8 signs your relationship is worth fighting for, according to psychology

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There is no happily ever after when it comes to relationships.

They require constant work and can be prone to rough patches, even when you are right for one another.

But that doesn’t mean your relationship should feel constantly draining or like an endurance test. There needs to be more good times than bad.

So how do you know if this is just a phase that you can get over, or whether it’s time to go your separate ways?

You have to look past your squabbles and see if the relationship still has strong foundations.

With that in mind, let’s check out 8 signs your relationship is worth fighting for.

1) You want it to work

First things first.

Both of you have to be motivated to give it a try.

If one of you doesn’t really have your heart in it, your relationship may not survive.

It’s going to take more than simply going through the motions. So your commitment to one another is important because right now it’s being tested.

All sorts of ups and downs can be navigated if both people in a relationship understand what is needed and are willing to put in the effort.

That means not only working together but also taking an honest look at yourself.

It’s easy for us to pick up on all the ways our partner is failing. But we can be blind to our own behavior.

You can never change your partner, that’s always going to be up to them. Your role is to focus on yourself.

Often when we change ourselves, it can become a powerful catalyst to encourage others to do the same. 

Looking at your own triggers, your own communication style, and your own personal baggage (we all have it!) can help you to respond in different ways.

This internal shift may be enough to create new ways of relating to one another.

2) You are able to discuss your problems

Ok, sometimes it’s more like arguing about your problems than discussing. But even that is not such a bad sign.


Because although it’s not the best way to do it, you are still communicating with one another about your issues. 

It is a worse sign when you are deeply unhappy, yet never fight. Because chances are, you are sitting on your true feelings, needs, and wants.

The psychotherapist Esther Perel reminds us that conflict is intrinsic to all relationships.

“The presence of bickering or disagreements doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t good, or that it isn’t worth it. Often, it’s an alarm. Your relationship needs attention. Sometimes the best fight you can have is the fight for each other.”

If the lines of communication are still open between you, it’s a good sign.

You need to identify what is causing the problems and find a way to talk about it together as a team.

That can involve learning better ways to express yourself and encourage healthy and honest communication.

3) You have a strong friendship

Generally speaking, do you like your partner?

Do you believe them to be a good person?

Do they have qualities you admire and respect?

Is there affection and love between you?

When things are good, do you enjoy their company?

Can you have fun together?

These are important questions to ask yourself.

Psychology has shown that a solid friendship is a big determining factor in whether your relationship can go the distance.

We put a lot of emphasis on chemistry, physical attraction, and butterflies. Yet these things often come and go for couples.

It’s the more humble aspects like reliability and friendship from a partner that helps keep you together when you are struggling.

4) Things may have gotten off track, but you still have good times

I’ve always had a very simple rule when it comes to relationships:

Things usually continue how they start off.

What I mean by that is, if a guy was always flaky and untrustworthy, it’s a safe assumption that is how he will remain.

I’m not saying people can’t change.

But sometimes, if we’re honest, things were never particularly good in the first place. Yet we stick around hoping it will get better over time, just because we really want it to.

We’re not always so good at following the wise advice of poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou:

“When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time”.

Have things gotten off course, but you’ve shared plenty of great times together in the past?

Has your other half been a good partner to you?

If the answer is yes, then there is something worth fighting for.

If the relationship was plagued with problems from the start, you have a bigger battle on your hands.

5) There’s zero abuse

It should be a given, but it’s always worth a reminder.

That’s because abuse often slowly creeps into a relationship and can become so normalized it’s justified or swept under the carpet.

That’s why it’s important to point out that your relationship is worth fighting for if overall, there is still respect and kindness at its core.

If there is any abuse on either side, you should go your separate ways and seek help.

That may look like physical violence, threats, controlling behavior, isolation, coercion, emotional manipulation, and cruelty.

No relationship is perfect, yet it’s only worth saving if it is a safe space.

6) You want to stay for the right reasons

I’ve seen things like “you can’t imagine being without them” or “You hate the thought of them being with someone else” given as reasons why a relationship might be worth saving.

But I’m not convinced.

Sure, this can point to strong feelings still being there, which is a good sign.

Yet you also have to want to make it work for the right reasons.

Feeling scared of starting again. Worrying that you’ll never find anyone else. The habit of being with someone who feels familiar to you.

These are ultimately not great reasons to stay in a relationship that truly isn’t working.

Of course, sometimes these sorts of reasons can provide a little bit of temporary glue to hold you together to see it through the challenges and turn a corner.

But ultimately, they can’t be the only reason you stay together.

There needs to be more there.

Choosing a relationship out of fear is unlikely to be fulfilling. You both deserve better than that.

7) Your values are aligned

Much like a solid friendship, this is another important element that psychologists say binds a couple together.

This is what makes you compatible on a deeper level.

It’s not about your interests, tastes, and hobbies. It’s more fundamental than that.

Your core values are what shape your beliefs about the world and so dictate your words and actions.

When couples have completely misaligned values, it’s really hard to pull together in the same direction.

Kristen Fuller, M.D. speaking in Psychology Today says it can be the difference between make or break.

“Your romantic partner should be able to fill your core values. Issues will arise, and you will have hurdles to overcome in your relationship. Having compatible core values will arm you with the necessary strength and camaraderie to navigate these hurdles together. Shared interests, chemistry, and the attraction will fade and maybe come again, but core values will always be there.”

8) Your problems are solvable with effort

How do you know if that’s the case or not?

Well, sometimes there’s only really one way to find out.

Time reveals all in this sense.

But there are some clues that your issues are fairly fixable.

For example, the majority of your complaints are fairly minor irritations and frustrations.

Maybe it winds you up the way he scrolls through his phone when you’re trying to have a proper conversation with him.

Perhaps her insistence that you don’t load the dishwasher “properly” really gets on your nerves.  

The reality is, that relationships are full of minor annoyances that can build tension over time and turn into a big deal.

Give and take along with open communication can often iron out a lot of these things.

If you keep finding yourself going over the same problems time and time again, but nothing ever changes, something needs to give. 

Fantasy relationships don’t exist

It can feel like a difficult balancing act when you’re deciding whether to stay or go in a relationship.

‘Is there someone better for me?’ may be a question that plays on your mind.

When something is broken in your current relationship, it definitely needs fixing.

But as clinical psychologist Randi Gunther reminds us, in a world with limitless choice, we can find ourselves clinging to unhelpful fairytales about an ideal partner.

“There are many people who cannot let go of an imagined relationship even when they’ve never found it. They are not necessarily foolish or wrong to hold on to hope and desire for that fantasy, even if it will never materialize. It is human to do so but rarely results in success.”

Nobody should be in a bad relationship, but sometimes we have trouble identifying what is a bad or good relationship.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to spot things you may have going for you as a couple, or things that still need working on.

Fulfilling relationships should be our ultimate goal, yet we need to accept that a certain amount of boredom, ups and downs, and conflict is unavoidable too.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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