When you were once deeply in love, it can be hard now to admit that it's time to let go and move on. However, it will be harder for both you and your partner in the long run if you choose to hide from the truth about your failing relationship. Consider the following signs that your relationship might be reaching a stage at which it will be beyond repair. If you recognize more than half of these signs, it is worth thinking about whether your relationship is already over in all but name. If you recognize just a few signs and you really want to save the relationship, there may still be hope.
1) You no longer feel as though you genuinely like your partner:
There are many different signs that you no longer like your partner’s personality or their contributions to your life. Perhaps spending time with them has become a burdensome bore to you, or when you think about them you have stopped smiling and feeling a warm glow of affection. You might find every little thing that they do to be deeply annoying rather than endearing, and you may find that even the sound of their voice has started to grate on you. If any of this sounds familiar, it is highly likely that you no longer even enjoy your partner’s personality and companionship at the level of friendship (let alone romance).
2) Talking about the future feels awkward and forced:
Planning for your future should be exciting and should fill you both with hope. If talking about where you will be in a few years makes one or both of you feel uneasy and sad, this is probably because of a shared sense that the relationship should not or will not exist in a few years. Similarly, if imagining staying together makes you feel dread and depression rather than a sense of optimism, perhaps your feelings of love have been worn down by the relationship’s superficiality or by constant interpersonal struggles. It is also worth noting that if you cannot even picture a future with your partner at all, this is probably an indicator that you’re aware of how incompatible your long-term desires and needs really are.
3) You or your partner are developing feelings for other people:
While it is common to fleetingly notice other attractive people while in a serious relationship, if you are capable of developing genuine feelings for someone other than your partner then this is a sign that something is seriously wrong between the two of you. You have started to devote your resources, your time and your fantasies to someone new. In some cases, a relationship can recover from this if the person with the crush is willing to physically and mentally distance themselves from the object of their affections. However, sometimes the emotional betrayal felt by the other partner is too much to bear, and the relationship is bound to end whether the crush is unrequited or not.
4) You aren’t communicating:
You probably talked to each other all the time when you first got together. You will have discussed very deep personal issues, family relationships, dreams and fears. If you find that conversation between you is now stilted, very shallow, or solely focused on practical concerns (e.g. who should take out the trash), this means that you are no longer as close to each other as you once were.
5) You feel envious when you see other couples:
When you are around happy couples, you should feel pleased for them and also be able to recognize your own behaviors in the way they show affection and respect to one another. If you find that you are feeling jealousy and discomfort instead, this is a reliable indicator that you are extremely dissatisfied with your own relationship. If you are wishing that you had what other couples have or are yearning to be treated the way that other people treat each other, you are not truly happy with your own partner any more.
6) One of you has cheated:
Few relationships can survive infidelity. If one half of the couple feels the urge to cheat and is not deterred by the fact that it would hurt their partner, it is highly unlikely that the person is genuinely in love. Even if the infidelity is forgiven and satisfactorily explained, the innocent party in the relationship will find it very hard to get over the sense of betrayal and the lingering trust problems.
7) You are constantly fighting:
Fighting is normal in any close personal relationship. However, if you spend more time arguing than having fun, this is a sign that something is fundamentally wrong with your relationship. It is particularly worrying if the fighting mainly takes the form of mean jibes designed to hurt each other, and if you do not put in the time and effort required to really get to the bottom of what is causing your fights. If you do not have the energy to reach genuine resolutions, it is likely that you no longer care about the relationship’s survival to the extent that you once did.
8) Your sex life is limited or non-existent:
Unless there are known causes that have nothing to do with your relationship, a lack of sex is a significant warning sign. You should be particularly concerned if you no longer feel sexual desire for your partner, or if they react to your sexual overtures by looking nonplussed and making thin excuses to abstain from making love.
9) You no longer miss one another when you are apart:
It is normal and healthy to enjoy time alone and to enjoy spending time with friends or family. However, if you spend substantial amounts of time away from your partner then you should slowly begin to strongly miss their presence. If you find that you are indifferent (or, worse, relieved) when you are not with your partner, this should tell you that you do not enjoy their company or their affection as much as would be ideal.
Arguably, the most important of the above signs that your relationship is over is a sense that you no longer even genuinely like your partner as a person. It is hard (if not impossible) to come back from such a profound emotional transition. However, if it is one (or some) of the other nine signs that sound familiar to you, it may be that all is not yet lost. A relationship counselor can coach you through trying to recover your old bond and help you to remember the reasons why you fell in love. It is important to know when to keep fighting for something that is worthwhile, but it is also vital to know when to cut your losses and walk away.