In life, everyone wants to find their person they can live “happily ever after” with. There’s nothing wrong with having goals when it comes to love and relationships. The problem doesn’t lie in your dreams, the problem lies oftentimes in the way we perceive relationships because of our high expectations. Not every relationship is going to be “the one.” And, sometimes, no matter how bad we want someone to be our end all be all person–they’re just not. Have you ever had that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something in your relationship just isn’t right, but you try to ignore it because you’re terrified of ending things and being alone? You see that things are slowly, but surely, changing completely between you and your partner, but you aren’t quite sure how to handle it.
When asking people who recently got out of a long-term relationship what they most regret, the majority of them told me that they wish they had ended their relationship sooner than they actually had. All of the signs were there and they knew it in their hearts, but they just let it continue to play out–way longer than they should have.
12. You feel obligated to spend time together, rather than actually wanting to.
When we’re in a relationship, in the beginning, we look forward to spending time with our SO. We usually have our own separate lives–work, school, friends/family–and the time you do get to spend together is precious and important to you. Most of the time, you look forward to your date nights and hanging out all week long. Eventually, you develop a routine of when you see each other and hang out. While things become more comfortable and natural, that doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to spend time together–like it’s a chore. Spending time together should never be something you dread or avoid. If you get to a point in your relationship where you’d do just about anything else in the world than see your partner, that’s a problem.
11. The things you used to like about them now are your biggest pet peeves.
It’s true that when we first begin dating someone, everything is amazing and we look at the world (and our relationship) through rose-colored glasses. As time goes on, we start to realize that our partner is not, in fact, perfect and instead realize they are human. Along with this, we start to see that they have some attributes that annoy the ever living f**k out of us. While it’s completely healthy to realize your partner has flaws when you begin to see more flaws and annoying things than positive attributes and traits, that’s a huge red flag. Your partner is going to get on your nerves, no doubt, but they shouldn’t be the constant cause of stress and irritation in your life.
Relationship expert and Boston-based matchmaker Caitlyn Bergstein says:
If you lose sight of all of the positive qualities that made you interested in your partner in the first place, it could be a sign that things are heading south. It may not always be obvious that you are only viewing your partner’s flaws, but a telltale sign is how you speak about your partner to your friends. If you’re struggling to say anything positive about your partner and find yourself speaking poorly or bad mouthing them to others, it’s likely time to end the relationship
10. You’re not as sexually attracted to them as you once were.
Lack of sex is toxic to any relationship, let’s face it. Sure, as your relationship progresses, you may bone less because you’re busy or your schedules just don’t line up. But, if you can’t even get turned on or “ready” when you’re with them, that’s a huge red flag. Attraction is not something that lasts forever, and you could still love someone with all of your heart, but realize that they just don’t do it for you anymore. If it’s something that you see is not changing, and it’s not just a phase or a rough patch, you better build up the courage to speak up.
9. You look for reasons to pick fights.
When people are too scared to face the reality that the relationship may be done, they look for reasons to push their partner to do the breaking up for them. By looking for reasons to fight, we’re essentially sabotaging the relationship altogether and pushing our partner away. In all reality, fighting doesn’t only hurt our partner, but it hurts us too. Look at all of that wasted energy you put into fighting when you could be doing something actually productive with your life instead of driving everyone crazy. You’re better off just putting a nail in the coffin right then and there.
8. You keep reminiscing about the past when things seemed “better.”
Relationships should get better as time goes on, not worse. It’s safe to say that there will be times when you’re both stressed and you stop and think: “wow, remember when we were on vacation,” or “remember when didn’t have kids screaming at 6 a.m.?” Those things–those are normal. But, if you find yourself looking back and wishing your partner paid as much attention to you as they did “back then,” or, you think that the beginning was “way better” than it is now, you’re probably in the wrong relationship. Your romance is supposed to grow more and more over time, learning to love each other even more so than the beginning. You shouldn’t hold onto something hoping things will go back to the way they “once were.”
7. When something important happens, they’re no longer the first person you tell.
We all know that when we get good news, we run and call/text our SO right away. Maybe you aced the exam you were stressing over, or you finally got a promotion at your job, or maybe you got the job you just interviewed for. We all have that “person” we call first to tell them the great news. For many, it’s our partner. We call them because we know they’ll be just as happy for us as we are. But, when you stop calling them first and find other people to share all of your happiness with, that’s a pretty big sign. Now, I’m not saying they’ll always be the first person you call–sometimes I’ll call my sister or my mom before my boyfriend. But, if you think it’s pointless to even let them know, it’s a red flag.
6. You feel as though one person cares way more about the relationship.
All relationships are give and take and, not all relationships will always be evenly broken up as 50/50. There will be times where you feel as though you’re giving more, or you care more than your partner. But, if it’s a prolonged period of time in which you feel as though you care way more than your partner does–that’s just not right. You shouldn’t have to compete for your partner’s time/care/affection, and they shouldn’t have to compete for yours, either. If your partner feels as though they’re the one who cares more, it’s time to look inside of yourself and ask yourself if you really do care about the relationship and your partner anymore. If you need to truly think about it, you’ll know it’s just not there anymore.
5. You’ve thought about your life post-breakup more than once.
We all fantasize about our futures, and when we’re in a relationship we usually daydream about our futures with our partners. If you find yourself wondering what life would be like if you two weren’t together–like, post-breakup–that’s a huge sign that your head and heart are no longer into the relationship. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with wondering, but if you think that life would look and feel much better without your SO in your life, let them go.
4. You find yourself being attracted to other people, not only physically but emotionally.
Physical attraction is always going to be a part of life–I mean, we all watch porn from time to time and still love/are attracted to our partners. It’s not physical attraction to other people that is a problem, it’s when you become emotionally attracted/attached to people outside of your relationship. I’m a firm believer that emotional cheating is just as bad as physical cheating–if not worse. When you find yourself emotionally attracted to someone else, it’s because there is a void in your relationship that your partner is just not filling for you. Whatever that may be, if you need to look outside of your relationship to have it filled, that’s a big problem and an even bigger indicator that you need to move on.
3. You both seem extremely passive about big decisions instead of being interested.
Making decisions together is an integral part of a long-term relationship. You should both care about the outcomes and care about the stake you each have in the relationship. But, if you or your partner are extremely passive about things such as future plans, moving in together, talks about your life–that’s not a good sign. You should be passionate and excited about your life together, it should give you something to look forward to and fill you with energy and love–not drown you in dread and unhappiness. Being agreeable is one thing, but passively submitting to everything is another.
According to Rose Lawrence, LPCC, LCPC, NCC and psychotherapist:
Fighting is actually decreased and negotiating is not even needed anymore because the person or the couple is just done. They have chosen to submit to the fact they want out of the relationship, so their indifference displays as being agreeable. Most couples need to negotiate or discuss issues, not necessarily argue or bicker, but at least have a discussion. Being agreeable is great, but when your partner or the couple is always agreeable and indifferent, the spark is clearly gone and the fight to stay in the relationship is gone.”
2. You feel lonely even when you two are together spending time.
You can be physically together and feel incredibly alone–it’s true. When you feel completely disconnected from someone, it’s hard to feel as though you’re really “together.” You begin to feel resentful and unhappy because you feel so “alone” even when you are together in the same room. Irina Baechle, LCSW and relationship therapist claim that this is extremely common in relationships that are heading into the breakup zone.
“This is the biggest concern I see with the couples who come to see me. They are physically together, but emotionally feel alone and disconnected. It is a silent sign that the relationship is unfortunately headed south unless they reach out for professional help.”
1. Your gut tells you things are not okay.
Surprisingly, our bodies know a lot about our hearts and our minds. Sometimes in life, our bodies can tell us things before our brains even can. That’s why people are always saying you should “trust your gut” when it comes to many things in life. If you feel as though something may be off, it’s because something is most definitely off. According to Rhonda Milrad LCSW and relationship therapist:
“Your body can register that something is off long before your brain acknowledges it. You can sense it in the other person’s mood or body language, even though nothing has occurred and they haven’t said anything. Yet, you pick up on something and have a hunch or a gut instinct that something is going on between the two of you.”