By Case Kenny

Should you stay in your relationship or leave?

Why do we stay in relationships for too long? Why do we stay in relationships that aren’t going to grow past what they are or what they were? Why do we stay in relationships we know we’ve outgrown?

I think a lot of the time it's because we rationalize that there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a good relationship. It’s fine. It’s ok.

We beat ourselves up for being selfish and wanting more. You both get along. It’s not like you’re constantly arguing.

You’re attracted to each other physically. You still laugh and joke together. So what's the problem?

There’s nothing technically wrong with the relationship. And so you say… I'm being unrealistic to think it could be better. I’m greedy. I’m selfish. I have something good, so I shouldn’t let go of it.

And so you stay in that relationship… even though deep down you know there's something missing.

Well, I think that missing thing is that you’re not feeling understood.

You can be in a good, fine, ok relationship and you can even say you love that person and they love you… but you might not be understood. But THAT is the most important part of a relationship.

Are you understood? Do you understand them?

We forget that we need to be understood. You can love someone but not truly understand them. You can be loved but not truly understood.

Being understood is being able to relate on a deep level. It’s compassionate empathy. It’s knowing why someone did something or why someone is a certain way. It’s knowing what’s behind the words or actions. It’s in direct contrast to just powering through someone’s insecurities or habits.

You know what it's like to NOT be understood.

- It's when you’re upset and your partner just wants to get it over with. You’ll get over it. You’ll be fine tomorrow. Can we just move on please?

- It's when your partner never asks you deep questions and is quick to move on from the issues you voice.

- It's when your partner doesn’t try to understand the things you like, the hobbies you have. They’re bored by them or totally disinterested.

- It's when you start to feel less confident around your partner.

That’s not being understood. Understanding is simply empathy.

- It’s being eagerly aware and sensitive to someone else, who they are and what they’re feeling.

- It’s not simply taking someone’s actions at face value. It’s diving into the why.

- It’s an eagerness to know where someone is coming from. True understanding is building a relationship with everything about someone and why they are the way they are.

You can’t just rely on love. You need understanding.

So consider this perspective in your current relationship or your next relationship….

Am I understood? Do I understand him or her?

You’re not selfish for wanting this.

Love and understanding makes a relationship work. Both of them.

Without understanding... you have a good relationship.

But is that good enough for you? Is that good enough to last? Is that good enough to weather the inevitable ups and downs?

I think we all deserve someone who we love and who we understand. And we deserve someone who loves and understands us - not just someone who supports us, who is attracted to us and who we like hanging out with.

We need more. We need that deep empathy... that deep understanding.

I don’t think you're very selfish for wanting this. I don’t think you're ever greedy for feeling something is missing when you're not feeling understood.