Of all the topics regarding relationships perhaps the most tricky subject to cover are those that pertain to relationships ending. We deny, we turn our cheek, we bury our heads in the sand all to avoid seeing the end to a relationship but the ending is still there, looming before us, whether we choose to accept it or not.
Sometimes we tell ourselves that we never saw it coming and perhaps this is true. The need to avoid seeing that a relationship is ending can be so strong that we never become aware of the signs. Though happily married for nearly 4 years, I have gone through heartbreak myself in the past and these signs seem to be a universal truth not just for me but for everyone. By understanding the signs we can begin to make informed decisions with our well-being in mind.
1. You are no longer sexually aligned.
Though its often considered superficial, sexual health is extremely important in a relationship. Things wax and wane but I have counseled couples who have gone months and even years without sexually pleasing one another. Being out of alignment sexually can occur for any number of reasons but it is a major sign that there is something wrong in the relationship. Whether its resentments or even resistant to connecting sexually with one another its important to pay attention to the sexual health of a relationship and open an honest and safe dialogue if you notice that things are declining in this area. This is not a time to be confrontational or use it as a pity party but to honestly discuss what is happening.
2. Picking Fights.
This is often considered to be part of the female shadow aspect but both partners fall victim to this tendency. If you are constantly picking fights, nit picking on their faults or generally being difficult to get along with this is a sign of something being out of balance. Whether you are using your partner as a scapegoat or a battering ram its not healthy to create conflict where no conflict need exist. Its typically a sign that you either want them to do the dirty work for you or that you are holding on to resentments and rather than dealing with things head-on you are using small, unrelated things, to unleash your frustration. Its important to ask yourself why you are creating conflict and if there is something underneath all of this that is the root of the issue. If you realize that you are using his socks being on the floor as a scapegoat for forgetting your anniversary or that secretly you are unhappy and are hoping to make him so as well then you can begin to have a dialogue with what should come next.
3. Listen to your body.
This is perhaps the most important thing I will discuss in this article. I’ve touched on the fact that when we experience the declining or shifting of a relationship we have a tendency to ignore the signs that are right in front of us but its hard to ignore what our bodies are telling us. Much sooner than the heart or the mind, our bodies often know far in advance that something is rotten in Denmark. Its important to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Do we tense up around our lover? Do we feel anxious or wake in the middle of the night in hot sweats? Its very important to journal or log how you are feeling and whether your body is trying to tell you something that your heart and mind perhaps have been avoiding hearing.
Just because you see some of these signs in your relationship doesn’t mean that things are necessarily irreparable and you are destined for an ending. Provided that both of you are willing counseling, coaching and other modes of psychotherapy are incredibly helpful when fixing issues in a connection. It is not easy or painless. Our relationships are often direct models of our family of origin and the way in which our parents modeled relationships for us. We have to look at how we perhaps are modeling behavior or triggering behavior within our partner that is counterproductive to a healthy relationship. Its deep waters to swim in for sure but the fact is unless we are willing to do the hard work we hardly can expect the good results.
If your partner is not willing to do the work with you this does not mean that you should avoid doing it yourself. Part of transitioning out of a relationship is going through the mud and the murk so that you are better prepared and whole when the next relationship enters your life. Remember that no matter how long or short a connection each relationship ultimately is a learning experience. Its important to learn these lessons, do the work on ourselves as this is the very starting point for every relationship we enter.