Relationships are tough, but figuring out when it’s time to call it quits on one is even toughter. It’s never an easy thing to determine if you need to cut the ties or if you’re just jumping the emotional gun. If you’re unsure about which side you land on, here’s the [almost] definitive guide to figuring it out.
1. Are you questioning this just because he hurt you?
Fighting is something that happens in healthy relationships — no, seriously. If you’ve recently gotten into a skirmish, consider your motives for questioning leaving. If you’re still pretty heated about whatever happened, wait until you cool down before making any big decisions. If the fight has long since passed and you’re still questioning leaving, skip to the next question and jump to question three.
2. Did he hurt you intentionally or was it accidental?
It’s normal to be on the offense during a disagreement, but just because the experience left you feeling hurt or attacked doesn’t mean that was intentional on his part. Try to consider his motivations logically. If he’s legitimately out to belittle you or drag you down, that’s a huge red flag and a sign of emotional abuse. On the other hand, you may just be taking it personally and you may need to just discuss how to fight fairly with one another — which includes you being a part of the solution.
3. Do you love him even when you’re angry/hurt/frustrated?
If the answer is a begrudging yes, at least the love is still there. If this is the case for you, skip forward to question number five. If not, you need to seriously consider whether or not you’re saying this out of anger. If you’re just pissed off and being stubborn, give it some extra time. If not, it might be worth asking yourself the next question…
4. Are you expecting him to fix something that only you can fix?
Before you answer this, I want to point out that you need to answer this honestly, and it may take some extra thought and some pretty deep subconscious searching. It sucks but it’s true. If you’re willing to admit you should bear more of the brunt of responsibility, you need to fix your own issues and be happy within yourself before relying on someone else. If you’re still certain it’s all his fault, ask yourself the next question.
5. Does he subtract from who you are?
In other words, does he bring out the worst parts of who you are or does he highlight the best parts? If you feel worse off with him, you should realize that there’s no room in your life for someone who doesn’t push you to be the most amazing version of yourself. Skip ahead to question seven. If he actually makes you feel pretty good, consider the next one.
6. Would you be happier if he wasn’t around?
If your motives aren’t fueled by anger or being hurt and your answer is a genuine yes, you need to leave him ASAP and move on. If not, why are you even considering leaving in the first place? If you’re not sure either way, you have a lot of thinking to do.
7. Have you both grown as people?
Don’t just look at yourself here, look at your partner too. if he’s not growing with you, you may just be stuck pulling the entire weight of the relationship, which is totally not healthy. If you guys are the masters of evolution, that’s awesome but it also doesn’t mean you’re growing in complementary ways. If you’re stuck in a rut both as individuals and as a couple, well, your decision is probably already made.
8. Is there a way to fix the issues at hand? I mean, there’s generally always a way to fix it, but do you see a way it could be fixed where both of you will be at least happy with the outcome? If so, you need to stick with it. If you’re not convinced or you aren’t willing to put in the necessary effort, well… that doesn’t bode well.
9. Do you feel like you’re putting in more than you’re getting out of the relationship?
It’s important to consider the whole scope of the relationship, not just recently. Sometimes, as humans, we slack off for a little while when we’re emotionally, mentally, or physically at our limit. If you’ve pulled the majority of the weight thus far, it may still be worth salvaging — so long as you speak openly and honestly with him about starting to pitch in. If he’s generally been pretty involved in the maintenance of your relationship, he’s probably a pretty decent dude.
10. Did you answer more negatively or positively?
I’m sorry, but my answers stop here. You need to figure out if you feel more positively or negatively about your relationship to determine if it’s healthy or if it’s toxic. Ultimately, the decision is yours.
Ashley is a freelance writer, a serial-entrepreneur, a mom to an overly-energetic toddler, and prone to adopting too many animals. Her newest venture is running an Etsy store, Haskell’s Handmades. She has no free time because her over-the-top energetic little family keeps her busy laughing (and writing).