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Written by Ashlee Cantrell.

How Do I Know If My Relationship Is In Trouble?

Being part of a relationship is a beautiful thing. You get to love one another, care for one another, and know that there is someone there to support you. Relationships often bring about an emotional connection to another person of your choosing, which often allows for vulnerability and healing. Whether you’re in a new relationship, a long-term relationship, or married, relationships can be good for the soul when they are healthy. However, some relationships can take a bad turn. There are times when unhealthy habits or hard times can sneak up on people and may cause temporary or permanent damage to a relationship. Is it possible to know ahead of time if your relationship is in trouble? A relationship’s end is rarely as sudden as it may seem. There may be warning signs to look out for. Let’s discuss some.

Warning Signs 

Whether you’re fresh into your relationship or have been with your partner for years, it is always important to be vigilant when your relationship is slipping through the cracks. Some warning signs are obvious, but some are surprising! However, the biggest shocker of all is the weakening or losing of the relationship. While the emotional connection may slowly start to slip away and the relationship satisfaction is eliminated over time, it may become hard to notice how quickly the foundation of the relationship disappears. How can you know for sure if your relationship is in trouble? Let’s go through some warning signs.

  • Communication Issues. Do you and your partner communicate regularly? Do you both understand each other correctly without having to repeat each other? Do you both feel that you are being heard appropriately? Are you both able to communicate without arguing with each other? If you answered No to any of these questions, you   might have an issue with communication.
  • Consistent Criticism. At times partners who struggle get irritated with each other often, leading to criticism forseemingly small things, like personality differences, scheduling disagreements, etc. When the scale of an argument tends to lead out of proportion to the topic at hand, that usually means that there is something underneath the surface being left unsaid. However, this leaves a partner being criticized and hurt.
  • Spending Time Apart. All couples need time apart. However, when couples begin to make excuses to spend time apart, there becomes an issue. Looking for opportunities not to be around a significant other appears to mean that there are issues that an individual would rather ignore or not confront with their partner.
  • Conflict Lacks Resolution. When couples fight, they either fight for themselves or fight for their relationship. Oftentimes couples who are in conflict a lot find themselves lacking resolutions at the end of their fights and turning towards resentment. This could be detrimental to a relationship.
  • No More Fun. Think with me for a second. When was the last time you and your partner went out on a date? When was the last time you and your partner went for a stroll or just did something spontaneous? Having fun is super important to any relationship! However, adding kids, finances and other responsibilities to the mix makes having fun difficult.
  • Personal Resources. When you think of personal resources, you may think of money, availability, energy, affection, and focus. All these things are crucial to making a relationship work and keeping emotional connection intact. Each partner in a relationship becomes responsible for sharing these resources to allow the other to feel valued, supported, and cared for. However, when a relationship begins to slip those resources become sparse as well.
  • No Sex Life. Not every relationship requires the same amount of sex and physical intimacy However, physical contact in the form of affection, sexual interaction, or being near each other is important to many couples. Unless a conversation has been had regarding differences in sexual intimacy or needs, negative changes in a couple’s sex life may be an indication that something is going awry.

Getting Things Back on Track

When your relationship starts to feel as though it may be falling apart, it might be difficult to be honest with yourself about what’s going on. You may not want to talk to your partner out of fear of starting an argument. You may not want to talk to your friends out of fear of making it noticeable. You may feel completely alone and therefore struggle with what to do, where to go, and how to handle this information. You are not alone.

There are some subtle ways to get things back on track at home and strengthen your partnership:

  • First, you must approach each other without blame and with patience. Regardless of how close two people may be, everyone may go through their daily stressors and hardships. Sometimes a partner may not talk about those things, and they can build up over time hurting a relationship.
  • Being gentle and kind with words can be helpful and healing to a relationship when in trouble, rather than using emotions like anger and disappointment at the forefront of conversations.
  • Last, but not least, both partners must be involved in getting their relationship back on track. With this, both partners need to be able to own up to their mistakes and their participation in allowing their relationship to slip through the cracks over time. This may include apologizing to one another, having meaningful and vulnerable conversations with one another, and creating a plan for how they want to move forward with their relationship together.

If you find yourself relating to the information shared above, know that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help you. Upstate Restorative Counseling offers couples counseling services for couples looking to hone in on their communication skills and other relationship-related issues as well as individual counseling for those just looking to chat.