I’m not sure if it’s that time of year when relationships seem to fall apart, or if it’s that so many of us are struggling with the current environment, but I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends about their relationships. Many are frustrated with how things are going, and some are unsure if they are with the right partner.
Perhaps a healthy amount of relationship doubt has begun creeping in. Or… there is a legitimate reason why the doubt is at the forefront of their mind.
In the past, I would ask the following questions if I was unsure about if I wanted to continue my relationship.
1. Are you having conscious conversations?
It may sound intimidating but having conscious conversations simply means that you are being vulnerable with your partner, coming to the table without a hidden agenda, and sharing the deepest parts of yourself.
This isn’t always something that happens at the beginning of a relationship, often you want to get to know someone before being vulnerable with them.
However, if you have been dating for months/years and you are still having surface-level interactions, there may be a reason why you aren’t communicating on a deeper level.
2. Are you happy overall in the relationship?
Last weekend I was hiking with a friend who I knew was already on the fence about her partner. I asked her the following question because I was genuinely curious — she’d had a lot of negative things to say about their life together.
“What makes you happy about being in your relationship?”
She was silent for a few seconds and then shrugged. “I don’t know how to answer that.”
Now, I am the first one to agree that you can’t expect someone else to be responsible for your happiness. However, if you are in a situation where you can’t think of one thing that makes you happy about your relationship… you are most likely in the wrong relationship.
3. Do you feel like you can be yourself with them?
I still smile when I think about how fun the first date was with my partner.
He took me mini-golfing and afterward we went to grab dinner. He made me laugh so hard that I ended up spitting my drink all over his face. Normally I would have been mortified but I felt so comfortable I apologized and just laughed harder.
There are people that put you at ease right away when you hardly know them.
I have also been in relationships where I never felt quite like I could be myself, like when I dated someone for three months and the whole time I just felt on edge.
Pay attention to how you feel when you are around the person you’re dating.
4. Do you compromise your values/beliefs?
I was at a New Year’s party being offered a mind-altering substance that I didn’t want to take. I still remember the eager and hopeful look on my partner’s face and the disappointment that replaced it as soon as I decided to not move forward with the experience.
Although that time I stayed strong, there were many other times that I gave in to the pressure and went against my own values and beliefs to appease my boyfriend at the time.
If your partner pushes you to compromise on your values and beliefs it ultimately means that they don’t respect you.
5. Are you headed down the same path?
I was dating someone I really liked, but who lacked ambition. At the time, I worried that I was being shallow for caring about his future. However, looking back I’m so glad that I didn’t stay in that relationship because we wanted completely different things.
In the end, he was happy to stay in a small town and raise a family; I wanted to travel and focus on my career.
Eventually, I ended up finding someone who was a better match for me. We share a similar drive for ambition and are in line with what we both want for the future.
Relationship doubts are normal
With my current partner, I’ve had normal moments of doubt — that happens with you are looking at spending your life with another human — but I have never questioned whether I want to be with them. It’s one thing to evaluate the health of your relationship, and it’s another to constantly wonder if you want to be with your partner at all.
If you can’t think of one thing that makes you happy about your relationship, you may be trying to make something work with someone that isn’t right for you.
Nothing is perfect, but if your relationship causes you more stress and anxiety than good feelings … it may be time to walk away.