One of the hardest questions we have to deal with in a relationship gone south is whether to hold on longer or simply let go. In a rather cliché quote, “Love is like shattered glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave the pieces on the floor than to hurt yourself trying to put them back together.” But, as we all know too well, relationships are almost never black and white. They’re complicated and messy. Sometimes we feel like the test mouse in the experimental maze that seems to have a wrong turn placed everywhere we look. It can make deciding upon a verdict stressful and only add to the hurt we’re feeling to begin with.

So, if your mind and heart are violently deuking it out in World War III over how to best handle a relationship that has encountered more shades of grey than Anastasia Steele, here’s some things to take into consideration as you’re sifting through thousands of thoughts and sub-thoughts.

How invested are you? The first thing you need to give yourself a reality check on is how much you actually put forth into your significant other up until this point. All relationships take a great amount of effort if we are to make them work — but two months versus two years can have a rather substantial impact on whether you exert any more of that effort. Whether you and your partner are at the stage of picking out curtains and china patterns together, or you’re just surpassing the idea of deeper commitment, you both may have investment in each other’s families and other various areas of each other’s lives, which can make things even stickier. So ask yourself: if I were to walk away, what exactly am I leaving behind? Or, if I am going to fight for this, what am I fighting to keep?

Has it been smooth sailing, or choppy weather? Sometimes, regardless of how long you have been together, you need to reflect on what your relationship has truly been like. Here’s the trick to this one — DO NOT LIE TO YOURSELF. If you’ve been having issues or doubts for some time, don’t blow them off. They’re not ignorable. It’s likely that, if those hardships haven’t gone away, they may continue despite what you try to do to remedy them. Maybe you’ve only just hit a rough patch. The road was great and then suddenly, boom! Traffic jam. Conflict is inevitable at some point. We’re only human. So, try to determine your overall satisfaction with where you are, where you have been and where it seems you’re headed. If the odds are in your favor, then by all means, push through the storm. If you evaluate and aren’t entirely pleased with what you come up with, you may want to consider an alternate route.

How big are the transgressions here? Like I said, relationships are bound to come across frustrations sooner or later. But each one is unique and fine tuned to what you two have gone through together. Your problems may stem from something minor, like a lack of communication, personality incompatibility or simply a proneness to disagreement on various things, to something more major like infidelity, abuse (of every sort, including verbal!), or just constant opposition. Whatever your struggle with each other, propose if it is actually something tolerable or worth being worked upon. As the relationship prolongs, you two will grow together, and many problems often work themselves out. But, if this is something that you don’t foresee playing to your benefit, then it may be time to walk.

These questions are hard enough in and of themselves (without the mess of emotions you’re dealing with inside anyway). They open up a network of other questions you may need to prose upon yourself as you work through them. But in the process, don’t sell yourself short! Don’t underestimate what you deserve. One of our biggest faults as women is convincing ourselves that we in some fashion or another deserve the struggle, and have now come to rely on the hurt in a way. So, take your intuition into consideration. But don’t push away the thoughts that keep you up at night either. And ultimately, always strive towards your own happiness first and foremost.

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