When a relationship is failing, there are usually some pretty obvious signs, like an increase in arguments, name-calling, and more time spend apart. But, when things have gotten unhealthy (and may be rushing towards an end) it's not always so obvious. Sometimes, there are subtler signs a relationship is failing. While they can be easy to miss, these symptoms are just as important to recognize if you want to save your relationship.
Keep in mind though, that some relationships are too toxic, and thus not worth holding onto. But if your partnership is worth saving (i.e., it has some redeemable, healthy qualities, or you're just going through a rough patch), rest assured there are some things you can do.
If things don't feel right or you've noticed some changes, start by talking with your SO and laying everything out on the proverbial table. "Communication is key," says NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW. "Talk to your partner in a relaxed environment and commit to taking steps to make a change. People get comfortable and want to avoid conflict. However, the only ways things change is to work through issues." Here are some signs that it may be time to reevaluate where things went wrong, so you can work together to make them right again.
1. You've Stopped Arguing (Or Never Started)
While this might sound like heaven on earth, it's actually not a great sign if you and your partner never argue. "It ... suggests that you are either not comfortable, or not aware that you are molding yourself into a carbon copy of the other person," psychologist and radio show host Dr. Joshua Klapow tells Bustle. For a relationship to last, you both need to be able to argue and speak your mind.
2. You Let Each Other Get Away With Everything
In the same vein, it's not healthy to let your partner bug the hell out of you without saying anything, simply because "you love them." Because, turns out, there is a thing as being too tolerant. As Klapow says, "This is the idea of basically letting your frustrations and compromises build up so much that you lose yourself in the process. You no longer have a life you want, but a life of tolerating them." And that's not as sweet as it sounds.
3. They Disregard You In Little Ways
A relationship that's built to last will consist of two people who always take each other into consideration. So yes, you should be concerned if your parter is suddenly living that solo life. "They eat by themselves and don't include you in dinner plans. They stop adding your laundry to the loads they are washing. They don't leave your mail in a neat file for you like they used to," couples counselor Erin Wiley tells Bustle. "Discontinuing the simple, small things we do for each other when we are in a solid relationship is a good indicator that your partner is not as invested as they used to be."
4. Your Arguments Go From Zero To Sixty
Again, arguing is a good thing. But it could be a sign of a problem if they start off way harsh. "When your partner — who used to bring up concerns or conflicts in a fairly peaceable way — starts out difficult discussions at an intense level, with anger from the very first words uttered, that is cause for concern," Wiley says. "There is likely an underlying contempt that's been brewing that is not being identified, spoken, and dealt with. "
5. You Don't Appear To Be Included In Future Plans
If, when you stop and think about it, you realize you've yet to hear about any holiday plans, take note. If things are on the outs, "[our partner] may start planning activities in the future that don't include you: holidays, trips with friends, things that you have been included in the past," says relationship expert Stef Safran.
6. They're Not As Available As They Used To Be
While you don't have to do everything together as a couple, you certainly want to be involved in their life. So speak up if you notice that they're never around anymore. As Safran tells me, they might be spending more time with friends, or taking longer to come home from work. This could be a way of establishing themselves outside the relationship, because they know it'll end soon. Or, a way to avoid the problems you're having at home.
7. You Aren't As Close Anymore
As Beverly Hills psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish tells me, you'll notice a gradual distancing between you and your partner. "You're now feeling a sense of chasing [them] or trying to get hold and sustaining [their] attention, when before it required no effort at all." In other words, you feel kind of ignored. And that's not OK.
8. You Haven't Had Sex In Ages
Sex can dwindle as a long-term relationship goes on, but do take note if you look up one day and realize it's been.... well, you're not even sure how long since the last time you had sex. As Walfish says, "The number one symptom of a failing relationship is the disappearance of sex. When the communication falters, sex wains."
9. Or, You Have Sex All The Time
If the only thing you two have going for you is a fun sex life, think twice. "If the sex is great but there is little emotional connection and not much quality time together, the chance of your relationship lasting is pretty small," says Hershenson. "Sex is only part of a good relationship." So don't think things are "great" just because you're constantly in bed.
10. You Spend 24/7 Together
Again, a healthy relationship does not mean you two spend every waking moment together. "It's important to have your own interests outside the relationship. Spending time with friends and having hobbies will only make you a better person and more present in the relationship," Hershenson says. So make this a priority, or consider your relationship headed for disaster.
11. Their Jealousy Has Gotten Out Of Control
If you or your partner are the jealous type, it can take a toll on your relationship — and may even mean things will end. So, do they get jealous over every little thing? "Those are signs of an insecure person who is struggling with sharing you and your time with others," Wiley says. "An unhealthy sign that the relationship may not last long-term."
These subtle signs are all tiny symptoms of a failing relationship, or issues that can make things fail. Once you notice them, speak up ASAP. If the relationship is worth saving, you and your partner can work together — by having open communication — to make things healthier.
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