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Should You Stay or Should You Go? The 7 Big Criteria

On the fence when it comes to keeping your relationship? Find out if you should keep fighting for your relationship by checking for these 7 signs!

should you stay in the relationship?

Every relationship has its rough with its smooth, but there may come a time when the former begins to outweigh the latter. With constant bickering and back-biting providing a dubious background to your relationship, you might start to wonder whether the time has come to call it a day and head off to pastures new. But before you do, it might be a good idea to sit down and work out whether the pros outweigh the cons, and save yourself some potential heartbreak further down the line.

Reading between the lines

So how do you decide whether to keep on going with what you have or ditch it all and run for the next available option on the menu? Well, there are some giveaway signs of a good relationship that can be identified which, despite the bad patch you and your partner are currently going through, might just convince you to hang on a little bit longer. The following list outlines ten signs that point to a relationship that is definitely worth keeping.

#1 Bickering. Hold on a second… bickering as a reason to KEEP a relationship? No, you haven’t read wrongly. Although bickering might be seen by many as a reason to cast a relationship aside, there is more to suggest the opposite.

Bickering is a form of negotiation practice, similar to a complaint in a sales or customer service environment. Most experienced salespeople will tell you that in their line of trade, a complaint about price, for example, is an invitation to negotiate. Any invitation is, by very definition and despite the way it is phrased or framed, a positive thing.

What salespeople fear most is a polite nod or token agreement, followed up by complete disregard. Bickering is a way of hammering out differences and working out issues. It is not a brick wall to bang one’s head against, and if it seems that way, then just take a moment to consider that you might be the stubborn one. Little arguments are great opportunities to renegotiate the terms of the relationship. [Read: 23 dos and don’ts of a relationship argument]

#2 A good sex life. Any sexually experienced man or woman will tell you in no uncertain terms that good sex, and by good I mean the kind that leaves you goggle-eyed and panting like a Friar at a wet T-shirt competition, comes along very rarely. If you have a relationship with someone who truly makes the earth move for you, then you need to think long and hard about discarding it.

This is not, by the way, in any way a shallow comment. Despite the fact that a good relationship is invariably a strongly physical relationship, great sex is usually a sign that there is a very deep connection between two people, and this connection must be cultivated and nurtured. Walking from one great sex life to another is almost unheard of – and, as described, there’s a very good reason for that. [Read: 9 awkward signs you’re having bad sex with your partner]

#3 Your partner is your best friend. Again, how often does this happen? Not only do you have perfect sex, but your partner is the person you turn to through all life’s trials and tribulations. Every time you need a good and honest opinion, they are there for you. Every time there’s a discussion you want or need to have, they are your first port of call. This is such an important thing.

No man or woman is an island, and having access to that other person whom you can springboard off to make your decisions and clarify your thoughts on a pretty much 24 hour basis is an invaluable part of life, once you have it. It’s not something that should be lightly thrown away.

#4 You share a good sense of humor. Although the term “good sense of humor” is a very subjective one, if you believe that you both have one, then this is a definite reason to keep your relationship going. Humor, along with sex, is one of life’s most effective ways of dissolving stresses and tensions, and if it provides a cornerstone to your relationship, then that is definitely something that you can rebuild your relationship upon.

Interestingly, a sense of humor is often cited by women as one of the things they look for most in a potential partner, and the reason for that is that life can sometimes be tough. But when life does turn for the worst, and we all experience hard times upon occasion, then a good sense of humor shared by the both of you is a great weapon in the war against personal adversity. [Read: 12 things happy couples talk about to feel closer]

#5 Neither of you are attracted to others. The reasons for this factor indicating that you’re in a relationship with a keeper should be fairly self-evident. First of all, if you’re attracted to your partner still, then surely this is a sign that you’re in a healthy and worthwhile relationship.

Secondly, why on earth would you leave someone whom you are inexorably attracted to, in order to attempt to develop a relationship with another person, whoever that poor person might be? There is a reason that you’re only attracted to each other, and that’s because your hormones, being wiser on this occasion than you are, know that you are meant to be together.

#6 You support each other’s aspirations. Do you realize how rarely this happens? So many couples are dismissive, unsupportive or even jealous of the other’s aspirations, to the point where they stop being aspirations at all, and become pipe dreams and dead plans.

However, if you’re in a relationship where you can tell your partner about your hopes and dreams without reservation and those same aspirations, with your partner’s encouragement, have started to become a reality, then have no doubt about it – you are in a relationship with a definite keeper. Do you still want to throw all that away?

#7 You have your own life. You come together at the end of a working day, you go out together on a regular basis, and invariably end up together in the sack each night. But, and this is a big but *if that’s the kind of thing you like*, you both still have your own friends, your own hobbies and your own lives. Getting that kind of balance right is incredibly difficult.

It is usually the case that one of the couple prefers to spend all their time in the company of the other, whilst the other is always gallivanting around the bars and clubs with friends. The first feels that their partner is spurning them, whilst the latter that they are being stifled. This difference in approach to the amount of time spent together eventually breeds resentment and a highly dissatisfied environment.

When you meet a balance of spending time together and spending time doing your own thing, you can be sure that this kind of balance is rare in a world where couples always feel like they’re getting the ugly end of the bargain. If you have this, hold on to it as best you can!

How does your relationship hold up?

Our tally of the 7 points above is all well and good of course, but no relationship is perfect and you are unlikely to check every box. So how to decide whether your relationship is worth keeping or not depends very much on how many of these boxes you DO check.

No boxes checked: If your relationship has none of the 7 point above, then we really must ask why you’re staying with your partner. Without at least one of these 7 points, your relationship can head towards a downward spiral in a snap! [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]

One box checked: If even one of the above points is true, then it is definitely worth sitting down and having a serious think about staying put.

Two to three boxes checked: It’s a fairly good bet that staying with your partner is the correct way forward.

Four or more boxes checked: If four or more of the points above are true in the case of your relationship, then you should have no doubt in your mind that you have met the partner of your dreams, and you’re just going through one of those perennially rocky stages that we all have to deal with.

Of course, if you’ve ticked four or more boxes and you still want to move on, then it’s time you realized that EVERY relationship needs at least some amount of work, and you might need to admit to yourself that your expectations aren’t altogether realistic.

[Read: 10 ways to know if your relationship is worth keeping]

Though there are other factors that come into play when it comes to keeping a relationship, these 7 points are by far some of the most important ones. Give your relationship a thorough examination, and if you find none of these points, then it may be safe to say that you should start packing your bags for greener pastures. 

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David Cullen
David Cullen
David Cullen is frequently described as erudite, insightful and witty – but only by himself and only after several large glasses of Rioja....