6 Sure Signs Your Relationship Future Looks Bleak (& How To Fix It Before It’s Too Late)

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how to fix a broken relationship

You know that feeling: There's a pit in your stomach or a sense that things with your mate just aren’t quite right.

Relationships have up and down cycles, just like all other aspects of our lives. But how do we know whether we’re going through a normal cycle or if our relationship is heading toward a breakup?

While there is no magic formula for identifying relationship problems and no single easy fix for repairing them, often your questions and your own intuition about the relationship can shed some light on the problems and point the way to a solution.

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If one of the signs below is extreme enough, or if several of them in combination is becoming the new normal in your relationship, you may be heading for a breakup:

1. Increased arguing and complaining.

You and your partner are arguing more. One or both of you are complaining a lot about the same things over and over but you don’t reach a resolution. Between pauses in the action or a brief truce, you’re right at it once again.

One or both of you may find you feel angry, hurt and frustrated that you can’t have a meaningful or peaceful conversation.  

2. Conversations are awkward or superficial.

“We don’t talk anymore” is a common observation about many long-term partnerships. This might stem from feeling like we already know everything there is to know about our partner — but that’s rarely true. What’s happening at work, with our friends and families, or even parenting our own children are experienced and perceived differently by each person in the relationship.

Assumptions about what the other person thinks and feels are often incorrect. Often what you mean when saying this is that conversations are highly filtered or edited (to avoid sparking conflict), and you know very little about what’s going on in each other’s lives.

3. You’re withdrawing from each other and your lives are growing apart.

One or both of you frequently chooses to spend longer hours at work. You often go out separately to socialize without your partner or mate. The workplace can be competitive and careers demanding, requiring extra time and effort.

Everyone needs some “me time,” and most relationships benefit from some healthy solo pursuits. However, choosing to spend too much time apart can drive a wedge between the two of you. Excluding your partner leads to a lack of shared experiences and divides you.

There are two old sayings, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “out of sight, out of mind.” Equally true, but much depends on degree. Spending some time apart from each other can make you “fonder,” but too much time apart can lead to “out of sight and out of mind.”  

4. You ignore or stonewall each other.

When you’re angry, you pull the silent treatment, ignore the other person, or refuse to engage even when an attempt is made to have a civil, constructive dialogue. The lack of common courtesy can be a key indicator that one or both of you has lost the desire to be civil or make a positive effort toward improving your relationship.

Though it may seem like a small thing, it can do tremendous damage by eroding the respect you have for each other.

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5. You’re fantasizing about an affair or having one.

Fantasizing is a way of escaping the reality of the situation you’re currently in and is unlikely to resolve the problems in your relationship if you are serious about fixing it. Ditto to actually engaging in an affair. Both share the same drawbacks: they pull you further away from the current relationship and they can appear “perfect” in a way no real-life, real-time, all-in relationship can match.

The secrecy, dishonesty, and divided loyalties can wind up hurting all the parties involved beyond repair.

As simplistic as it may seem, the first step for fixing a relationship — if it can be fixed — is communication. (And yes, I realize that isn’t quite as simple as it sounds!)

6. You don’t know how to talk to your partner about your concerns.

“We’re already fighting all the time and he (or she) doesn’t listen to me.” Or, “If I try to talk we only end up angrier!”

You may find that your current communication styles aren’t compatible. The solution is to approach the conversation differently. Positive results aren’t guaranteed, but using the same approach and communication style that brought you to this point will almost certainly fail.  

Some basic ways to change the way you communicate can include:

  • Starting a conversation when both of you are relatively calm and relaxed.
  • Staying open-minded and starting with the present (not dredging up the past).
  • Using “I” statements focusing on yourself and what you’re currently feeling and experiencing.
  • Asking for or describing what you’d like to experience with your partner, especially if you can draw from past positive experiences for examples.
  • Listening. Once you find the courage to speak you will also need to patience to listen. Keep your statements based in the present and your questions open-ended – don’t assume to know your partners or answer or answer for him or her by making assumptions.

It’s not easy to step forward and try to heal the breach in your relationship. You may fear facing and naming your own feelings, what your partner may say, or how he will react.

If you need additional support, a tarot reading can help you focus on yourself in a positive way and give you guidance for healing yourself and your relationship.

Tarot readers can often see patterns in the cards that answer your questions and doubts about your relationship.

For example, in tarot, the suit of swords symbolizes (among other things) conflict, strife and disruption. When drawn with the suit of cups, which symbolizes the emotions, a tarot reading can help you determine where your relationship challenges are.

Let’s say you draw the five of cups or the five of swords during your reading. Those cards might show that you’re disappointed and rapidly tiring of the ongoing struggles in your relationship. The eight of cups can suggest that you or your partner have given up and walked away (or are seriously considering doing so). The seven of swords can indicate your feelings of failure and defeat when it comes to your relationship, while the three of swords indicates a broken heart, but also the enlightenment that can grow from suffering.

By reading your tarot cards before addressing the challenges in your relationship with your partner, you can have a better sense of how these conversations will go and what to expect for your relationship future.

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Dona Murphy is a life and relationship coach who supplements her sessions with tarot card readings to empower clients along their journey of spiritual development and personal growth. Visit her website,, or download her free weekly Tarotcast™ readings for more information.