The “Should I Go or Should I Stay?” Relationship Checklist

Updated on January 10, 2017
Dr Billy Kidd profile image

Dr. Billy Kidd researched romantic relationships for 15 years. He held focus groups in various cities across the nation.

You might have asked yourself if there is a scientific way to figure out whether you should go or whether you should stay in your current romantic relationship.

The answer is yes. The checklist below is based on new discoveries about how our biological systems create all the different feelings that hold our relationships together.

If you are confused or feel ambivalent, this checklist will give you a reasonable second opinion about whether you should hold on or whether you should leave.


Copy and print the list below. Study each statement, and then mark a true [T] or a false [F] in front of each one, according to how it applies to your relationship.

  1. I trust my partner.
  2. I consider my partner to be one of my friends.
  3. I’d say my partner generally thinks about me without getting angry or jealous.
  4. I can talk about my ideas without my partner trying to shatter my dreams.
  5. Sometimes it feels rewarding just to be together.
  6. When I think about our relationship, I generally don’t get angry or jealous.
  7. My partner usually doesn’t criticize the way I spend money.
  8. Sometimes my partner looks excited when we meet.
  9. My partner is OK with discussing his or her personal problems with me.
  10. When I talk about my sexual needs, my partner usually gets it.
  11. I sometimes enjoy helping my partner.
  12. My partner has occasionally tried out new things when we are in bed.
  13. I can kick back, relax, and talk freely with my partner about the events of my day.
  14. I am generally satisfied when the sex is over.
  15. I usually think my partner does OK when it comes to spending money.
  16. My partner often seems to be content after we’ve had sex.
  17. My partner can kick back and relax when I’m around.
  18. I don’t gossip about our relationship all over town.
  19. Rather than holding it inside, my partner generally talks to me if there is a problem.
  20. After I get angry with my partner, I am able to cool off and let it go.
  21. My partner generally forgives my mistakes rather than constantly reminding me of them.
  22. We occasionally have our differences, but we don’t call each other names or fight in public.
  23. My partner seems to want me to achieve my goals.
  24. We don’t hit each other.
  25. I can discuss my personal problems with my partner without it becoming a big hassle.
  26. My partner generally loosens up after talking with me about stressful events.
  27. My partner will generally help me when I really need assistance.
  28. I don’t feel isolated, anxious, or depressed because of our relationship.
  29. It’s important to me that my partner succeeds in life.
  30. I would do it all over again because it’s hard to imagine being without my partner.

Count up how many times you answered true [T] to the statements above. The score you get will reflect how well you and your partner’s emotional needs are being met. Use the interpretive chart below to help you figure out what your score means:

What It Means
Great Relationship—Keep it!
OK Relationship—Discuss this questionnaire with your partner.
Troubled Relationship—Counseling could make it work better.
Not-Really-Worth-It Relationship—Get ready for the breakup.
There Is No Relationship At All—It’s time to go

These categories represent different levels of general relationship functioning. Most people seeking help have scores that fall in the middle one—Troubled Relationship.

If your score fell into the OK Relationship category, you probably want to tune up your relationship in order to bring more excitement and meaning into your life. Choose a good time and talk things over with you partner. Start with just one thing you want to discuss.

If your score fell into the Not-Really-Worth-It Relationship category, it would seem that you are prone to get into big hassles when it comes to romantic relationships. Generally, when someone is in your position, they only know how to pick partners who create stressful and chaotic situations. If that is true for you, make an appointment with a relationship counselor or a professional psychologist. Take this list with you as a conversation starter. The point of seeking help is to learn more about yourself and to enhance the meaning of your own life. It’s time for you to work on you!

If you are feeling upset right now, call someone and talk over the issues that concern you.

This exercise might lead you to believe that it’s time to leave your partner. If you have children, remember to think about them first before you make any big changes. Whatever your situation, it’s important to realize that it takes two people to create a great relationship. You cannot change it and make it exciting and meaningful without your partner onboard.

If you’re actually getting ready to cut your partner loose, right now, here’s something to think about: You don’t have to put someone down or scold them in order to go. You can just leave.

Whatever your score and however you are feeling, please keep searching for ways to simplify, dignify, and enhance your romantic relationship. There's help everywhere. So don't stop now.

Whatever you do, remember that we are born to love and have relationships. It's instinctual. Yet sometimes people get mistreated growing up and take those bad habits with them into their love lives. This is why generations of families are dysfunctional. But today with all the information available, people do not have to go on making the mistakes their parents made. Yes, you can get help, and then move on and stop having disastrous relationship.

About the Author

Dr. Kidd wrote his doctoral dissertation on romantic relationships. He practiced as a psychotherapist for 20 years. Then he devoted his time to a relationship research company. He is author of the book Low Stress Romance. The book shows how to take the drama out of a romantic relationship.

Prior permission is granted to copy and use the text of this checklist in any clinical therapy setting. On copies, please note the copyright holder, Dr. Billy Kidd, and the Website URL where this is located.

© 2011 Dr Billy Kidd


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    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 12 days ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hello xxx,

      He probably needs professional anger management training. It often works.

      Tell him that this is the end. If he hits you one more time you are leaving for good.

      Personally, I think you've taken enough abuse. I would go now. But the decision is up to you.

      Just remember, once more and you're leaving for good. Let him know you are very serious.

    • profile image

      xxxx 13 days ago

      He hit me many times before in fight and after each time he apologized and said will change. When I tried to leave he said he will change. I see he puts effort in changing himself. But usually fails. And realizes after.

      I told him I want to leave but he begged me for 1 last chance.

      How much time should I wait before i conclude anything

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 2 weeks ago from Sydney, Australia

      Tootsieandnick52, you need to talk to your partner about his lack of communicating with you. Perhaps, couple's counseling would help.

      Also, it's possible he can't relax around you, doesn't feel like a family, doesn't feel rewarded sometimes just to be with you, and doesn't care about your future. That's the stuff of the second stage of in-love love.

      Dr Billy

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 2 weeks ago from Sydney, Australia

      Tootsieandnick52, you need to talk to your partner about how you feel. Perhaps couple's counseling would help.

      There is also a chance he is not in-love with you anymore. I'm talking about the second stage of in-love. That's where partners relax around each other, feel rewarded sometimes just to be around each other, feel like family, and care about each other's future.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 2 weeks ago from Sydney, Australia

      First, it would be best if you talk to him about not communicating with you. Tell him how you feel. If he says he has nothing to say, remind him that you're in a relationship. Happy couples share their thoughts.

      Second, true social anxiety is a mental health issue. People with it are afraid in public and they often withdrawal. Find out if there is any place where he feels comfortable. If he has the real social anxiety, he could be helped by a psychiatrist.

      Was there a time when the two of you did communicate. If so, tell him you want to go there again.

      If I have more thoughts, I'll let you know.

    • profile image

      tootsieandnick52 2 weeks ago

      only complain I have is that he has social anxiety and is very quiet at time. he doesnt communiciate unless i initiate....makes me feel insecure....not sure what to do

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 2 weeks ago from Sydney, Australia

      Shandia, yes being in-love can really hurt. When a person is dumped especially. This hurt happens because with in-love love a person has selected someone as the one and only among all the possible people. When that person leaves, it triggers an unconscious feeling that the person has died. That conflicts with the fact that the person is still alive and simply doesn't want you around no more. This creates an emotion mind funk.

      In today's world, people generally go through 2 or 3 of these. And like the song says, "The first cut is the deepest.

    • profile image

      Shandia 2 weeks ago

      Love hurts

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 5 weeks ago from Sydney, Australia

      Anyone who wants ideas about a complex relationship can click on the "contact author" above. That way you can say more via an email to me.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 5 weeks ago from Sydney, Australia

      Latrice, yes you must take care of your needs. So it was a good decision to leave your boyfriend.

      Stop thinking about it. Don't dwell on him. Make peace with your losing your mother. If it lingers, talk to some one about it.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 5 weeks ago from Sydney, Australia

      Synthia, it took 12 days for me to be notified about your post to me. Sorry.

      If you know in your heart that your partner does not love you--it's time to leave for good.

      He will never change, not for you. It is his Love Style that stops him for doing anything else. What he does is a life long habit and way of living.

      Go. Don't Worry about him. He'll carry on.

    • Miss Liberty31 profile image

      LaTrice 5 weeks ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I just finished writing down the answers from the checklist and scored four points. I made the right decision by ending the relationship with my ex-boyfriend, because my needs were being neglected. It's a shame that he wasn't emotionally available when my mom passed away five months ago. I'm unable to forgive him for all of the heart ache that he put me through.

      I'm not going to lower my standards anymore. Those days are officially over.

      This is an excellent and informative article. Thank you so much for sharing, Dr. Kidd.

    • profile image

      Synthia 7 weeks ago

      What would you suggest In a situation where.. I got a 4 and the only t's were some things that i do, but they werent full t's i just moreso fell to that side than the other. And ive tried to leave multiple times over the coarse of 3 years, I've been in this relationship for 8, and just don't feel.. loved I guess. Do you have any advice as to go about this? By me trying to leave and not being able to, I mean it's as if I'm not aloud to, because when I do they threaten themselves and I don't know what to do because I do care, but I also know I'm waiting my life caring for someone who obviously doesn't love me...

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 8 months ago from Sydney, Australia

      Swasp, thanks for the ideas in your comment.

    • profile image

      swasp 8 months ago

      I find your checklist to be quite helpful towards my issues at hand but quite moving towards your on point analysis of character and the choices made.

      Thank you for doing this.

    • Ebonny profile image

      Ebonny 11 months ago from UK

      A great read. I like that you emphasised that there doesn't have to be masses of destructive drama and that a person can choose to simply leave without additional, unnecessary negativity.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 11 months ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks, k,nn!

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Buddy, sorry it took so long to respond. But your kind response did not come up on my comments list until now.

      This post follows scientific guidelines. That's why it looks honest. I wrote what the research said, putting it into a checklist format. So, it's not about me. So many writers are really writing about what they think, coming from their past romantic experiences. This is quite different, following not what I think but what I learned from the research on romantic relationships.

      Thanks again.

    • profile image

      Buddy 3 years ago

      I was struck by the honsety of your posting

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks, crissalina! Yes, sometimes we have to walk away from a relationship.

    • profile image

      crissalina 3 years ago

      relationships have to bring out the best in us. staying in a relationship that doesn't offer emotional support, satisfaction can have a strong negative impact on how you perceive yourself. sometimes it's better to walk away eve if hurts. great advice dr. kidd

    • soconfident profile image

      Derrick Bennett 5 years ago

      Great hub, relationship is helping each become even more happy than they already are

    • carladominique profile image

      Carla Dominique 5 years ago from Philippines

      I'll try applying some in my situation. thanks for sharing.

    • cbpoet profile image

      cbpoet 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Post divorce- I have to agree with your checklist. They are essential to a healthy, long lasting marriage or divorce ..

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Sorry it took so long to get back to you on this. But I was thinking, we not only carry toxic relationships behaviors from partner to partner, but it's a family thing. Toxic relationship behaviors handed down from generation to generation. That's why it takes so much work to get one's head above water sometimes.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks. A lot of work went into making the check list line up with what goes on inside of us.

    • profile image

      patricia bubash 6 years ago

      Excellent suggestions, Dr. Kidd- So very true, that rather than learning from those relationships that were negative, toxic, dissatisfying, we carry over our "stuff" into the next relationship. On to the next relationship without taking time to examine, assess, evaluate the contribution you made, will lead to more failure. Again, insightful writing.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      Great hub. I concur with your reasoning