“Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hang on too long.” ~ Morrie Schwartz
The phase before a break-up can be tough.
It’s the time in which we’re not sure whether to stay or go. I remember going through a terrible inner conflict during my last relationship. I wasn’t sure if separation was the right answer. Things weren’t progressing between us, but my mind and heart were giving me conflicting solutions.
I was lost in the happy memories, the good deeds, and most importantly, the what ifs:
“What if I leave and regret it later?”
“What if I stay but things don’t change?”
“What if I go and then he wants me back?”
I was exhausted by the thoughts and doubts that invaded my mind. After struggling for many months, it appeared that the best solution for me was to decide what traits constitute a healthy relationship. Without these essentials, a relationship is likely doomed.
Unfortunately, when I evaluated my own relationship, it was clear to me that it wasn’t worth more time or energy.
Relationships are like buildings—without a good foundation, they’re prone to collapse. There are core attributes that any relationship should have if it wants to survive.
If you can’t decide whether to stay or leave a relationship, check out these five essential traits:
Compromise is one of the most important factors in a relationship. Compromise is the ability to find a suitable solution that works for both partners in the face of any difficulty. Since a difference of opinions, morals, and character is expected between two people, transforming those dissimilarities into possibilities illustrates genuine effort—which in return illustrates genuine love.
When those differences remain differences, it’s a palpable warning that partners are no longer putting effort into the relationship. In my case, we stopped compromising about the silliest things (like washing the dishes), which made it feel like we were each living separate lives.
Respect is key in any relationship. It starts with respecting ourselves, then expands to others. Respect in romantic relationships is of particular importance since it shows how much we honor our partner’s own being and worth. In a relationship where love is honored, the other person is also honored.
When we lose respect in a relationship, it’s a sign that staying will only hurt both partners. Respect is paramount because, without it, partners focus on the flaws instead of the beauty. Additionally, when one partner stops respecting the other, it’s almost inevitable that respect will eventually be lost on both sides.
We all make mistakes in romantic relationships—we are human after all. It doesn’t necessarily have to be cheating or lying; our mistakes can be silly and small or something more serious. But along with every mistake comes forgiveness. Our ability to forgive tells a lot about our capacity to love.
In my past relationship, I lost count of the mistakes made. I was no longer able to forgive. Instead of tolerating and communicating, I became defensive. I left the relationship because my inability to forgive my partner directly affected my ability to properly love him.
4. Keeping Score
When a partnership transforms into a competition, where flaws are highlighted and we become more focused on proving who is right and who is better than the other, it might be time to leave. This is a sure sign that things aren’t going well.
In a healthy relationship, both partners see the others’ effort without needing to aggressively point it out. If we find ourselves keeping score with our partner, we should think twice about whether it’s worth it to stay.
A relationship shouldn’t transform into a game field. Sadly, mine did and this is why I made my way out of it—it became tiring for both of us.
5. Ego War
In love, there’s no ego—love overcomes ego. The ego is mostly dormant in moments of genuine love, but it reappears during intense fights or heightened emotions. Nonetheless, when your ego is almost always in control, it means that you’re full to the brim. If there’s constant judgment, criticism, victimizing, blaming and pain, perhaps the chances of the relationship succeeding are low.
Love springs from a place that is beyond thoughts and emotions—the mind is too tricky, and the heart is too flimsy. When we’re not acting out of that place, it means our ego is running the show.
The most significant sign is to tune in into our inner voice. There is a voice inside each of us that directs us to the right answers. Listen to it and hear what it has to say.
If you feel it’s time to leave, then by all means, leave. If you feel you should stay, then maybe your relationship deserves more time and more chances. Don’t be afraid to give them.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Nicole Cameron