Psych Corner: How To Know If Your Relationship Is Worth Fighting For

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Maybe you’ve been dating for a few months and everything has been great until one day you have a huge fight. Or maybe you find that you and your significant other are constantly arguing. While sooner or later every relationship hits a rough patch, you might be wondering if your arguments are a sign that your relationship isn’t working. Relationships do take work and no relationship is perfect, but there is a fine line between knowing whether you need to end the relationship or just put a little extra work in. How do you figure it out? There’s no easy answer, but here are some helpful things to ask yourself when you are thinking about the quality of your relationship.

Does Your Partner Respect You?

All healthy relationships are based on respect. Respect means that, while yoau may not agree with everything your partner believes, you value who they are as a person and strive to treat them in way that honors this. You may not share the same viewpoint all of the time but you trust their character and who they are at their core. Ask yourself if you treat your significant other with respect and if they treat you with respect in return. If you get the sense that your significant other doesn’t respect you, your relationship could be headed into the unhealthy direction. For example, if your partner constantly belittles you and puts you down, he or she isn’t treating you with respect. And if someone in the relationship doesn’t respect the other, it is an unequal relationship and you aren’t being treated with the dignity you deserve.

Do You Trust Your Partner?

Another important ingredient in a healthy relationship is trust. When you trust your significant other, you feel safe enough to be vulnerable. That means feeling comfortable enough to share your fears and worries without being afraid that they are going to make fun of you or belittle you. Trust also means that you feel physically safe with your significant other. You aren’t afraid that they might hit you or hurt you in some other way (emotionally or financially). If you feel like you can’t trust your significant other and you feel unsafe in a relationship, it could be a sign of abusive relationship. If trust isn’t part of the foundation of a relationship, it can be difficult to have a deep and meaningful relationship. Being safe in a relationship should be your number one priority. If you are concerned that you might be in an abusive relationship, you can read more about the signs of an abusive relationship on the National Domestic Violence Hotline website. If you feel safe in your relationship but want to deepen the level of trust between you and your significant other, you can read more about some ways rebuild trust here and ways to increase trust in your relationship here.

Do You Work Together As A Team When Making Big Decisions?

Being in an healthy relationship means you are a team. One person shouldn’t make all the decisions or puts their dreams and goals above the others. When you have a foundation based on respect, you value each other’s opinions and seek to work together as a team when making decisions that affect the both of you. You seek your significant other’s opinion and he or she seeks yours. You value their insight and they value yours. But disclaimer, don’t get discouraged if you are trying to make a big decision together and can’t reach a consensus. Disagreement is part of every relationship and it matters more how you work through it. As long as you are both trying to work together to make decisions, your relationship is headed in the healthy direction.

Do You Both Have Interests and Friendships Outside of Your Relationship?

Having friendships and interests outside of your relationship with your significant other is another sign of a healthy relationship. Even though you likely enjoy spending a lot of time with him or her, individuals in a healthy relationship encourage one another to maintain healthy friendships with other people. Of course, if you are in a committed relationship, your relationship comes first, but a healthy relationship is supported by your friendships and relationships with family members and close friends. In an unhealthy relationship, you only spend time with your significant other and become more and more isolated from other people.

Does He or She Make You A Better Person?

When you look at what you used to be like before you met your significant other and compare your past self to what you are like now, are you a better person for being with this person? Sometimes, it can be hard to notice changes in yourself so it can be helpful to ask your close friends and family what they’ve observed. Ask them if they’ve observed positive or negative changes in you. Obviously, positive changes are a sign of a healthy relationship. If, on the other hand, they’ve noticed more negative than positive changes, it could be a sign that your relationship might be unhealthy. A healthy relationship should bring out the best in you and not the worst in you.

Think about these questions when you are examining your relationship. If you still aren’t sure if your relationship is healthy but could need some work or unhealthy, it can be helpful to speak to a trusted mentor or a therapist. They will be able to help provide an unbiased and outside perspective to your relationship.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for or serve as professional counseling or treatment. 

Photography: Flickr/

Julia

Julia is a Licensed Professional Counselor who is passionate about building and strengthening positive relationships by applying the latest research to everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter at Julia_M_Hogan. (Her articles are not intended to be a substitute for or serve as professional counseling or treatment.)
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