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The Should I Go or Should I Stay? Relationship Checklist

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

It's the Age-Old Question

The question is: Should I go, or should I stay?

This checklist will give you a reasonable second opinion how to answer this question. This means whether you should hold on and try to make the relationship work, or whether you should leave.

The Checklist

Study each statement and think about how it applies to your relationship. Then, mark each one true [T] or false [F].

  1. I trust my partner.
  2. I consider my partner to be one of my friends.
  3. I would 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. We have 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 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 have had sex.
  17. My partner can kick back and relax when I’m around.
  18. I don’t gossip all over town about our relationship.
  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. I can discuss my personal problems with my partner without it becoming a big hassle.
  25. My partner generally loosens up after talking to me about stressful events.
  26. My partner will generally help me when I really need assistance.
  27. I don’t feel isolated, anxious, or depressed because of our relationship.
  28. It’s important to me that my partner succeeds in life.
  29. I would do it all over again because it’s hard to imagine being without my partner.

How to Get and How to Interpret Your Score

Count the number of times you answered "True" to the statements above. Look below to see what it means.

ScoreWhat It Means

24-29

Great! Your partner's a keeper.

18-23

OK relationship. Discuss this questionnaire with your partner.

12-17

Troubled. Counseling could make it better if your partner is willing to go.

6-11

Not Really Worth It. Get ready for the breakup.

0-5

What Relationship? It's time to go.

Should I Stay in the Relationship?

If your relationship falls in the Great category, you're in luck. You made it this far! You two probably already have what it takes to communicate with each other in a healthy way when problems arise.

If your score fell into the OK category, don't fret. Though you and your partner have many strengths, you might want to work on your relationship to bring more excitement and meaning into your lives.

Choose a good time and talk things over with your partner. Start working on one thing at a time and build from there. Remember, no relationship is perfect—there will be times of happiness, times of hardship, and even times where it's just okay. Even if you have some issues, it's worth working together to resolve whatever problems you may have. That is, if your partner is willing. Remember, however, that you cannot make your partner change. If your partner refuses to work on the relationship with you, it may be time to leave.

Most people who are seeking relationship help have scores that fall into the Troubled category. But what does it mean to have a troubled relationship, and how can you fix it?

Your relationship probably has its beautiful moments, but you have some things that are constantly troubling you. Maybe your partner doesn't listen to you when you talk, or maybe your partner doesn't like the way you spend money. Whatever the problems are, there are steps you and your partner can take to patch things up. See if you folks can stop calling each other names and stop keeping a list of things that happened in the past.

This may not work, however, because you and your partner are likely stuck in the roles you have played in the relationship. But you can still try to change things if both of you get onboard. Just do not over invest in it such that you are the only one working on changing it. When that is the case, it's time to leave.

Should I Leave the Relationship?

What it means if your score fell into the Not Really Worth It or What Relationship Categories. Maybe your current romantic relationship is a big hassle. Maybe you have picked a partner who creates stressful and chaotic situations. If you feel that to be true, go alone to a relationship counselor or psychologist and take the list above with you. Use this chance to learn more about yourself and to enhance the meaning of your own life. It’s time for you to work on you!

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Read More From Pairedlife

It is possible that the Checklist gave you enthusiasm about leaving your partner. Just be careful. If you are married and 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, 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 and move on.

When ending a relationship—whether it went on for many years or was for just a few months—you should try to be respectful of your soon-to-be-ex and be honest with him or her. Consider setting aside a time to talk in person and let your partner know of your decision in a direct manner. Try not to insult, blame or belittle them. Instead, use "I" statements and explain how you are feeling.

Afterward, your partner will surely have something to say. Listen to him or her respectfully, but don't take back your decision. You decided to break up with him or her for a reason. Don't get caught up in the heat of the moment and take your partner back. Typically, your partner will either get angry and blame you or softly give you a plea to stay, saying how he or she is going to change Of course, you can avoid all this by simply leaving.

What If You Want to Stay Regardless of a Low Positive Score?

1. Recognize the problem areas.

Use the checklist above to help you identify in what areas your relationship could use some help. Avoid thinking about the nitty-gritty details and focus on the bigger picture. What would you like your partner to work on, and what are some areas that you can work on yourself?

2. Take the time to think about how you feel.

Don't blow your fuse at your partner because you've suddenly understood a problem area. Take a bit of time to think about what it is that you want. It can help you see the situation in a different light and sort out your thoughts. This will help you avoid being over heated and miscommunicating when you hash things out with your partner.

3. Communicate your thoughts.

Don't go to bed angry. Setting aside a specific amount of time for you and your partner to talk your problems through.

Remember, you don't want to come off as pointing fingers concerning faults in your partner's character; this is not a blame game. Start each point by saying "I feel that..." or "I think..." then state what you think or how you feel. This lets your partner know that you are not blaming him or her for everything.

4. Listen to your partner.

A relationship is a two-way street. Make sure you listen to how your partner feels and how he or she thinks. Try to practice "objective listening"—this means listening to what your partner is saying without interpreting it with your own feelings. Focus on the words being used and do not influence them with your thoughts. It's important to be able to see things from your partner's point of view. Try saying, "what I hear you saying is that..." then say in your own words what you think you partner said. Then ask for your partner to respond.

5. Keep the love alive.

You don't want your whole relationship to turn negative—it's still in a salvageable place. Continue to make an effort to show how much you love your partner. Give your partner compliments and little gifts. Take him or her out on a romantic date, text sweet messages, or do something special for your partner. Together explore new things. If possible take a vacation to somewhere the two of you have not been before.

6. Consider speaking to a relationship counselor.

If you and your partner cannot talk about your problems without getting angry and heated, it might be time to bring in a mediator to help you sort out your problems. Couples therapy can help you two understand each other's point of view and work together towards solving your problems.

If you want to keep the relationship, please keep searching for ways to simplify, dignify, and enhance your romantic relationship. We all have ways in which we can improve and 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. However, sometimes people who were mistreated while growing up take bad habits with them into their love lives. This is why generations of families are dysfunctional. With all the information available today, people do not have to go on making the mistakes their parents made. You can get help, move on, and stop having disastrous relationships.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Dr Billy Kidd

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