Listen, I know it can be scary to leave a relationship. To step out into the unknown. Will you die alone? Maybe. Maybe you would have if you stayed. Fear is never a great motivator. Your fear is there to teach you where you need to find bravery and freedom.
Ending a long term relationship is rarely easy. It feels like we’re losing a sense of ourselves. Feeling rejected by the one person that is closest to us and seeing a love end is hard. Many of us can find ourselves in a bad relationship for years or decades because we want to stay with what is familiar and comfortable rather than a relationship based on love. Because we know that ending a relationship, whether a marriage or something less serious, can really change our lives. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re even unhappy until we are out of it. We may know we’re not happy with our lives, but sometimes we can avoid seeing what is right in front of us. That we are not in a healthy relationship. That maybe it’s the relationship, not the job or other stressors, that is causing us misery.
I’m big on trying to work through things. This only works if both parties are open and really want it. Unfortunately, even though one may want it while the other just doesn’t care enough about the relationship to put the work in. For all of those that are on the side of wanting to work it out while your partner doesn’t, I feel for you. It sucks. But guess what? You’ll not only survive, but you will thrive. For those in the reverse. I don’t envy you. It never feels good to break someone’s heart. But it is better to end it than lead someone on hoping that one day your feelings will change. They rarely do.
And for those that may be in denial or unsure if your relationship looks troubled, I have compiled 12 ways to tell if your relationship is on the rocks. Read it with an open mind and try to be objective. Because the only thing worse than dealing with the ending of a relationship is being sucker-punched by it. One day you wake up thinking everything was fine to find out it’s done, she’s done, and your life just got flipped upside down. If a lot of these aspects apply to your relationship it gives you options. Either fight for it and make some serious changes or mentally prepare yourself that some shit might be about to change.
01. You’ve Stopped Even Trying To Work Through Deep-Seeded Issues.
I started off with a big one. This is a big sign that your relationship is over and that it might be time for a change. We all come into a relationship with our own baggage. Our wounds, quirks, the things that can define us. And no doubt relationships can cause their own trauma. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. The problem comes up when both parties stop trying. I’m of the belief that ANYTHING can be healed and resolved if BOTH parties are open and willing to go deep into hard internal places and have a genuine desire to work through it.
02. You Don’t Talk Much, And When You Do It Is About Safe Topics.
Do you find the only conversations you both have with your partner are about mundane, safe topics? This is a bad sign that your relationship may be over. Only talking about what you bought at the store, what that asshole at work said, that you think the new neighbor is a furry. You get the drift. Once couples stop communicating their depth to each other it means a big connection is in jeopardy. It can be regained. Without talking deeply about how we are feeling, where we are in life, what we desire we are closing off an integral part of ourselves off from our partner. This creates a feeling of not being seen or known which leads to loneliness within the relationship. The fix? Talk deep, talk often, and ask questions.
03. You Don’t Do Fun Things Or Date Nights Anymore.
Time right? There never seems to be enough of it. Between kids, work, errands, and trying to squeeze in some you-time it’s easy for your relationship to be taken for granted and not be made a priority. It’s important to have fun and spend time together away from the stress of normal life. It’s important to prioritize your partner and your relationship. Reconnecting on a date night to get away from the banal can do wonders and help you reconnect and remember why you got together in the first place.
04. You Don’t Miss Them When They’re Not Around.
I’m not talking about missing them when they run to the store or anything like that. But if your partner goes away for a week and during that time you don’t miss them and you find yourself happier with them gone then that’s a big red flag and a sign that your relationship should end. Listen, we all need time alone and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s really important to have personal time. It’s when we find ourselves happier, or even worse, only missing the things our partner often does for us while they are away that there may be a problem.
05. Little Things Drive You Crazy.
We tend to nitpick when we aren’t happy. Whether it is you being unhappy with yourself or your partner is something you’ll need to distinguish. In relationships I have been in, I have noticed that when I’m happy I’m pretty easygoing. But when I am unhappy, or feel trapped, that I tend to get crazy about minor things. There’s a difference between this and getting agitated when your partner does something or doesn’t do something, that you have brought up a few times. I’m talking about out of nowhere feeling really angry for something very minor. These are signs your relationship may be in troubled waters.
06. You Fight A Lot.
Fighting is normal, healthy even. No relationship is perfect all the time. Even the strongest relationships have fights. Because if you don’t have healthy fights then there is repression, which is always a bad sign. But if you and your partner are fighting all the time this means there are more serious issues beyond whatever is triggering the blowout. To solve this you both need to figure out what the underlying cause of the tension is. Is one partner not feeling heard, cared for, or seen? Is there a deep unresolved issue in the relationship? Or is it simply a matter of one partner being unable to manage their stress?
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07. You Stopped Fighting At All.
People tend to stop fighting when they just don’t care anymore. This lack of passion to even try to communicate is a troubling sign that the end may be near. As I said in the previous section, normal occasional fights are a part of having a healthy relationship. Once this desire to communicate is gone there’s often not much left. This is one of the major signs your relationship is over. When we love, we have a desire to share what we feel with the person we are with. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.
08. You Feel That You Cannot Be Your Authentic Self Around Them.
Have you ever been in a relationship that you are not being true to your authentic self? You try to be someone you’re not and hide your truth. People change. We grow, we learn and over time a couple can drift apart as they become different people. One of the major signs a relationship is over is when you don’t feel like your partner knows you, or better yet, that they don’t accept you for who you are. People tend to get angry and bitter when they feel like they are being judged by their partner.
09. Physical Intimacy Is Non-Existent.
Sex is an important part of a romantic relationship. It’s what separates couples from friends. When someone in the relationship stops wanting to have sex this can be a sign of something else or a sign that the relationship is in trouble. Even beyond sex, physical intimacy is so important. Do you snuggle, hold hands, make out? Granted in a long-term relationship things do slow down from what they were when you first started. But so many couples barely touch one another. People need touch and affection. When this is no longer part of your life with your partner there might be something bigger going on that you might not want to see.
10. You Feel Unhappy A Lot.
People get sad, it’s normal. And at points in our lives, we get unhappy. I’m not talking about fleeting unhappiness but long term discontentment that can be a problem. When we are chronically unhappy we need to really look at the aspects of our life that may be causing it. Maybe it’s that we don’t like our job, or we don’t like ourselves that is causing it. We need to figure out if it is that the person we are with that is playing a part in this. Some people just aren’t good together. We may even just be unhappy because we know that our partner is just not good for us. The person that we feel in love with might have changed, sometimes it’s that we have changed.
11. You Find Yourself Daydreaming About A Future Without Them.
What do you think of when you think about the future? Are you no longer seeing yourself and your future with your partner? Often when a relationship is at its end we feel less like a couple. We may find ourselves daydreaming about a different way of life. If you are often thinking about a fresh start free of having to care for another then it may be time to really try and see why. But take care not to be hasty. It may not be that your partners not right for you, it may be some other issue. Maybe you just need to take more alone time, find a hobby, or plan for a more interesting future with your partners’ input. Start by really trying to understand why you are daydreaming about a different future. Really tune in to how you would feel in this new future. Often it is just a fantasy and we are idealizing that acting on this is going to make us feel way better.
12. You Don’t Have Fun And Laugh Anymore.
Laughter and fun make life, especially the hard times, bearable. It is important to have levity in a relationship. No matter how strong you are as a couple if you are always serious and stressed, a relationship is going to feel like a chore and an obstacle to our happiness. It is important to spend time together to rekindle why you chose to be a couple. I know it is not easy when you have responsibilities, but you can start by cracking jokes and trying to make the mundane fun. You could always start by being silly and lighthearted with each other. You don’t need to go on an extravagant trip to find joy. Finding it in the day to day is a way to make it sustainable and to help reconnect.
Just because many of these signs your relationship is over may apply to you doesn’t mean your relationship is finished. It may just mean that it could use some attention and work. If there is already a deep love between you two then often there is a way forward. It really just depends on how motivated you both are to work through it a rekindle what made you choose each other to begin with.
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