When the magic of being in a new relationship starts to fade away, what happens? How long does it take to lose that nervous jitter in your stomach every time your new beau texts, calls, or shows up on your doorstep? When does comfort become complacency, and how can you tell when you're not paying enough attention to your relationship? Believe it or not, there are warning signs. Whether or not you choose to pay attention to these warning signs is completely up to you.
The truth is, the demise of your relationship usually can't be pinpointed back to a single point in time. There's no blanket band-aid for relationships that have lost their spark, and often times there's not a quick fix. Relationships take time and effort for a reason, because in order to cultivate a functional relationship, you have to put in time and effort. When you stop giving your relationship its due time, things usually start to crumble. The best way to stop this from happening? By looking for the warning signs. If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship you're in, and begin reinvesting time in your partner.
1. You Can't Remember The Last Time You Had Sex
"There are lots of reasons why we start to have less sex," said relationship counselor Clare Wenham. She goes on to say that unhappiness in your relationship, not feeling valued or wanted, and neglecting time together can all be factors when it comes to letting your sexual relationship fall to the wayside. "Good sex may be about tumbling into bed at every opportunity when we first meet, but if we want to stay together, grow old together, sex can’t always be spontaneous, but with a bit of planning, it can still be where it belongs, at the center of our relationship."
2. You Forgot Your Partner's Birthday
Depending on how long you've been together, the emotional consequences this can have on your relationship may vary. But if you're in a long term relationship, and you forgot the day that brought your partner onto this earth? It's time to reevaluate just how important your partner is to you. Certainly, birthdays aren't everyone's cup of tea, and aren't necessarily a part of everyone's love language, but forgetting altogether? That's a sign of a bigger problem.
3. You Hate The Small Talk
In an interview with Redbook, marriage and sex therapist Dr. Kat Van Kirk said, "If you're disregarding the small things that are happening in his life, unconsciously or not, your husband might start to feel rejected by your lack of interest. When your husband reveals small matters of his life, he's trying to connect with you." If you're starting to hate the small talk, the catching up, the day to day mundane conversations about who did what and how, you'd better start asking yourself why. Otherwise, your partner's going to start taking it personally.
4. You're Not Excited For Date Night
"Date night is one of the best ways couples have to pull back from the fray and remember there's an 'us' hidden in the swirl of their daily lives — and really focus on maintaining and celebrating their connection to each other," Pepper Schwartz, a sociology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in an interview with Good Housekeeping.
5. You Feel Nagged On
If you're feeling extra sensitive in conversation with your partner, chances are you're not communicating well. "There is no reality, only perception," according to the Dr. Phil. "What seems real and true to you isn't necessarily the same for your partner." He recommends trying to reframe your perception, to understand how your behavior feels to someone else. Your partner may view their contributions as trying to give guidance, where you see it as nagging.
6. Your Partner Doesn't Ask For Much
Making time to really listen to your partner, even about the mundane things, is so important to your relationship. "If he doesn't feel like you'll understand what's important to him or that you'll default to a negative response, he'll stop bringing it up," marriage and family therapist Jane Greer said in an interview with Redbook.
7. You Don't Apologize Anymore
Greer said on her blog that an apology can clear the air instantly. "It is a declaration of caring about your partner’s feelings. It can be the magic key that opens the door to reconnecting," she wrote. If you find yourself lacking the strength to apologize to your partner, it's possible you're avoiding recognizing the validity of their feelings, because you haven't been spending much time together.
8. You're Bothered By The Little Things
When everything your partner says drives you crazy? There's probably a bigger issue at hand. Psychologist David Bricker told Psych Central that theres always an underlying issue. Finding the real issue often gets couples closer to a solution, and helps with communication.
9. Your Ego Takes Center Stage
If you're adamant about being right all the time, if you can't handle being in the wrong, or just plain old wrong, then your ego is becoming a problem. " If you let your ego get involved and you defend yourself, it means that you’re not listening to them," said personal dating coach David Wygant. "In order to really listen to somebody, it’s uncomfortable," he said. "Sometimes your significant other has things that are really bothering them about which they want to talk to you, but which you would rather not hear. To maintain a great relationship, however, you can’t let your ego keep you from really listening."
Regardless of whether you're seeing one or five of these things happening in your relationship, it's time to take stock of your priorities. Sit down with your partner and find a way to spend more time together, so you can figure out how to move forward.