Are You Slowly Drifting Away?
Let’s face it, the dating culture has become more miscellaneous and confusing than ever. The rise and fall of a relationship is convoluted. When it comes to the declining phase, your own logic and emotions play a cat-and-mouse game—not able to wrap your head around whether you no longer having feelings towards the person and should call a halt to the relationship. Or is it merely a cooling-off period, a false alarm to actual closure? Read on to discover the five signs of a deteriorating relationship to help you paint a clearer picture.
1. You are more covert
You used to tell each other almost everything, from your frenemy Adria at work, to your sister receiving the first ultrasound in her pregnancy. Your partner is just like your secret diary, just more understanding and minus the solidarity in a one-way enunciation. The extent of disclosure to one’s partner, of course, varies from culture to culture, but one universal rule to a healthy companionship is sincerity. However, your conversations become less forthright and more peripheral recently. The late night tête-à-tête after work is less heartfelt. It feels like there are lumps in your throat and something holding you back from showing genuine emotions and thoughts.
2. You are less devoted to the relationship
Commitment, one of the three elements of the Sternberg’s triangular theory of love, can be defined as the instrument by which promoting factors aids the persistence of a relationship (Arriaga and Agnew, 2001). To put it simply, the pro-activity in sustaining the shelf life of a relationship. It doesn’t mean a feast in every monthiversary; keeping the relationship intact is theoretically sufficient. But lately you have found yourself putting in less effort in making plans with your partner; you would much rather go play golf on a Sunday with your high-school friend Jordan. You are spending less time with, less money and less attention on your partner. All in all, plummeting enthusiasm so to speak.
3. You finally discovered you have distinctively different relationship expectations
Where do you see yourself in three, eight and fifteen years? You don’t have to have your own future all figured out to know if you wish to remain in your current relationship or would you actually flee if ‘moral obligation’ is inexistence in this reality. Your partner once talked about big future plans like having children and moving to another town to raise them, meanwhile you are always a big believer in a childless life. You have been falling in love fervently in the moment enough to forget to contemplate the future. (“It was the hormones speaking.”) Not until now that you realise you two do not see the future the same way which is a sign that the relationship is approaching its dead-end. The mammoth distinction of relationship expectations can severely damage the bond and be detrimental to both sides in the longer run.
4. The ick
The ick, or the repulsive syndrome, can be interpreted essentially the “cringy turnoff”. Imagine having dinner with your partner like a normal Thursday night. He/she made a joke that would’ve made you chortle if it was your third date, but which suddenly hits you, “Has his/her humour always been this dry and distasteful?”. It is like they used up their Pixie dust and could no longer fly in the most romantic dream of yours for a minute.
5. Your gut feeling
This is straight forward—you have to trust your gut feeling. You cannot explain how but you feel more up-lifted whenever your partner is not around. Hanging out with friends and family starts to feel like a getaway from the tediousness you two share—a time when you are unleashed to enjoy a bit of the fresher air, and you don’t even have to be unfaithful to feel the guilty pleasure. But be aware that such feeling has to be persistence and not merely an episode of detachment from arguing or having spent overwhelmingly long hours with your partner.
The deteriorating of a romantic relationship can be like the erosion caused by the waves dashing the rocks—subtle yet damaging. However, the above signs are not the watermark of a relationship downfall. A bingo doesn’t necessarily mean this is the end of it. Who knows if this is just a rough patch and better memories await. As Simone de Beauvoir put it, as appealing as the idea of “soulmate” is, the search for a perfect match is futile due to its non-existence. Spend some time on your own to reflect on the unsettling scenarios, clarify your concerns and elucidate them rationally to each other or turn to couple therapy if necessary.