In the difficult years we’ve all faced, many relationships have been tested to the limit. A great number of partners have been forced together in the same space 24/7, 365 – and are doubting whether they should be together. Some have had to add to their confinement with working from home, cooking cleaning and, for parents, home-schooling and keeping kids happy and motivated.
Do you find yourself withdrawing from your partner – or rowing with them too often? You may have reached the point where the strain on your relationship has made you fundamentally question whether you should throw in the towel, or stay – either just grinning and bearing it or, more proactively, deciding to put in the significant effort to revitalize it for both of you. In deciding that, there are various factors you should consider first.
Is It Just You Or Both Partners?
Question one – is it just you? Your partner may actually not be unhappy with how things are – and not even be noticing that you are feeling stuck in a rut. You really need to talk together. Even if he/she is oblivious to your feelings, they may be totally up for making more of an effort to bring more joy into your life. If they also feel that things are pretty dire then you can face the ‘should I stay or should I go?’ situation together – and decide to work on it, fix it or, more radically, decide to end it.
You should begin by wondering if you are actually fed up with your partner or fed up with your life. Even without the pandemic, it is all too easy to fall into a routine: get up, ablute, make breakfast, work, lunch, more work, watch TV and hit the sack. Over and over. Day after day. If that’s true for you, try to add in some new things: find outdoor sports you can do together (open air tennis can be safe) or walks in the countryside; schedule date nights (even when stuck indoors or al fresco dining); be more open to experimenting in bed – even initiating sex if you haven’t been doing that much before.
You could work on appreciating your partner while maintaining a healthy sense of self. Try to be accommodating but not to the point of appearing either too subservient or too controlling – and, in tandem with that, making time to meet up with other friends to get some ‘me’ time. Talking of friends, one great test of a relationship is how it’s viewed by friends and family.
Telltale Warning Signs
If people around you are making warning signs; if you feel your needs just aren’t being met; if you feel you’ve grown too far apart and hardly want to be together, talk together or, let’s face it, just can’t face having sex together, then it’s likely time to face that it may be over.
There is a half-way house. It’s not an option for everyone but a great way to really examine whether you love each other is to have some time away for you both to discover your true feelings. You may find that, before long, you really can’t bear to be apart – or feel that it’s a great relief to have made the break. And then want to make it permanent.
If it is over, there will be a degree of emotional pain and readjustment. There’s all the ‘conscious uncoupling’ of where you live, divvying possessions and dealing with your social connections. Try and deal with it ball with grace and dignity. Best for you not to play the blame game – even if your partner has been unfaithful, there was a motivation for it. Many times there’s no real reason why partners decide it’s time to go their separate ways, it’s just that things have run their course. Of course, not every relationship can be wildly romantic every night – but they should be a safe place where both partners feel appreciated, valued and can grow as a person.