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How to Tell if Your Relationship is Worth Saving and When to Walk Away

is your relationship worth saving and when to walk away from your relationship

Is Your Relationship Worth Saving?

Should you stay or should you go?

What are the signs your relationship is worth saving?

And what are the reg flags of toxic or harmful behaviour that indicate when to walk away from your relationship?

A couple days ago, I was at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco, listening to Tarana Burke (founder of the #metoo movement) speak.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from her -

But I came away respecting the courage of this woman who is dedicating her life to ending sexual violence.

Not only sexual violence for women -

“MeToo is NOT a women’s movement,” Burke said -

“The future is not female — the future is FREE.”

Standing ovation! I thought.

Even more, her repeating mantra was: “I will not compromise your dignity, but I will not sacrifice mine.”

I will not compromise your dignity, but I will not sacrifice mine…

That still echoes in me, a few days later because I often teach this when it comes to relating: your partner matters, YOU matter, and quality of the connection between the two of you matters.

And having a healthy connection between the two of you requires tending to the needs of both people.

You see, less obvious than sexual violence, but still devastating, are the relationships in which there is emotional disconnection or manipulation.

For example, where one partner no longer dares to stand up for themselves because the other can’t or won’t hear them.

I see it far too often that one partner has sacrificed their dignity by sacrificing themselves from the equation — simply because we were never taught how to relate!

This can often be remedied. It’s the work I do.

When to Call it Quits

So, how DO you know when your relationship is worth saving or not?

What’s a ‘normal’ amount of fireworks, drama, annoyances, disconnection, and misunderstandings?

(‘Normal marital hatred’ as Terry Real lovingly calls it).

And when do you call it quits and walk away from your relationship?

Often, the first thing I ask is:

Have you been able to stand up for yourself, with love?

Have you brought up the hard stuff?

Sometimes we believe we are being ‘kind’ when we bring up the tough stuff, but we’re actually being a jerk. It’s helpful to get an outside perspective on this. None of us were taught to communicate well and I will bet a chunk of money that your family didn’t model it for you, either.

The next thing I ask might be:

Have you shared with your partner the impact on you of what’s happening? 

Do they know you have one foot out the door?

Terry Real, famous tough-love therapist, has a lot to say about this topic, too. I’m including both his wisdom and my own contributions below.

Terry starts by asking:

Are you getting enough good from the relationship to make up for what’s missing?

Are you willing to accept and grieve what you will never get, in order to stay for what you ARE getting?

Other considerations to determine if your relationship is worth saving include:

1. Do you feel safe to [skillfully, lovingly] tell the truth to each other about how you

really feel? Do you both have the capacity to listen — and to care (at least some of the time)?

2. Is your partner able to care about your experience — even if they don’t agree with it or if they think it makes no sense?

3. Are you able to stand up for yourself with love (that’s the key part) — and be heard and respected?

4. Did you ever truly love this person?

5. Was there ever great passion or sex to begin with?

6. Are there kids involved?

7. Do you have a shared vision for the purpose and role of the relationship? Do you have shared dreams?

8. Do you see this relationship supporting you to thrive in your life?

Finally, deal-breakers from Terry — these must be treated in order to stay:

Addictions: alcohol, drugs, sex, porn, gambling

Untreated psychiatric conditions: depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc. [I add mental illness].

Acting-out disorders: either sexual (infidelity) or aggressive (domestic violence)

As Terry says, mature love is when:

“You see with utter clarity your partner’s imperfections and you choose to love them anyway. Sure, they’re a pain in the neck sometimes, but they’re worth it.”

And, fireworks are fine as long as you both like them.

Reignite the Passion in Your Relationship

If after reading this, you’re thinking to yourself:

“Ok, my relationship is worth saving — but we’re really stuck in rut!”

Let’s start by introducing you to my 4 Keys for Passionate Relationships.

These keys will teach you how to:

  • Show up as a powerful presence that women love (no more worries about being seen as ‘creepy’).

  • ​Fix your ‘upper limit’ so you can actually receive the pleasure and connection you are longing for.

  • Create high-quality relationships across the board in your life (with your partner, kids, parents, boss, and friends).

With love,

Dr. Jessica


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