Sometimes when we're in the thick of it, it's hard to see where we truly stand in a relationship. If you're worried that your relationship may be at a breaking point, here are seven signs from a therapist you can look for to give you clarity on where you and your partner stand.
- You have expressed your experience, unmet needs, and desire for growth with as much honesty and clarity as possible - If you're feeling unhappy in your relationship, step one is honest communication with yourself and your partner. Partners aren't mind readers. If they know there's a problem they may be able to work with you on a solution. If you have expressed these feelings and your partner isn't receptive, it may be time to let an expert step in and assist with communication and action. If things remain unchanged after that, you need to decide what you are willing to live with and what you aren't because your situation itself will not change.
- There is no emotional connection - Vulnerability is what relationships are built on. A relationship foundation is strong when partners feel safe and supported in being vulnerable with each other. If one or both of you are hiding your feelings, avoiding spending time together, or fantasizing about leaving, that may be a sign that the deep connection you once had is no longer desired.
- Physical intimacy and affection don't appeal to you anymore - Sexual desire itself changes throughout a relationship. There are many stages in life and life factors that can affect the rhythm of your sexual connection. If you and your partner are still craving one another touch, this can be worked on. If the thought of your partners touch is a major turn off, it may be time to let go.
- It's hard to agree on anything - A strong indication that you're headed for a breakup is the inability to agree on anything. When you're experiencing constant conflict, it becomes harder to maintain any sort of positive connection. Conflict in a relationship is unavoidable, but constant conflict is evidence that the relationship has already been broken down.
- You are preoccupied with the idea of another relationship - It's normal to be attracted to people outside fo a relationship, that said, if this fantasy is taking away time or energy from your relationship, you've opened an "exit." Exits drain energy from a partnership. Is this fantasy just a fantasy, or something you wish to pursue? Have you already started emotionally cheating? Or even physically? If so, it's time to talk to your partner.
- The trust is gone - If you feel you can't trust your partner, it's either time to rebuild or time to go. Both partners have to be committed to doing the work of rebuilding trust or it won't happen. You also need to be open to getting to the root of the issue that caused the breakdown to begin with.
- Your goals and vision don't align - Compromise is an essential part of a relationship, but some things can't be compromised. Children, career paths, where to live, finances, quality of life - if you and your partner are in opposition on one or more of these things, it's important to be honest with yourself and each other about what you each have to give up to stay together.