Most of us know by now that relationships can be hard work.
Whilst it would be nice to have the fairy tale, sadly, we get that it’s just not realistic.
Most couples experience rough patches.
And you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth, right? But how do you know when it’s worth it?
Let’s look at some strong signs your relationship is worth persevering with.
1) You want the same things
Being on the same page as someone is a big deal.
When you share a vision for the future, it’s easier to pull together to create it.
Divisions and dissatisfaction are more likely to occur when you don’t necessarily want the same things.
Varying tastes and interests are fine in a relationship, but completely conflicting life plans are less so.
- Do you have compatible visions for the future? Or at the very least, can your differing dreams conveniently co-exist?
Maybe you both want to move to the countryside and raise a family. Perhaps you both long for a life of adventure and to see the world.
Relationships are about finding someone you can “do life with”.
It gives you more solid foundations to build upon when your idea of what makes a good life matches up. That way you can pull together as a team.
2) You share the same values
Our core values shape who we are as people.
They are deeply ingrained, but we may not even be consciously aware of them.
They are so integral to a healthy relationship that, especially when times get tough, we need to have shared values.
As physician and clinical mental health writer Kristen Fuller explains:
“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.”
We figure out our own core values by examining what we stand for and what’s most important to us.
Pay attention to whether your partner’s morals and principles match up with yours.
3) You respect and trust each other
They feature in pretty much every guide to cultivating healthy relationships that stand the test of time.
And for good reason.
Relationships without respect and trust turn toxic.
It can be tricky to get these things back once we lose them.
These are the elements that allow us to feel safe, secure, and loved.
Respect in many ways is a combination of admiration and care.
Do you look to your partner and appreciate their qualities and abilities?
Do you feel compassion toward their feelings, wishes, opinions, and ideas?
Meanwhile, without enough trust, you may find that conflict and insecurity are more commonplace in your relationship.
It is what facilitates vulnerability, which is essential for fostering intimacy. That allows us to be ourselves without fear of judgment.
4) You have a strong friendship
The version of love we are so often sold is about sparks flying and hearts racing.
But often it’s without enough recognition that desire can wane.
That’s not to say you have to live in a passionless romantic relationship.
But we do have to normalize the fact that real love can be boring sometimes — and that’s ok!
After the honeymoon phase, long-term partnerships rely on far more humble aspects.
Many of which look a lot like friendship:
- Laughing at your lame jokes
- Giving you a helping hand in the kitchen
- Bringing home your favorite cookies for you
- Asking how your day was
- Listening to you winge about your boss
That’s why if you still enjoy each other’s company and get alone in many ways, there is something worth fighting for.
Passion may come and go but if you have kindness, support, and love in abundance that’s nothing to be sniffed at.
5) They add value to your life
Perhaps one of the most fundamental questions when deciding to stay or go is:
Is this person good for you?
We’re talking about things like if they:
- Bring out the best in you
- Teach you how to be a better person
- Encourage you to grow
It’s tempting to go looking for a thrilling love affair, but if we’re honest, they’re not always so good for us.
The drama can be intoxicating for a time but often ends up being destructive.
We’ve probably all chased the so-called “bad boy/girl” at some time or another. It can feel sexy and exciting.
But it lacks stability because deep down they make our lives worse in the long run, not better.
So if you can say that your significant other brings value to your life, it may well be worth persevering.
6) You’re prepared to try and work on it
One of the more practical considerations comes down to whether you have it in you to try anymore.
That may well depend on how long you’ve been feeling this way, and what you’ve already done to try and get back on track.
If your heart really isn’t in it anymore, despite your best intentions, you may be running on empty.
But if there is enough affection and determination left, you are more likely to be able to turn things around.
It’s a good idea to ask yourself:
- Do I want to make it work?
- Are we both prepared to improve our relationship?
Our feelings naturally fluctuate. That’s happened to me plenty of times. On the odd occasion, you don’t even need to do anything other than ride it out.
But more times than not you still have to commit to making changes and taking positive action to put more effort in.
Doubt is natural, but don’t try to drown it out
I’m envious of those couples who always seem so sure. They effortlessly declare that “he/she is the love of my life” and seem so certain about it.
Personally, I’m just not built that way. And I think that’s the case for many of us.
It’s normal to question and doubt. It happens in all areas of life, relationships included.
So when doubt arises we shouldn’t automatically panic or assume that it means the worst.
But neither should we ignore it. Those doubts are little signals.
They need addressing and confronting, otherwise, they can end up destroying your relationship, along with your peace of mind.