The writing is on the wall.
Prevention.com has an interesting article that shares nine ways therapists can tell if your relationship won’t last.
Based on my own experience (plus decades of research by John M. Gottman, PhD), couples’ therapist extraordinaire, here are 5 signs that can help you decide if it’s time for you and your partner to part ways and break up:
1. You think the other person is a hot mess.
When you and your partner lose respect for one another, your relationship is bound to fail. You may start criticizing each other with comments like, "You never help me" or "You always ignore me."
These inflict pain because they tear a person down and don’t place the focus solely on what a person did. There is a huge difference between pointing out a behavior that bothers you and attacking an individual personally.
2. You turn on one another easily.
When you say to your partner, "You never listen to what I say!"
Your partner feels attacked, goes on the defensive, and lashes out, "Hey, what about YOU? You don’t care about my thoughts at all!"
This type of exchange won’t help the situation or move your romantic partnership to a better place. Each time you respond to harsh comments with a counter attack, your relationship sails into even rougher waters.
Instead of falling prey to that nasty exchange, people in healthy relationships highlight feelings and point out behaviors. They may say something like, "I’m upset that you focused on yourself this afternoon. You didn’t seem interested in how my meeting went. What you did hurt a lot."
3. You feel superior over the other.
When you feel that you are smarter or more important than your partner, you're more likely to mock them, put them down and dismiss their complaints and feelings. That’s a recipe for disaster.
For a relationship to thrive, especially over the long haul, partners must respect one another. They need to feel they are better together than apart.
Some years may be more challenging than others, like when the kids are little or when there is a financial scare, but relationships thrive when you both see the other as a true teammate.
4. You pull away from each other.
When you voice a concern and your partner ignores you, walks out of the room, or starts checking their cell phone, how does it feel?
Gottman calls this type of behavior "stonewalling." And it hurts.
Research shows that after a person stonewalls their partner, both of their heart rates climb up. People think less clearly when their hearts are racing, so the words that follow are likely to be even less considerate.
5. You don't respect each other's health needs.
When you have a health priority and your partner repeatedly disregards it, undermines your progress, or minimizes your concern, it may be time to say farewell. Your health decisions are important and valuing them is one way for a loving spouse or partner to value you.
If you want to reduce your intake of carbohydrate-rich foods, for example, and your partner continually tempts you with gooey slices of chocolate cake and other goodies, or she encourages you to share a martini after you cut alcohol from your life, your relationship is in trouble.
Couples therapists can only do so much, but they can’t work magic, especially when respect no longer exists in a relationship.
Then, it is probably time to search for someone new.
Janis Roszler is a therapist who specializes in diabetes-related sexual and relationship issues. Her blog articles and books can help transform your romantic relationships. Have diabetes? Learn how you can strengthen the connection you have with the one you love. Read Janis’ book The Secrets of Living and Loving With Diabetes. Check out her website and follow her on Twitter.