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May 25, 2020 | By Colin O Jarrett |

Reaching the end of a relationship isn’t always a bad thing. Like ripping a band-aid, it is often better to just get the breakup over and done with rather than delaying the inevitable. Ahead, relationship therapists and Counselling psychologists spill the top signs a relationship is over. If you notice more than a few of these in your relationship, it might be time to do some serious reflecting on why you are actually with your partner. Get help before you take a decision unless the relationship becomes physically abusive.

If you’re experiencing the following signs of a toxic relationship, it may be time to seek help.

1) They are suddenly spending more time with their family and friends
One of the biggest red flags that your partner is about to check out? You notice that they are spending less time with you and dedicating more time to family and friends. Rhonda Milrad, relationship therapist and founder of Online Relationship Community Relationup says they are putting more energy and time into other relationships in their inner circle. Of course if you notice yourself doing this, it may also be a heads up that you are feeling less connected to your partner than you did before.

2) You spend more time with your kids rather than with your partner
If you find yourself spending a lot of time with your children than you do with your partner, it could be a sign that you or they, are looking for a way out. This person or couple is trying to test out the role of a single parent, or just does not have a choice because the other parent is nowhere to be found most days.

3) You may spend more time on the cellphone
If you are around your partner and the partner is mostly on the phone, that could be a sign of lack of interest. Late Counselling Psychologist of 40 years Dr Clover Jarrett said that if couples are not able to spend time talking together for several minutes at regular times, the relationship is in deep waters. Dr Jarrett said she has had to counsel couples  ever so often about the art of talking without technology. She further went on to say that while technology is good when you are away from each other, the cell phone can’t be given more attention at the peril of face-to-face conversations.

4) They don’t kiss you, hug you, look in each other’s eyes like they mean it
“They may pay lip-service to a kiss – a quick chups or impersonal attempt at kissing. But if it’s not like it used to be and there’s no passion in that experience, the passion is also sucked out of your relationship” Counselling Psychologist Mrs Sedacca said “the relationship is over in the romantic sense; you are roommates and not soulmates any longer.”

5) You avoid spending alone time together
Maybe your relationship has been deteriorating for a while and you recognize that you rarely spend time together, just the two of you. This could be a sign that your relationship is not in a great place. If the intimacy and bond you once shared is now filled with time alone, your relationship maybe headed in different directions and is just a relationship out of convenience instead of out of desire.

6) You notice their flaw more often than their strengths
When you are in love with someone, you tend to see the good in them more readily than the bad. “If you no longer see all of the positive qualities that made you interested in your partner in the first place, it could be a sign that things are heading south,” says Dr Jarrett. “It may not always be obvious that you are only viewing your partner’s flaw, but a telltale sign is how you speak about your partner to your friends. If you’re struggling to say anything positive about your partner and find yourself speaking poorly or bad mouthing them to others, it’s likely time to get professional help”.

7) You are not talking about the future together
Research has shown that couples in the throes of romance discuss the future enthusiastically says Carmel Jones, a sex and relationship counsellor. They regularly discuss things like what’s next in their careers, where they want to live and whether or not they want to have kids. Dr Jarrett says “looking toward the future is a relationship ‘vital sign’. She also said she has counseled couples who seem to plan ahead together, but it only includes the one partner and children which is a poor sign of family togetherness. When talk of the future fades, this is usually an indication that the relationship is heading south.

8) You have both become extremely agreeable
This might seem like a good thing, but it can indicate the one or both parties in the relationship no longer care enough to put their foot down. “Fighting is actually decreased and negotiating is not even needed anymore because the person or couple is just done” explains Rose Lawrence, LPCC, LCPC, NCC, a psychotherapist and owner of Mind Balance. “They have chosen to submit to the fact they want to be out of the relationship, so their indifference displays as being agreeable. Most couples need to negotiate or discuss issues, not necessarily argue or bicker, but at least have a discussion. Being agreeable is great, but when your partner or the couple is always agreeable and indifferent, the spark is clearly gone and the fight to stay in the relationship is gone.

9) When something major happens, they’re not the first person you tell
When you get a promotion, lose a big client as a result of CoViD-19, a major incident at work or a sudden illness, who is the first person you tell? “If someone comes before your partner in sharing either good or bad news, they are no longer your primary confidant, your closest friend,” explains Rosalind Sedacca, CLC, a dating and relationship coach and author. Over time, that involves into a stronger relationship with others and a weakened link to your partner.

10) Your boredom echoes outside your relationship
You are bored, not just your relationship – but with everything. ” Many individuals report boredom as one of the telltale signs a relationship is in trouble,” says Denise Limongello, LMSW, a psychotherapist based in New York. “If you feel bored not only with your partner, but with life in general, it might mean you are no longer in the right relationship. For example if you never have anything interesting to say when your friends and family ask how you are, that speaks volume about how you feel about life. “If you often feel like you have nothing to say or report to others about when in social settings, it might mean you are not particularly enjoying life in your current relationship.”

11) You are no longer doing “your” activities together
“Every couple falls into rituals or habits that become their thing,” says Caitlin Bergstein, a Boston-based matchmaker with Three Day Rule. For example watching a certain TV show together, evening walks, drive-outs or making tacos every Tuesday. “When one person starts bailing on those plans or doing them on their own repeatedly, it could be a sign that the relationship is nearing its end.

12) When one or both of you won’t go for Counselling
If things aren’t going well in your relationship or you or your partner has vetoed therapy, this is a major indicator that that things probably aren’t going to work out, says Christie Tcharkhoutian, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Matchmaker with Three Day Rule in Los Angeles. “If your dynamic is toxic and your partner does not want to try to work it out, then that is a big sign that the relationship may be over. It’s similar to when you are driving a car and the emergency warning sign indicates that you have a flat tyre. If you keep ignoring it and never pull over to change the tyre, your car is going to drive off the road and lose control. In the same way, the dissatisfaction in the relationship and the healthy dynamics are your warning sign for your relationship. If you don’t pull over and get help through going to therapy, your relationship is going to get off track”.

13) You feel alone when you’re together
Feel like you’re pretty much on your own, even when you are spending time together? “This is the biggest concern I see with the couples who come to see me,” says Irina Baechle, LCSW, a relationship therapist and coach. “They are physically together but emotionally feel alone and disconnected. It is a silent sign that the relationship is unfortunately headed south unless they both reach out for professional help”.

14) You’re wondering if you can do better
People evolve and change and grow. This is inevitable. That great person you met two years ago was great based on who you were then. You may not be growing at the same pace. Perhaps they are in a comfort zone. S/he is a nice person and you have love for him/her but there thoughts of *where is this going? or *do I really want this?When those questions start popping up, it’s your inner being nudging you elsewhere.

15) Your gut is telling you something is up
“Your body can register that something is off long before your brain acknowledges it”, Milrad says. “You can sense it in the other person’s mood or body language, even though nothing has occurred and they haven’t said anything. Yet you pick up on something and have a hunch or a gut instinct that something is going on between the two of you.” In the long run, it’s probably better to listen to the voice and do something about it rather than tapping it down. Seek Counselling at this time which could save your relationship.

16) Walking on eggshells
Ever hide your phone because you’re afraid of what your significant other is going to say about a text from someone else? Are you afraid of going out with people after work because s/he might get jealous? Healthy relationships are built on trust and open communication. If you often find yourself trying to predict what will make your partner angry and avoiding that (even if it doesn’t already  work), it could be a toxic situation. You don’t do that kind of thing with your friends; why is it ok with your significant other?

17) “Jokes” that aren’t really jokes
If your partner makes belittling comments about you then claim they are “just joking” there’s a problem. Emotional bullies not only drop subtle insults, but they often then try to make their victims look stupid or like they are overreacting.  The way you can tell: a good joke will make you feel included; a toxic joke will make you feel small, angry and powerless.

It is normal for relationships to be very challenging, but when they exceed a certain level of stress, they negatively impact every aspect of your life; your business, your friendships, your health, even your mental stability.

Contributed by HE Prof Colin O Jarrett
Director of News and Current Affairs

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