Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Even in the best of relationships, more often than not, our “stuff” tends to come up.
Old triggers resurface from childhood and/or past relationships.
Insecurities, which may not have anything to do with your partner, bubble up to the surface.
Perhaps he challenges you to progress in your career—only intending to be encouraging—but you interpret that he’s not impressed with your accomplishments.
It’s natural to jump into fight, flight, or freeze mode when triggers are ignited in relationships, so why stay when times get hard?
Before you justify staying or leaving, I suggest asking yourself why you want to be in a relationship, period.
Is it because society says so? Your mom?
Or is it because you genuinely want a deep connection and friendship with someone who’s your person?
If it’s the latter, the next question to consider is:
“Why did I choose this person?”
Hopefully, the decision was made mostly by your head, and not just your heart and sexual attraction.
Sure, attraction and having a great time with a nice partner are important, but did you also consider their values, goals, level of commitment to you, and emotional availability?
I can’t speak for all humans, but from years of coaching women on love, I’ve observed that these qualities tend to be important to most who are looking for a solid, committed partnership.
So if your person is all in and demonstrates a deep level of love and commitment, but there’s still the “hard” or even the mundane that can frustrate you at times, here are some reasons you might consider staying.
1. The right partner will feel like home.
As someone who spent a lot of time alone in her 30s after recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship, it was easy to tell myself that it’s better to be single. Don’t get me wrong—there are a lot of benefits to taking time to date yourself and enjoy your independence, but deep down I knew I was lying to myself that being alone was better for a lifetime. Now that I’m in the healthiest and happiest partnership of my life, it’s the best having my lover and best friend be there at the end of the day to share about each other’s days, enjoy a meal, and be each other’s refuge from the chaos life inevitably throws our way.
2. The challenges bring you closer.
It’s a beautiful thing when two people come together and want to work through the hard, whether it’s because you’re challenged in the relationship, or one of you is moving through an individual struggle. Knowing you have a solid partner to support you through the challenges life throws you is a wonderful thing, and will always bring you closer after you heal and work through them.
3. Physical connection!
I’m not just talking about sex, but also … sex! Of course, you don’t have to be in a committed relationship in order to experience sex, but the bond, touch, feel, connection, and familiarity with each other on a physical level, with a partner you’re in love with, is something all humans should experience. Physical affection, comfort, and his smell can be plenty, when you might be too tired to talk, or you’ve said it all for the day. And, it’s also a special language between the two of you that no one else can have.
4. The honor of being someone’s person.
Forgive this seemingly very anti-feminist perk of being in a relationship, but I don’t mean it in that manner! Assuming you’ve gotten clear on why you want to be in a relationship at all, and then more specifically, why you’ve chosen this particular person, and you love your reasons, I’m guessing you’d be quite proud to be the woman he chose. I love meeting people in my partner’s life and being out with him, because I’m in awe of the lovely, intelligent, dreamy human he is and am ecstatic that he chose me to be by his side, and vice-versa.
5. You become a better person.
When you’re with the right person who will challenge you on your BS, encourage you to strive to your potential, and support you through your life goals, you will without a doubt become a stronger, better person. I’m cautious about how this last point is delivered, because of course, first and foremost, your belief and commitment to being the best version of yourself should always stem from you first. But, when you’re in the right relationship with yourself, and then attract the right partner who wants to consciously grow with you, you will both become unstoppable, amazing versions of yourselves.
Suffice it to say, when you’re with the right person, the hard is beyond worth it.