When a couple is in trouble, one of them usually starts drifting away long before the other realises anything is wrong. Is that you?
Maybe you’ve even met someone already and are starting to wonder where your future lies?
Or maybe it’s your partner who’s feeling discontented. Either way, people who’re unhappy rarely just walk out of an existing relationship.
Instead, they generally rub along for a while until there’s some sort of crisis. And everything comes out into the open.
Maybe your partner still loves you and just doesn’t know what to do. Or they’re thinking of leaving but don’t want to hurt your feelings. Or they feel trapped because they can’t go, perhaps because of the children.
A partner who wants out tends to use their phone a lot and keeps it away from you. They’re probably difficult to get hold of, and bad at returning your calls.
If they still love you but are confused by feelings for someone else, they’re likely to be emotionally unstable. One moment they’re passionate, the next they’ve completely lost interest. One moment they’re affectionate, the next they’re not. They may even start talking about the ‘someone else,’ but as if they’re just friends.
A partner who’s unhappy but doesn’t want to hurt you usually seems to be down. They stop saying ‘I love you’ or expressing affection, don’t seem to enjoy your company anymore, demand more privacy and independence, and stop making plans together. They avoid conflict, lose interest in sex and may even seem depressed.
A partner who wants to go but feels they can’t leave is often perpetually irritable. They get angry easily, aren’t interested in sex, and offer little emotional intimacy or affection. It’s difficult to talk things over with them because they just don’t seem to care. They live their own life, avoid doing things together, and are frequently out of the house or away from home. You feel neglected, and they forget anniversaries and special occasions.
Is it too late if you see signs like that? No, it’s never too late, unless you’ve stopped arguing! Because arguing means you both still care.
It’s the way that you argue that signals how close your relationship is to a breakup.
Moaning about each other’s behaviour is one thing. But when criticising each other’s behaviour turns into an attack on your personalities, then you need to worry.
It might not even be with words. We’ve all seen couples where one of them is telling you about their latest exploit, while the other’s rolling their eyes.
You soon start feeling defensive. Soon neither of you is listening to the other. Until, exhausted by it all, one of you gives up and starts talking to a lawyer.
But it doesn’t have to go that way. Because if the fundamentals are sound, it’s never too late to start putting things right. So long as you pick up the signs that say that one of you is looking for a way out.