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9 signs you’re in a ‘relationdip’ (versus a major downward spiral)

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Relationdip (noun): a temporary decline in the happiness and satisfaction experienced by one or both partners in a relationship.

Relationships ebb and flow.

It’s virtually unheard of to be blissfully happy with your partner all the time.

But when does the ebb and flow become something more serious?

When does a dip in happiness and harmony give way to a downward spiral that risks the breaking of the partnership?

The following signs provide the clues that the low you are experiencing is merely a brief interlude in an otherwise happy and healthy relationship.

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you figure out whether your relationship is okay or in serious trouble. You may want to try speaking to someone via RelationshipHero.com for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

1. You continue to think and feel positively about the long-term prospects of your relationship.

When you’re in the midst of a relationdip, you might not be jumping with joy all the time, but you do remain optimistic about the state of your relationship.

Whether consciously or not, you plan for the future with a positive outlook for your enduring love and commitment.

You recognize the potential, you are still willing to make the emotional investment, and you retain a deep sense of hope for your future together.

This is in contrast to a more serious downturn in your relationship where you might find yourself thinking about what comes after a breakup—or even preparing for it—because you are unable to see a way out of the hole you are in.

2. You accept shared blame for the low point.

There is usually something to trigger a relationdip. It could be a disagreement, it could be external factors, or it could be something else.

But when it happens, you don’t point fingers and lay all the blame at the feet of your partner.

You accept shared responsibility for how things are between you, and you are able to reflect on the part you played.

This involves forming a balanced perspective of the situation that accurately reflects reality.

If your relationship were on a long-term downward trajectory, on the other hand, you’d likely be unable or unwilling to make such a fair and reasonable assessment. Chances are, you’d blame your partner more than you would yourself.

3. You’re still committed to shared activities.

You and your partner probably do certain things together, right? Activities that you’ve always shared and that have become tradition.

That might be a Friday night movie date, attending a particular sporting event or music festival, or going to the gym together.

If you’re in a relationdip and not something more serious, you will probably still choose to do these things together.

You know that there is a certain level of bonding to be felt through these shared interests or mutual hobbies, and that continuing to engage in them will actually help your relationship get back to better times.

If you’re in a much more negative mindset about your relationship, you might find yourself (or your partner) choosing to break from tradition by doing “your things” alone or with other people.

4. Being in one another’s company still feels comfortable (for the most part).

When you’re in a relationdip, the atmosphere between you and your partner might not be as free and easy-going as usual, but you are probably still able to relax in each other’s company.

The underlying companionship that maintains your relationship is still present, and you can go about your days together without awkwardness or tension (okay, so there might be some, but it is not disruptive).

Your interactions remain natural, you feel comfortable and at ease, and neither of you feels the need to walk on eggshells to avoid causing upset.

Contrast this with a relationship experiencing more major issues where two partners may feel so uncomfortable in each other’s presence that they do things that mean they spend as little time together as possible.

5. You continue to show respect toward one another.

Respect is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship. And when you’re at a natural low point with your partner, you still manage to treat each other with the respect you both deserve.

You communicate with dignity, you honor each other’s boundaries, and you give due consideration to the thoughts, wants, and wishes expressed by them.

In general, then, you conduct yourself politely and with care for your partner.

As you might imagine, when a relationship takes a real turn for the worse, respect can fall by the wayside. Partners will often be more willing to lash out at each other and generally disrespect each other if they feel the end is coming anyway.

6. You and your partner are willing to communicate about what’s disrupting the harmony in your relationship.

Another sign you’re in a relationdip rather than something more serious is a willingness to openly discuss the thing(s) that have led to this period of relative discontent.

You and your partner are able to communicate constructively with respect and honesty to seek mutual understanding of how you feel and what you’re thinking.

That dialogue is key to restoring the harmony between you, and though it isn’t always easy, you are committed to addressing the issues.

It is important to note, however, that there may be a period of mutual withdrawal before this communication can take place. It’s natural to need and want to calm down and reflect on things before being able to talk about them.

If your relationship were in freefall, on the other hand, the desire to communicate and cooperate can disappear altogether.

7. You both engage in displays of love and affection.

In a relationdip, you and your partner should still be able to muster up a few gestures of affection.

That may take the form of loving physical expression or displays of tenderness, but if things are a little strained between you, it might show differently.

For example, you or your partner may perform acts of service and kindness in place of physical affection if you aren’t feeling ready for that just yet.

The important thing is that you are still reminding each other of the emotional connection you share.

When things get really bad in a relationship, these moments of care and love are absent because that connection has faded to a point where such acts feel pointless and fake.

8. You are both able to accept each other’s flaws as human beings.

Compassion is still very much present during a relationdip, and this allows you to see each other through tolerant, nonjudgmental eyes.

You can acknowledge that you are both equally as imperfect as each other simply by virtue of being human beings who have flaws.

This acceptance of human nature allows you to deal with one another’s shortcomings in a more understanding way.

You can maintain your positive perspective about your partner despite facing the sometimes harmful or hurtful effects of their imperfect behavior.

In contrast, when your relationship is in a truly sorry state, you may find it hard to fathom how your partner could act the way they do. You might not see them as monsters, but you might not see them as “good” people either.

9. You still work as a team when required.

Working together is what good couples do. They know that whatever problem they face, success at overcoming it is more likely when they show a unified front.

When present, that cooperation, that joint effort is a good sign that you are merely in a relationdip and not something more concerning.

If you and your partner are willing to demonstrate teamwork and a collective problem-solving approach to issues, you are reinforcing in your minds that you are stronger together than apart.

It doesn’t matter if the issue you face is within the relationship or external to it, by pulling in the same direction, you’re displaying a desire to overcome it for the good of you both.

If, on the other hand, things have gotten really bad between you and your partner, you might not feel able to rely on them to help you face your problems, and you might not even want to solve difficulties within your relationship.


So there you have it—my newly coined term “relationdip” explained in 9 simple points.

If you see these signs in your relationship, it’s actually a good thing. It means that whatever slump the two of you find yourself in is almost certainly temporary!

Still not sure whether your relationship is just in a lull or whether there is a more serious underlying problem?

Speak to an experienced relationship expert about it.

Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

While you can try to work through this situation yourself or as a couple, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix.

And if it is affecting your relationship and mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through in their relationships without ever being able to resolve the issues that affect them. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.