Your relationship has been on the ropes for some time, but you’re reluctant to admit defeat. You’ve given your time, love and commitment to it, and you hate to think it’s all been wasted. But is your relationship worth saving?

All relationships go through rough patches, and most people don’t want to give up at the first sign of trouble. Being the one to end a relationship is never easy, especially if you believe you still have a relationship can be saved. And it is even harder if the balance in the relationship has become unequal, so that one partner is being exploited or abused by the other.

So when does a relationship reach that point?

There are no grey areas when violent physical abuse takes place, but mental and emotional abuse can be harder to define. They often build up gradually over a long period of time, so that there is no sudden awareness of being abused.

Is Your Relationship Worth Saving? Possibly…

You have to decide whether your relationship is worth saving, or whether it has it passed the point of no return.

With enough determination and goodwill, some problems can be solved. These are signs that your relationship is in trouble, but may still be worth saving.

Emotional Withdrawal

Many relationships suffer this problem at some point, especially when communication between the partners is poor. The dissatisfied or troubled partner uses silence and unresponsiveness (or passive aggression) to signal their discontent to the other.

It is a selfish and childish way to behave; but if there is the will to solve the underlying problem, rather than just being angry and resentful, then the relationship can still be saved.

Physical Withdrawal

This can follow emotional withdrawal, or sometimes the two can happen at the same time. In this case the withdrawal is physical as well as emotional.

There are many forms it can take. Spending longer at work or on unshared outside pursuits is typical; as is not calling or returning phone calls, and losing interest in sex.

These things can also be evidence of cheating; although a cheating partner is likely to become secretive and evasive, as well as uncommunicative and distant.

This is a sign of more serious trouble, but you may still have a relationship worth saving.

Hostile Attitudes From Family and Friends

Have your partner’s friends and family started to become hostile towards you, when previously you have always got on well? This is a sure a sign that you are being discussed and criticized behind your back.

Accounts from fighting couples are often highly prejudicial and biased, and the result is that the people around them start to take sides. Although they may have only heard one side of the story, people can still become violently partisan.

This feeds your partner’s view of themselves as a wronged and innocent victim. They feel absolved from all responsibility for your problems, which are now all your fault.

It’s possible to get over this sort of crisis, but someone needs to change. Even if the first move comes from you, your partner must be willing to respond with goodwill and good intentions if your relationship is to be saved.

Is Your Relationship Worth Saving? Probably Not…

Sometimes all the goodwill in the world isn’t enough. These are signs that you no longer have a relationship worth saving, and you should start to think about the possibility of ending it yourself.

Constant Disagreements and Discord

When someone is thinking about ending a relationship, sometimes they start to manufacture rows and disagreements with their partner. This gives them justification for their discontentment, and also shifts the blame for it onto you.

Your partner may start arguing with you over the most trivial things; in order to create the illusion that you are incompatible as a couple, and that you yourself are impossible. You constantly feel forced to explain and justify yourself and your actions, even though you have done nothing wrong.

The person who does this is likely to be both weak and spiteful, and possibly controlling as well. If this is happening to you, you would be wise to question whether you have a relationship worth saving, or a partner who is worth your love and trust.


This is often done through threats or ultimatums; that are designed to exploit your fear of rejection or rows.

Threatening behavior can take many forms, and is not always physical. Your partner may insist you do (or don’t do) something in order to prevent a breakup; or to stop upsetting them, and making them angry or unhappy.

The whole purpose of this is to lay the blame for your problems squarely on you, so that you feel tense and uneasy around your partner. You become afraid to say or do anything in case it is judged wrong, and causes another row.

And the harder you try to make things better, the further the goalposts for pleasing your partner are moved; because this is an exercise in power.

Is Your Relationship Worth Saving?

All these signs suggest a breakup is possible, but (perhaps oddly) the first three are more likely to end in a breakup.

The last two are much more destructive; but they can continue for years in relationships where one partner relentlessly exploits the other, without actually intending to break up. They are symptoms of an unhealthy and abusive relationship, in which the exploited partner loses all their self-esteem and becomes very unhappy.

But the longer is goes on, the harder it can be for the abused partner to leave; because they feel so demoralized and defeated.

How Exploitation and Abuse Builds Up

As people become dissatisfied with their relationships they may use many of these tactics to create tension and confusion; and to harass and belittle the other.

You may wonder why the aggressor doesn’t simply break up with their partner, but there are two reasons for this. Either one partner is enjoying the feeling of power or control over the other; or they do not want to take responsibility for being the one to trigger the breakup.

Instead they do everything they can to drive the other partner into ending things themselves.

If any of these things are happening in your relationship; take them as a warning to look hard at your partner, and your life together.

You need to decide just how badly wrong things are between you. You should think long and carefully about what is needed to put your relationship back on track, and whether you still have a relationship worth saving. There needs to be enough good things left between you to make it worth the effort to try to patch things up.

Is your relationship worth saving? Think carefully before you decide that it is.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Chesca

    My (23f) LDR boyfriend (22m) of 5 years just broke up with me and now I feel so lost and alone. I am still hoping he’ll come back.

    Everything was going fine, we were planning to close the distance from Russia to Philippines already at the end of the year. The last time we met was summer of 2019. He’s currently serving in the army for a year and will come out October 2021. Earlier this week we were planning for our marriage. We were planning how to decorate our apartment. We were planning about visas for a year so we can start living together. Then suddenly he told me two nights ago that he wants to break up again because it’s been so tiring to plan for everything. He got overwhelmed.

    He tried to break up with me 3 times over the last year but I always pleaded him to reconsider and try to make things work. And he did. It’s just that two nights ago was the last straw. He cried a lot begging me to let him go because he’s not happy anymore. He’s currently going through life where he just graduated university, serving in military and still unemployed. He was being crushed under pressure of trying to fit me in all of his future plans.

    He told me that he can’t even see me in his future anymore no matter how much he tried. We broke up on a good note. We both made it clear that we still love each other but he’s not ready to take our relationship on another level or to even stay. He wants to discover himself first. He doesn’t want to be in any relationship right now, he told me not to wait for him anymore.

    I don’t know what to do anymore because in the last 5 years I was so sure that he’s gonna be the guy I’m marrying. I literally changed my goals and aspirations to be with him. I feel so mad and lost. I feel like I was left hanging.

    We broke up peacefully though. We were laughing and crying at the same time. Our “I love yous” and “Babe” were still slipping out here and there. He told me he wants to keep in touch as I’m the only friend he has.

    I am still hoping that he will change his mind later on and will ask me to get back with him. Is there still a chance? We both love each other still but the uncertainty of life freaks him out a lot.

    1. Sarah

      If this isn’t the first time you have broken up then it’s clear that, for your ex at least, he’s come to the end of the road. He might change his mind, but only if you give him some time and space to sort out his own life first.

  2. If

    Hi, he broke up after an year. I tried for 20 days to solve it. It was disaster and was not possible. Then I tried with No Contact. After 8 days he called. At the beginning for the conversation he said that he is calling just to check how am I, not because he wants relationship or something, just to be clear, not to get him wrong. We had conversation, I pretended that I have almost the best time in my life, with a lot of activities etc. I would like to continue with No Contact rule next 4 weeks. I`m sure that he will not call me again after this and I`m not gonna call him. Is that good idea at all? And why do you think he called in first place?
    Thank you for your answer.

    1. Sarah

      I expect he called for exactly the reason he said: to check that you were OK. There aren’t usually any hidden meanings in what men say, so it’s not a good idea to try looking for them. And as he was the one who broke up with you, it’s very likely to be the case here. If, as you say you expect, he doesn’t call again, you will know for sure that things really are over between you.

  3. Pauline

    I really love my boyfriend. But every time I think we have solved our problems, something else happens. I’m beginning to feel such despair. I try and try, but every time I think everything’s going to be OK, it all goes wrong again. Does this mean our relationship’s doomed? I so want to save it.

    1. Sarah

      What exactly goes wrong? Is it something out of anyone’s control? Or is it another complaint by your boyfriend? Something else you’ve done that “upsets” him?

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