Conflicts are a normal part of any human relationship. Relationships experience difficult patches for personal differences, selfishness, misunderstandings, and so much more. If you’ve ever experienced a situation where your relationship was ending, and you were the last person to know, know that you are not the only one, and it happens to more people than you can think. If only people talked about it more, you’d find out that people have been in at least one crashing relationship they were oblivious of, including your well-put-together role models.
What could be the reason people don’t see the signs that their relationships are in crisis and need attention? Could it be that they are not present in the relationship, or are they utterly denying reality? In an attempt to answer these questions, in some cases, it could be either of the reasons or a combination of the two. For example, some people believe that their relationship is not just fine but perfect because it is easier to live in denial than to face the pain of dealing with red flags and being lonely. So, partners in denial tend to put in effort for themselves and their partners.
In most cases, the partner allows them to believe the illusion they have created till they find a reason to leave. At that point, the scale usually falls off people’s eyes, and they think the breakup happened when the other party walked away. It is not until people progress in their grieving phases that they trace the line and identify the root cause and effect they were too blind to see.
How, then, do you take note of the danger signs that indicate your relationship is sinking? This question is pertinent because early detection can help parties work on their relationship, manage expectations or seek help.
Below are signs you should address the issues in your relationship:
There’s been a decline in affection
Affection is the feeling of likeness or fondness, which is one reason people stay in love. The moment a person starts feeling a decline in affection from their partner, it will build up resentment and, if not talked about, can cause a breakup. Even in thriving relationships, the parties involved can experience a decline in affection and some commitment. Sometimes, the decline in affection is not because both parties stopped loving each other but because they stopped trying to be intentional about the relationship and allowed complacency or responsibility to overshadow their need to fuel the relationship with affection. Other times, the decline in affection is due to a loss of interest by one or both partners.
What to do?
Have a deep discussion with your partner about how you feel. For example, talk about the last time you both had fun, and find a way to reawaken such moments.
Tension or negativity in the air when we talk
Excellent communication can fix all the negativities of a relationship. You do not always want to have a tense atmosphere when you are talking to your partner. You may need to speak up to salvage the situation if your communication does not involve deep talks about feelings, experiences, and day-to-day activities. You should be able to listen to your partner and communicate your thoughts and ideas without any form of reservation. In a tense or hostile atmosphere, there will be too many assumptions, and the less you engage in calm conversations with your partner, the chances are that the relationship will fail. Under no circumstances should you be afraid to have honest conversations about your feelings with your partner because they should be your safe space to vent and be yourself.
What to do?
Find out the reason behind the tense or hostile atmosphere when conversing. If you know this reason, fix it. Do not be judgemental, and ensure you always pay attention.
Lack of interest in spending time together
Your affection for your partner can only grow if you spend quality time together. Spending quality time together helps you to bond and understand yourselves better. If you fail to do this often or your partner avoids this by all means, it could mean your relationship is failing. Hence, it might affect your relationship if you do not speak up or address the issue.
What to do?
Do not just speak up but find out the cause of the lack of interest in spending time together. It could be a result of busy schedules or the stress of working getting to your partner. When both of you understand this, you will find yourselves consciously trying to create time.
The difficulty in seeing good in each other
Everyone does better when they feel appreciated for their efforts. You are very different from your partner, and they may not be able to meet all of your expectations. Therefore, it would be best if you appreciated your partner’s effort. If you complain about everything they do and do not do, they will withdraw, creating more problems. Please speak up if you feel they do not see the good in you.
What to do?
Appreciate your partner for all of their efforts. However, if they fail to do the same, let them know it makes you sad.
You are generally avoiding each other
If you find yourself avoiding your partner or your partner avoiding you, then it is time to speak up, or else you will grow further apart. You may stay in the same apartment and even do some activities together. The moment you lose connection with your partner and avoid talking with them, your feelings would fade gradually until you speak up.
What you can do:
Writing a shared journal and making a deliberate effort to sit and talk to each other will help. You can also set a digital-free time where both are away from phones and other electronic media and only spend time interacting together.
You are getting most of your emotional needs outside your relationship
It is normal to admire other people, but it is morally wrong to get involved with them emotionally. Once you get your emotional need outside of your relationship, you may continue to see this outside person and care less about your partner. This is why you must ensure you don’t starve your partner of their emotional needs, be it their presence, time or even your body.
What you can do:
Redirect your feelings to your partner and think about all the good memories you both have built.
Boundaries are no longer respected
When in a relationship, you must respect the individuality of your partner. When they need space, give them space. When they do not want their privacy invaded like phones, stay away and ensure you allow them to have peace. If you also feel that your partner no longer respects the boundaries the two of you set, it is better to speak up than suffer in silence.
If you love and want your partner, you must be ready to make it work. Although this is sometimes difficult to accept when you see signs of abuse, a lack of trust, and poor communication, it could be a sign for you to speak up else the relationship will fail. Do not wait until there is so much damage before you attempt to salvage your relationship.