There is someone out there right now wondering if it’s time to call their relationship quits. Maybe you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a couple of years and it’s stagnated. Or maybe you’re married with children and life has become an endless list of chores, deadlines, homework, soccer ball games, and grocery store runs. Either way, there are people who go back and forth in their head wondering if they are just in a rut or if the relationship has truly run its course. If you’re feeling the latter, here are 10 signs (in no particular order) that your relationship is failing.
You dread spending time together.
If you find reasons to stay out late, spend more time at the office, or purposefully fill your calendar doing things other than spending time with your partner, you have to ask yourself why that is the case. Are you bored? Avoiding conflict? Do you find their presence irritating or suffocating? Your partner should be the first person you’d want to spend quality time with, if you had the choice. If that is not the case, this is a strong sign that the relationship is in jeopardy and needs immediate attention.
You’re dishonest even when you don’t have to be.
Telling little white lies here and there never hurt anyone right? Wrong. People who make it a habit to tell seemingly harmless lies chip away at the very foundation of every relationship; trust. You learn that in order to keep the peace, you tell your partner what they want to hear, not actually what is. You’ve become so adept at lying and deception, the truth feels distant and uncomfortable. You begin to create more lies just to keep the storyline going. This is not a relationship. A relationship cannot exist where your true feelings and opinions matter less than your partner’s comfort level. It only serves as a breeding ground for resentment. Your partner is also learning that they cannot depend on you to be honest with them, creating an incredible sense of insecurity. Once those two emotions have seeped in and is left unchecked, the relationship becomes a never-ending cycle of anger and disappointment.
They are usually the last to know anything important.
Whenever something good or bad happens or there is an important decision to make, the first people we tend to tell are those closest to us. Those who have earned their place in the circle of trust. They are your influencers, cheerleaders, sounding boards, keeper of secrets, and safe harbors. If your partner is usually the last to know the important stuff or not included in the decision making process, it is a sign that they are no longer (or never were) in that inner circle. Kind of hard to have a relationship with someone you can’t be open and vulnerable with, isn’t it?
Communication is limited to giving status reports rather than having conversation
Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship. It is how you stay connected and on the same page. Communication also strengthens intimacy. What makes intimate relationships difficult for some is that it requires intentional conversation that goes deep and straight to the heart. When communication becomes limited to “How was your day?”, “What’s for dinner?” or “What do you want to do tonight?” it means that the desire for intimate connection is no longer there. Everything becomes surface level and routine, which you can get from anyone. As humans, we crave connection. If you can’t get it “at home”, eventually you will look elsewhere.
You consistently talk negatively about them to others
No one is perfect. You’re going to annoy people at some point, especially the people you are closest to. There is a difference between complaining about a particular incident and frequently making disparaging remarks about your partner to anyone who would listen. Not only does it put the people around you in an awkward position, it is extremely hurtful to your partner should they ever find out what was said. You may feel like you’re venting, but you’re actually making things worse. Instead of working to resolve the issue(s) internally, you only throw flames to the fire by bringing others into it.
You allow others to talk negatively about them
When you vent to others about your relationship, you open the door for outside opinions and ridicule. You start to hear, “I knew there was a reason I didn’t like them.”, “You could do so much better”, or get questions like “Why are you still with them?”. If other people feel so comfortable ripping your partner a new one in front of you and all you do is nod and laugh along, it’s time to wrap it up. The respect for your partner and the relationship is gone.
You seek out the attention of others
When you are no longer getting the attention you require from your partner, you seek it out in others. Now, we all want to feel needed, alive, and desirable. There’s nothing wrong with that. Where things get dangerous is if you’ve communicated your needs and they are ignored or you no longer want the attention you’re receiving from your partner. In comes temptation. Hey boo hey!
You are comfortable flirting with others
People who still value their relationship will feel some sort of guilt for flirting or being on the receiving end of flattery. However, if you have no qualms trifling with someone else, your existing relationship is definitely not a priority. You may try to explain it away by saying it is part of your personality or it is in your nature to be attracted to beautiful things, but let’s be honest. As long as we have conscious thought, every action is a based on a decision you’ve already made. You’ve already decided that your indiscretion is worth the trouble, which means the relationship isn’t worth it either.
But, my friends, not all is lost. Even relationships that are failing can be turned around. What it needs is a little TLC (Tender Loving Connection)! The first thing you need to determine is if the both of you actually want the relationship to continue. One person cannot pull the weight of the entire relationship. That’s like saving someone who doesn’t want to be saved. Ask yourselves honestly: is this worth saving?
If the answer is yes from the both of you, my recommendation is to separately determine what is missing, what expectations have not been met, what boundary has been crossed, or what needs to be said that you are afraid of saying? As easy as it sounds, it is CRAZY HARD to tell the person you care about the not so caring things about themselves or you.
Work to repair what has been lost, missing, or neglected and be willing to give the other the time and opportunity to work on themselves as well. It may not be all about you! There may be some cobwebs that have not been cleaned or bones that need eviction.
If necessary, seek help from a professional counselor or therapist who may be able to uncover some deep -seated feelings or hurt from the past that are finding their way into the relationship. Be encouraged by small victories. Healing takes time. If at the end, the best course of action is to separate, THAT IS OKAY TOO. The most important part is that you’ve taken the necessary steps to building a happier, healthier life.