Humans are social beings. Therefore in one way or the other, we need one another to survive. This need for survival can bloom into a relationship as our hearts connect.
Let’s settle something from the start.
Is there anything like a perfect relationship in reality?
Well, as much as we all want relationships devoid of problems and complications, we should know that perfect relationships only exist in fairy tales (in books and movies) where they depict relationships as being hitch-free.
Relationships undoubtedly are beautiful, but sometimes, things tend to go south. Even the happiest of relationships have fallen into a ditch along the line. You’ll find out soon, what made these relationships stand the test of time?; but first, you need to know that it takes a level of effort to build good, long-lasting relationships.
Every relationship, at some point, has gone down the rocky path. Problems can arise even at the least expected hour.
Especially romantic relationships, they are not easy to handle when faced with challenges. However, things tend to get a bit easier if you are much aware of the signs of a failing relationship, and take responsibility to fixing things before they get out of hands.
Some of these signs of a failing relationship may be considered trivial and normal at the onset, but as time progresses and these signs metamorphose into habitual actions, things get worse; and soon, your once beautiful relationship seems to come crumbling.
Are you at that point where you are not even sure of the stance of your relationship? You keep pushing yourself to believe that everything is alright yet you’re silently asking yourself, ‘What happened to our relationship?’ Your gut keeps telling you that things aren’t the same anymore. Chances are that you may be in a failing relationship.
The earlier you try to identify these signs, the greater your chances of fixing the issues. Not to worry, this post contains a lot on how to handle the ups and downs of relationships. It gives detailed explanations on 22 Signs of a failing relationship, the stages of a failing relationship, how to fix a failing relationship and an even perfect answer to the big question, ‘When is a relationship beyond saving?’
Let’s start with how you can tell that you are in a failing relationship. Here are 22 signs of a failing relationship.
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22 Signs of A Failing Relationship
You may not have to experience all of these signs; but if you are seeing a few of these in your relationship, it is a signal that you have to act fast.
1. Excessive Jealousy
Jealousy is like salt. A bit of it is in every ‘tasty’ relationship. However, when in excess, health is in danger.
Does your partner act weirdly whenever you are around people of the opposite sex or do you seem jealous of your spouse who is of a higher rank in the society than you are? Different things can rear jealousy in a relationship, and it can grow into a bag of terrible emotions that are unhealthy for you. If not checked, this may bring about failure in relationships.
2. Excessive Argument
Arguments, like jealousy, are normal in any forms of relationship. In fact, the absence of it can be a wrong sign. You must have heard that “Too much of everything is bad”, and that’s true for argument in a relationship too. The excessive argument is terrible.
Oh yes, you shouldn’t always be on the same page, especially because you have different background and some different ideologies; but when almost everything leads to an argument, the relationship might be failing.
3. Zero Argument
No need to be surprised. When you both always agree on everything at every time, it could be a sign that somebody is not being sincere and real. It is a sign of deception in a relationship, which is one of the signs of a failing relationship.
You cannot both be on the same plain all the time. Even twins have different opinion and perspective and thus argue sometimes. If you have zero arguments in your relationship, I would advise that you check again, just to be sure you’re not in dreamland.
Hear from -Melchor Lim: “Every relationship needs an argument now and then just to prove that it is strong enough to survive. Long-term relationships, the ones that matter, are all about weathering the peaks and the valleys”
Not letting out what is in your mind about an issue or trying to cover matters up without carefully paying attention to each other’s views, breeds resentment and do you know the harmful effects of bearing bitter feelings of resentment? Read further to find out.
Being belittled by word or action, unresolved offences and insensitivity of your partner can cause you to bear grudges. Resentment destroys not just the individual emotionally, but the relationship too.
Your partner may not understand the harm he or she is creating, hence may not even apologize for doing wrong. Nursing offences will develop into resentment in the relationship. If this continues for a while unresolved, the relationship is heading towards tearing apart.
Often, resentment is a sign of poor communication.
You may want to read my post on forgiveness in relationship, where I dedicated a whole post on how to go about forgiveness and why it is necessary to forgive.
5. Poor Communication
Another and perhaps the major sign of a failing relationship is poor communication.
Frequent arguments, resentment, offences in a relationship and much more often stem from poor communication.
If you’re talking less, the relationship is failing already. In fact, one way to starve any romance is to reduce communication.
If he/ she is not looking forward to hearing from you or talking to you, you can be sure that your position in his/ her heart has been negatively affected.
Do I need to say more?
Okay, one more thing. Poor communication extends beyond talking less. You may be chattering all day long, yet not communicating properly. Good communication requires being intentional about understanding every move of your partner, and taking up the responsibility to respond accordingly and correctly. That is communication.
6. Spending Less Time Together
Sometimes, the pressures of work and child upbringing can create a distance between you and your partner so much that you might be staying together under a roof and not be staying in touch with one another.
Spending less time together means not having time for a heart-to-heart talk or to have fun together and do things that keep the relationship going. This often leads to poor communication and can eventually cause damage to the romance you share.
7. Lack of Affection
It is quite normal that after some time in a relationship, the love gradually fades.
However, forgetting to reignite the fire of love between you and your partner can create room for little or no affection in the relationship. You may start feeling that your partner is no longer being affectionate and you are being ignored often. These damage relationships most times.
8. Poor Bedroom Activities
Several kinds of research have proven again and again that one of the signs of a failing relationship is less love play.
Love play, whether for procreation or recreation should be engaging; and both partners ought to be actively involved. When there is no intimacy, your this aspect suffers terribly. Poor bedroom activities lead to an unhappy marriage.
Relationships suffer when one or both partners seem to be uninterested/ unsatisfied in bedroom activities. Understandably, this could be as a result of a busy schedule, health challenges or dissatisfaction during love play. Whatever the reason may be, you should try to fix it before it ruins your relationship.
9. Loss of Interest
One of the signs of a failing relationship is that you may seem not to be interested in the relationship any longer, and you enjoy being in the company of others than being with your partner.
You no longer feel like engaging in conversations with your partner or working together with him/her. The distance between you and your partner keeps getting wider and you soon notice that asides the usual greetings, you both only talk when it is necessary.
When you start to feel bored about everything concerning the relationship, your relationship may be failing.
You both have different expectations in the relationship, and you do not get the support you need from your partner. It could mean that your relationship is clothed with dissatisfaction. Loss of interest is mostly triggered by dissatisfaction, and it is a sign of a failing relationship.
10. Too Much Comparison
If I am to write books on relationship, one of those books would be titled, “Thou shall not compare”. Comparing your present partner with your Ex, or your relationship with a next-door neighbour’s can wreck the ‘ship’ of your relationship.
If these comparisons are happening already, it is a sign of dissatisfaction, which is an indication of a failing relationship.
Actions like these can start to weigh down the other person, as he or she might have the not-good-enough feeling.
We all want to be happy wherever we find ourselves or at whatever we are doing.
Unhappiness is a signal that arises from other problems. When there is no intimacy, no respect for each other, too much argument, or other issues in a relationship that cause one to worry, unhappiness is the end product.
If you notice you are always unhappy about so many things in your relationship and your partner seems to care less about your state of mind, need I to say your relationship is failing?
12. Enjoy Spending Time With Another Person
If your relationship has become so boring or saddening that you find yourself spending more time with others and enjoying their company.
Or perhaps, you realize that your partner prefers to hang out with friends than to be in your company. The painful truth is that it may be a sign that your relationship has gone south.
13. Intrusion of Outsiders
This may not mean physical intrusion per se. It could be that your partner speaks too often about his or her ex and you are growing uncomfortable with the frequent talks or frequent visits of the ex.
If your partner suddenly begins to consider the opinions of extended family members or relations more than your opinion, and it seems your partner has little or no regard for you anymore. Well, this is a sign that your relationship is failing.
Real love is pure, sincere and truthful. The acts of keeping dirty secrets, lying, cheating are all forms of dishonesty and signs of fading love.
Dishonesty yields a lack of trust and when the level of trust in the relationship starts to dwindle, you can’t confide in each other anymore, you can’t even share sensitive details with one another.
Keeping secrets is an unhealthy act in a relationship. When your partner doesn’t confide in you and prefers not to tell you things that you feel you ought to know, it is very detrimental to the relationship, and it is a sign of a fading affection.
15. Public Embarrassment or Belittling Each Other
A relationship where one person is domineering and controlling causes belittlement and disregard for the other person. This often comes through derogatory remarks or emotional abuse.
It may even be that each time you go for public events together, your partner always tries to humiliate you publicly. If your partner takes you for granted and always wants to show that he or she is better off than you, then this is one of the signs of a failing relationship. The psychological effects will gradually set in sooner or later.
16. Dwelling In The Past
‘Moving on’ should be a silent slogan in relationships that want to grow. Dwelling in the past and allowing your past mistakes define who you are, will not bring about significant progress.
Also, constant reference to horrible experiences in the past that relates to your partner can be very hurtful. It is unhealthy because digging up the past means digging up old wounds and trust me no one likes that.
17. Always Claiming To Be Right
When you are always bent on winning the argument, don’t forget that you’re losing the person.
Constantly winning the argument and losing your partner is a sign of a failing relationship.
18. Lack of Support
Relationships grow when there is genuine support from both persons involved. If one person neglects his or her duties or doesn’t see the need to help the other, things get complicated.
Being supportive includes, but not limited to physical or financial support. It extends to emotional support.
Relationships come with lots of emotions, and it is most comforting to go through these roller coasters of emotions with a supportive partner. Lack of support is one of the silent killers in relationships, and the effect is usually emotionally related.
19. Lack of Mutual Understanding
Mutual understanding is one of the bedrocks of a strong and healthy relationship. It is like the cement that binds the building blocks of a relationship together. When it is missing in a relationship, arguments, unhappiness and neglect are few outcomes of it.
When you don’t try to see reasons with your partner or your partner doesn’t cooperate with you, your relationship is running short of its ‘team spirit’, and this indirectly shows that there is little or no understanding between both of you.
It is an early sign that your relationship is failing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fix it early enough.
Your partner’s addiction to something is beginning to weigh you down. Your partner smokes, drinks or keeps late nights very often, and it keeps getting worse each passing day. These are several addictive and unhealthy habits that not only affect the individual involved but the relationship too.
No matter how much you complain, he or she still ends up going back to the old habit. It can become emotionally disturbing to the person who bears it all and it is a sign that calls for urgent attention.
21. Over Protectiveness
When you are too possessive of your partner, and you do not let him or her interact freely with other people, your partner may feel suffocated and unhappy about this. Such traumatic experiences can even push your partner into secretly engaging in social activities, and secrets as you know, are not healthy for any relationship.
You’ll notice that some of these signs spring from other problems of a failing relationship. It means that if these signs are left unattended to, they grow may into habits that eventually lead to disaster in your relationship.
If peradventure you notice that over half of all of these signs are in your relationship, you may be in a rocky relationship without knowing. However, it doesn’t signify that your relationship will remain rocky forever. The power to change the state of your relationship depends on you and your partner.
You both have to be willing to salvage your relationship. The first step you take to save the situation is greatly determined by your knowledge on what to do in a rocky relationship. Questions like ‘What happened to our relationship?’, ‘Should I end this relationship?’, ‘When is a relationship beyond saving?’ arise.
It is okay to ask questions like these in such a situation. But you have to know the different stages of a failing relationship to be able to provide an answer to these questions. Knowing the stage at which your relationship is, gives you an upper hand at adopting the right measure to fix the relationship problems.
Stages of A Failing Relationship
You may be wondering how your beautiful relationship suddenly hit rough patches, but you have to know that relationships do not just change from good to bad all of a sudden. These changes started gradually. They occurred in stages, and you may not have been too careful to spot them at an early stage.
If you find yourself in a failing relationship, it is best to know the level at which this relationship is. It guides you on the measures to take to avoid overreacting instead of trying to patch things up. These different stages of a failing relationship outlined below will help you out.
STAGE 1: it is the first time a problem arises and you sees it as nothing worth fretting over. ‘It’s normal. Everything will fall right back into place soon. Things will get better over time’. At least that’s what you keep telling yourself.
STAGE 2: The problem has lasted longer than you expected, and there is no sign that the problem will fix itself. You ask yourself if you are too worried or if it is too early to start correcting these things.
STAGE 3: Things are gradually getting serious; the distance is becoming overbearing, and the other person doesn’t even care. Things are changing, and your once beautiful relationship seems to be falling. You have lots of questions in your head, and you wonder if it is too early to give up or if you should still try fixing the problems.
STAGE 4: You’ve finally tried all possible measures. You have tried to make things work, but nothing seems to go right. ‘Should I end this relationship?’ you ask yourself.
STAGE 5: Your partner is not even willing to set things right. You seem to be having a lot of differences in your choices. The arguments and quarrels are becoming incessant, and you notice you are becoming emotionally drained, and this is very unhealthy for you.
Some of these signs may be very clear from the onset, but you fail to see how these signs can throw your relationship into jeopardy. Beclouding yourself with the thought that things would automatically get better without putting in any effort would lead you on an ‘endless waiting relationship journey’.
The problem doesn’t fix itself at all. The earlier the stage of the failing relationship, the greater the chances of putting the relationship back on track. However, all stages of a failing relationship can be fixed. It only takes time and cooperation of both parties.
A relationship is like a house. You and your partner are the occupants of the house. If there is any damage done and you keep ignoring it, it deteriorates and doesn’t get better. The longer you delay the fixation, the more damage it will cause.
Also, when something spoils in the house, the house doesn’t fix itself. It is the occupants that repair the damage done. The same thing goes with relationships; you don’t wait for the relationship problem to solve itself. To know how to fix a failing relationship, you need to know that it is you and your partner that make up the relationship.
What this means is that you are not only fixing the relationship, but you are also fixing yourselves. To save a failing relationship, you need to ‘surrender yourselves for repair’.
Tony Gaskin once said, ‘”You can’t save a relationship unless both people are equally invested. It takes a joint effort to make it work. One person trying will never be enough”.
It should be made clear that not all failing relationships are heading for disaster. Some relationships just need a few tweaks here and there to bring things back to normal. Ending it most times without trying to accept each other’s flaws and make room for change, may not be the solution to a failing relationship.
The unrealistic fairy tale romance that we see most times in movies has put a lot of people under pressure. Such romance usually ends in the fairy tale land and does not exist in the real world. Some folks think that if the relationship is not like the presumed ‘happily ever after’, then the relationship is not worth giving a chance.
Once again, for emphasis, not all relationships are bound to fail. There is an array of solutions on how to fix a failing relationship, and you’re at the right place to acquire a handful of solutions.
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How To Fix A Failing Relationship
You shouldn’t just give up on someone because the situation is not ideal. Great relationships aren’t great because they have no problems. They’re great because both people care about the other person to find a way to make it work.
Accepting that your relationship is failing is important, being ready to fix it is very important. These steps on how to fix a failing relationship can help restore your romance.
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• Figure It Out
When you discover that your relationship is heading south, try to find out the cause of the problem; this is the very first step to take. Your efforts will be in vain if you don’t tackle the underlying cause of the problem.
Study your partner and observe if he or she is deeply sorry and willing to patch things up between you too. If your partner is cooperative and wants to rebuild the relationship, then it is worth giving it a second chance. This is how to know if a relationship is worth saving. Remember, it takes two to tango!
• Take A Bold Step
You have to pay attention to what triggers these signs of a failing relationship. If it is something that you both can fix over time, then you don’t need to give up on your relationship yet. For example, the issue of constant argument arises from different things. It could be a clash of interest or personalities, financial problems, health-related issues, lovemaking, lack of mutual understanding, no intimacy.
There are a thousand and one reasons for arguments in a relationship. When you’ve figured out the cause of these signs, you take the bold step of trying to talk things through with your partner. You don’t have to wait for the other person to make the first move. You may be hurting without your partner knowing.
• Lay It Bare
Effective communication is a vital key in every relationship. Hence, you should try to have deep calm conversations with your partner. Communicate effectively.
Do not assume communication involves yelling at each other to drive home your points. You can still talk to your partner and subtly make your point. Try as much as possible to avoid playing the blame game.
Accept that you are not always right. Open up to your misdeeds and be willing to correct them. Take responsibility for your actions and acknowledge that your actions were wrong. Calmly expressing yourself and stating how you feel about certain things, is a great way to settle issues amicably. Through communication, you both decide what works best for you.
• Take The Bull By The Horn
Rather than settling for discomfort and resentments all in the name of trying to maintain peace in a relationship, little arguments are needful to set things right.
Yes, it allows you to say what you agree with, and it also lets you hear your partner out on why he or she doesn’t agree to such things. You may be right, or your partner may be right. You can both decide or agree on what to do to make both of you happy rather than harboring anger and suffering in silence. It helps your partner know what you truly want. The relationship is not just about your partner; it’s about you too. It’s about you both, and your opinion should matter.
• Don’t Just Do It, Do It Rightly
Saying bad things about your partner in public is a terrible way of correcting the misdeeds of your partner. To you, this may be a perfect way to change your partner’s flaws, but what you fail to notice is that you aren’t helping the situation at all; no one likes public embarrassments. You are only causing an emotional breakdown for your spouse.
It can be hurtful and depressing. Rather than making belittling remarks about your partner, focus more on the positive sides. Pay your partner compliments often. Compliments go a long way. They not only help to rekindle the fire of love in the relationship, but they also help to build one’s self-esteem.
• Embrace Togetherness
Be honest and open. Honesty does not just build trust, but it also creates an atmosphere for mutual growth and establishes a high level of understanding between partners. Don’t impose your opinions on your partner. Respect their differences as much as they respect yours.
Be attentive to their contributions, and make decisions for the relationship together. You don’t have to claim to be better than the other. Instead of competition, embrace togetherness. You are there to support each other. Togetherness in your relationship creates a bond between both of you and leaves none of you feeling neglected.
• Create ‘You and Me’ Time
Spending less time together or not having quality time together erodes romance in relationships.
Truly, unavoidable circumstances such as a new job, a promotion at work, the arrival of a baby, and several others arise, and these can reduce the amount of time you spend with your partner. Although these situations are unavoidable, it is possible for you to plan your schedule in a new way that incorporates a ‘you and me time’ for you and your partner.
Celebrate important events like birthdays, anniversaries or job promotion in whichever way is best for both of you. Try something new or different from the usual routine in the relationship. Trying out new things will help to keep the love alive.
Fun activities like watching movies, travelling together, playing games or even going on special outings or vacations can spice your relationship and make it exciting once again. It could also be an activity like cooking. Just try doing it a little different from the usual way to spice things up a little.
• Seek Help When Needed
External help from relationship experts like counselors or even therapists is another step forward.
When Is A Relationship Beyond Saving?
‘Why am I such a failure at relationships?’, ‘Should I end this relationship?’ These are questions you keep asking yourself after several attempts to patch things up in your relationship without any positive result.
You may even begin to think low of yourself and blame yourself for all the problems of the relationship. Before you jump into conclusion that you may be the real reason for all the failures in your relationships, it may surprise you to know that these are signs your relationship is toxic.
You may not always be the cause of the problem; it could be your partner. It can be both of you. Meanwhile, it is necessary to understand that not every relationship is worth fixing. To continue to subject yourself to an unhealthy relationship has its consequences, which I’m not sure you want to experience.
Some signs out-rightly tell that you need to walk away from a relationship. These are mostly signs that show that your relationship is toxic. A toxic relationship as the name implies is unhealthy. It leaves you drained, not just physically, but mentally and psychologically.
For some, it takes days to tell if they are in a toxic relationship while for some others, it takes a moment of retrospection to find out the bitter truth. A lot of people do not even know they are in a toxic relationship until things become difficult to handle.
I have an advice for you: the earlier you spot these dents in your relationship, the lesser your chances of leaving the relationship with scars that are either permanent or that can take ages to heal.
A long term toxic relationship is usually one that is beyond saving. In such relationships;
• Trust between both partners seems to be long lost.
A relationship without trust is like a car without gas, you can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere.
• The future of the relationship is bleak. None or only one partner seems to be making an effort.
• You tend to think less of yourself. A toxic relationship may leave you with the sense of inferiority complex.
• You ignore your health even as you suffer lapses in mental health and bouts of listless depression. You neglect all your self-care routines. Soon you’re a shadow of yourself.
• Having the same arguments over and over again
• Arguments result in violence. It could be physical or emotional.
• Your partner keeps humiliating you in public even when you have had several discussions about it.
• One partner or both partners are not willing to accept their wrong deeds. No one wants to be proven wrong; you or your partner is always being defensive for every action.
• The willingness to resolve issues is one-sided. The other person is indifferent about the relationship.
• The silence becomes overbearing in the relationship. Even when you are both in the same house, you still feel lonely. You derive so much joy being in the company of outsiders than being with your partner.
• You are focused on the flaws of your partner without even considering your partner’s good sides.
• There is a high level of unhappiness.
• There is constant physical and/or emotional abuse.
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When you begin to feel that it is time to take a bow from the relationship. Trust your instincts and do the needful.
A toxic relationship brings about low self-esteem. It causes one to lose self-value. It doesn’t get better with time. When you aren’t safe in your relationship, you owe no one any apology to end the relationship.
Ending a relationship is a big move that many people are not bold enough to make. The best solution sometimes is not to seek a solution but to opt-out. It is not a bad thing to end toxic relationships, where one or both parties are unwilling to work things out.
I’m very much aware that you might be considering what people would say if you bow out of that relationship. However, the truth is that you’re the one involved and not those people. You’re the one wearing the shoe, they are not, and you know where it itches.
You are the one going through all the pitfalls in the relationship. You don’t have to wait for your partner to set you ablaze before you know that it’s time to say goodbye. It is high time you embrace the new reality of letting go.
Yeah, some folks in a toxic relationship keep hoping that the relationship would get better, sadly, things keep getting worse. At this stage, you need no soothsayer to tell you to walk away! It may be a difficult task trying to let go, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t keep trying to change something that deprives you of joy and happiness.
‘It’s better to be healthy than to be sick with someone else’
Do what gives you a peaceful sensation. In all, the goal is to be happy.
Conclusively, having gone through these signs of a failing relationship, stages of a failing relationship, how to fix it, and when to let go of it. You’re now left with the option to either fix it or kiss it goodbye.
Choose rightly and choose what will make you happy.
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