Every relationship requires work, but all that effort and energy should churn out a relationship that's also filled with comfort and joy. If you've found your relationship is filled with more struggles than pleasures, then you may want to watch out for some signs that you're trying too hard to make a relationship work. It's tempting to try to hold on to a relationship that once brought you happiness, but if it's not working no matter how hard you attempt to fix it, then it might be the time to finally move on.
"Relationships do take work, and there is occasionally conflict," couples therapist Jim Seibold, PhD LMFT, tells Bustle. "However, if you have to try too hard to make the relationship work, it may not be right for you. Ultimately, if you are not compatible, the relationship will crumble. Instead of trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole, look for a better fit. It may be painful to end a relationship and you may feel overwhelmed at the possibility of having to start over. However, the longer a bad relationship goes on the more pain you will experience."
There's nothing wrong with trying to solve your issues, but you don't want to lose yourself in the process. Here are nine signs that you're trying too hard to make a relationship work.
1You're The Only One Putting In An Effort
Are you the only one making plans, making phone calls, or working on your problems? "Relationships should be a balance, a give and take," relationship therapist Carolyn Cole, LCPC, LMFT, NCC tells Bustle. "If you're the only one trying, what are you receiving out of the relationship, aside from security of being in a relationship?"
If you are willing to do anything to see your partner, but don't get the same in return, the relationship is likely not right for you. "Are you willing to drop everything or just make tentative plans with others in case your partner says they will see you?" says Cole. "In comparison, does your partner feel like they will see you when it's convenient for them, but are still living their life as usual? This is not a balanced situation."
3You Constantly Have To Justify The Relationship
It's never a good sign if the important people in your life are always questioning your decision to stay in the relationship. You might even find that you have to make excuses for your partner. "They might have concerns about how you are being treated, or they notice your partner not being around as much," says Cole.
4You Constantly Fear A Break-Up
"Do you feel like you're walking on thin ice, worried about the next move that you will make because how your partner will respond, such as whether they will end things if you say or do the wrong thing?" says Cole. You might find yourself forcing conversation with them rather than easily conversing, indicating that comfort and trust in the relationship has faded.
5You Always Feel Anxious Or Depressed
Feeling constant anxiety, sadness, or despair about the relationship is a sign that the dynamic between you and your partner isn’t working. "If you’re avoiding your partner, shutting down, or finding yourself constantly fighting, it may be time to seek counseling," psychotherapist, relationship expert & co-curriculum Director of Evenflow, Shira Myrow MA, LMFT, tells Bustle. "Fights are actually unsuccessful bids to connect, but most of us don’t know how to fight fair or how to solicit what we need in a way that will generate a positive response."
6You Have A List Of Grievances That Never Get Resolved
Not every conflict in a relationship is going to go your way, but if the same issues come up over and over again, and you can't stop thinking about them, then it might be time to be honest with yourself about where the relationship is heading. "There needs to be modicum of problem-solving in couples, otherwise tension and resentment can grow," says Myrow.
7You Consistently Put Your Needs Behind Your Partner's
In healthy relationships, it is important to be aware of your partner's needs, but you also have needs of our own. If you are not honest about what those are, then you will ultimately become resentful about the one-sided nature of the relationship. "Letting your partner know about your own needs is not selfish," says Seibold. "It only becomes selfish if you ask for your needs to be met without an interest in meeting your partner's needs."
8You Stop Talking About Problems
Ignoring your problems is a surefire way for your relationship to crash and burn. "When we risk bringing up difficult conversations, we make it more likely to find solutions," says Seibold. If you feel you can no longer be assertive or communicate freely with your partner, it's a sign that the relationship is headed south.
9You Try Too Hard To Get Your Partner To Change
No one is going to end up happy if you're always nagging at your partner to be someone they're not. "We cannot control anyone else," says Seibold. "If you are spending too much time trying to change your partner, it is not the relationship for you. You will only feel more frustrated as the relationship goes on. Your partner will also feel frustrated and rejected as well."
There's no one formula that indicates that a relationship is over, but if you're noticing many of these signs, it might be time to stop trying and finally call it off.