A lot of relationships fail. Most of them do, really. And that’s not such a terrible thing. It’s often for the best, and as much as it hurts, you’ve got to take away the life lessons and move on. But this is a hard decision to make. What if you’ve just only hit a small speed bump, and giving up the relationship is something you’ll later come to regret?
Sometimes things end because you’re just fighting all the time. When this happens, it’s obvious that it’s time to quit. But in a lot of relationships, it just starts to feel old, and things start getting boring. Everything starts to feel like a routine, and you don’t feel like the relationship is going anywhere. It may be time to break up.
But even this feeling of staleness, of losing interest, can be misleading. It could be due to external factors, or it may just mean that you need a jolt of excitement, of trying new things and getting out of the rut. But it could also mean it’s time to cut your losses and move on.
How can you know if it’s just a phase or the end?
If you feel like you’re losing interest in your relationship and in your significant other, here’s how to tell if it’s a temporary blip, or a sign that it’s time for a big change.
#1 Heavy lift. Spending time together in a normal relationship should not feel like a chore. If you have a slight feeling of dread before meeting up with your significant other, that does not bode well for you two. Also, if you feel exhausted or just mentally drained after a day spent together, it’s time to move on. Spending casual time together should not feel like an obligation. [Read: 10 steps to tell your partner that you’re unhappy]
#2 Stuck on the sofa. If you have plans to meet, and you just can’t seem to motivate yourself to go, it’s time to question why you’re still in the relationship. Often you’ll just be glued to the TV, or browsing your Facebook timeline for the fifth time. You’re not even enjoying yourself, you’re just putting off walking out the door. This could be a sign of depression, but if you’re feeling okay otherwise, then it’s a loss of interest in the relationship.
#3 The company of others. Your girlfriend or boyfriend doesn’t have to be the first person you want to spend time with on any given day or night, but if you find that they’re rarely or never your top choice, you should start to ask yourself why that is. It’s great hanging out with your friends, and you don’t always have to invite your significant other along, but if you never want to, there’s probably no future for the relationship.
#4 Constant bother. You know when you’re just having a bad day, and little things that shouldn’t be a big deal just annoy the heck out of you? Well, one of the signs that you’ve lost interest in your relationship is that your significant other increasingly makes you feel this way. It’s even likely that things that he or she used to do all the time that you found cute or endearing, are now the cause of your annoyance. There’s probably no way back from this point, if that’s how you feel. Time for a breakup. [Read: 12 real reasons why couples drift apart]
#5 Picking fights. Fighting is not always a bad thing, as it can help to strengthen relationships, if you can communicate well and avoid pettiness. But constant arguments are a bad sign, and if you’re the one starting most of them, it’s probably for a deeper reason than the small things that started each fight.
It may not even be a conscious thing. You might not realize that you’re doing it because you want out of the relationship. That’s a bad situation, and unfair to your partner. If the fights are getting worse and more frequent, it’s time to think about calling it quits.
#6 Intimacy lost. Hugs and kisses are one of the first casualties when someone starts losing interest in their relationship. The small, intimate things that were always there at the start just don’t happen as much anymore. It could be the goodnight kiss, the hand holding, or the hug when you see each other after a long day at work. If you’re getting bored of the relationship, the absence of these things is a big giveaway.
#7 Bedroom bore. This one seems pretty obvious, and loss of interest in the bedroom is often a sign that you’re losing interest. But people’s sex drives can go up or down for a number of reasons, from health, to external stress, so this is one to be careful with.
Oftentimes, it’s just when it becomes too routine that you don’t want sex as much as you used to. Try changing things up in the bedroom. Bring in role-play, or dirty talk, explore your fantasies and kinks. If none of this works, than it may be a larger problem with the relationship itself. [Read: 20 signs to tell that the end of your relationship is near!]
#8 Eyes for others. A very common sign of a tired and stale relationship is wandering eyes – when you start looking at other men or women, or fantasizing about a co-worker. These aren’t necessarily bad things to do, but when it becomes constant, and you stop thinking of your significant other in a sexual light, then it’s time for some self-examination. You don’t have to only have eyes for your partner, but you should at least have them.
#9 Non-disclosure. At the start of a relationship, you start confiding a lot in your significant other. This doesn’t necessarily have to be your deep, dark secrets. It may just be a problem you had with your boss or an argument with a family member. It could even be a funny story a co-worker told or just about your day in general. When you stop sharing these seemingly mundane yet crucial things, it could be because you’re tired of the relationship.
#10 A bore. Sometimes there comes a point in the relationship where you just feel, well, bored. It’s important to differentiate between boredom in the relationship, and general boredom in your life. Think hard about it: if you were to break up, would you start feeling more or less bored? You may just need to work together with your partner to find ways to break out of your routines. Try new things, go new places, and spice up your sex life. But if you feel like a breakup would cure the boredom, well then that’s what you should do.
[Read: How to break up with the one you love]
There’s usually no going back after you decide to end your relationship, so think long and hard before you do it. All of these signs are a good indication that time is up for you, but most of them might have some other cause.
People have a lot of stress in their lives, from work, to family problems, to health issues. It could just be that one or both of you are going through a rough patch that will pass. Breaking up is a big decision, even in a fairly new relationship. It’s not one that should be taken lightly. But sometimes, it’s something that must be done.
[Read: 16 signs it’s time to move on and end your relationship]
Think it through, but if a few of the items on this list are ringing a bell for you, there’s a pretty good chance that your loss of interest in your relationship will eventually lead to a breakup.
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