Relationships are strange things, and they sometimes fall apart.
Whether you're married or in a serious relationship, if you feel like things just aren't going right – no matter what it is that seems like it's not working – there are some things you should do, and consider, before you just walk away (or even before you decide to stay and tough it out).
Everyone has relationship questions, but if you're always questioning your relationship, you need to get some help.
Before you call your relationship quits, you need to look into what things aren't working in your relationship – it could be something one of you is doing wrong, something both of you are doing wrong, or something that is messing this up outside of the two of you.
There are questions you should ask yourself, there is therapy you need to consider, and there is a lot of talking you need to do before you make any drastic decisions about your union.
When It's Time to Consider Therapy
When you're having relationship problems, you need to talk about things with one another.
Communication is an important part of all types of relationships, romantic and otherwise. If you're not communicating with each other, things will start to take a turn for the worse.
If you've tried to talk to each other and it hasn't worked, or if talking always seems to turn into fighting, it's definitely time to seek counseling. There are a few different helpful options when it comes to counseling, from individual counseling to couples/marriage counseling.
There are different methods of couple’s therapy – they all require couples to look at each other, themselves, and the relationship itself.
For therapy sessions to be effective, there are some things that need to be covered – these are things that will help the couple work things out (whether working it out means making it work or walking away).
1. Change Relationship Views
Effective therapy helps the couple look at their relationship from a different perspective. By learning to be more objective when it comes to the relationship, couples can get to the base of what is causing strife in their relationship. There are many things that can cause relationship issues – money problems, infidelity, communication breakdown, and different priorities are just a few of the things that can hurt a relationship.
2. Alter Negative Behaviors
Anger issues, abuse, narcissism, and other negative behaviors that can creep into relationships will come out in therapy. With the assistance of a therapist, couples can work through these problems – it's a chance to admit that both of you are wrong (the abuser for being abusive and the “victim” for staying where they are). Abuse can be dealt with if both people are willing to make the changes needed.
This is not to say the “victim” of abuse has any fault in the abuse. However, there is help – you don't have to stay in an abusive relationship.
3. Open Emotions
A good therapist will help you both be more emotionally open. When couples are always bottling up their feelings, it's breaking up the lines of communication. By learning to express your feelings to each other, you can work through problems.
Emotional issues can stem all the way back to childhood. If you didn't feel like you could share your problems with anyone as a child, as a teenager, or at any other point, it can seep into future relationships – making it an important topic to broach with your therapist.
4. Build on Strengths
Individually, you and your partner have both strengths and weaknesses. Together, your relationship also has strengths and weaknesses. Your therapist will teach the two of you how to focus on and build those strengths – by building your strengths, you will lessen your weaknesses. You don't want to ignore those weaknesses. However, by focusing on and increasing your strengths, those weaknesses will be easier to deal with.
5. Open Communication
Your therapist will also make sure that you and your partner learn how to effectively communicate with one another – even when you're not sitting in the therapist's office. You need to be able to communicate on many levels, and anywhere that you might be. Communication should never end just because the therapy session has ended. This communication is about more than just small talk. You need to share your feelings, your hopes, your wishes, and your fears with each other. It's part of the bonding process.
Questions and Topics of Conversation
When it comes to communication in relationships, you need to be talking to one another. If things feel like they're not working, there are some relationship questions you can ask yourselves and each other. The questions can be asked before you go to therapy, while you're attending therapy, or even after you've completed therapy.
The purpose of these ten relationship questions is to get you talking – but even more so, it's important to ask these questions because they are designed to make you both reflect on your relationship. They are meant to get you to look at your union and at yourselves. It's a chance to open up and to get right down to the details of why your relationship is failing (and how to get it back on track, if you can).
These are ten relationship questions that will make you both think. Focus on them, one at a time. Don't spout out the first thing that comes to mind. Really look into your heart, mind, and soul in order to get to the heart of the matter.
1. How Committed Are We to This Relationship?
The commitment you both have to this relationship will help you determine whether or not it can be saved, or is worth saving. You could find that things aren't working because one or both of you just don't want to be in the relationship anymore.
Are you simply staying together because you don't want to be alone? Are you married, and you don't want to break your vows? Do you feel like you already put too much into the relationship to walk away now, but feel like you have grown apart?
If there’s no commitment in the relationship, even if only one of you is ready to walk away, it may be time to call things off. You do want to consider each other's feelings, and you also want to consider what goes into getting a divorce if you're married. But there is no sense in dragging things on if one or both of you has nothing left to invest in your coupling.
2. Are We Both Happy in This Relationship?
You can be committed to a relationship and still be unhappy. There are a lot of things that can bring unhappiness into a coupling – money issues, work issues, sexual issues, and more. Ask each other, “Are you happy?” Consider the answers, the body language, and how quick you both are to answer. If there's a hesitation, why is it there? Why do you not know if you're happy? If you're unhappy – why are you unhappy? Is there something that would make you happy in this relationship again?
3. Why Did We Originally Fall in Love with Each Other?
What brought you together? What is it that made the two of you fall in love with each other? Look back at the beginning – it could be enough to rekindle feelings of love for each other.
If you find that you fell in love for all the wrong reasons, you may learn that your relationship was actually doomed from the start. If your relationship was based on money or looks, and not a deep affection for each other, you may need to reevaluate whether or not you should stay together.
4. Who Will Be Affected by This Break-Up?
You're not the only people in your relationship, as strange as that may seem. Even if you don't have children, you and your partner may share mutual friends who will be affected by your split. Don't stay together just because of them, but don't be selfish. Always consider other people's feelings and how your action may affect them. If you have children, you have a lot of things to think about when it comes to separating with kids. While you don't want your children to see the arguments and hatred in a broken home, you also don't want to leave them stuck choosing between parents. Make sure you know what your decisions will do to them and be as open and honest with them as you can.
5. What Is Love to the Both of Us?
What love is to you could determine how your relationship works out. If you both see love differently, this could be a catalyst to your relationship issues. Love is more than sexual – you need intimacy that is not sexual in order to bond with one another.
6. What Is Our Relationship Based On?
Is your relationship based on love, sex, mutual admiration? Is one of you co-dependent? The foundation of your relationship determines how sturdy it is. If your relationship is based on something superficial, like sex, is it something you can change? If it is, would the change make a difference – would it make the relationship last and become stronger?
7. What Do We Each Need Out of This Relationship?
Why are you together? What is the purpose of your union, and what do you expect to get from it? A healthy relationship would have answers like – “We have a mutual love and admiration for each other” or “We just want to share a life with each other, we have so many interests that mesh and keep us communicating.” If your answers have things to do only with sex or having someone to do things for you, or just needing someone to be there because you're afraid of being alone – your relationship is a bit off balance. That lack of balance is probably at least part of the reason the two of you are clashing.
8. What Do We Need to Ask Each Other to Give?
Relationships are about give and take – what are you wishing your partner would give? What are you giving in return? Maybe you need more intimacy that isn't revolving around sex, or maybe you feel like you're not getting enough physical attention. Remember, partners are partners, not mind readers – your significant other can't read your mind, so you need to let them know what you need from them in your relationship.
9. What Positive Things Are Coming Out of This Relationship?
Don't spend all of this time delving into the negatives with these relationship questions – look at the positive things as well. What are some of the good things in your relationship? If you can't name at least one positive thing about your union, then things have gotten extremely bad.
10. How Much Are Both of Us to Blame for the Relationship Problems?
You can't keep blaming each other for the mistakes in your relationship – It takes two to ruin a romantic love. You need to be willing to admit your own mistakes and stop putting all the blame on the other person. Sometimes your faults are hard to see – like a bossy nature. You think you're being helpful, but your actions are borderline abusive without meaning to be.
Is It Time to Fix It or Walk Away?
Once you've answered these interview questions, it's time to determine what the answers mean and if it is time for you to split up or file for divorce. If you're married, consider a trial separation. These are the best relationship questions to help you both get a better understanding of each other – use them, and it could make a difference.