Should we stay together?

By Benjamin Schoendorff

4 questions to consider before making your decision

You’ve been together for a while, but these days it feels as though the flame is gone. You struggle to connect. Even your best moments together don’t make you feel as alive as you once felt. Should you stay or should you go?

This is a momentous decision to make. Here are four questions that can help you decide if you’ve come to the end of your time together if there is something in your relationship worth fighting for.

Was there ever a time when you were intimate?

And no, I don’t mean sexually intimate. What I mean is : was there ever a time when you felt that your partner received anything you thought or felt and that you too at one time received all they thought and felt? If yes, you had real intimacy. If you could move toward intimacy with your partner — or if you did become intimate with your partner, would your relationship be worth saving?

True intimacy is one of the most precious gift of love. However, past the first giddy days of being in love, intimacy is like a garden. It needs to be tended to regularly to grow into a place where you’ll both enjoy to spend your life for years to come.

If you’ve responded yes to the above questions, read on.

What is important to you and your partner?

A relationship is like a team. A team works well when team members have a common purpose and common goals. As our intimate relationship is our most important relationship, common goals don’t quite cut it. An intimate relationship has to be about supporting both partners in doing what’s most important to them.

Is there enough in common for it to make sense for you to work on how to better move together toward the important stuff?

There might be if who and what are important to you in your present relationship would also be important to you if you were in your ideal relationship.

There might be if who and what are important to your partner in your present relationship would also be important to them if they were in their ideal relationship.

Finally, if there are enough common items between the two lists, then this could be a sign that this relationship is well worth some hard work.

Did you ever fully trust one another?

Trust is paramount in intimate relationships. Trust provides safety and the assurance that our partner will respect us and respect what is dear to us, like friends, work, hobbies we care about, or something important to us at home. There are a number of things that can hurt trust in a relationship: how friends and family are treated, money management, infidelity, even the way we argue or receive our partner’s feelings.

If you still have trust or ever had trust in your partner and you feel that, regardless of what happened between you, you would be ready to work to rebuild trust, then your relationship is still important to you.

Would you both be prepared to make a go of it?

Imagine there was a way to reconnect you and your partner to what is most important to you both and to you as a couple. Not just recapturing some of that initial magic, but deepening your connection, your sense of being accepted as you are and of valuing your partner just as they are. Imagine you could build a relation in which you find the courage to get your needs met and support your partner in their deepest needs. A relationship in which you could both love in your own way and yet be fully yourself. It may be hard to imagine your present relationship could be that relationship, and maybe it isn’t.

But if you are willing to give it a go, and so is your partner, true intimacy is not a pipe dream to be vainly pursued from relationship to relationship. It is a set of behaviors that involve awareness, courage and love and that you and your partner can learn.

Research suggests that 69% of conflicts in couples are insoluble. This seems to hold for most couples. However, this doesn’t mean you should renounce intimacy and become a monk. You can learn to fight better and reconnect faster. There are proven methods for that. Yes it will take work and dedication, but if you’ve answered yes to the four questions above, we know you can succeed.

But then again, maybe this relationship really isn’t for you two.