Most of us have experienced the dilemma of not knowing whether to walk away from a relationship. You think that you’re being too picky, you worry that no-one else will love you this much, you fear regretting it and not being able to win them back. Most of all, you don’t want to hurt someone that you care about. But these alone aren’t good enough reasons to stay in a relationship that isn’t working. Ending a relationship can be heartbreaking, even if you’re dying to get away. The blissful future that you’d imagined when you first got together is now not going to happen. But by staying in a relationship that isn’t making you happy, you are betraying yourself and being dishonest to your partner. Here are five signs that your relationship may not have a future. If you’re experiencing a couple or more of these signs regularly, it could be time to move on. It will be difficult, but ultimately it’ll be the right thing for you both. Both of your lives are too short to waste valuable years on a pairing that’s going nowhere.
1. You’re doing all the giving (or all the getting)
Imbalances over money or housework may be a practical necessity in the short term, but if your relationship seems permanently based on one partner contributing more than the other, someone is taking advantage. If your partner treats you like a doormat, show them the door. Similarly, most relationships go through stages where one person is more emotionally and sexually generous than the other, but the imbalance should not be an ongoing pattern. Co-dependents don’t make good partners.
2. You’re always craving time alone
It’d be weird and needy to want your partner by your side every minute of every day. It’s normal to look forward to some time alone. But if you’re craving me-time and wish that he or she weren’t around, it’s a sign that your relationship is giving you more frustration than joy. Your relationship may also be in trouble if you prefer spending time with friends than with your partner. A good relationship involves socialising with and without your other half, not wishing that you lived with housemates again.
3. You’ve stopped having sex
Sex drive can dip for many reasons, including stress or medication. But if you just stop fancying your partner, and sex becomes a chore or stops altogether, listen to your alarm bells. The real danger is when you no longer want to kiss or be touched by your partner. Even casual touching, hugging and holding hands are the signs of a healthy relationship with two people who still fancy each other. If you flinch when he or she brushes against you, it really is time to get out.
4. You bicker easily – and publicly
Arguing is not necessarily a bad thing. Couples should be able to air their differences and clear the air. The problem is when you bicker over tiny disagreements or perceived slights. It’s intensely unpleasant for you both, but you keep doing it, because you are fundamentally irritated by each other’s company. When it starts to happen in public, especially in front of your friends, it’s a sign that you have lost respect for each other. It’s almost a cry for help because you want the world to see how this person is making you feel.
5. You have nothing to talk about
No couple can spend their lives having those endless conversations of their early months together. For a healthy couple, the exciting getting-to-know-you chatter is replaced by an extremely fulfilling mutual understanding – but that doesn’t mean that they stop talking to each other. Talk about what you did at work, what’s in the news, a bit of gossip… just as with your friends. If you don’t want to chat about this stuff or your partner doesn’t want to hear it, it means that your friendship has gone, and your relationship cannot survive without it.