Trying to figure out if it's time to end a relationship — especially one you've invested a lot of time or emotion into — is incredibly difficult. How hard should you try to make it work before you give up on being a couple? You don't want to give up on love, but you also don't want to endure an unhealthy relationship that isn't working for either one of you, one that won't, in the end, work.
So what are the ways to tell if your relationship funk is just a phase? First of all, you've got to take a step back from your coupling and get a bird's eye view. When you are emotionally entangled, it can be impossible to see things clearly without purposefully distancing yourself and taking a hard look. Communication with your partner is important, but so is knowing your own feelings and desires. If you don't know what you want and need, how can you ask for it, or know that missing it is hurting you?
Once you've talked with a trusted friend, journaled, prayed or ran your way into some insights about your emotional state, talk to your significant other if you find any of the below ring a bell.
1You're Going Through Tough Times
Even the best relationships show signs of strain when life gets chaotic. It's natural that tempers flare, you feel on edge, you aren't having a blast together when dealing with stressful situation. Sometimes the best you can do is hang in there and try to keep your mouth shut until you feel more like yourself.
2You Feel Bored
Your relationship isn't doomed. You just need to get off your possibly over-contented butt and do something. Boredom can creep in easily when you fall in love and then let your relationship become everything; the more you follow your own passions and interests, the more interesting your life is to you and your significant other.
3Your Communication Is Rusty
The importance of communication can't be denied. No matter how much you love someone, if you can't talk to each other it's not going to work well. Luckily, if your communication skills leave something to be desired, there's everything you can do about it. Seeing a couples therapist for a brief time can sharpen your skills and greatly improve your relationship, or read a book on couple's communication.
4You're Having The Same Arguments
Repeating the same arguments can go either way – it can be a sign of the end, or just a normal part of a long-term relationship. It's the rare couple that will resolve every one of their issues, and it's not necessary to do so in order to be happy. Repeated arguments are to be expected when you live with the same person for years. On the hand, if your repeated argument is serious, that could signal a serious issue.
5You Miss The Sweet Little Things
Over time it is easy to let small things slip; he used to make your coffee every morning and suddenly you realize he barely kisses your cheek before he's out the door. This can happen to anyone, and even if you notice it, address it, and both start doing the sweet little things, it can happen again. That's where the work part of relationships comes in, but the rewards are worth it.
6You Feel One Of You Has Changed
In the movie Jenny's Wedding, Jenny's father says that although his wife had changed over the years, he kept falling in love with the new person. That kind of love can be part luck but it's also part decision- I know because I have that kind of marriage. I love my husband, and I make a decision every day to work toward acceptance, loyalty, lust and intimacy. When one of you changes, the other can grow to love this new version of you even more deeply than before.
7You Find The Sex So-So
Along the way, most couples will have to recalibrate to bring the spark back to their relationship. (If you never had a spark, that answers itself.) That's normal. There is plenty of information out there about how to spice up your sex life, so have fun trying.