It can happen in bursts or all of a sudden on a quiet Sunday night with your partner — that moment when you’ve realized you settled in your relationship. Maybe it’s hard to identify comfort from stagnancy. These are emotional states of being that often overlap, but eventually, we all gain that insight into our relationships in terms of what they are or are not. Here are some brutal signs that you might have settled in your relationship.
- You don’t see a future with them. Maybe it’s when your other friends are planning couples retreats or holidays with their partners for next summer and you wonder why on earth they’d do that. You reflect on the brittle nature of your own relationship, or you wonder why they would plan so far ahead. It betrays either a fear that you will break up, or worse, a knowledge that you won’t, but you also wouldn’t bother to plan for an exciting holiday. No relationships are the same, and sometimes there are other issues at play like money and time off, but you aren’t planning for a future – and you aren’t breaking up. Ask yourself why you’re still in the relationship. Does it feel safe? Is that all it offers you?
- You aren’t scared of the relationship. On the surface, this is a good sign because it shows that you’re comfortable. However, everyone needs a little fear in their life. A little insecurity or space for growth in the relationship or on a personal level. If you don’t have that, you both stay exactly where you are and you don’t grow as a couple or experience a journey. It teaches you bad emotional habits because you will associate the feeling of comfort in a relationship with having the upper hand. Feeling like you’re the one in charge of it. That’s not healthy. You should both be equal partners.
- You aren’t excited anymore. Maybe each day you wake up feels the same. You no longer feel like there are things to look forward to. Do you feel that you are the person who makes the moves in the relationship? That’s a lot of pressure. It also erases the possibility of romantic surprises or spontaneity. You alone are not responsible for the relationship. If you are you have probably settled because, by definition, you aren’t moving.
- You don’t get jealous. Yes, this is a sign of great emotional maturity, but sometimes it emerges out of a dullness in the relationship. A deadness, or – unconsciously – the terrible belief that you trust them because you’re no longer attracted to them. You wonder why anyone else would be with them when you start to resent that you still are. This is where the negativity sets in and you start to have these invasive thoughts. Truthfully, you don’t really mean them, but you will find yourself frustrated and angry. You’ve stopped caring and the emotional stakes have been lost.
- You stop dressing up. The cessation of effort in a relationship is really the red letter door stage. You’re both in your tracksuits and having take-out once a week as your vague attempt of a date night. It isn’t fulfilling for either person, and you’re wasting away.
- You prefer your friends’ company. Maybe you see more of a future with them than with your partner. You can escape the feeling of having settled when you hang out with other people. They will enrich your lives and distract you. It could be that you feel you can suggest trying out new things with friends more than with a partner.
- You need more space from your partner. Establish how you’re feeling about everything. Some space will enable you to unpack your relationship fatigue from the personal issues with your partner.
- You’re bored. Pure and simple, if you’re bored and reluctant in a relationship, it’s dead. Believe me. If you have to badger and nag your partner to do things with you, stop it right there. You are no one’s mother. Value your own time and space and don’t let the sunk cost of your previous time with your partner prevent you from ending things. It’s for the best for both of you if you don’t love each other anymore.
Be kind with yourself as you make these decisions and reflect on your relationship. It’s not the time to blame people, but just to take action when you need to. Trust your instincts.