As we enter into the holiday season, this time of year begins to spark a lot of questions about our relationships with our significant others and whether we should continue. It can be challenging to dodge questions from well meaning family members about your relationship status when you are not sure about it yourself. Beginning to think through New Year’s resolutions also calls into question whether you should continue in your relationship. If you want to get married next year and you are not engaged yet, the pressure to get engaged continues to grow throughout the next few months.
Often, clients will ask me how they know whether they should stay with their partner. To help you with this decision, I have assembled some questions to help you think through whether you should deepen your commitment to your relationship.
How do you know your relationship is “good” for you?
One of the most important indicators of a good relationship is the ability to trust your partner. This is more than trusting them to tell you where they are, who they’re going to be with, who they’re texting, etc. This is a deeper trust that they will kindly challenge you when you need it, offer you support in difficult times, and help you grow in your goals.
Can you dream with your partner? When you both discuss the future, do you believe that you will help each other accomplish what you want? People often think that stronger commitments, like marriage, mean the end of accomplishing your goals, but that does not have to be the case if your partner supports you.
If you feel unsupported by your partner, often receive ultimatums, or feel like your partner would never accept your dreams, these are often signs that you may not be able to support each other well right now.
What does compromise look like in your relationship?
Compromise does not mean that the other person always gives you exactly what you want when you ask for it. It is important to know that you can ask things from your partner and trust that they will try to accomplish what you ask for.
However, disagreements will happen. When you disagree on what is best, how do you resolve that conflict? Does one person always give up more than the other? Does the conflict escalate to shouting matches, verbal abuse, or even physical abuse?
If you and your partner are not able to resolve conflicts or compromise well, it is important to examine why. Is it that both of you are new to resolving conflict and never had good examples of it in your childhood? Is your partner asking you to compromise on something that is a non-negotiable for you? If you are not sure why you are unable to resolve conflicts, a third party can help you learn conflict resolution skills and identify where conflict arises in your relationship.
Can you challenge relationship FOMO?
When you are thinking about marriage, there might be this fear that you will meet someone else better than your partner in the future. Especially in the age of dating apps, it can be a challenge to trust that the person you are with is truly “the one”. Whether you believe in this concept or not, it is important to consider whether you truly feel comfortable choosing this person every day for the rest of your life.
Attraction can change over time and attraction to other people will most likely happen. When these things happen, it is important to remind yourself of the choice you are making to commit right now. You choose your partner because you truly believe that you are better together and continue to grow together in the future, regardless of what happens or who you may meet. With time, work, and patience, your history with your partner and your bond to one another will grow to help you challenge relationship FOMO.
Committing to a relationship looks different for everyone. There may be red flags that you are not sure how to resolve. Fear might be causing you to see red flags that do not exist. If you’re not sure how to take the next step in your relationship, call today to start working past feeling stuck.
Written by therapist Elise Champanhet
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