When things get tough in a relationship, sometimes it’s hard to know when you can work through your issues and when it’s time to throw in the towel. There’s no reason to stay with someone who’s making you unhappy, but even couples who are meant to be will have to put in some extra effort sometimes. If you’re dealing with any of the following, don’t give up — you can fix your relationship:
- Outside stress has creeped in and put some distance between you. Life ebbs and flows, and sometimes when we’re going through tough times, we can pull back a bit from the people we love, act out or some mixture of both. Maybe work is stressing you out or you’re dealing with a sick family member and you’re taking it out on your partner. When you’re aware of it, you can actually communicate about it instead of just assuming that you’re headed for a breakup. Your effort might be as simple as actually allowing someone to help you from time to time.
- The sex is a little boring. If the sex has been disastrous from day one, that’s one thing, but if you’ve just gotten a little bored with the routine lately, that’s different. Before throwing in the towel over lack of orgasms, you might as well try introducing some new elements. For some people that’s sex toys, for other people it’s romantic affection. Again, the first step in dealing with this is talking about it.
- The communication habits have changed. If he starts acting distant out of nowhere, it’s easy to imagine a whole multitude of reasons why — is he cheating? has he fallen out of love? — but it’s better not to make assumptions about those sort of things. Of course, it could be a sign of a coming breakup, but what if he’s just processing something and is trying to keep it out of the relationship to be less disruptive? It’s worth a conversation.
- You don’t know why you’re trying to push him away. Sometimes instincts take over and we get scared of being so intimate with someone, no matter how right it feels. Self-preservation is one thing, but if it’s happening more and more, you need to figure out why and take steps to change it. If there’s a legitimate reason your hackles have been raised, that’s one thing. If you aren’t sure, maybe pause to think it through before you go shoving anyone away.
- This is the first time things have gotten complicated. If the relationship has been sunny as hell until now, don’t just give up and run. It can be jarring the first time you fight with a new guy or something complicated happens, but surprise! Those things are a part of relationships — and just like in the rest of life, it doesn’t always mean things are bad, it means they need some work (and some patience).
- You’re out of your comfort zone. Sometimes the best relationships push us the furthest out of our comfort zones. It can be simultaneously exciting and terrifying because you didn’t ask for your life to be uprooted, even if it’s necessary. If your discomfort is the growing pains of a new relationship and nothing else, maybe take a look at how far you’ve already come and the good things that have happened.
- You don’t want it to end. Duh! But seriously. You can’t always save a relationship on desire alone since there are two people’s considerations at hand, but if you don’t want to lose something, especially if it’s a good thing, you might as well fight while you can.