5 Key Signs Your Relationship Is Failing, According To A Couples Counselor

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couples counselor signs relationship failing

Relationships are tricky and no one wants to feel like they’re wasting time. However, it’s not always easy to tell if your relationship is going well or if it's failing.

There are the usual telltale signs your relationship is over, like lots of fighting and distrust, but there can also be less obvious signs that you don't want to miss if you want to stay in love.

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A couple's counselor reveals the top five signs a relationship is failing fast:

1. Your partner disrespects you.

“One immediate sign is if a partner belittles the other and treats them with disrespect, privately or publicly,” says Barbara Bloomfield, a counselor and author of "Couple Therapy: Dramas of Love and Sex."

2. Your partner emotionally abuses you.

Another sign of emotional abuse can be a partner who is very charming and nice in public but who changes completely once the front door is closed. One of the first signs of domestic abuse is someone not wanting their partner to see friends and family or to work outside the home. This kind of behavior tends to come on gradually and is a sign of a controlling partner."

3. You feel incompatible.

There are other warning signs, like not being able to think of things to talk about, or not wanting much physical contact; however, these things aren't necessarily signs your relationship is dying and heading for rough waters.

Sometimes people just need assistance with learning how to properly communicate, and other times, a person’s childhood or upbringing can make them less inclined to touch.

“But if neither has anything to say to the other, yes, that feels like an incompatible relationship,” warns Bloomfield.

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4. You act on your fantasies of having a different life.

Even if you find yourself wondering what life would be like if you left your partner or were dating someone else, it doesn’t mean that the relationship is failing. However, Bloomfield says that it’s healthy to daydream about different life scenarios, although acting on them is not a great idea in all cases.

“We all imagine different futures and this can be a good way of reminding yourself about what you value about your current set up," says Bloomfield. "I always ask clients who are puzzling: ‘Can you achieve what you want to achieve in life and stay in this relationship?’”

5. You have the same fight over and over again.

However, if you find yourself always fighting the same battles with your partner, it may mean that one of you has some deeper issue that needs to be worked out.

"If you find yourself having the same argument all the time, that’s a sign that you’d benefit from professional help,” advises Bloomfield. “There’s usually an unconscious element in why we choose our partners, sometimes the reasons are not so healthy and so it’s important to become more aware of why we might be repeating the same patterns."

Whether you think your current relationship is doomed or not, take a moment to evaluate your interactions and your arguments. What do you have the power to change within yourself to help your relationship persevere?

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What to Do if Your Relationship is Failing

When it comes to solving major issues in a relationship, remember that the two most critical factors are your shared commitment toward putting in the work that's required of a serious relationship, along with being as openly and thoughtfully communicative as possible.

When you get into a fight, cool the temperature down so you can focus on approaching the problem with a team mindset and a clear head.

If you find your mind wandering to thoughts about someone else, try to remember all the beautiful things that brought you and your partner together. What attracted you to them in the first place? What are your favorite memories together over your storied past?

Of course, if you and your partner are truly incompatible, can't reach a level of mutual respect, or either one of you continues to be abusive toward the other — emotionally or otherwise — there may not be any winding path to making things work. In fact, there's likely no path at all toward a bright future.

You would be better off giving yourself the gift of a fighting chance at finding a happy, healthy relationship down the road by putting an end to the one you're in now.

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Shannon Ullman is a writer and editor at Healthline. She focuses on relationship, wellness, and lifestyle topics, and has bylines on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, PopSugar, and MSN.