In the early stages of a relationship, most of us think we’ve found ‘the one’. Sadly, however, more often than not we later discover they weren’t the one, but rather just one.
But sometimes it’s hard to see, especially when you’ve been together for a long time.
For some reason, it’s easy to spot when a friend’s relationship is past its expiry date but so much harder when it’s your own. We get stuck in a rut and so used to it that we don’t realise our relationship is bringing more angst than joy into our lives.
So how can you spot the signs you need to end it? Four therapists who’ve seen it all revealed to Bravo TV the relationship red flags to look for:
1. Your partner always blames you
Rarely are relationship problems the fault of just one party – as they say, it takes two to tango.
According to clinical professional counsellor Julienne Derichs, “You are in a dead-end relationship if your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t want to work through conflicts with you and blames you for the all problems in your relationship.”
The only way for your relationship to evolve is by working through problems together, and both people need to be willing to do that.
2. It doesn’t look like it’s going to get better
Tiffs, arguments and bad patches are normal – rare is the couple that’s happy all the time – but if you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s probably time to move on.
“The biggest way to tell if you are in a dead-end relationship is if you do not see it getting better,” therapist and health & wellness expert Jenny Giblin says.
She points out that this is, however, different from just feeling hopeless: “If you have stuck around waiting for things to change, and nothing has, and you find yourself accepting that this is just how your relationship is, and settling for that, then the issue may be simply that you are in a dead-end relationship.”
3. You fancy other people
If you were with the right person, you wouldn’t be fantasising about that cute guy from finance or the pretty girl you saw on your commute this morning
“If you’re constantly thinking about your other options, then your relationship isn’t as strong as you think it is,” says counsellor Jonathan Bennett.
4. It doesn’t feel right
Sometimes it’s simply a case of listening to your instincts. If your partner no longer feels like the person you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with, they’re probably not.
“If your partner doesn’t feel like ‘the one’, something may be up. You struggle to feel more in love and closer and just can’t seem to get there,” are examples offered by relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad.
Society conditions us to use the voice of reason but gut feeling is more powerful than most of us think, and it’s important not to ignore it.
So if any of these signs sound familiar, your relationship is probably heading for a dead-end.