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Trapped in Your Relationship?: A 5-Question Quiz

By Tiffany Forte

Yes, yes, we know that many people may be busy planning for Valentine’s Day, but what if your relationship is strained around this holiday? No one should hang on to a romance that’s making them miserable. “When people seem mentally healthy and it looks like they could easily make a change that would make them happier, we’re absolutely baffled by why they don’t,” says Steven Jay Fogel, author of Your Mind is What Your Brain Does for a Living. However, moving on isn’t for everyone, and some couples certainly have a fighting chance in this thing called love. Take a relationship health quiz and answer these five questions to see whether you should stay and weather the storm.

What is causing your pain? Think about whether you’re in a relationship that’s become less and less satisfying and increasingly painful over a long period. Describe in writing the elements of the relationship or situation that are persistently causing you pain and how long you’ve been experiencing these problems. There are three ways to end your suffering: You can either accept the situation, change it, or remove yourself from it. Write down the reasons you’re staying even though you’re suffering and what is preventing you from choosing Door 1, 2 or 3.

How are you interpreting your partner’s behavior? Describe the issues that cause conflict. For instance, if you’re arguing because your partner’s messy and ignores your requests to be neat, are you interpreting that as disrespect toward you? Do you further interpret that disrespect as a lack of love for you? Is it possible that your partner is just not a neat person and that has nothing to do with his feelings for you?

Do you have impulsive behaviors that are causing problems? Don’t be quick to respond to every argument. You don’t want to suppress your anger, but thinking before acting can limit negative actions and reactions.

Do you feel shamed or blamed by your partner’s critical comments? Write down the comments accurately—as they were spoken. Then think mindfully about whether your partner was really shaming you or if you interpreted the comments in that way because of your own inner critic. If it was the former, have a conversation with the person about how you feel when this happens, and state that you’ll be more open to the feedback if the criticism can be expressed objectively.

Did you bring a myth with you into the relationship? If so, describe the myth. For example, you might have felt like you would be able to fix whatever you believed to be wrong about your mate. Maybe you thought that your partner could complete you and fix your faults and insecurities. Describe how you came to believe that myth and what it would take for you to release it.

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