How To Tell If Your Relationship Is Working

Illustrated by Shawna Huang.
All relationships are work.

Some don’t feel like it because they’re so natural and you’re so compatible, but you’re still working on things like intimacy, trust, and communication, just by being together. Then there are the relationships that do feel like work, but you stick with it because you believe it could be so much better if you just worked on it more.

So you work on it. And work on it. And work on it. And yell or cry or shut down or deny feelings that tell you it isn’t right. And soon the relationship is 90% working on it — or more — and you kind of forget what it’s like to be happy together.

But how do you know when working on it isn’t worth it any more? How long do you let your self-esteem erode, because no matter how much you give or love or share or sacrifice, it’s never enough?

There’s no easy answer, but there are things you can ask yourself to see if working on it isn’t working.

Related: How To Tell If You're In An Abusive Relationship

· Are you the only one putting effort into improving things?

· Are you accommodating his or her needs, but your partner isn't making an effort to accommodate yours?
· Has your partner broken your trust? Maybe by cheating on you or flirting with someone else?

· Have you started to find yourself attracted to someone else?
· Are you staying in the relationship because you don’t want to be alone?

It comes down to this: You deserve a healthy relationship.

· Have you stopped having sex or being romantic? For how long?

· How often do you feel discouraged, angry, frustrated, and disappointed in the relationship versus how often you feel content, happy, secure, and pleased?

· Does your partner ever ask how you feel? Do they try to understand you?

· Do you see yourself in the future with this person? A year from now? Three years from now?

· If this were a friend’s relationship, would you think your friend should stay or go?

· Has your partner changed? Have you grown apart, and now you, or they, want different things?

· Are you focusing on happier times in the past, thinking they’ll return if you just work hard enough?

· Are you staying because you feel guilty about breaking up and hurting them?
It’s okay to have conflict in your relationship. It’s normal to have some stuff you need to work through. It becomes potentially unhealthy when the negatives far outweigh the positives and you’ve tried and tried, but the relationship still doesn’t work...yet you stay anyway.

It comes down to this: You deserve a healthy relationship. That doesn’t mean it’ll be perfectly happy 100% of the time. It does mean you shouldn’t have to force it — or work really, really hard on it — most of the time. And while we hope you don’t need this, here are a few tips on how to break up with someone, just in case.

Next: How To Say No In Any Situation

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