Three Methods:Recognizing Signs of a Relationship in Decline
Evaluating Your Partner’s BehaviorT
hinking about the Future of the Relationship
Being in a healthy relationship is fun, exciting, intimate, and comfortable. However, if these characteristics have faded from your relationship, it may need to be brought to an end. It’s important to recognize the signs of a failing or failed relationship. Examine your interactions with your partner for signs of affection and trust. If you come up short, it may be time to end the relationship. Everyone deserves to be in a healthy relationship.
Recognizing Signs of a Relationship in Decline
Ask yourself if you like the person you’ve become in the relationship. It’s only natural for partners to experience small changes in their preferences and their personality while they’re in a relationship together. However, if the majority of these changes have been negative, it may be time for the relationship to end. Ask yourself if you’ve experienced negative personality changes including:
- Becoming more angry or unkind.
- Losing confidence or a sense of self-worth.
- Reverting back to unpleasant behaviors from an earlier time of your life.
Weigh the sacrifices you’re making in a relationship. Ideally, your relationship should not hold you back from pursuing your life goals, whether that’s earning an advanced degree, working in a specific field, or living in a certain region. If you feel that your partner expects you to make sacrifices for the relationship that they’re not willing to make, the relationship may not be worth keeping.
- On the other hand, if you are unwilling to make sacrifices or compromises in the relationship, but expect your partner to make important sacrifices for you, it may be time to end things for your partner’s sake.
- Keep in mind that compromise is a natural part of relationships. You won’t always get your way in a relationship, but shouldn’t be expected to make sacrifices that your partner won’t reciprocate.
- Sacrifices made in a relationship don’t have to be exactly reciprocated. In any given issue, one partner may need to make a sacrifice while the other does not. However, if you find yourself making one sacrifice after another while your partner makes none, take it as a sign that the relationship may not be worth keeping.
Ask yourself if you’re still in love. Feelings of superficial love (a racing heart and sweaty palms whenever you see your partner) will fade quickly. In healthy relationships, though, a deep sense of love and concern for your partner should remain. If you feel indifferent towards your partner’s wellbeing or no longer feel a strong emotional connection, consider ending the relationship.
- Also, think about whether or not your partner still seems to love you. Although it’s a tough conversation to have, you may need to speak to your partner about their feelings for you.
- Try saying something like, “I feel like we’ve been emotionally distant lately. I realize this is a tough question, but I’d like to know if you still love me.”
- If the relationship has been short-lived and you’ve never felt that you loved your partner, the conversation should go a little differently. Say something like this instead: “I know we’ve only been together 6 months, but do you anticipate that you’re developing strong feelings for me, and may eventually fall in love? If not, I’m not sure where this relationship is heading.”
Evaluating Your Partner’s Behavior
End the relationship if your partner isn’t supportive. Couples in a relationship lean on one another for emotional and moral support. If your partner isn’t providing you with support and encouragement when you’re going through a tough time, the relationship may not be worth maintaining. Your partner should be supportive regarding:
- Your professional life and career.
- Your mental and physical health.
- Your relationships with family and friends.
- In many relationships, one partner is completely supportive while the other is reserved and unsupportive. This creates an imbalance, which both partners need to recognize as unhealthy.
Watch to see if your partner shows you love and attention. Partners in a healthy relationship will show one another emotional and physical love. This can include verbal statements like “I love you,” or “You’re very special to me,” as well as physical love. Signs of affection even include joking around and being silly together. If you don’t feel loved in your relationship, or if your partner ignores or overlooks you, it may be time to end the relationship.
- Of course, all relationships have rough patches, and the initial excitement wears off after a few months. But, in a healthy relationship, you and your partner should continue to behave affectionately towards one another.
- It’s worth raising this issue in a conversation with your partner. This will give them a chance to alter their behavior and be more attentive to your needs. Let your partner know that they’ve seemed distant or disinterested lately, and explain that their actions have hurt you.
Look for unpleasant behaviors that your partner didn’t reveal to you at first.Relationships change over time, and you may find out that your partner has deliberately concealed an unhealthy aspect of their life from you. Consider breaking up if your partner has misled you or lied to you about areas that include:
- Drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction.
- A child from a previous relationship that you didn’t know about.
- A disease or illness that they concealed from you.
- A controlling or manipulative sibling or parent.
- If your partner has kept this kind of personal information from you, inquire about their reasoning. They may not have intended to be malicious but simply waited for trust to develop in the relationship before telling you about an illness or unpleasant past relationship.
Leave your partner if they’re abusive. If your partner is emotionally or physically abusive, end the relationship and leave them immediately. Abusive partners will often try to convince you that their abuse is a sign of love, or that you’ll never be loved by anyone else. Ignore these lies, and end your relationship with an abusive partner. Look for abusive behaviors in your relationship. These include:
- Physical abuse or threats of physical violence.
- Verbal criticism, shouting, or neglect.
- Emotional inconsistency. If your partner shifts between supportive behaviors and insulting, aggressive, or harmful behaviors, they’re likely abusing you.
- Gaslighting (lying to you or convincing you that your thoughts and memories aren’t reliable).
- Controlling behaviors, like not letting you see your friends or spend time away from the abusive partner.
Thinking about the Future of the Relationship
End the relationship if you think that it will only improve in an imagined future.The relationship is in trouble if you’re unhappy in the current circumstances and believe that only some hypothetical change will fix the relationship. Think back over conversations that you and your partner have had in the last few months. The relationship may be based only on hypothetical improvements if you’ve said things like:
- “If we move in together, I think our problems will disappear.”
- “Once we get married, I’m sure that we’ll fight less and agree more.”
- “Once we have a baby together, our relationship will be much stronger.”
- This type of meritless talk about future improvements signals that a relationship is on its last legs. However, there are many instances in which you and your partner can discuss relationship problems and make substantial changes. For example, you could make the decision to attend couple’s counseling together to help improve communication problems in the relationship.
Compare your and your partner’s needs. As long-term relationships become more complex, people often find that they and their partner have incompatible long-term goals and needs. Individuals in a relationship need to grow and evolve together. If you and your partner have incompatible goals—that are too important to compromise on—you may need to end the relationship. Mutually exclusive needs and goals include:
- Substantially different sexual appetites or desires.
- Incompatible career or family-raising expectations.
- How financial resources should be saved and spent.
Ask yourself if you’ll still find the relationship pleasant and viable in a few years. Of course, it’s difficult to predict how you’ll feel in the future. But, if you often feel bored with your partner, or feel like you’re not growing and changing together as people, this may be a sign that the relationship is stagnant. As healthy relationships grow, initial feelings of excitement and infatuation evolve into abiding commitment and love. However, even after a few years, your relationship should still feel fun and engaging.
- There’s no shame in admitting that a healthy, fun relationship has run its course and is now stagnant or boring. However, the healthy step to take is to end the relationship, rather than persisting in a dead relationship.