someone if there’s still admiration and gratitude in your relationship.
10. You don’t hurt each other in a fight
Suppose, you are coming home on a chilly night and you got into a fight. In the middle of all the bickering, your partner doesn’t forget to offer you his coat. Or, she might be super angry yet never stoops down to the level of saying hurtful things to you. If this sounds like your dynamics with your partner, you should stick around and work on fixing your issues.
Couples fight all the time. But it’s important to fight fair. Just the fact that you’re civil enough to pause a heated argument and come back with a calmer state of mind, at the very least, indicates that there are some good qualities here. Yes, you have your differences but these are not the warning signs to escape as soon as you can.
Related Reading: 13 Ways To End An Argument Without Apologizing And End The Fight
11. If the communication is not dead, it’s a sign you should not break up
Most relationships die because of a lack of communication. Having the ability to hold a sane conversation is one of the most important qualities of a good relationship. And even more important is the ability to communicate when you do not get along with each other well. If you can talk to each other even when you feel like you have drifted away from each other emotionally and the spark is missing from your bond, it is one of the signs you should not break up.
Shefali says, “Communication is the best glue that holds a relationship together. If through thick and thin you can still communicate with each other, then there is no conflict that cannot be resolved. You should definitely try to smooth out the kinks to reset the relationship.”
12. Counseling can help
Some relationships get damaged beyond repair over time, and there are those that just need the right nudge to come back on track. If you feel that yours falls in the second category, do not seek the exit route just yet, seek help.
If you are lost about what to do when you don’t know if you should break up, go see a counselor. This might help you reach a more rational decision. If you’re considering getting help, Bonobology boasts a multitude of experienced counselors, who would love to help you figure out the answers to these difficult questions.
13. You feel this way about every romantic partner
It’s basic human nature to point fingers and find fault in others. But have you ever thought that the problem may lie with you as well? Earlier we were talking about having mixed feelings for your partner. In many instances, that state of confusion stems from fear of commitment. There may not be something fatally problematic in this relationship. Yet you try to cook up trouble in your head to use it as an excuse to leave.
Try to figure out if this is a consistent pattern that you play in all your romantic endeavors. I tell you what, we all live with our fair share of insecurities and there’s nothing wrong with it. But if you feel afraid with every grand romantic gesture from your loved one or their proposal to take things to the next level, it requires some remedy. You cannot let this fear get in the way of finding love, not now, not ever.
Related Reading: Expert Advice – When To Call It Quits In A Marriage
14. Trust in the relationship is not missing
A relationship can fall apart like a house of cards in the absence of mutual trust. Over time you may feel emotionally detached from your partner. Perhaps you can’t stop complaining about their annoying habits. But if someone comes up to you to say, “I saw your boyfriend kissing a girl in the park today”, you won’t believe any part of that sentence. That’s a sign that you trust your partner. As long as the trust is still alive, there is a chance you can work through these shaky feelings about splitting up.
15. The erotic spark is slowly fading
I can imagine your befuddled face wondering, “Why would I stay in a relationship without any sexual chemistry?” Let me give you two reasons. Number one, it’s the story of every long-term relationship. You cannot expect to experience the same passion after being with a person for five years that you did at the beginning of your relationship. As your bond matures, you enjoy the bonus benefits of stability, emotional intimacy, and the comfort of familiarity.
Number two, if you and your partner are going through a dry spell, it can very well be temporary. There are many external factors that may have an impact on your or their libido, for instance, work stress, family problems, financial issues, and more. Don’t be disheartened if your partner has turned down sex a couple of times because there are many many ways to get the spark back in a broken relationship.
16. They still make efforts
How sweet is that? Big or small, efforts and meaningful gestures have the power to bring two lovers closer despite all odds. It can be as simple as making breakfast, dressing up for your sweetheart, paying compliments, planning surprise dinner dates, or sharing responsibilities. Acts of service is the most thoughtful of all love languages and as the lucky one who gets to enjoy their partner’s support, you should reanalyze the negative emotions toward this relationship.
Related Reading: Is Unconditional Love In A Relationship Really Possible? 12 Signs You Have It
17. You share children you love
Perhaps this is the most compelling reason why you should not rush toward a breakup. Children are a strong binding factor, and while they shouldn’t be a reason why you should stay in an abusive or unhappy marriage/relationship, they can definitely provide you reasons to hold on.
For most parents, the responsibility of bringing up children together is a huge one, and most parents would prefer to keep their differences aside for their kids’ sake. If a child can bring much-needed grounding, why not take that as a sign to not break up?
18. You are still attracted to each other
They drive you mad. They have habits that irritate the hell out of you. You don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But they are the only one who makes your heart flutter each time they set their eyes on you. Physical attraction may be a superficial reason to stay together, but it’s a good enough sign that you are sexually compatible with each other, at least on some counts.
Shefali says, “Attraction and desires can get people to enter the relationship. But it cannot keep people in the relationship. If along with attraction, there is also kindness, compassion, and empathy in a couple’s bond, they can go a long way together.”
- Don’t make the decision to break a relationship impulsively; consider the positive aspects before calling quits
- If your issues don’t amount to deal-breakers in a relationship, you can still make it work
- If you both trust each other and feel mentally and physically connected, then it’s not over yet
- Taking a short break and pondering on your issues might be helpful
- Being able to communicate with each other is definitely a sign of hope
- If you are stuck in a confused state of mind about whether to break up or not, relationship counseling is your best resort
Relationships can have their ups and downs, and you may often wonder, “How do you know if it’s time to break up?” Well, if you have been betrayed, if your partner refuses to change a bad habit despite your concerns and pleading, if they disrespect you, or if you are always fighting and you haven’t been feeling happy in a long time, you have your cue to walk out.
Let’s just say this: Split for a real reason and not a flimsy one. Ideally, everyone would want a fairy-tale love story, but few are lucky enough to have one. A dream marriage or relationship requires patience, trust, and a willingness to give it a good shot, even when things are not going that well. Try and look for signs not to break up in your bond with your bae, and guess what, you will certainly find the magic potion that may give you your dream love story.
This article has been updated in October 2022.
Are you in love with your man? Think whether the reason you feel you need to break up, is something that can be salvaged. Most importantly, give yourself some time. Pause and reflect if it is a temporary phase and if you can tide over a crisis.
If you are disrespected in a relationship or abused verbally, emotionally, or physically, then there is no doubt that you should call it quits. Even subtle methods of abuse like constant lying, belittling, and making you feel inferior are grounds for a split.
If your partner realizes his mistake or the fact that he has hurt you, maybe you can rethink the relationship. A genuinely repentant man or woman will make an effort to win you back. Also, if you still have feelings for them, the attraction is still intact, your partner adds value to your life, and you reflect on your own limitations, there is a chance that your relationship might be worth fighting for.
Minor misunderstandings, not giving your partner a chance to explain, seeing everything that you believe without going into details of behavior, and boredom are some of the reasons why you should not jump at the idea of a breakup.
Ask them if they love you. If they have given you a reason to feel bad, be honest and ask them why they did it. Communicate the reasons why you are splitting up loud and clear. Consider if you and your partner have any future together or if there are chances that you will split up if you reconcile.
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