Every relationship has its ups and downs.
You will have times, hopefully lots of them, when you feel deeply connected on every level and others when there is an unhappy distance. Financial pressures, problems with children, illness, mismatched libidos, drugs, alcohol, gambling, or simply boredom with the monotony of a monogamous relationship; there is a long list of potential pitfalls to navigate over the course of years or decades together.
At some points on the journey, some people may start to ponder whether their partnership is viable and start to consider the possibility of separation. So, how can you tell when you’re ready to exit stage left, cut your losses and move onto the next phase:
⦁ Dreaming of Life Without Your Partner
A friend of mine once admitted to me, somewhat guiltily, that in the twilight of his former marriage, he used to fantasise every morning about his wife passing away in her sleep and was disappointed when he heard her awaken, still stubbornly alive.
This is obviously an extreme case, however, do you find yourself frequently drifting off into thoughts of life without your partner? Perhaps you’re annoyed rather than excited when they get home? It may be time to start thinking about consulting a qualified family lawyer in Melbourne, or wherever you reside.
⦁ More Bad Than Good
There are very few relationships in which you could say there are no redeeming qualities. Every couple has some things about their partner or the relationship in general that they like and others that drive them mad.
There is no way empirical way to measure this, but you will know if you are feeling annoyed or angry more than happy. You will recognise when you’re arguing more frequently than you are speaking respectfully and lovingly. When the bad starts to outweigh the good, it is a sign that you need to have a serious discussion about where your relationship is headed.
⦁ Communication Degradation
Communication is the key to any healthy relationship.
Strong couples last not because they never disagree, but because they discuss their issues openly, respectfully and lovingly. When it comes to communicating about the positives, are you excited to tell your partner about your day, or to share that funny thing that happened to you at the office? Is your partner your sounding board, or do you keep things to yourself because you can’t be bothered or you feel they won’t understand?
⦁ Shouldering the Burden
A common trait of relationships in jeopardy is when either partner feels that they are the only one working on the problems that face them. This is usually caused by a sense of disconnection in which one or both partners feel helpless to improve the relationship, and rather than make the emotional effort to work on it, simply give up and withdraw leaving the other partner to pick up the pieces. This level of disconnection and imbalance can be highly corrosive to any relationship and almost always spells trouble.
⦁ Negative Responses
Everybody wants to feel heard, nurtured and understood when speaking to their partner about their concerns and issues, whether about the relationship, or otherwise. When one or both partners find that their loved one is responding in a defensive or dismissive fashion, it can lead to feelings of emotional neglect and resentment that can easily snowball.
⦁ Lack of Physical Intimacy
Sex is certainly not everything. However, if you are rarely (if ever) being intimate, it is almost assured that your relationship is in trouble. Every couple needs the emotional, psychological and physical bond that comes with a healthy sex life. While you may not be with your partner as frequently as the early stages of your relationship, the importance of feeling that attraction and desire for closeness cannot be understated.