Most of us go into relationships with the best of intentions. We put our best feet forward in the first few weeks or months with anticipation that the relationship will continue to grow and go the distance. We introduce our partner to our friends and family hoping to get the vote of approval, and we're proud to show them off to the world. Often we share our dreams for the future, plan holidays and vacations together, and learn the fine art of compromising in a relationship, because we know it's worth it.
Sometimes outside influences can attack our relationship, resulting in the inevitable bumps on the road. It's at these times that we look at our partner and either deal favorably with conflict resolution or, sadly, our ego sometimes gets in the way and we end up heading for a fall.
From financial issues to family stress, from the romantic gestures from an outsider at work to juggling the schedules of children—even job pressures can affect the best of relationships. Here are a few tips to know if your relationship is on its way out, or if it's just a bump on the road that hopefully will become a distant memory.
- They stop sending regular text messages. If your significant other used to start his or her day with a good morning text and good night text, but those have disappeared, chances are that the relationship could be fizzling out.
- Phone calls are reduced. If your sweetie usually calls you routinely on his or her lunch break, while driving home from work, or before bedtime when you're not together, and the calls have been reduced to once a day or a few times a week, they may be disengaging from the relationship.
- Pet names disappear. He or she goes from affectionately saying, "It's me" to leaving messages with their first or full name, assume the familiarity and romance are on their way out. Affectionate pet names are part of a relationship. It's what makes you unique as a couple and puts a smile on your face.
- Plans are made without you in mind. If your normal routine is to see each other a few times a week and on weekends and suddenly your significant other would rather go out for drinks with friends and go home alone instead of into your arms, assume they are creating more distance and are open to the possibilities of meeting someone else.
- Future talks are put on hold. If you had been discussing living together or even planning a vacation six months out and now you're not sure when you'll be getting together in the next few days, your relationship suddenly might become a short-term affair—it's not with someone who wants to go the distance anymore.
- Sex dissipates. Having a healthy sex life creates bonding in a relationship. If your boo is having doubts about the relationship, often sex is the first thing to go. When your sex life goes from "hot" to "not," there's a possibility your partner is detaching from the relationship.
- They spend overnights alone at home. If you've been on a regular schedule of overnights with your sweetie and both of you are now sleeping apart and alone, it's a matter of time before the "I'm not feeling it" conversation will follow.
- PDA disappears. If you're the kind of affectionate couple who holds hands in public and loves cuddling at night and suddenly you find yourself sleeping on your side of the bed, there could be trouble in paradise. If the welcome home kisses are no longer part of your regime, it's a sign that your relationship might be falling out of the love zone.
- Grooming habits change. From getting a Brazilian bikini wax, sporting a new hairstyle, joining a gym, starting a new diet or getting a new wardrobe, when your significant other starts to change their looks and takes more time to focus on their appearance, they might have someone in mind other than you.
- They become attached to their phone. If suddenly your sweetheart is paying more attention to their phone than you, staring at his or her text messages and spending more time on Facebook while sitting next to you, then you've just become lower on the totem pole than his or her smart phone. If they go into another room to secretly respond to a text or a phone call or turn their phone upside down so you won't see who's texting or calling, there's probably trouble in paradise.
- Titles disappear. While titles are usually more important to a woman than to a man, if you've been introduced as the girlfriend, boyfriend, or partner and suddenly you're being introduced, "This is Janet," there could be trouble on the horizon or you might be moving into the friend zone.
- Their online dating profile is reactivated. If you've met online but unplugged your profiles to be exclusive, don't be surprised when one of you starts fishing to look for Plan B. Typically before a breakup, someone may like to view their options before making a clean break.
- Facebook contact disappears. If your partner loved staring at your Facebook page to feel closer to you while at work and suddenly they are liking and commenting on everyone else's posts instead of yours, know you're slowly being removed from their life and are a step away from being unfriended so you can't see their whereabouts.
- Invitations are declined. If your social calendar is filled with fun events to attend every week and suddenly your sweetie declines going with you, even though they have nothing else on the calendar for that night, it's a tell-tale sign they're pulling away and don't see you in their future.
- You're thinking of breaking up. If the thought of breaking up is on your mind (if you're reading this, that's probably the case), you've put together your pros and cons list about your relationship, or you are think you might need some space, chances are that your sweetie may be thinking the same as well. The end may be near.
What should you do if you can relate to most of these items on this list? Before you toss your relationship away, understand that feelings can fluctuate, but if the flow has been disrupted by most of these relationship issues on this list, you might be headed for splitsville.
Before you pull out the tissue box and think that it's over, take the time to talk to your partner about how important they are in your life. Acknowledge that there's been a shift in the relationship and ask them if there are any outside stressors that could be affecting the two of you. One of you might still be brewing about something that happened over a month ago and perhaps an apology needs to be made if your partner is feeling resentful about something or misunderstood.
Acknowledge how affectionate you used to be and let your partner know that you miss those warm and fuzzy happy times and would love to get back on track. Take the time to listen to your partner’s concerns. If you truly think this is a relationship worth fighting for, let your partner know that you don’t want to make an impulsive and abrupt decision about calling it quits that you might regret. Ask how you can help bring back the romance in your life.
If your partner just isn't feeling it for you anymore, don't fight it or try to change their mind. Thank them for the memories and start the healing process. I know it hurts to have another failed relationship, but I also know that there is someone special out there waiting for you. You just haven't met him or her yet.
Are you recognizing any of these signs in your relationship?
Julie Spira is America's Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She's the founder of CyberDatingExpert.com and creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene while keeping their relationships flourishing IRL. For more dating and relationship advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter.
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