You don't have to give up. Repair the damage before it's too late.
There are four key signs that your relationship is on its way ... to failure.
Wherever you are in your life together, the first step is to stop and ask yourself... How does your relationship FEEL right now? Do you wake up every morning thankful that you share your life with someone who is perfect for you?
Or, do you wake up wondering where it all went wrong and why you just don’t seem to connect any more?
Even if you only experience infrequent niggling doubts about your relationship, it helps to take a step back and ask if the following four signs are starting to show up in it.
If they are, it doesn’t necessarily spell the end but it will require a degree of effort to confront the signs and repair the damage before it really is too late.
1. F — you feel "frustrated"
Do you find yourself becoming more and more frustrated with your partner? Are their little habits, that you once found cute, now driving you crazy? Is your partner starting to annoy the heck out of you for no reason whatsoever? Or, perhaps you’ve noticed that your partner is becoming frustrated with you and you don’t know why?
Frustration is a feeling mostly associated with the lack of goal achievement. In terms of relationships, this can manifest when two people have different or competing goals.
If you both want different things, you’ll find yourselves moving apart until, gradually, frustration begins to creep in. Whether it’s a goal to buy a home together, what to eat for dinner or whether or not to have children; whatever your relationship goals, it’s essential you both share them as a common goal.
Consider frustration as a sign that something isn’t quite right in your relationship, and use it to motivate you to make changes. If you let things slide in the frustration stage, you could end up losing confidence in yourself and your relationship, and this, in turn, leads to increased frustration and ultimately, anger.
2. A — you're super "angry"
If your attempts to achieve your shared goals (or personal goals) are constantly thwarted, frustration often grows into anger. The goal could be something simple like walk the dogs before it rains, but if you’re other goals felt derailed all day, this simple little task (also) not being done as hoped might be all it takes for an outburst of anger.
Problems arise in relationships when multiple frustrations layer up on top of one another. You're on a collision course, and whilst anger can help motivate us to make changes, it more often than not results in destructive behavior which is unhelpful.
For example, when you’re angry, you're more likely to engage in other destructive behavior (e.g. disrespecting your partner in public, to your friends and family, etc.) You’ll deliberately rock the already shaky foundations of your relationship because you're so irritated.
If you’ve reached the angry stage in your relationship, it really is time to take stock. Use this energy to redefine your common goals before the relationship flatlines.
3. I — "insecurity" is eating away at you
If you’ve experienced excessive anger in your relationship (either from or towards your partner), you’ll gradually begin to "opt-out" of it.
You’ll distance yourself from confrontation and lose confidence in your position within the relationship. You’ll begin to second guess your partner, you might experience feelings of insecurity, jealousy, paranoia, and you’ll feel more and more out of control.
Your relationship goals will slip further away, too. If you feel insecure, you’re reactions to those feelings will create more frustration and anger, thus leading to more fights. Then, you're in a definite downward spiral.
If you’re at the insecurity stage, then things are critical. The key step here is redefining YOUR goals and regain control of your self-image.
What do I want? How can I achieve it ? These are the questions to ask yourself here.
4. L — you feel so "lonely"
Insecurity, if left to its own devices, inevitably leads to loneliness. The frustration and anger you felt earlier drove a wedge between you both. You’ve likely stopped being intimate with each other. Perhaps you've even stopped talking to each other.
It’s essential to confront the problem in your relationship now. Deal with them and move forward. Failure to do so might leave you sharing the same house, but not really the same life. Lots of couples fall out of love gradually to such a degree that even when they’re in the same room together, they both feel completely isolated and lonely.
If you’ve reached the loneliness stage, it might be too late to make your relationship work well again. Only you can decide if the relationship is terminal at this point. The important thing is that you decide to take action rather than letting the loneliness persist.
This F.A.I.L. framework can help you spot whether or not your relationship is on the road to falling apart. Where you land among the four feelings above lets you know how serious the situation is if you're feeling discontent. But no matter where you are on that road, it is absolutely and entirely possible to course correct and get your relationship back on track before it's too late.
For others it might just be a wake up call that says, "Hey, this relationship isn't going to work, it’s time to get out."