Relationship Fitness

S18: Action E10: Deciding to Commit, Break-up or Persevere When No Children

Season 18, Episode 10 of “Relationship Workout for Men” navigates the complex terrain of making crucial relationship decisions when no children are involved. This episode outlines a Five-Step Action Plan designed to help individuals think analytically about whether to commit, break up, or persevere in their relationships. It emphasizes gathering information, assessing relationship quality and compatibility, evaluating one’s contributions to relationship drama, and determining if a partner is committed to improving relationship skills—all aimed at making a decision with no regrets.

Welcome to Relationship Workout for Men, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner, and being a better partner for the person they choose.

Season 18 Episode 10:  Deciding to Commit, Breakup or Persevere When No Children 

In the previous episode, we discussed how important it is to add more structure into the potentially life altering relationship decision to make a long-term commitment, breakup or preserve staying together. And whatever choice you make, you want to make it without regrets.

In this episode, we’ll describe a Five-Step Action Plan — which provides a structured way to think through the Relationship Decision to Commit, Breakup or Persevere in your intimate relationship — discussing the version when you do not have children together. In the next episode, we’ll discuss the five-step action plan when you do have children together.

You can find more detail on this action plan at RelationshipWorkout.com/resources. In addition, this five-step action plan assumes there is no abuse happening within the relationship. If there is abuse, then you’d be well advised to seek help immediately.

Okay, so let’s get started.

Step 1: Gather Information to Inform Your Decision

Making a well-informed decision requires information. At RelationshipWorkout.com, access three crucial types of information to evaluate your relationship’s quality:

1.     Determine your relationship baseline grade by completing with the Relationship Workout program. To ensure your insights remain current, revisit and complete this program every two to three months.

2.     Identify any potentially misaligned ‘must-have’ expectations by completing the Relationship Workout Expectations exercise and discussing your results with your partner.

3.     Keep a Relationship Workout Journal for at least six months, tracking the ratio of positive experiences to drama-filled experiences within your relationship. For those dating, maintaining this journal for one to two years is advisable before deciding on making a long-term commitment.

The initial exercises take approximately an hour, while the journal likely will require just a few minutes each week—a modest investment of time for insights that can impact your significant life choices, like whether to marry, stay married, continue the relationship, or part ways.

We’re now ready to go to Step 2: Assess the Quality of Your Relationship

Here, you look at the information from Step 1 – which you can view through the Relationship Workout Dashboard — to get a better idea of the quality of your relationship. In this step, you ask three questions: 

1.     Does your Relationship Baseline grade score an A or B?

2.     Do both of you align on each of your ‘must-have’ expectations?

3.     Is your fun-to-drama ratio 5 or higher, based on your Relationship Journal entries?

Remember, the fun-to-drama ratio, introduced in Season 1, Episode 3, measures the number of enjoyable, connected fun moments against the number of disconnected, drama-filled moments.

If you answer ‘yes’ to all three questions, you can be more confident in the strength of your relationship and feel assured in your decision to Commit, whether that means making or maintaining a long-term commitment to your partner.

Conversely, if any of these questions yield a ‘no,’ it’s time to proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Assess Compatibility

This stage is about discerning whether your differences stem from relationship skills in need of improvement or fundamental incompatibility.

As a reminder, episode 6 emphasizes the significance of this distinction: incompatibilities are often more challenging to reconcile than issues stemming from relationship skill weaknesses.

For instance, a core must-have difference—like wanting to raise your children with religious practices while your partner is a staunch atheist—can be more complex to navigate than overcoming drama caused by a need to improve listening skills.

To help you answer this question, within your Relationship Workout Dashboard, check these two areas to explore compatibility:

First, discuss the items listed under ‘Expectations You Should Discuss’ and ‘Your Important Passions’ with your partner. Do you have unresolved misaligned ‘must-have’ expectations?

Second, are there any ‘Compatibility Insights to Work On’ highlighted for you to work on?

If you answered yes to either question—in other words, you were not able to resolve all misaligned must-have expectations, or you have compatibility insights that continue to require your attention—then this points to you being incompatible in some way or ways.

If this is the case, you might do well to choose to Break-up, and walk away so you can find compatibility with someone else. After all, if you can’t find alignment in core ‘must-have’ needs, then this can be an on-going source of drama and discontent in this relationship.

However, if you’ve identified you’re fundamentally compatible by answering ‘no’ to both of those questions, then Step 4 awaits.

Step 4: Assess Your Contribution to the Drama

In this step, the objective is to assess the extent of the drama and disconnection that you might be introducing into your relationship, by asking yourself these two questions:

1.     Do you initiate unnecessary drama within your relationship?

2.     When drama arises from your partner, do you often play a role in its continuing and escalating?

For many, including myself, it can be challenging to self-assess accurately due to possible discrepancies between our self-perception and reality.

To get a clearer picture, consult the ‘Top Relationship Skill Insights to Work on’ in your Relationship Workout Dashboard. Further insights can be gleaned from Stage 3 of the Relationship Program: ‘Get Recommendations.’

If there are areas highlighted for you to improve your relationship skills, consider these as opportunities to foster growth in your relationship. In addition, consider staying in your relationship, choosing to Persevere, as you add a focus on improving your relationship skills.

Conversely, if your dashboard doesn’t point out any areas for improvement – and you’ve been honest in the Relationship Workout Program – and you both are fundamentally compatible, then this implies most to all of the drama in your relationship is coming from your partner and a need for her to improve her relationship skills, which leads us to Step 5.

Step 5: Is Your Partner Committed to Improving?

At this juncture, it’s crucial to answer this question:

•       Is your partner committed to enhancing her relationship skills in tandem with your efforts to improve yours?

If the answer is ‘yes,’ then it’s likely worthwhile to support each other’s growth in relationship skills and collectively strive for improvement, so consider choosing to Persevere, staying in the relationship.

On the other hand, if she is the primary source of conflict and is resistant to introspection or developing her relationship skills, you may need to consider moving on to find a partner who shares your dedication to relationship excellence and to being the best partner she can be for the both of you.

So that is the Relationship Decision Action Plan when there are no children involved.

One final thought: Choosing to stay in a relationship should always come with a commitment to continually work on improving your relationship skills. This dedication is a marker of your aspiration for relationship excellence. The more adept you become at your relationship skills, the more fulfilling your partnership is likely to be.

That said, in the next episode, we’ll discuss this Five-Step Relationship Decision Action Plan when you do have children.

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