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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5821
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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How do you know when two people just need to work on

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how do you know when two people just need to work on themselves to be better in a relationship, or just call it quite because they are not meant for one another?

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

You will know that you need to end the relationship if every possible effort has been made to work on the issues and it still cannot be resolved. This is rarely done. Most people will do what they think will work and when it does not, they end the relationship. They are either not aware of the help available or they choose not to utilize it.

The only two exceptions to this is when one partner has had an affair the other partner has a choice to try to stay to work it out or leave, or if there is abuse in the relationship of any type (emotional, drug and alcohol, or physical). If there is abuse, the relationship should end without hesitation.

Whenever two people are together, there is a reason they were attracted to each other. It may be for love or it may be for dysfunctional reasons. But whatever it is, the couple is together over anyone else. So there is a bond there. That bond remains but what happens is other things interfere, such as bad habits, harmful behavior, and other acting out by one or both partners. This affects the relationship and the bond starts to break. That is why you will find numerous options in society for repairing relationships- it is rare to find a couple that does not have some conflict or another.

Your choices for help in your relationship range from retreats, therapy, self help books and seminars. The trick is finding what works to break through the issues of your relationship and helps you as a couple re bond. The solution also has to something you can build on so the same issues do not return.

If you have any other questions, let me know.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I understand that there is usually something that brings poeple together initially. But the complexity of people comes out over time. I think that if I had known about the complexity of my parnters issues, which range from having low self-esteem, incessant negative thoughts, lack of faith in..anything...I would have walked away on day 1. But now I'm invested. And I'm dealing with someone who has a highly defeatest attitude and is further down on himself because I'm visibly unhappy being with someone like this. I've already signed up for therapy, but he doesn't even see the point. I almost feel like there is a choice to be made between my own happiness and giving up on him. And I also fear that I'll lose someone truly special because I couldn't stick it out. But I'm just finding it so hard and painful right now. He's breaking me down with his negative attitude and defeatest approach.

It sounds like he might be depressed. Is he unwilling to get any kind of help? Because he could go and see his doctor and try anti depressants, if he is unwilling to try therapy. I am not sure what may have caused this problem with him but there usually is an underlying cause of some sort. It could be physical or emotional or even something from his past.

I understand your frustration, though. Getting to know someone and finding out who they truly are is a surprise to most people who marry or live together. And it can alter how you feel about them. But there was no way for you to know this about your partner when you started your relationship.

If your partner made an effort to get help, it might be a lot easier for you. At least you would know that he was trying to change. If he refuses to try, you may want to consider a separation before you try a divorce. The thought that you are willing to be away from him might make a difference.

Here are some resources to help in your with your decision:

Should I Stay Or Go? : How Controlled Separation Can Save Your Marriage by Lee Raffel

Contemplating Divorce: A Step-By-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go by Susan Pease Gadoua

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.


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