When it comes to dating, there's a seemingly endless list of difficult decisions to be made — whether or not to get married, where to live... who gets to choose the movie. But perhaps the most difficult of them all is coming to terms with the signs your relationship is falling apart, and deciding it's time to move on.
Most of us go into relationships hoping they will work out for the long haul. And when it looks like that's not going to be the case, it can suck. A lot. Of course there are a million and one reasons why couples go their separate ways, but there are a few true deal breakers that almost always lead to the end.
"Some of the insurmountable 'deal breakers' in a relationship are one person pushing to make a more formal commitment and the other not being ready. Another is partners of two different faiths refusing to come to a compromise about what religion(s) to raise children in. Other common areas are when a spender marries a saver, and one partner is not willing to work on this issue to where both partners are comfortable," says psychologist Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle.
For any of these reasons, or perhaps something entirely different, you and your partner may be experiencing some distance. Here are some signs that the relationship is on it's way out, and that it may be time to move on.
1. You No Longer Communicate
Good communication is a fundamental part of any healthy relationship as you resolve arguments, and decide how to run your lives as a couple. It may not go smoothly at first, but communication can be worked on and improved over the years. However, if one or both of you isn't willing to put in the effort — or has checked out all together — it's obviously a huge indicator that it's time to move on.
2. You Don't Spend Time Together
If your relationship was good in any way, you'd still want to spend time together. Movie nights, dinner dates — they'd still be options, instead of distant memories. So take note if your partner no longer wants to hang. Martinez points to this as a bad sign, saying, "They are spending more and more time away from you on designated nights, and have excuses for why this is." Sound familiar? Then it may be a sign it's over.
3. There's A Total Lack Of Affection
It's totally normal to have less physical intimacy after the honeymoon phase of the relationship. (You know, when you can't keep your hands off each other.) But if you are no longer getting intimate at all, much less cuddling or kissing each other goodbye before work, then it could mean the end is nigh. "This signifies disconnection. It may just be a temporary reaction to stress, but if it's been going on for some time, it could indicate a relationship decline," said Robert Taibbi, L.C.S.W., on Psychology Today.
4. Some Secrets Are Clearly Floating Around
If you have that gut feeling that something is going on behind your back, or that your partner has checked out, you're (sadly) probably right. And one indicator of this is secrets, or the ever-present suspicion of them. "They have become more secretive about where they are, who they are with, [and] who they are talking to," Martinez says. Of course this can go both ways, so take note of your own desire to be sketchy and secretive.
5. Your Fuses Are Both So Short
When you truly love someone, you'll find that their eccentricities become part of their charm. Socks on the floor, cereal bowls on the table — it's all so cute, in a weird way. When you're not with the right person, however, you may find yourself blowing up over the smallest things. According to Taibbi, you'll find yourself arguing all the time over this small stuff, and occasionally bigger stuff. It's not fun, or charming, at all.
6. You've Exhausted Your Compromises
There's absolutely nothing wrong with disagreeing with your partner, and even occasionally arguing. It's a normal, healthy part of any relationship. It only becomes a problem when you and your partner can't seem to stop. Pointing to couples who do just that, Martinez says, "They have exhausted the debate ... to the point where one person feels that there is no hope for compromise." The moment you're no longer willing to bend for each other, the relationship is essentially already over.
7. Your Self-Esteem Feels Affected
Couples can knock each other down for any number of reasons — jealousy, co-dependence, fear of abandonment — and it's clearly not a healthy way to be. "In a good partnership, people should lift one another up, not bring them down," said Clayton Olson on ThoughtCatalog.com. If that's the case, you can try to talk about it. But if neither of you are willing to change your behavior, it may be time to part ways.
8. One Or Both Of You Has An Escape Plan
Do you have a fully formulated escape plan in your head? Well, there's a reason for that. As Taibbi said, "It’s easy to get enveloped in these thoughts — sometimes they are escape outlets when you feel particularly trapped. But if such fantasies arise more and more frequently, and with greater detail, your subconscious may be sending you strong messages that it’s time to get out." If that seems to be the case, consider putting your plan into action.
9. There's A Sense Of Apathy
They say the opposite of love isn't hate; it's apathy. And that couldn't be more true in a relationship that's coming apart at the seams. As Gal Szekely, MA, MFT, said on PsychCentral.com, "When your partner does — or doesn’t do — something that you expect, want or need, and you shrug it off as unimportant, this shows that you are disengaged from the relationship." See? That's really the opposite of love.
10. You Have Experienced Impulsive Breakups
If you constantly find yourselves breaking up, only to get back together later that day, it could be you're both desperately trying to end it. As Seth Meyers, Ph.D., said on Psychology Today, "... when such a couple gets back together, the original feelings that caused the impulsive breakup in the first place are still there, bubbling under the surface. For many of these relationships, getting back together merely postpones the inevitable, as the clock continues to tick toward an inevitable expiration date."
11. Some Arguments Never Get Resolved
It's not good if there are ongoing arguments, especially if neither of you are willing to budge. As Szekely said, "You try to talk about things, but you never seem to get anywhere. It feels like you are stuck in the same argument, and you are feeling consistently misunderstood." It's obviously not healthy, and it's really no way to live.
It's this inability, or unwillingness, to work on things that really signals your relationship is falling apart. If you or your SO are no longer putting in the effort, it may be time to move on and find somebody who will.
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