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A Psychologist Shares How to Tell If Your Relationship is in a Tough Phase

…Or if it’s time to call it quits.

Photo Credit:  Larry Washburn/Getty Images

By Dr. Samantha Rodman, clinical psychologist

Though we’re conditioned to think of romantic relationships as the center of excitement and passion in life, many people remain in intimate relationships they feel ambivalent about, not knowing whether to leave their partners or to stick it out for the long haul. 

Because the excitement in romantic relationships is bound to ebb over time, it can be hard to know whether a relationship is just going through a boring or difficult stage, or whether it has naturally run its course.

There is no right answer, as experiences will differ from person to person, and from relationship to relationship — but there are some hints that you might be ready to move on. Here are five questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering whether your relationship is going to last.

1. Do I still respect my partner?

The first sign that a relationship should end is a loss of respect. Having respect for your partner — their intelligence, passions, livelihood, beliefs, and ideas — is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship, and if you find yourself thinking that your partner is unintelligent, immoral, annoying, or just a bad person, it’s likely time to move on. Usually, a loss of respect is not easily regained. It’s better to be single than to be with a person for whom you feel condescension or pity.

2. Am I interested in my partner’s experiences?

Another major red flag is a loss of interest in the other person’s life, daily experiences, or stories. When they are trying to tell you about their day and you are overwhelmed with boredom, it’s likely that you’ve lost interest in them on a deeper level as well. When they send you texts that you can’t bring yourself to return, or that you “forget” to respond to, it’s probably because you feel bored and trapped in the relationship overall. This loss of communication is usually a precursor to a breakup.

3. Is the spark still there?

Feeling a lack of attraction is another significant problem. Many people don’t want to consider themselves so “shallow” that they would place massive importance on physical or sexual attraction. Your partner may be a perfectly awesome person in terms of intelligence, sense of humor, work ethic, kindness, and more, but if you don’t feel physically attracted to them, it’s time to get out of the relationship. So many people are in sexless marriages because they never were all that attracted to their partner in the first place. Don’t think that you can power through a lack of chemistry with your partner. It is a losing battle.

4. Do I find myself trying to change my partner?

Fighting isn’t the problem in most relationships. But if you find yourself wanting to change core aspects of your partner at the beginning (or relative start) of the relationship, it is unlikely to turn out well. Such core attributes may include political beliefs, religious identification, how they think about money/work, or whether they want children.

Some people even try to change whether a partner wants to be monogamous in the first place, which, as you can imagine, does not have a high success rate long-term. When someone tells you who they are on a deep level, and it’s not compatible with your deepest beliefs or values, believe them and move on.

5. Am I actively interested in dating other people?

In the age of online dating apps, it has never been quite so obvious that if you end your current relationship, you could be dating another person within the week or even the day. Knowing how many options are at your fingertips makes many people feel less happy in a relationship that’s less than perfectly fulfilling.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as fewer people feel shackled into a relationship just because of a dearth of options. If you find yourself itching to get back on Tinder, to the point that it is more than idle curiosity about who’s out there and more of a constant thought in your mind, it is likely that it is time to move on from your current partner.

Life is too short to remain in relationships that just don’t feel right. Being single is far better than being unhappily coupled.

If this article resonated with you, do some deep thinking about what you really want in a relationship, and whether you want to stay or go!

Originally published at www.talkspace.com

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