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If you want your relationship to last, stop ignoring these 12 wake-up calls

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A lot of people whose relationships fall apart insist they never saw it coming.

They claim there were no clues or red flags that things were deteriorating.

Because if there were, they would’ve taken action.

But there are always signs if you know where to look.

Here are 12 major wake-up calls that shouldn’t be ignored if you want your relationship to last:

1. Diminishing emotional intimacy.

Remember when you first got together and you’d spend hours talking about all kinds of things?

In those early days, you probably went out of your way to show each other affection, like giving small gifts, writing each other little notes, or bringing each other breakfast in bed.

If these types of behaviors have diminished recently, it’s a sign that things have taken a downturn.

It’s normal for things to die down after the first fluttery rush of emotional connection has passed, especially when kids or work get in the way.

But keeping up these seemingly small acts can be the difference between fostering appreciation in a relationship or fostering resentment.

2. Lessened physical intimacy.

Sex isn’t the most important thing in a relationship, but it’s usually on most people’s top five list.

And there are other types of physical intimacy in romantic relationships. For example, kissing and cuddling, draping your legs over one another while sitting on the couch, or remaining in physical contact while sleeping.

Has your physical intimacy decreased significantly?

Do you find that the two of you only ever kiss on the cheek now? Or not at all? Is one or both of you finding excuses to avoid having sex? Or does it seem that interest has waned in that regard?

3. An increase in petty arguments.

If the two of you are bickering over which way to hang the toilet paper roll, or getting angry about the cutlery drawer, it’s a warning sign that things are going downhill.

Of course, trivial arguments increase when we’re stressed or tired, but if you notice irritation or judgment creeping into your every interaction, you’ll need to get a handle on it soon.

Although they may seem insignificant, petty arguments can seriously wear away at your relationship over time.

4. Complete absence of arguments.

In contrast, sometimes a complete absence of conflict speaks more loudly than repeated arguments.

When couples don’t argue or disagree at all anymore, it means at least one of them has checked out.

They’re not invested in this relationship anymore and are simply going through the motions to maintain the status quo.

In essence, they’ve given up and don’t care enough to argue anymore.

5. Feeling lonely in your relationship.

Sometimes, the loneliest place to be is in a relationship with someone who neglects you.

It’s worse than being single because at least then there’s a physical absence to explain your feelings.

If you’re feeling lonely in your relationship, it’s because your fundamental needs aren’t being met, and this is a major wake-up call.

If you don’t take action within your relationship to resolve it, there’s a good chance you’ll start looking elsewhere to get those needs met.

6. Spending less and less quality time together.

‘Quality time’ means different things to everyone, but it generally involves close proximity and some type of interaction with your partner.

Some people like to order take-out and binge-watch a favorite TV series together, while others prefer gaming, going for walks, enjoying meals out, and so on.

Pay attention to what the two of you are doing when you’re supposedly spending time together.

Are you sitting on opposite sides of the couch, on your phones, not talking to one another? Or do you retreat to different rooms after dinner to do your own thing?

Is one of you trying to make quality time happen and the other avoids it, or are you both pulling away from each other?

7. A lack of meaningful conversations.

In healthy relationships, partners generally have important conversations about all aspects of their lives.

They talk about the kids, difficulties at work, issues affecting the wider family, politics, future plans, and so on.

If the two of you aren’t having discussions of this nature, you need to ask yourself why.

Of course, it’s great if you can enjoy companionable silence, but if you aren’t taking an interest in each other’s lives or opinions, that’s a whole other matter.

8. Only talking about your problems outside of the relationship.

It’s normal for people to talk to their friends and family members about their relationship because it’s good to get an outside perspective as well as support.

Problems arise, however, when people only talk about these problems outside of the relationship, rather than discussing it with their partners.

If you aren’t talking to each other about your relationship issues, ask yourself why.

Are you afraid of the discomfort that may be caused by potential conflict? Or worried that bringing up this topic may reveal issues you don’t want to face?

9. Prioritizing life outside of the relationship.

Do you find you constantly avoid spending time with your significant other?

Or perhaps you want to spend more time with them, but their priorities always take precedence?

Maybe they blow off plans because one of their friends needs them, or they’ve devoted themselves to a particular cause they feel passionate about.

Regardless of whether they’re choosing work, socializing, or something else over you (or if you’re the one doing the choosing), the key here is that something else always seems to be more important than spending time together.

And that’s a wake-up call you shouldn’t ignore if you want the relationship to last.

10. Feeling more like roommates.

The two of you may get on well on many levels, but if you’re essentially living separate lives while living together, technically you’re just roommates.

Take a look at your day-to-day activities and ask yourself if the behaviors you’re exhibiting are more common for housemates sharing a flat, than a couple that’s supposedly in love.

Do you prepare and eat separate meals? Are your chores shared? Or do you only do your own laundry and your own dishes and ignore your partners?

Is there any physical affection between you at all?

Do you attend social and family functions as a couple? Or show up on your own and make excuses for their absence?

11. Complete lack of engagement with one another.

There can be several different reasons why couples stop engaging with each other.

A common one is that your primary love languages are in opposition to each other’s, so you have difficulty communicating and accepting one another’s affection properly.

As such, you give up on these attempts to connect altogether.

Alternatively, there may be misunderstandings from a lack of proper communication about expectations, or simmering resentment about unspoken boundaries being overstepped.

Whatever the cause, it’s a warning sign that shouldn’t be ignored, as it can lead to the two of you actively avoiding one another until the chasm is so big, that it can’t be overcome.

12. Interest in someone else.

When it comes to signs telling you that your relationship needs work, few are more glaringly obvious than a romantic interest in another person.

Maybe your partner keeps talking about the new person at work and how fun, smart, and attractive they are.

Or you find yourself chatting with a captivating creature on social media, daydreaming about what it would be like to be with them.

If you only pay attention to one wake-up call on this list, make it this one.

The others could be chalked up to various temporary issues or life stressors, but serious interest in another person is a massive sign that things need to be addressed in your relationship now. Or it isn’t going to last much longer.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.