Every person has a list of dealbreakers in a relationship. Even the most dedicated ride-or-die types can find themselves walking out the door when their S.O. crosses a certain boundary. But how do you know when to stay and when to walk away? When you’re single, it’s easy to have a long list of reasons why you would end a relationship. The reality of being with someone that you love and care for is a different story.
While every couple will face their unique challenges, there are certain instances that you should definitely give your significant other a second chance. You may have struggled with forgiving too much in the past and now, you cut people off the second they do something you deem offensive. While this is a surefire way to safeguard your heart, it’s also a good way to wind up twinged with regret and wondering, “What if?”
Here are six definitive times you should give your partner a second chance and how to go about it.
1. When You Have More Than Just Love
Love itself is a difficult concept for many people to define, especially during the early stages of a relationship. There are different psychological theories that address the various stages of love, but all of them agree that love itself is not enough to sustain a relationship.
You can love someone and still not be the right match for them. But if you and your partner have a deeper level of intimacy, trust, attachment, and connection, there may be a bigger reason to stay and work things out.
Obviously, this doesn’t hold true in instances of domestic violence, emotional abuse or chronic infidelity. But many of the smaller squabbles that get blown out of proportion in relationships can become lessons that bring you closer together.
2. When You Know This Isn’t That Big of a Deal
When a relationship begins to become more serious and integrated into your daily life, there will be times that you really don’t want to compromise. Maybe your partner is way messier than you and you just can’t see yourself picking up their dirty clothes the rest of your life. Or maybe they don’t want a cat, and you really, really want a cat and have ever since you started idolizing Taylor Swift.
Listen. This isn’t always easy, and there are absolutely certain things you should never compromise: Think your personal values and morals. But if you truly care for someone and want them to be in your life, you will have to be more flexible and understand that getting close to another person requires attention, adaption, and appreciation on both ends.
Get a hamper. Rotate chores. Pick a pet you both like. There are plenty of relationship challenges that can be mutually resolved.
3. When You Can Tell They’re Trying to Improve
Don’t focus on apologies, focus on actions. Does your partner only treat you well when they’re trying to get back on your good side, or do they take your emotions to heart and make a continual effort to improve your relationship?
You’ll have to put your ego aside and level with reality. It’s not always fun, but it can make the difference between staying with a partner you love and ending things prematurely.
4. When You Are Both Committed
An unbalanced level of commitment in a relationship will always lead to heartbreak and frustration. If you and your partner are both committed to overcoming whatever problems you’re facing together, there’s hope, and it’s okay to believe in it.
5. When They’ve Learned Their Lesson
Don’t make someone repent for the same mistake endlessly. No one deserves that. If your partner has demonstrated that they truly understand their past transgressions, allow yourself to freedom to forgive.
6. They Are Truly Sorry
An apology doesn’t always fix a situation. Is your partner sorry that they hurt you, or are they sorry they got reprimanded? Every situation is different, but it’s important to address each circumstance and cast aside your own pride. You can accept someone’s sincere apology and still be angry. Emotions take time. You can work through them. But think twice before you sacrifice an entire relationship over something someone genuinely regrets doing.
Sometimes, it’s easy to answer the question, “Should I break up with my partner?” But every couple is different, and there are always unique circumstances to consider. Talk with your partner and, if possible, go to therapy. It can help each of you grow as individuals as well as a couple. Even if things don’t work out, you’ll be able to rest assured with the knowledge that you made the most informed decision and put forth your greatest effort.