Sad to say, but even the most passionate and seemingly perfect relationships risk falling to pieces. Maybe it’s your fault, maybe it’s their fault, or it may be that it was simply not meant to be! Relationship failures is a universal truth, and equally universal are the red flags and warning signs that indicate that the end is in sight. Often, we deny or ignore them. These signs are not always obvious at first, but with time you start to feel a certain suspicion or probing self-doubt, and ask yourself: is my relationship falling apart? When this happens, people often try to protect their psyche and try hard to convince his or herself that nothing has changed.
So what are these signs that you shouldn’t ignore?
1. Bad vibes
Always trust your gut. If you feel there’s something wrong, then there definitely is. Sometimes we blame our hormones, life stresses, and our insecurities for what we feel, but trust yourself when you suddenly notice that emotional weight, that sudden distance, even some intangible feeling that something has changed or is missing. Or even worse, you constantly imagine your life without your partner — that is an early sign that the end is near. We’ve all been there. We sometimes avoid the apparent signs, hoping that it will fade away. Denial is always the first reaction to any change in our feelings.
Do you or your partner start making lame excuses not to see each other? For example, you can’t see each other because one of you says, “I have to go pick up the dry cleaning,” or “I had a long day at work,” the favourite “I’m so tired, I need to sleep,” or “I haven’t hit the gym in a while, I should go today,” and the list goes on. After the cancelled plans and with the newfound freedom, you find yourself spending time alone, or with your friends, or even just enjoying the release from what feels like prison. You don’t feel like spending time alone with each other like you used to. Consider that you probably wouldn’t avoid your partner or vice versa in a healthy, lasting relationship.
Ever blamed having “one too many” for that one night stand, or that meaningless hook-up? Have you caught your partner with someone else, or a friend saw him/her with someone else? Do you notice a new “friend” posting and commenting on your partner’s Facebook page a little too often, or find your partner is too virtually attentive to someone else? Even mundane attractions: going for a coffee with that hot coworker, innocent flirting, answering that call from your ex…these things can be a kind of cheating, and also a sign that the end is nearing. Looking outside your relationship to fulfill emotional or sexual needs is both a source and sign of relationship failure.
4. Constant fighting
Do you spend more time fighting than having fun? Of course every couple encounters disagreements and spats, it is normal, but I’m talking about excessive fighting over petty and trivial things. You become short tempered and quick to argue with your partner (frequently!) and maybe find that fights are about trust issues: unreasonable jealousy, possessiveness, disrespect, or abusive behaviour start to appear. Check yourself, the relationship is not healthy!
5. Future plans
Do you fail to include your partner in future plans? That next summer vacation, your best friend’s wedding coming up in a couple of months — you see yourself there without your partner because who knows what the future holds? If you or your partner don’t think and plan as a couple on the long-term, and you subconsciously delete them from your own path, it may be better to save time and effort, and go your separate ways now.
6. You don’t feel like yourself
Do you feel you don’t recognise yourself at all anymore? Wondering to yourself, “who’s that stranger staring back at me in the mirror?” Have you lost focus on your own goals and passions, like in your carrier, your hobbies or any other thing? If you feel you’ve lost yourself in your relationship, this may be due to abuse (emotional or physical), any type of dissatisfaction, or feeling that you had to drastically compromise yourself to fit into the relationship. It is imperative that you stay true to yourself in any relationship, and your partner love you for who you are. Never forget this!
Do you suddenly get that feeling that you don’t see eye to eye anymore? That you don’t speak the language? Do you have diverging priorities? Conflicting life goals? Do you notice an increasing lack of communication? Or even worse, that there is compatibility but it’s exclusive to one sphere, such as sex? It’s true, opposites do really attract, but it doesn’t necessarily last! If you realise you’re gravitating towards completely different life paths, then it is time to reconsider the relationship as it may lead nowhere.
8. Distance or disconnection
Are you constantly feeling that your partner is distant? Or find yourself wishing he/she would go away? Do you sometimes feel you don’t know your partner anymore? Do you feel no longer connected, whether it be emotionally or physically? Do you start missing the emotional or physical connection you used to have? Or do you feel suffocated from the codependent attachment you are in? Whether there is an emotional or physical gap, or conversely, you’re craving the bond you once had, it is a major sign that you are drifting apart, or maybe you lost interest, or perhaps there is just something wrong that needs to be fixed.
9. You aren’t happy
Do you feel unhappy with your partner? Do you start missing or regretting starting the relationship? Do you find yourself questioning and doubting everything? Unhappiness is the ultimate omen for all the mess yet to come, and no, it is not because you’re moody, stressed, PMS-ing or whatever reason you’re telling yourself out of fear of being on your own, or starting over with someone new. Your relationship is supposed to be the happy place you take pleasure in, so if you are not happy, then just leave. It is as simple as that!
Last but not least, do you frequently compare your partner to other guys? You imagine a relationship with that coworker, your friend’s partner, or even worse, with your ex? Do others seem more appealing to you lately, and you feel like you are missing out on better opportunities? Your partner should be incomparable to other people, and you should be totally satisfied with them alone.
If you can relate to 3 or more of these signs, it may be time to really think about the value of your relationship. You’re only fooling yourself and wasting your time and your partner’s if you don’t face this reality. Be brave, be strong, and take action. Don’t settle for what makes you happy and don’t sell yourself short. Life is too short to waste on unworthy love, and time is flying by. Better relationships are waiting for you.
Any kind of change in life is assuredly difficult but not impossible, and yes, sometimes making the decision to break up can be really scary and tough, especially if it’s a break from a long-term relationship. At the end of it all, it is necessary to know how to distinguish between a dead-end relationship, and one that is just going through some turbulence but is worth fighting for. Follow what you feel is right, and make yourself your first priority!