When do you know that your relationship is past its due date? It may not be in-your-face obvious.
The two of you don’t fight much. After all, what’s there to fight about? You get together every weekend, spending one night at the club with your buds and another at home chilling and streaming. While there’s nothing wrong with any of it, somehow, you feel like there is something not quite right with it too.
Where’s that spark you used to get just from being with your bae? Nowadays, it pretty comfortable, but you can’t help but feeling there should be more to it all than just feeling safe. Okay should be the minimum — not the best you can hope for. Here are some of the warning signs that, even if everything seems calm and cool on the outside, you should be asking yourself some hard questions. Is it about time to cut yourself loose from a relationship that’s holding you back from your next adventure?
There was a time when the two of you would hit the town running on Friday nights — Saturdays and occasional Sundays too. You’d take forever to decide just what you wear and what accessories to add, and the pair of you turned heads when you hit the dance floor. That was then. Now, he’s just called to cancel Friday’s dinner date, and you’re pleased. Now you can meet up with your friends — a social circle that doesn’t include him — and have some real fun. If your social life barely includes your significant other, it’s time to ask yourself, why are we together again?
You remember him saying something about going away with his bros this weekend, but the details are fuzzy on when he’ll get back. You’re hoping it will be late on Sunday, or even Monday morning. All you can think about is how great it’ll be to have the chance to do what you really want. And, more often than not, it ends up being time spent all on your own. It’s natural to crave solitude, even when you’re in the most loving of relationships. However, when you’ve gone from “call me every day that you’re away!” to “Oh, are you back already?” with a sigh of disappointment, you know that something in the relationship has broken.
Every couple argues, you tell yourself. In fact, a certain amount of arguing — or loud discussions, as you like to think of them — is not just natural but healthy. But, with you two lately, that natural flow of working your way through the ups and downs of everyday life has taken a definite turn for the worse.
One moment, you’re asking him why he didn’t just do the dishes last night after supper, and about 3.2 seconds later, the two of you are in a screaming match in the hallway.
How does everything get revved up so high, so quickly? It’s because there are large, unresolved issues simmering underneath the surface. Every chance it gets to come out, things escalate quickly, to put it mildly.
Right from the beginning, you knew you didn’t like it when he called you Sweet Cheeks. He’d say it with a bit of a smirk, and it struck you as sarcastic in tone. He had that incredible smile, though, and for that and many other reasons, you fell for him. Flash forward to the present and he’s still calling you Sweet Cheeks with the smirk that now makes you start fuming the second you see it. He’s not just sarcastic when he’s saying it, he’s making fun of you. That jerk! Congratulations; what was once a somewhat annoying quirk has become a trigger that makes you go insane with anger. Time to ask yourself why those other charming qualities that used to balance it out don’t seem to matter anymore.
As relationships begin the downward spiral of disintegration, your sense of normal will fall by the wayside little by little. At one time, you hated arguing with your bae so much, you’d think carefully about whether to mention any hot button topics. Is it really worth upsetting my sweetie over something so trivial? Now, your attitude is better described as “bring it on!”
You argue so much, so often, about so many things that is has now become your way of life.
He backs into a concrete divider and scratches the back bumper of the car, and you’re still making sarcastic comments about it six months later. Ask yourself why you want to hold onto the negativity so much.
He’s got that stupid shirt on again. That dumb, faded out T-shirt with a worn-out decal from that cartoon show he used to watch on TV when he was 12. The shirt with a coffee stain on the back – but don’t worry, he says, nobody looks at the back. Right. He’s picking you up to go hang with the crowd, and now you’re already in a bad mood because he refuses to get rid of that stupid, stupid shirt.
At this point, you should be wondering why, and just how did, a T-shirt become so important to you that it is ruining your evening, and will likely cause a massive argument before the night is done. Hanging onto trivial issues often means you are using them as an excuse to have another go at your bae. Why do you want to keep doing that?
In the early days of your relationship, his boys’ nights out were a semi-constant source of aggravation. Why was he so pumped about saving every Friday for the bros, when it was like pulling teeth to get him to come out to a show with you?
You hit on a compromise that worked for a while, but nowadays, he’s latched onto a new group of bros and they all play golf/paintball/whatever every weekend. Every. Single. Weekend. And you don’t care.
You noticed it, sure, but he just gets in the way of what you really want to do anyhow. If you’re building a life that doesn’t really include him — especially in the good parts — it’s time to hit the road.
If he saw that you were about to do something really dumb that would ruin your life, you’d expect him to try and stop you, wouldn’t you? Likewise, at one time, you would make a point of trying to encourage him to go back to school or just do anything that would get him out of his dead-end job and way of life. Sometimes — okay, often — those discussions became arguments. Nowadays? You see him turning down yet another job offer, or not getting it together in time to enroll this semester, again, and you figure it’s just not worth the trouble of mentioning it. When you stop caring about your partner and his future, something’s seriously gone wrong.
You just got the call about that dream job, or the email from your boss with good news about the promotion you’ve always wanted. Who do you tell first? Your family? Good friends? The BFF who shared your apartment in college? Oh sure, you’ll tell your boyfriend too, maybe tomorrow when you see him after work. Really? Do you think he won’t really be interested or excited for you?
Or is it just that, when your brain is thinking of the people most important to you, he’s not on the list?
Yes to either question means there are bigger issues at stake than who you gonna call first.
You can’t remember the last time you looked forward to the weekend/a date/your job/literally anything. It’s not that you’re unhappy with your life, but somehow you feel like you’re boredom all the time. You’re bored at work, at play, all the time. Even if the borders of your boredom seem to extend far beyond your relationship with your boyfriend, when your essential relationship feels empty, it often spreads to the rest of your life. Time for a shake up.
You didn’t speak a word during the whole drive from your place downtown to meet up with the gang. He looked out his window, and you out yours. But now, as you pull up to the club and you notice your friends outside standing in line, you both put on a huge smile and you start waving like you’re just so glad to be there. At the club, you and bae end up at separate ends of the dance floor most of the time, but make a point to get together for a dance you’ve been rehearsing.
At the end of the night, silence reigns once again on the way home.
Are you afraid people will ask uncomfortable questions if they see how things really are between you two?
When you first met, he lived by the seaside, and you’d go for long walks holding hands and letting the romance build between you. Since then, walking along the beach has been your thing — that special thing you do that automatically makes you feel close. So, just how long ago was the last time you indulged yourselves as a couple? Can’t remember? Or, worse yet, can’t even remember what that special thing was?
Couples who become close and stay close have a way of communicating and relating to each other rooted in affection and shared memories.
Has your relationship stopped feeling special?
You were really glad when someone in the department suggested going out for drinks after work. But ,it’s only a Wednesday, and most of the gang is leaving after an hour or two. Do you stay, pretending to talk to the dude who drones on about his cat all the time?
You’re already thinking of the longest routes you can take home, and where you can stop for coffee.
Clearly, the place where you sleep just doesn’t feel like home anymore, and the other person who lives there is someone you’d rather over-caffeinate than go home to talk to. This one shouldn’t need explaining — when you don’t want to go home, it’s time to find a new one.
He walks into the room, and you just can’t take your eyes off him. He’s perfect from his stylish hair to his expensive shoes, and he’s coming your way in the crowd. Is he alone? Or is he with a friend or a date? You crane your neck to see better, but you have to be at least a little subtle, or your boyfriend will catch you ogling. That’s right. At one time, you couldn’t take your eyes off your man. You couldn’t believe how lucky you were to have such a cool guy who looks hot too. Now, you barely make an effort to hide your impure thoughts. If familiarity has turned into contempt, and he just can’t hold your interest anymore, it’s time to cut him loose.
When the two of you first started seeing each other, your friends would laugh when you told them what a great kisser he was. But, when you two locked lips, something special happened and the rest of the world and all its troubles just melted away. When you first moved in together, you’d be genuinely upset if he was in such a rush in the morning that you didn’t get your proper good-bye kiss. Now, you can’t even remember the last time you kissed just because you love each other. Do you still?
He has that way of looking over sideways, with those big, brown eyes, and a mischievous grin that melts your heart. In fact, that’s the first thing you noticed about him when you met at a friend’s party a year ago. Just now, you noticed him giving that same cute sideways grin to his new — and very attractive — boss. Last week he flashed it to the woman at the butcher’s when she gave him an extra pork chop, and yesterday, at the barista who gave him a large for a medium charge.
It’s gone from charming quirk to calculated con, and now it just drives you crazy to see him use it like that.
Picking apart your partner’s foibles and driving yourself crazy with them is definitely a bad sign.
Your bae’s sister is trying to make plans for next summer (or next year, or next month) and it’s gone far enough that she wants a small deposit from you for a cottage rental on a holiday weekend. Yikes! It’s not the money, which is minimal. You’re trying to come up with what sounds like a plausible excuse, but, even though you don’t want to really think about it, you know the relationship itself is the reason why you’re hesitating. Will the two of you still be together by then?
If you’re reluctant to make plans and consider the both of you in the future, then why hang on?
At the very least, give yourself a deadline: if it doesn’t improve in 60 days, you’re gone.
When was the last time you went out — just the two of you? Quiet dinners in a romantic restaurant used to be something you’d both look forward to. Special occasions, holidays, even invented anniversaries were an excuse to spend that time together. Now, you’re glad that your social life revolves around a big group of people who like to go out together, because you can finally talk to somebody, or dance, or have fun. You can disguise it in different ways, but essentially you are ditching your SO for the evening. No one relationship can fulfill all your emotional needs, but it should at least fulfill some of them.
You’ve got plans. Okay, maybe more like a combination of plans and fantasies. First up: A great career in a company or field where you can grow and advance. Second: Moving to the West Coast like you’ve always dreamed of. And who’s there beside you? It makes you hesitate, because you know for sure that it won’t include the person who’s currently taking up most of your time. Maybe he’s not cut out for the kind of life you want. Maybe you’re unconsciously settling for someone who’s not right for you. Either way, you’re not doing him any favors by hanging on where there’s no passion.
You genuinely like his family and friends. At one time, it was a real bonus to your relationship that you could spend so much time in their company. It’s not that they’ve done anything wrong, but nowadays, you feel uncomfortable facing them. What if they ask how bae is? What are you supposed to say about your endless arguments, the constant nitpicking and criticism, or any of the things that are pretty much destroying your relationship? If you find yourself ducking in public places rather than meet up with any of his crowd, it’s a good sign that the relationship is in trouble.