Skip to main content

Knowing When to Work on a Relationship and When to Leave

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
When should you put effort into a relationship and when should you leave?

When should you put effort into a relationship and when should you leave?

Did You Fall in Love With The Wrong Person?

You may have fallen for someone that is inappropriate for you. They don’t meet your needs or desires. But you weren’t considering that when you first met, and you developed a feeling of affection for them anyway.

Now you have this dilemma, do you stay and work on the relationship, or do you go?

Rather than letting time drift by without much emotional involvement, it’s crucial to be honest with your partner. That’s the only way you can figure out what’s wrong and make an informed decision. The two of you might even share the same feelings.

Let’s review several points to understand, so you can make a conscious decision on your relationship’s future.

How to Avoid Wasting Time in a Doubtful Relationship

It’s helpful to let your partner know how you feel and what’s important to you. It’s also crucial to understand how your partner feels—to know what they want out of the relationship.

Help your partner share their thoughts and feelings with you. That includes their fears. You need to understand their concerns, just as you would want them to understand yours.

If you're in a new relationship, or even a long-term one that's not working out, ask your partner, “How do you feel about me?”

When you know your partner's feelings, you can both make an intelligent decision to move forward, build a dream relationship, or end it without wasting time if you both conclude that it’s unsuitable based on your expectations.

The Problem With an Emotionally Unavailable Partner

Do you feel your partner is not emotionally involved? Let's see how the Urban Dictionary describes this.1

"An emotionally unavailable partner creates barriers to intimacy and can make you feel unloved or unwanted. Emotionally Unavailable people find it hard to make time for friends and loved ones."

As you can see, that attitude doesn't encourage a meaningful relationship.

We need to be conscious of both sides of the issue and communicate those thoughts with our partner. That includes being aware of their good qualities but also recognizing what stands in the way.

Without considering all that, you might hesitate to make a crucial decision and end up staying in a relationship with an undesirable partner—for example, one with a personality flaw that is a deal-breaker.

I know many friends who never dealt with these issues and married someone with whom they were unhappy. Each one of them ended up getting divorced eventually.

How to Avoid Falling in Love With an Unsuitable Person

Reflect on your thoughts and feelings. That could lead you in either direction, but at least you'd feel you are making the right decision.

  1. Think about why your partner is important to you.
  2. Consider specific things for which you are grateful.
  3. Be aware of your partner’s good qualities.
  4. Distinguish common interests, goals, values, and beliefs.
  5. Remember the incredible moments you both shared.

If you are having trouble with that, then maybe your partner is unsuitable for you.

A quote by Sam Keen, an admired American author, professor, and philosopher, says it best:

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”

— Sam Keen

Love Is Your Safe Haven

Challenging life issues become less stressful when two people in love are together and share the same feelings. That kind of love is difficult to stifle!

When you are involved and willing to talk about issues that may stand in the way of moving forward, it leads to knowing what one another wants from the relationship.

It helps to express your feelings constructively. You'll have the ability to work through difficult times as a team player in the relationship.2

More importantly, once you recognize you're with someone special, you'll know they are the right partner for a long-term relationship. You'll appreciate your partner and won't look for faults.

You may even find yourself desiring your partner more than ever.

Quick question:

Awareness of How You Feel

You might have a happy life with the wrong person as long as it's not a toxic situation and you recognize why you're choosing to hold on.

Some people often ignore the good things about their mates. As a result, they forget the lovely things that happen in their relationship, and tend to remember the bad experiences more readily.

Negative feelings have a stronger effect on decision-making. These feelings can even cause you to become judgmental due to associating them with bad memories.

I notice friends in this situation ignore that they are indeed involved with the right person and are in a good relationship. Instead, they focus on the negatives and complain about their partner. They could be fooling themselves and missing out on enjoying life with a wonderful person.

Quick question:

Communication and Trust Is Crucial

I have a saying I like to convey: Two people in a relationship should consider themselves team players.

That means each partner needs to be there for the other, especially in times of need, such as going through a health crisis or mourning a deceased family member.

Communication builds trust, and we need to share all our feelings—both good and bad. Discussing all our thoughts is essential to understanding one another.

That develops into a relationship with love and respect and will leave you with a deep appreciation for the closeness you both share.

Quick question:

In Conclusion

When feeling discouraged about your partner, you need to try to remember the marvelous things about them. It's terrific when you can be yourself with someone with whom you can relate, understand, and appreciate.

Communicating thoughts and feelings will help you understand how you truly feel about your partner. If you only remember the negative issues, you'll resist accepting them.

On the other hand, if you genuinely are open to learning what makes your partner tick, you will have both sides of the equation in your mind.

When you know you're involved with someone you can trust, someone who will always be there for you and understands your needs, fears, and feelings, never let them go!


  1. MisT. (May 07, 2013). “Emotionally Unavailable” - Urban Dictionary
  2. Denise Limongello. (August 21, 2020). “How to Be a Team Player to Your Spouse” -

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.

© 2009 Glenn Stok