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Signs Your Relationship is About to Fall Apart

Yes, you know them as well as I do. Sometimes the signs are difficult to accept until someone else identifies them and presents them to you. In my years of counselling about relationships, most of the people coming to me for advice wanted validation of the tough decisions they already knew they had to make. Here are some of the main signs that the relationship you once relished is, sadly, turning sour.

The Loving Interest is Numb


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When you see each other at the end of the day or after a brief separation you break into normal conversation without a greeting. Maybe you talk about the supermarket putting their prices up again, or your shoes getting wet in the snow instead of hugging and kissing your partner. You take each other for granted.

Do you know any couple who’ve been married for more than twenty years who still hug and kiss each other when they return home from work, a trip, shopping etc? They’ve been together that long because they’re still happy to see each other walk into a room and miss each other when they’re not there. They’re light to each other’s eyes.

The Physical Interest is Disabled


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You can’t say what your partner was wearing the last time you saw them. Was her hair down? Had he shaved that morning? To you ‘eye candy’ has become pre-packaged sweets on a two-for-one sale at the supermarket. It certainly does not relate to your partner in any way.

Couples who stay together pay attention to what the other looks like. They still find them attractive and strive to maintain a healthy measure of fitness expected for their age group. They look at each other with admiration even after years of being together and find ways of periodically ‘wowing’ each other with how they look. In short – they make the effort.

The Intellectual Interest has Failed


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You can sit for an entire one-hour car journey without saying a word to each other and feel totally comfortable doing it.

Do you still chatter like mad to your best friend of several years? All this time has passed and you still have things to talk about. Even if couples are only debating the reason the heroine of last night’s movie quit her job, it shows they still find each other intellectually stimulating and are excited by their partner’s mind and ideas.

The Romantic Interest has Lost Its Spark


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You both think it’s acceptable to do gross and personal stuff like picking your nose, burping with your mouth open, passing horrific wind, wiping your bottom, retrieving and eating the morning’s leftovers stuck between your teeth etc, in the presence of each other.

Couples who have lasting relationships are totally comfortable with each other. Nevertheless, because their romantic interest in their partner is still very alive, they don’t want them to see them at their very worst. The electric, tummy-fluttering attraction may have settled down over the years, but the spark of wanting to ‘keep them interested’ (because I’m very interested) never goes away in couples who stay together. How can you ’get the hots’ for someone you’ve seen brushing his tongue and letting the slime run down his toothbrush?

The Sexual Interest is Flaccid


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Both husband and wife are fine with the fact that they haven’t kissed (snogged, not pecked on the cheek) each other in a year.

Passion is present if there is a genuine sexual attraction. When physical, personal needs are met only because the other person is there and willing, this is the start of the breakdown in a very important part of a relationship.

If you see some of these signs in your own relationship it’s not too late fix it. A pair of crumbling crackers can still be held together if you put enough butter in the middle to join them. Get out your butter and start sticking. Late is better than never!

Please see my blog The Relationship Supermarket for a wealth of various relationship advice and information.

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User Comments
  1. OhSugar

    On September 10, 2009 at 5:55 am

    Excellent eye openers for signs of a failing relationship. Most times your intution will tell you that things have changed, even before noticing the physical changes. Great job.

  2. BC Doan

    On September 10, 2009 at 7:14 am

    I totally agree with all of these signs! Great article, Anne..

  3. cutedrishti8

    On September 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Nice one to share…Great work..Totally agreed

  4. CA Johnson

    On September 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    You gave us all something to think about. I do know a couple like this. I need to send my friend this article and see if she notices these things too.

  5. Lex92

    On September 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Anne I’ll keep these in mind when I get another bf one of these days :)

  6. gianne

    On September 10, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Relationships are hard work. Great piece of writing.

  7. Judy Sheldon

    On September 10, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Sometimes there is one who notices and the other who does not care…

    Great job at presenting points that demonstrate interest is waning.

  8. Ruby Hawk

    On September 10, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Good information, you have all the signs to watch out for.

  9. Chambo

    On September 13, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Thanks for the heads up Anne. I’ll watch for all of these and do something about them if I find myself stooping to this level.


  10. kizichat

    On September 14, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    thumbs up anne, you have great talent. this is an encapsulating piece. very informative too

  11. Antonette Ramos

    On September 19, 2009 at 6:10 am

    nice one… very beneficial to know. . . It’s true that love fades, so we must do our best to never let it go…


  12. diamondpoet

    On September 25, 2009 at 8:53 am

    I loved this article, especially because I know that I am in a secure marriage, and still very much in love.

  13. diamondpoet

    On September 25, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I loved this article, especially since I know that I am in a secure marriage, and still very much in love.

  14. Jaime Foutty

    On September 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Yeah, these are saddening. It\’s even worse when one part of the \”partners\” is way more emotional and good at showing these things than the other one is right off the bat (even in the beginning). It makes it harder to say if the relationship is really ending, it\’s just \”routine,\” (see a comment I made earlier :-) , or maybe was never meant to be from the start.

    Thanks for another great article.

  15. letschat6

    On January 24, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Very true and helpful!

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