“You don’t walk away to prove your worth. You walk away because you allowed someone else to dictate your value and you found yourself believing it.” – Shannon L. Alder
Relationships can be a lot of work, and keeping them running can mean a lot of stress for the individuals in a relationship. When a relationship is good and healthy, all of that work and stress is working towards a common and shared goal and “It’s important to remember that all couples have perpetual problems and can develop tools to deal with them,” says licensed clinical social worker Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW.
However, when a relationship becomes more work than it is fun, it can mean that the relationship is slowly dying. “In other words, if you can’t talk about the hard things, you’ll also feel less warmth and affection; and over time less fondness and admiration for your partner,” adds Gaspard.
Has your relationship been through a rough patch lately that doesn’t seem to end? You may want to check out these signs of a dying relationship, and see if it’s time to let the relationship go – for your sake, and your partner’s.
HERE ARE 7 SIGNS OF A DYING RELATIONSHIP
1. YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT PERSONAL THINGS ANYMORE
At the beginning of the relationship, maybe you discussed all of your hopes and dreams, and serious issues in your life. But now, it seems like all of your conversations are rehearsed and rehashed small talk. You’re no longer discussing real, emotional things and instead, seem to only talk about how your day went and what to have for dinner.
“When you share your struggles and difficulties you not only strengthen your bond through your vulnerability but you also set the precedence for an open and nonjudgmental relationship for the future,” says life and wellness coach Dana Peters.
Therefore, it’s clear that when there’s nothing left to talk about, the relationship starts to die.
2. YOU’RE NEVER ON THE SAME PAGE
When a relationship is dying, your values are no longer as aligned as they once were. “Disagreements turn toxic when your partner can’t even understand where your opinion is coming from,” says relationship coach and author Kira Asatryan.
Perhaps you grew up into two different people than you had been when you first started dating, or when you first got married. Important things that mean a lot to you no longer mean the same to your partner, or vice versa. “… disagreeing without understanding the other person’s perspective indicates a deep lack of understanding of the other person… in general. And somebody who doesn’t understand you will not make a great long-term partner,” adds Asatryan.
Whatever the issue, you can never seem to agree.
3. YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT THE SAME THINGS
The sink is broken. They don’t pick up their laundry. You leave hair in the drain. Whatever the issue, the complaint arises over and over, and it never gets fixed. This means that you and your partner are no longer actively trying to make the other happy. The things that upset you go in one ear and out of the other. When this happens, a relationship starts to die.
4. YOU ARGUE MORE OFTEN
At the beginning of your relationship, maybe everything was so happy and wonderful that you never argued at all. But now, it seems like all you do is argue. And the arguments are all about mundane or superficial things … or, maybe they’re the exact same argument that you’ve been having for years that never seems to have an end, and there’s no way to resolve.
“As couples get to know each other better, there should be a progression toward more understanding and less misunderstanding,” says psychoanalyst Sue Kolod, PhD. Therefore, more arguments mean that there’s less compromise, which means the relationship is dying.
5. YOU WANT MORE SPACE
When your partner goes to visit their parents, or goes on a business trip, you get a huge sense of relief at having space to yourself. You no longer miss your partner during the day like you once did, and you feel your need for “space” seeming to increase more and more frequently.
“If you’re all that excited to have a weekend alone, consider that the reason for your joy is that they’re draining you when they’re around,” says relationship expert April Masini. Wanting more space is a huge, red flag of a dying relationship when you no longer want to be around your partner, or are happier when they’re not around.
6. YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE YOURSELF
When you’re around your partner, do you feel more anxious, depressed or uncomfortable than you used to? Are you no longer the happy, talkative person that you once were? A dying relationship can make you feel all kinds of upset and negative emotions, and you suddenly no longer feel like yourself anymore. Maybe your friends and family notice that your personality has begun to change. This is a sign that a relationship is on its last leg.
7. YOU’RE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR FUTURE
When thinking about your future, are you suddenly no longer envisioning yourself with them by your side? Has your small family home in the suburbs suddenly turned into a vision of a studio in New York? If you no longer think about them in your future, it may be a sign that they’re not destined to be there. A dying relationship will no longer feel like something that you can look forward to in the future.
While we all want to keep our relationships as happy and healthy as possible, sometimes two people just simply don’t work out in a relationship. And that’s okay! No matter how long you’ve been together, there’s always a chance that you both just need to move on from one another. If that is the case, knowing the early warning signs of a dying relationship will allow you to move on, or work on fixing it if that is something you and your partner want to do.