When you first meet, your partner is almost perfect. There's the breathlessness of passion and the constant surprise of new things you have in common. You totally know this is your soulmate, the person you've been looking for your whole life. As time passes you still love your soulmate, but you begin to wonder if you're "in love" with them. Even though they give you so many things you want, you begin questioning whether you can be happy in the relationship.
These are the things that could doom your once-happy relationship.
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1. Persistent criticism. You get very little praise and, instead, a frequent litany of your shortcomings. You're talking too loud, not cooking it right, snoring, or putting on weight. When you try to point out the problem to your partner, you're told you can't accept feedback. If the list of your failings seems to have no end in sight, the end might be in sight.
2. Not enough time together. Dating was great at first; you went to parties, traveled, played tennis and spent a lot of time together. Now, you might have dinner together but most of your activities are separate. You feel like they're just not that into you. You encourage more togetherness, but when you're rebuffed you start to wonder why you're still there.
3. Feeling unsupported. The flip side of not enough time together is not enough time to pursue your own interests and goals. Your partner doesn't want you hanging with your friends, spending time on career advancement, or pursuing important personal goals. You ask for the space and time you need to flourish, but don't get the support.
4. Frequent feelings of anger or depression. When the relationship is suffering, externalizers tend to feel angry, internalizers feel depressed. Identify the triggers to these negative emotions and find out if addressing them with your partner helps your mood. No one wants to be in a relationship that makes them furious or sucks the life out of them.
5. Being controlled. Your partner makes unilateral decisions about things that affect you both. A tip-off here is when you're asked for your opinion (Where would you like to have dinner?) which is then summarily dismissed (I'm not in the mood for Italian). Dinner aside, there are many important issues that beg for collaboration, not dictatorial edicts.
6. Disagreement about monogamy, sex and commitment. One wants to marry, the other, to cohabit. One wants an open relationship, the other, not so much. One wants to date other people, the other, definitely not. One wants to swing, the other is willing to try, but it's not really their thing. There's too much sex, or not enough. You must find common ground on these issues, or you're both going to be unhappy.
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