- Emmanuelle Idisi
4 Signs Your Relationship Isn't Working For You Right Now
All relationships go through their ups and downs, but how do you know when it's time for serious change?
Ask yourself these questions:
Does it still feel good to be around this person?
Do you still have the same core values?
How often do you feel emotionally exhausted?
Does the relationship feel one-sided?
Are you able to be authentically yourself?
How you answer these questions is a good indication of whether your relationship is meeting your current needs. Staying as is, and doing nothing is easy and familiar. Many relationship stay stuck because it's easier to stay status quo than do the hard work of making it better. Staying in a relationship that is just not working for you is not a good option either.
Is your current relationship meeting your needs? Does something need to change?
Consider the following:
1. Something feels OFF
Some parts of your relationship feel perfect— you get along for the most part, are used the routine of parenting together, and your lives are running smoothly together overall. But something still feels off to you and you find yourself disconnecting from your partner.
Suggestions- If you have a nagging feeling that your relationship is no longer working for you or meeting your needs, you need to pay attention to that. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and needs. Consider journaling them regularly and then look for patterns or themes in your journal entries. You may also find it helpful to speak to a relationship therapist who can offer an unbiased perspective and helpful insight. You will also be able to explore and process any thoughts or feelings that you've previously not paid attention to. Needless to say, that OFF feeling is trying to give you a message. It's your job to determine what that message is.
2. You do not have the same core values
It doesn't matter how in love you are, if you're both looking for different things in life, it's never going to work. If you disagree on whether to have children, for example, this can be a deal-breaker. Everyone's entitled to their own wants, but that doesn't mean they're right for you. It can be heart-wrenchingly sad, and sometimes it's just bad timing, but it's better to admit it sooner rather than later.
Suggestions- Be very careful not to idealize your partner. Ask yourself "Who is my partner today?", and "Do my partner's values align with mine right now?" Try to compromise. It is possible for you or your partner to change your core values, but this should be the result of personal growth not simply to please your partner or succumb to pressure.
3. You don't spend quality time together
What does spending quality time together actually mean? Well, that depends on the couple. In general, quality time includes: Having meaningful, intimate, important conversations and creating experiences together (trips, goals, events, accomplishments). Every couple is different and not all activities map to the same experiences. One couple can have a meaningful conversation while shopping at Walmart, while another couple could sit next to each other on the couch without exchanging a single meaningful word. The “what” is less important than the “how” and the “who.” If you find yourself sharing less and less time with your partner or avoiding contact that’s usually a red flag.
Suggestions - On a surface level, commit to spending time together. Pick one day a week to be “date night,” and don’t cancel it for anything less than an emergency. Actively seek out new experiences together, whether it’s doing a home camp out, or taking a pottery class together. On a deeper level, explore the reasons that led you to spend less time together, so you can make sure the pattern doesn’t continue.
4. Your Communication is Terrible
Perhaps you bottle up your emotions for the sake of harmony? Or every time you sit to discuss an important issue, it immediately morphs into an ugly fight? Arguments aren't necessarily a bad sign. Instead, it may signify that you feel secure enough in your relationship to express your thoughts, feelings and needs. However, if your arguments tend to be about the same problem over and over, if you can never come to a resolution, or attempts to come to a resolution makes you feel even more disconnected, your relationship needs help. What point is date night, if you can't even communicate?
Suggestions: The core issues are not being addressed and you are merely reenacting the same conflict over and over. You need to investigate the root causes, change your behaviour, and/or revisiting your assumptions. Schedule some time to talk one-on-one. Take turns sharing your experience of the conflict. Listen to each other, try to appreciate the other person’s point of view, and isolate the crux of the issue at hand. Dig deeper into the underlying themes, beliefs, and feelings driving the conflict. Try to stay open to a new way of looking at the problem, while also staying true to your experience.
A couples therapist can help you process the above issues, and any others you are encountering, to help you turn things around in your relationship. You deserve to be in a relationship that feels right and that is working for you. Don't hesitate to reach out to one of our couples therapists at www.georgetowncouplestherapy.com or 416 949 9878 and book a free no obligation discovery call today.