"We need to talk," your significant other says. Immediately, you realize this is the start of a conversation you'd rather not have. What you didn't realize was that the signs a relationship has gone bad typically appear long before the relationship has technically ended. Had you spotted them in time, you might not feel as surprised as you are now.
5 signs a relationship has gone bad
Sign 1: "I'd rather be somewhere else." Your mate would rather do just about anything other than spend time with you. Suddenly, cleaning soap scum off the shower door and blowing leaves off the sidewalk are deemed more pleasurable activities than spending time together. Outings are preferred with friends and family members instead of with each other. If your company is no longer desired, then your relationship has definitely gone bad. Gerald Foley, author of "Courage to Love... When Your Marriage Hurts," refers to this as a "married singles" lifestyle. "Slowly, unconsciously, behavior changes, and spouses begin to live a more self-centered relationship... Gradually they begin thinking more of their own interests than of their partner's. They think they might be happier pursuing individual goals and aren't anxious to do things together or spend time together."
Sign 2: "Back down memory lane." While it's not uncommon for couples to occasionally talk about their relationship histories, one telltale sign that your relationship has gone bad is that your partner begins to obsess over a former lover. You may even discover that he or she has re-established contact with their ex, or made multiple attempts to locate them via the Internet. When the focus on the current relationship suddenly shifts to one that has ended, it's time to have a heart-to-heart conversation about your relationship and where it is headed.
Sign 3: "The grass looks greener." If your mate begins to compare your relationship to everyone else's, and the comparisons are negative ones, this is a definite sign that your relationship has gone bad. When people in a relationship have unmet needs, they can end up feeling like everyone else's relationship is somehow better than theirs. Once this begins to occur, it's time to have an open, honest conversation about what is not working in the relationship and why your mate is felling unfulfilled.
Sign 4: "I'm not in the mood." If sex has not been a part of your relationship for weeks, months or years and there are no health-related reasons for this, it could very well be a sign that your relationship has gone bad. According to "The Divorce Lawyers' Guide to Staying Married," a marriage that has become sexless is one that is headed for trouble. "Many people are surprised when their spouse cites a poor sex life as the reason that they no longer want to be married. Even if sex is not important to you, you have to realize that it might be extremely important to your spouse, and that it is a significant cause of divorce."
Sign 5: "Too many people are in our business!" If your mate begins confiding to others about problems within your relationship and reporting back to you their advice or opinion, your relationship may be going bad. It is, in general, a bad idea to bring friends, family members and associates into a relationship, even if it has hit a rough patch. Although friends and family may mean well (and in some cases, this is questionable), the bond that you share can be stretched and distorted beyond recognition if you are divulging information that is very personal. Ed Wheat, author of "The First Years of Forever," states, "At any age or state, you should be most careful to guard your oneness and never let other people - whether it be children, parents, siblings, co-workers, or friends -- intrude into your own private world of love. They have their place in your life, but it is never at the center of your relationship."
Communication is critical, timing is everything!
When your relationship begins to go bad, it's wise to start talking - and listening - immediately. Ignoring problems or hoping they will go away on their own will only worsen the situation between you and your significant other. Rather than allowing negative thoughts and feelings to fester, try finding a time and place to talk, free of outside distractions.
If you truly want your relationship to last, then you can begin this dialogue by reaffirming your commitment to work at it. A marriage or relationship therapist may be instrumental in helping you sort out your problems and work through them. Yet even if one or both of you are opposed to professional counseling, you can still begin to make strides in repairing your relationship simply by restoring the lines of communication.
Signs of an abusive relationshipare often overlooked in the beginning. Falling in love feels so overwhelmingly good that women dismiss potential problems. You have a tendency to give yourself completely to another person in order to make sure that your partner is happy and committed to you as much as you are to him.
At the root of all trust issues is a past betrayal. No matter how long ago that betrayal occurred, a person will not learn to let others in until she has begun working through trust issues.