How To Know If Your Relationship Is Failing, Based On The Excuses You’re Making For Your Partner
Making excuses is never really a good thing in any situation. But for some reason, experts say making excuses for your partner when things aren't going well is actually pretty common. So why do we do it?
"We make excuses for our partner for a variety of reasons," relationship coach, Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI – MP tells Bustle. Maybe a breakup is inconvenient for your current situation. Maybe you're really just in love and can't picture your life with anyone else. Or maybe it's a fear of being single again.
"Ultimately, we do it because we don’t want to admit that a relationship we have put so much energy and love into is doomed to fail," When you love someone with all your heart, you want that happily-ever-after because you're invested and you're working hard to make that happen.
But when you see that your partner is not doing the same in return, Ponaman says the tendency is to down play it. "We want to tell ourselves that it's all in our heads or that our partners are 'trying' in their own way," she says. "We don’t want to face the hurt that comes with a relationship ending."
So is your relationship really just going through a bump in the road or are you just making excuses for your partner? Here are some excuses you might make when your relationship is failing, according to experts.
1. "They're Just Going Through Something Right Now"
"Perhaps in the beginning, our partner really did a lot to make us feel like they were in it for the long-haul," Ponaman says. "But something changed." Sometimes these changes are temporary and sometimes they're permanent. If you're in a healthy relationship where there's open communication, any changes on your partner's end shouldn't worry you. But if you find yourself making excuses for why your partner is now acting a certain way or why they've pulled back, you need to speak up. "If something is going on with that person, they need to tell you," she says. "You are there partner and you are there for support. By talking through issues, whether they have to do with the relationship or not, you are showing your partner that you want to try to better this relationship."
2. "They're Doing Something Right Now, It's Probably A Bad Time To Talk"
If your partner isn't interested in talking out issues, relationship coaches Diana and Todd Mitchem tell Bustle, that's a sign your relationship may be failing. It's even more telling if your partner used to be so communicative in the past and now it's like they don't even seem to care. When you want to talk about something important, they might even make excuses themselves like "I'm watching TV" or they need to finish up some work. "There really is no excuse if your partner does this more times than actually listen and give you their full attention," the Mitchems say. "If they cared and made your relationship a priority, they would make time for you." A good partnership is one where your partner will put their phone down, turn off the TV, and give you their undivided attention. After all, it is the respectful thing to do.
3. "They're Just Really Exhausted"
If your partner has stopped taking interest in you and your life, this is another common symptom of a failing relationship. "[In] a relationship that is balanced you and your partner are always talking about what you did, how you are feeling, what fun things you should plan to go and do and have a healthy and authentic curiosity about one another’s life," the Mitchems say. In a failing relationship, your conversations will be pretty limited to everyday small talk before your partner gets ready for bed. Although being exhausted from work is a legitimate excuse every now and then, it shouldn't be happening on most nights. Intimacy and connection is important if you want your relationship to last. If you find yourself making the "they're just exhausted" excuse more often than you'd like, you may need to have a conversation with your partner about that.
4. "Their Friends Are Into Certain Things And I'm Not"
Just to be clear, it's perfectly OK for you and your partner to make plans without each other every now and then. According to the Mitchems, there is a healthy dynamic in relationships where you can hang out with other people and then come back together. "But if you find yourself left out and you just seem to rarely make plans with your partner because they are too busy, then this is a priority issue and the relationship is slowly fading," they say. Again, communication is necessary. Sometimes your partner may not even realize that they're leaving you out. But if you've discussed it and they still continue to prioritize time spent with friends over you, it's important for you to take a step back and really think about how invested your partner is in the relationship.
5. "Work Is Super Crazy For Them Right Now"
When you're dating someone and their texts and calls start dropping off, a common excuse you'll hear is "I'm busy." Sometimes people really are super busy and taking two seconds to answer a simple text may be a lot. But according to the Mitchems, this isn't an excuse you should be making for your partner. "If your partner cares, they will make time. Period. No excuses," they say. They may not respond as quickly to a text as they'd like, or call every night like before. But if they want you in their life, they'll enjoy keeping in contact with you. They'll want you to know what's going on with them. "Your partner and you are in a relationship because you love one another and enjoy one another’s company, not because you were bored and needed something to do," the Mitchems say. "You have to be certain about where you stand in the relationship so that you can finally decide what needs to change in order to make this better."
6. "They're Just Stressed And In A Bad Mood"
If your relationship is failing, you might fight a lot. When that happens, you might make excuses for them by blaming work for being super stressful or writing it off as them being in a bad mood. "Fights and arguments can arise for a myriad of reasons, but the main reasons for an increase of fights and arguments is the fact that you are just not into the relationship and into the person that you are with, so you get more annoyed and more resentful and whenever you’re around them you just feel that your partner is irritating," the Mitchems say. In some cases, your partner really may be stressed and that will cause them to be more irritable than usual. If that's the case, your relationship will get back to normal in no time. But if it's been happening for some time, your relationship may be in trouble.
7. "They Will Change In Their Own Time"
If your partner is inconsistent, or unreliable, and you keep making excuses as to why you stay, that's not a good thing. You can't expect anyone to change for a relationship, no matter how in love with you they are. "While some relationships can improve with time, it's not a guarantee," relationship therapist, Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW, tells Bustle. "All relationships have ups and downs. But a healthy relationship requires both people to want it and to actively work through conflict."
So, what do you do? If you realize that you've been making excuses for your partner because you don't want to acknowledge the fact that things aren't going well, Ponaman says you need to ask yourself why. "Is the excuse an actual universal truth, or are you simply trying to convince yourself that the relationship isn’t what it truly is and you want it to be something different?" she says. "If the answer to that is the latter, ask yourself what is it costing you by denying your truth? How far are you willing to go to sacrifice your own happiness?"
There's absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to turn your failing relationship around. But it's one thing to actively work on it and it's another to ignore the issues and make excuses instead. As we all know, making excuses doesn't fix anything. Sometimes things fail, not because you didn't try, but because they weren't meant to work out in the long run. Truth be told, that's OK. Because if that's the case, no amount of excuses or hard work will turn it around.