If you want to believe just about every song on the top 40 or your average romantic comedy plot, “love” is the fuel that keeps the world going. No wonder, then, that we were brought up with the idea that a fairy tale ends well once the hero meets his lover.
But in reality, love is much more wild. How do you know if your relationship is still worth it? Are there signs you can read if your relationship is in a slump, or love can no longer be saved? And if your relationship is irreversibly fading, what is the best way to end it?
Sometimes it is clear that the relationship is not good for you: for example, if there was abuse, or if you could not trust a partner. But also healthy relationships, spread calmly and with mutual respect, can at some point begin to feel uncomfortable.
“First of all, I want to stress that no relationship is one hundred percent perfect,” says relationship therapist Kim Kromwijk Lube of DKim. “You often see in younger generations that the idea is that the grass is always greener on the other side, which means that they change partners more quickly. It is important to remember that you first have to go through a lot together before you can assess whether someone is properly represents something for you.”
So don’t panic at the first bump in the road. Not every negative experience should immediately herald the end of your relationship. However, there are some frequent signs that you can watch for. According to Kromwijk-Lub, one of the first signs of love fading is that you are becoming more and more annoyed with each other. You begin to avoid each other, in conversations there is a short response and there is less interest in each other’s lives. “You’ve also become more critical of traits in your partner that you may have liked before,” Kromwijk-Lub adds. “Things like a toothpaste cap that comes off over and over becomes ‘proof’ for you that your relationship is no longer working. On the one hand, you walk away from your partner, and on the other hand you look at everything that’s wrong with your relationship under the microscope.”
Imagine another life
Another possible signal is that you are less interested in doing things together. While you were looking forward to a long summer trip, now you are basically longing for a life without your love. You begin to imagine how wonderful it would be to live on your own, or how wonderful it would be to “pretend alone” this summer. If you find that these fantasies give you a lot of peace, this may indicate a rift in your relationship. But: These types of fantasies can also mean that you are in a turbulent phase, which has nothing to do with your relationship. So it is important to analyze it Why You desperately want a different life – and how your relationship fits into it. Deep down, you often know the answer to your relationship problems. A lot of times it’s not so much about realizing it as it is about letting it go.
“Falling in love with someone else shouldn’t be a sign that your relationship is no longer working,” says Kromwijk-Lub. “Sometimes it may simply be that someone else is awakening something inside of you, or that you are bored. This does not mean that you cannot be happy with your partner anymore, but it may indicate that your relationship could use more passion.”
Another way you might notice that your relationship is on the edge of a precipice is that you lie awake and worry a lot about what your future will look like in the short term. The decision to end the relationship is a major one. Even if you are not the one who wants to end the relationship, but you feel that your loved one is far from you, such a situation can devour you for several months. Kromwijk-Lub compares it to feeling as if you’ve had unexpectedly small clots for weeks.
“The approaching separation can also cling to what’s left,” adds Kromwijk-Lub. This discontinuity is accompanied by a lot of uncertainty. You may fear that you will make the wrong decision, or that without your partner you will be alone forever. To avoid thinking about the mountain of sadness that awaits you, focus on your relationship completely.
According to Kromwijk-Lub, even if you don’t like being touched as much as before, this can be a bad sign. But here too, the fact that you are suddenly shrinking from intimacy with your partner could be due to something else. Maybe you feel like you’re not feeling well for a while, but that has nothing to do with your relationship. So before ending the relationship, it’s a good idea to consider all aspects of your life. “The signs we mentioned above have to combine before you can conclude with certainty that your relationship is the problem,” she says.
It could also be that there is nothing wrong with your relationship, but you are slowly but surely moving away. In that case, it can be hard to put your finger on the wound of resurrecting love, because when did you grow so old that it no longer really works? “People change every seven to 10 years,” Kromwijk Loeb says. “If you got into a relationship at a young age, it might be that at some point you no longer get along well together. What I always ask is: Do you still enjoy each other? Is there laughter, do you still hug a lot? So you Feel that you belong together, or if you two Feel That you still really want to work on it: start with it. Don’t take the other person for granted. In my practice, I hear a lot of people that they gave up on each other too quickly, and that they regret it.”
Once it’s clear to you that there’s really nothing you can do about your relationship, how can you most effectively end it? First, according to Kromwijk-Lub, it is important to start a conversation without being too convinced of your right. “We often have such strong beliefs about ourselves that we jump to conclusions about someone else. Respect each other’s needs, listen to what your partner has to say, and don’t start a conversation about ‘luxury,'” says Kromwijk-Lub. “Stay with yourself and don’t point fingers. Accusing a lot. Gossip about the ex-partner is also not recommended. Even if it ends in a healthy way, it can still feel like a second blow to your partner.”
Finally, heartbreak is a bitch, whether you’ve been dumped or you’re the one who made it. For some, it can feel like an illness that absorbs you both physically and mentally, for others, it’s a karate kick that hits you in the stomach at an unexpected moment. According to Kromwijk-Lub, it is important that you continue to take good care of yourself. You don’t have to be in a relationship to totally spoil yourself on Valentine’s Day.