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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Unsure If You Should Break Up With Your Partner This V-Day? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions First

Breakups are messy. And not just when you have to decide whether or not to unfollow your ex’s aunt on Instagram, or figure out if you should return their sweatshirt or burn it; breakups are messy before they even begin. Deciding whether or not a relationship serves you anymore, whether it’s been two months or ten years, can be incredibly confusing, emotional, and heartbreaking in its own right. And breaking up with a partner around Valentine’s Day is even harder.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love, but that celebration quickly becomes complicated when you’re considering a breakup. Do you wait until after V-day or pull the plug now? Luckily, these six core questions, gathered by three relationship experts Quinn Van den Heuvel, Mathew J. Seymour, and Jonathon Hartley, will help you sift through the noise and come to a decision that feels authentic to your needs. 

Breakups aren’t a decision that should be taken lightly. “Asking the important questions will empower you to make informed decisions for a healthier and more fulfilling future, whether that includes your current partner or not,” Van den Heuvel says.

So, when reading through these questions, tune into what your intuition is telling you. If an uncomfortable thought arises, sit with it. And then, when the time comes, you’ll know what to do.

“What are my true motivations?”

This question is so simple, yet it often gets buried beneath questions that feel bigger or more important. “It is essential to understand the underlying motivations behind the desire to break things off,” Van den Heuvel tells Her Campus.

Perhaps you are seeking personal growth, a temporary fix, or quite literally another person. Being honest about what you are seeking from the break-up will help you make an informed decision. “Your friends, family, and the media may try to tell you what you should think but ultimately it comes down to you and what is best for you,” says Seymour.

“What compromises am I making to stay in this relationship? “

In a relationship, compromising is nothing out of the ordinary. However, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re compromising, or sacrificing. “Compromise is a healthy part of relationships,” says Hartley. “If you are suppressing parts of yourself to be in a relationship, then that relationship is no longer a good fit for you.”

Your relationship must honor who you are and what you need. If there are compromises that feel attainable, then it may not be worth it to leave the relationship. However, if staying in a relationship requires major compromises and sacrifices, it may not be the relationship for you.

“Have I actively tried to communicate my needs?”

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but communication is a necessary, and often overlooked, piece of a healthy relationship. “Before considering a breakup, ask yourself if you have genuinely expressed your needs and concerns,” says Van den Heuvel. “Often, partners are unaware of the issues at hand, and addressing them openly might bring about positive change.”

Speaking your needs in an empathetic, yet direct manner can invoke meaningful change within your relationship. How your partner reacts to this conversation is usually a surefire way to know if your problems can work themselves out, or if it’s time to let go.

“Do I like who I am when I am with my partner? “

Reflecting on who you are when you are with your partner can help you take a step away from how you feel and focus on how the relationship impacts your personhood. “If you love someone, but don’t like the way you behave or feel when you are with them, that may be cause to break up,” says Hartley. Oof, I’m going to have to sit with this one for a while.

“What makes me want to stay in this relationship? “

In order to make an informed decision, it is important to paint a well-rounded picture of your relationship. “If you are feeling overwhelmed by an issue, sometimes it is useful to take a step back and remember the good bits of the relationship,” says Hartley. “This is key to identifying the beliefs that are holding you back, as well as understanding the valid reasons for wanting to be in this relationship,”

Consider how your relationship serves you. Now, think deeper: Do those reasons come from a place of love or fear?

“Is this a decision I’m okay with long-term?”

The stress of not knowing how you’ll feel after breaking things off can sometimes leave you trapped in decision paralysis. “A better way to ask this question may be ‘Is this decision rooted in logic and fact or am I making an impulsive emotional decision?’” says Seymour. “Don’t ask ‘Will [this breakup] hurt?’ Instead, ask yourself, ‘Will I be able to get through that without impulsively trying to get them back?’ If you’re okay with it and understand the pain that may bring, move forward. If not, take more time to analyze if you’re making the right decision.”

As I said before, breakups are messy. So, give yourself a big ol’ hug, some time, and a bit of space from this topic. The best way to show love on Valentine’s Day is through self-love, anyway. You can always return to these questions later and make note of how your perspective has shifted. Observing how your thoughts and feelings change can help you come to an empowered decision.

Tess is a wellness editorial intern for Her Campus with a passion for mental health and the social sciences. Tess is currently in her final semester at Chapman University studying broadcast journalism and documentary film. Outside of class, you can find her in a yoga class, on a hike, or watching trashy reality TV.