“How much real time are you willing to put into saving a relationship?”
I had asked this question at a college where I was a guest speaker on a forum discussing couples and relationships. A young woman in the audience answered my question with a question of her own, “Are you saying some relationships aren’t worth saving?”
The answer is yes and… no. It all comes down to whether you have more positive than negative aspects in that relationship. What exactly is it that you’re trying to salvage and more importantly, is it truly worth the effort?
Think about the word “save”. To save something means that you are trying to salvage what has been damaged or on the brink of loss. When a relationship needs saving, it usually has taken quite a hit and is badly damaged. Whether it is damaged beyond repair is an individual call. You need to know that trying to save a relationship takes just as much time and effort as building one. Begin by asking yourself a very blunt, no-nonsense question: Just how many of my days and nights am I willing to spend to really save and repair what we once had?
Realistically, if what you once had was a really good situation, a loving relationship that included respect and kindness, then saving it does make sense. Remember that it is a rare couple who has no upsetting problems in their relationship at least once in their lives together. Small damages can be repaired if both partners are willing to work together. And truthfully, that is really the key in this issue; both partners must be committed to make the relationship whole.
Knowing the good you had and desiring to have it again, albeit with a more mature knowledge of each other, is a clear indication that your relationship is important to you and your partner. Working together to rebuild your life is the building block to being successful as a couple. You can overcome the bumps in the road.
But what if your relationship has always been a bit rocky and gotten progressively so as the years have passed? Are you the only partner who wants to save the relationship? That rarely works and most times is a no-win situation. This is especially true if you have a partner involved with substance abuse. Any relationship where abuse is ongoing non-stop or where the other person’s addiction is adversely affecting your life is a relationship you have to think hard and long about saving. If your partner’s drug and alcohol abuse have been escalating to a danger point and he or she refuse to make drastic life changes, are you still willing to still see the relationship as “savable?” To be brutally realistic, in any situation where there is substance abuse, even if your partner is willing to seek help, the road to recovery for any addict is long and emotionally draining. You must decide if you are willing to devote yourself to this recovery process. It is a daunting prospect for any person and you may not want to do it. You are not a “bad” person if you feel you can’t do this; drop the guilt.
Some people hold on to a relationship and a partner out of fear — fear of being alone, financial fear, and fear of the unknown life outside of being a couple. If any of these are your main reasons for trying to save a partnership that is not healthy or good for you, seek counseling to help you overcome those fears. You need advice on what you can do to transition to a new life. Living with fear and an unhappy relationship will take a tremendous toll on your mental and physical health.
Not all relationships are worth saving; some have to be dissolved so that people can get on to a new healthier, happier life. The bottom line is how you see the relationship in terms of the positive and negative effects it has on your quality of life. No one can tell you what you have to do but here’s one bit of advice: A relationship should enhance your life, not become a second full-time job. Is your relationship worth saving? Only you can be that judge.