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When To Know If You Should Stay Or Go: Romantic Relationships

A recent study conducted by the University of Utah offers new insights into what goes on when a romantic relationship is being questioned.

Deciding whether or not to end a relationship can be an agonizing experience for many people, but professionals say it is normal to question if you should stay or if you should go.

Samantha Joel, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah, said through her studies, she found it to be interesting how ambivalent people felt about their relationships.

“You know, it’s a really big life decision,” Joel said, “ and just like other kinds of life decisions, like, where to live or what to choose for a career, I think it is quite normal for people to question whether this person is the right person for them.”

From the outside looking in, Joel said it may be obvious a couple should end their relationship, but from an inward perspective, it is a really difficult thing to do.

The study found that participants had specific considerations regarding maintaining or ending a relationship.

Some reasons to stay include emotional intimacy, investment and a sense of obligation. Reasons to leave include having issues with a partner’s personality, breach of trust and partner withdrawal.

Dr. Brigg Noyes, a counseling psychologist at the Salt Lake Relationship Center, said the more time people spend together, the more emotionally attached they become.

“When we’ve found somebody, we remember what the early part of the relationship felt like when we first met somebody,” Noyes said, “and we’re sort of continuing to go after that. And it happens on a very subconscious level. Like we really want to feel that security, that attachment.”

Each situation is different, said Briggs, who reminds couples that conflict is normal, and that having conflict does not mean the relationship has to end.