Knowing the prominent signs your relationship is ending can help you manage things at the right time so that you can give your marriage another chance and potentially work things out.
All married couples experience difficulties, but for some, these troubles reach a point where partners become profoundly unhappy in their marriages. This can create a destructive downward spiral where the relationship focus stays on the negative.
Despite how hopeless you feel, learning to be aware of certain risk factors can be a step in the right direction. Once that happens, you can see what needs to change and be deliberate about doing things differently.
According to John Gottman, Ph.D., a leading expert on predicting divorce, there are four signs that indicate serious problems in a marriage.
4 Revealing Signs Your Relationship Is Ending
1. You see your marital problems as severe
If this is the case, do not ignore them. If you bury your head in the sand and think these problems will just go away, you’re setting your relationship on a course toward divorce.
Although you might not want to talk to your spouse about your issues and concerns, you need to. Doing so is hard but necessary.
2. Talking things over seems useless
By the time relationship problems get serious, you may feel like there is no point in putting in additional effort to fix things. It’s normal to feel this way because, so far, you have not had success with the approach you’ve tried.
Many people are not successful on their own because they don’t have the training or knowledge to help the relationship get back on track. Below is a counseling tip used by marriage therapists.
If you haven’t already tried it, give it a shot. It might make a difference in moving your relationship back toward happiness.
Look For A Pattern Of Behaviors To Blame
Is there a series of behaviors that happen before negative interactions take place? For instance, Craig and Olivia get into “fights” because she feels ignored. If you take a closer look, the upsets happen mostly on Sunday nights when Craig is catching up on his sports games.
- Behavior A (8 pm: Craig is on the Internet checking sports scores).
- Behavior B (8 pm: Olivia lying on the couch relaxing, wanting to connect with Craig through conversation).
- Behavior C (Olivia expects Craig to close his laptop when she talks. Instead, he ignores her attempts to talk. She gets irritated, raises her voice, and complains.).
- Behavior D (Craig yells at her to stop talking because he’s busy).
- Behavior E (Olivia yells back and says she hates that he always ignores her. She storms out of the room, wondering why she tries to talk to him when he does not care about her.)
- Behavior G (Craig is angry but happy he can get back to catching up on his teams)
By being aware of the patterns that cause negative events in your relationship, you can alter the course of how things turn out. Craig and Olivia are trapped in a weekly pattern that hurts their relationship.
Olivia does not understand that checking how his teams are doing is important to him. To turn their interaction into a win-win situation where they can both get their needs met, Olivia needs to express how important that time is to her.
Craig, in turn, might change the time he catches up on his sports. True, this is an oversimplified example of how patterns work, but gaining awareness of what happens before you fight can make a big difference in the outcome.
3. You start leading parallel lives
Sometimes when one or both partners are unhappy in their relationship, they start spending less time together. This can create a relationship where two people live in the same house, but their daily activities don’t overlap.
The less interaction you have, the more you begin to grow apart, and loneliness begins to grow. The first step to breaking the pattern of living separate lives is to suggest that you and your partner do something together. It doesn’t matter what it is; the point is to merge your time.
4. Loneliness within a marriage
If you are married and feel lonely, it’s because you and your spouse are not emotionally connected. Loneliness can creep in over time until one day you realize you feel alone in your relationship and are not sure how to fix it.
In an attempt to get closer to your partner, you may have tried to put yourself out there emotionally. If it didn’t go as you hoped, you might be even warier about taking other emotional risks.
The result of failed attempts to get closer can make you feel even more lonely. When that happens, you slip even deeper into loneliness by filling the conversation with superficial talk about work, the kids, or other things.
The danger of being lonely in a marriage is that your need for emotional connection is unmet. That can leave you vulnerable to extramarital affairs.
How To Get Rid Of Loneliness In A Marriage
Pronouns: A quick way to start the process of getting closer to your partner— change your pronouns. Couples who are disconnected use terms that describe one person—”me,” “mine,” “you,” “yours” rather than words that define togetherness— “us,” “we,” and “ours.” This will be the first step to seeing yourself as part of a pair instead of a lonely individual.
Reading: Taking it a step further, start educating yourself about techniques that have helped other couples reconnect. There are many good books on the topic.
Reconnect: Sometimes, loneliness happens because you feel forgotten. Chances are if you feel this way, so does your partner. Try one of the four things below to help put an end to your loneliness.
- Speak up. Tell your partner how you’re feeling.
- Reminisce about the day you met.
- Do something thoughtful for your partner.
- Compliment your partner.
Don’t Wait to Seek Professional Help
Marital distress is one of the most frequently encountered problems. When relationship problems become unsolvable, it is a good idea to seek professional help. To receive the most from marriage counseling, don’t wait until your marriage is beyond repair.
A skilled marriage therapist will look at your relationship from the outside rather than by the emotions that make couples feel stuck. This allows a therapist to think about your relationship problems and solutions from a more objective perspective.
Want to know more about the warning signs your relationship is ending? Check this video out below!
Nancy Fagan is the founder of the Relationship Resolution Center, an online counseling, mediation, and coaching business. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and is the former owner of the largest divorce mediation firm in San Diego. She is a 3-time published author and has appeared on countless television, and radio shows, and quoted in national magazines since 1997.
Check out her website, Online Counseling Experts for more such informative articles.
Written By Nancy Fagan Originally Appeared On Online Counseling Experts