In many cases, people quickly connect the dots and then feel embarrassed they weren't able to identify the signs earlier. Sometimes it's hard to see the forest when you are surrounded by trees. Therapy is helpful because it gives you distance and objectivity that are elusive while in the relationship.
I thought it might be helpful to list signs that may suggest your relationship is in trouble. Every relationship is different so the list may not apply to you. However, I have found the list below to be prevalent in troubled relationships.
There was never a “honeymoon” period. The “honeymoon” period is at least the first year of your relationship. If that first year was full of conflict and arguing, that's an ominous sign.
Children were conceived to fix the relationship. As a family and child psychologist, it pains me to hear a couple say they had kids to fix the relationship. I've never seen a relationship improve because a child has been added to the family. I've seen countless relationships further deteriorate when a newborn is thrown into the mix.
Your sex life is non-existent or a chore. Your sex life matters. Sex is as much an emotional act as it is a physical act. A non-existent sex life suggests there is a lack of intimacy, care, and trust in the relationship.
“We live different lives”. Maybe it's just about scheduling, but if you feel like you are living different lives, you probably also feel an emotional distance and void in your relationship.
You no longer spend time with friends. Yes, in some relationships you want to spend so much time with your significant other that friendships are sacrificed. However over the long-term, the healthiest relationships have a balance between spending time with each other and friends (separately and together).
Anger evolves into resentment. Anger happens in every relationship. It's normal and healthy. When anger becomes resentment, the angry feelings from an experience have now hardened into pain and hurt that threatens the foundation of the relationship.
Suspicion and jealousy is the norm. It's interesting to see one partner describe the other or themselves as “naturally” jealous. People aren't jealous naturally. Jealousy and suspicion arise when trust and openness are absent.
Reading this list with your partner would lead to conflict or more emotional distance. If you read this alone, pause for a moment and imagine what it would be like to read this with your partner. If you read this with your partner, it at least opens dialogue.
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