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
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
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
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
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
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.