Some relationships are meant to be, while others don't stand the test of time. Unfortunately, unhappy couples often stay together too long before recognizing the root of their troubles. While it's healthy to have a few bumps along the way, day-to-day doom is an entirely different story. Is your spark starting to fizzle? Here are five signs to look out for:
You’re Not Having Fun Anymore
You know that feeling when a party is winding down or you’ve sat at a bar so long your ice cubes have begun to melt into the remaining sips of your cocktail? There’s an obvious natural transition when you’re over having small talk with what’s-her-face or you’ve paid the tab, ready to relocate. If every day with your partner feels like that watered-down drink, there’s a good chance it’s closing time for your relationship. That said, psychologist Jenn Berman, host of VH1’s Couple’s Therapy and The Dr. Jenn Show on Sirius XM, notes that there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, when a couple experiences a family crisis or an illness — things that aren't fun for anyone to deal with — a slump in the relationship is natural. However, if it’s business as usual and you no longer feel connected or excited to be together, consider heading for the exit.
You Don’t Talk About the Future
I plan what I’m having for dinner before I’ve finished lunch, but even if you pride yourself on living in the moment, most couples naturally progress into discussion about the next step. Berman says it may be casual chitchat about booking that summer trip together, or a more serious talk of having both your names on a lease and putting a ring on it. Regardless, you want to know you’re part of the other person’s long-term plans. "If you’ve been together for a while and you’re not talking about the future, it’s indicative of a problem," Berman says. Besides, why would you waste your valuable time with someone who doesn’t want to spend his or hers with you?
Sex is Dwindling — Or Non-existent
A dry spell is normal once in a while. Maybe you’re on opposite schedules or going through an especially stressful period at work. However, if you can’t remember the last time you got it on (or the last time you actually wanted to) that’s a surefire red flag. According to Dr. Berman, it’s important to evaluate both the duration of time that passes and the level of resistance you have to overcome to get between the sheets. Major stressors "such as a new job, big move or birth of a child" can affect anyone’s desire, but be aware if yours or your S.O.’s lingerie is collecting dust without those extraneous factors. Passion is a major part of any romantic relationship that differentiates two people from being just roommates or friends. Berman says, "Typically, withholding sex is linked to anger or resentment, which could be the root of bigger issues unable to be resolved."
Your favorite juice bar right across the street from work? Very beneficial. Staying in a relationship because, well, you just don’t want to show up at your cousin’s wedding alone? Not so much. If you can’t think of a reason to be together other than not being in the mood to look for someone else, it should be a wake-up call that things aren’t right. Sticking with someone to avoid jumping back into the dating pool or defining life without your other half is only doing yourself a disservice. You deserve to be happy and not just content. Berman says you should never make a decision about your relationship for fear of being on your own. "It’s always a bad sign when you feel like you’re settling."
One Person is Not Willing to Work on the Relationship
We all know it takes two to tango, right? If one person clearly spells out that the relationship is in trouble, and the other refuses to acknowledge or work on it, you can pretty much call it quits right then. Sorry to be Caption Obvious, but without progress, nothing is going to change or improve. According to Berman, two willing people have options for success, such as having an honest discussion about what they both want or going to couples therapy to gain tools and insight from a neutral person. However, it can only work if it’s a team effort by two people who are dedicated to giving it their best shot. If your partnership is on the brink of collapse and you’re alone in wanting to try, your S.O. has already decided it’s over.