Lately, your relationship has felt rocky, at best. You’re “not sure where this is going.” Before you break it off with your significant other, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I just angry?
Before you make a decision to end things, make sure you’re initiating a breakup for the right reasons. Don’t impulsively call it quits. Slow down and evaluate: Is this decision purely an emotional one? Wait until you’re calm and can carefully weigh your breakup motivation. It’s easy to give up when you’re exhausted or in the middle of unresolved conflict.
2. Can we work it out?
Can you two work it out? Also important, do you want to work it out? Is there anything about this relationship that’s worth salvaging? Even if you’re still unsure about your commitment to the relationship, try to pursue healthy conflict resolution. Talk about your concerns, voice your needs, and apologize for your role in the current situation. Listen to your partner and respect how he/she is feeling.
If you can resolve — or at least calmly address — conflict, you can better assess the future direction of your relationship. You might discover that you’re both still willing to fight for each other and give the relationship another chance. (But even if you still end things, at least it’s not in the middle of a fight.)
3. Am I jumping to conclusions?
When times get tough, it’s easy for the mind to drift to fantasyland. Don’t get caught up in the “grass is greener” games, concluding that life will be better once you re-enter the land of singleness. Don’t assume your current state of unhappiness is solely the fault of the relationship. (What happens if you break up and you’re still unsatisfied?) Nor should you leap to conclusions about the relationship just because a friend’s doomed relationship had a few parallels to yours. Try to take things at face value, not jumping ahead, exaggerating situations, or daydreaming your conflicts away.
4. Did I communicate openly about what I need?
If you initiate a breakup, will it catch your significant other off-guard? Don’t let a breakup spill from pent-up bitterness and resentment. Let the “Should we break up?” question motivate you to talk openly about your needs, desires and concerns. Instead of blaming your partner for your restlessness, communicate that you’re itching for adventure. Instead of just secretly wishing for change, you might end up pursuing the things you love with your loved one’s enthusiastic support. Choose communication over cutting him/her off. Communicating transparently with your partner might kick-start a healthier relationship; in the least, it will contribute to a deeper understanding of what’s really causing the relationship’s breakdown.
5. How will my world change when we split?
Before you break up with your partner, prepare yourself for what’s next. Things will change. Your housing situation may get complicated. Your social life will change significantly, both in how you spend your time and in whom you spend it with. Your daily routine will no longer be routine. While the fear of change or the unknown shouldn’t stop you from leaving an unhealthy relationship, ending things before you’ve considered the first few steps pre-breakup can make a sad situation even more stressful and overwhelming.
6. Will I regret ending the relationship?
As you’re considering the consequences of breaking up, ask yourself if ending the relationship will be something you’ll ultimately regret. Deep down, do you believe you’re giving up too quickly? Do you still believe, deep down, that he’s “the one”? No one wants a “one that got away.”
It should be noted that regret is not the same things as “feeling bad.” Of course you’ll hate to hurt your partner’s feelings, and will be sad to end something you once hoped would last a lifetime. Regret, however, is painful disappointment in yourself for missing out on something that could have been good. It makes moving forward difficult.
7. Is initiating a breakup just playing a game?
If you’re secretly hoping that a breakup — or even just a threat of a breakup — will bring the two of you closer together, it won’t. Don’t play games with either of your hearts. If you want things to get better, assert yourself and invest time and energy in the relationship. Never use the threat of a breakup as a tool to initiate change.
8. Is anyone influencing my decision to end the relationship?
Who in your life is on Team Breakup? Are there friends or family members pushing you toward this decision? Evaluate their motives — they may have identified relationship red flags that shouldn’t be ignored, or they may have selfish, unhealthy reasons for pushing you toward a split — and make sure that you’re at peace with your decision, regardless of outside influences.
9. Have I given this relationship my best shot?
A relationship will fail eventually if you’re not all in. Don’t blame your partner for the crumbling of a romance if you haven’t given your best to the relationship. If you’re hesitant to say goodbye, try throwing yourself back into the union, full throttle. If you still care, don’t let love fizzle without a fight.