As a relationship coach, I sometimes have to advise couples to do something they hate to hear: break up. It is always just as painful for me as it is for the couple. Some call it tough love. Some call it being cruel to be kind. I call it a jolt into reality.
Very often one or both partners cannot come to grips with the reality that the feeling of love and intimacy that has once existed in the relationship is no longer there. We are all creatures of habit. We get used to situations just as easily as we get used to places and people. It is more excruciatingly difficult to break old habits once they become part of our everyday lives. There are times you may know in your gut that the relationship is over, however, change is scary and facing a breakup is something nobody welcomes.
On the other hand, it is much worse when couples' relationships deteriorate to the brink of disaster and neither of them realizes it. Many of us prefer to go through life wearing rose-colored glasses. We keep pushing the ugly truth out of our mind until we no longer hear it knocking. Seems crazy, doesn't it? Yet for more couples than you think, it is an everyday reality. So how can you tell if your relationship is over and it's time to walk away?
- You Are No Longer Having Sex: We are, all of us, physical creatures, like it or not. While sex is not and should not be the "be all and end all" in a relationship, it is a very important part of any couple's bond as it invites intimacy. Once sex is gone, it is very difficult to pass off a platonic relationship as a love connection.
- You Are Spending Less Time Together: Business trips notwithstanding, if you find yourself more and more apart due to choice, your relationship is on the decline. If you prefer the company of friends to your partner's, it is time to rethink your situation.
- You Cease Communication With Each Other: If you'd rather call your friend then a partner to discuss a problem at work or a great book you just read, you are losing out on one of the most important parts of a relationship. Once the communication is dead, it is very difficult to resuscitate.
- You Are Always Fighting: From important issues like whether or not to have children to minutia like how many eggs to have for breakfast, the smallest disagreements turn into huge rows. Life is too short to spend in meaningless spats.
- You Are No Longer Affectionate: To be sure, there is a huge difference between sex and affection. It is the little expressions of love that make up affection: holding hands, hugging, kissing hello and good-bye, etc. When you no longer want to say to your partner "I love you," or if your "I love you" is mechanical, rather than heartfelt, it is time to let go.
Can you relate to any of the above? If so, it may be time for you and your partner to call it quits. That is the sad but honest truth.
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