3 signs your relationship is failing, according to a therapist

  • All relationships go through rough patches from time to time.
  • But if a relationship suffers from too many destructive habits or moments, it can be difficult to save.
  • A therapist shares three ways to tell if your relationship might be failing.

If you find yourself in the middle of an emotionally charged argument with your partner, or feel stuck in a relationship slump, it’s normal to wonder if your dynamic is still working.

Usually, if a relationship goes beyond the point of saving, there are combined factors, such as being critical of the character of a partner and lack of interest in improving your bond, according to Aldrich Chan, a therapist and neuropsychologist. If one or both partners exhibit these behaviors, it could mean that your relationship is fraying, she said.

Of course, it’s normal to face some difficult times and disagreements with your partner, and a relationship can definitely be strengthened when handled with care, says Chan. “But if multiple factors occur together, or occur in sequence, it can actually increase the risk of a relationship failing,” he told Business Insider.

They criticize your personality

It’s one thing to feel frustrated or annoyed with your partner from time to time. But if you or your partner repeatedly respond to negative feelings by attacking another person’s characterthis can damage your connection, according to Chan.

If, when you and your partner argue, the conversation regularly devolves into hurtful remarks or sarcastic retorts, it can put emotional distance between the partners or lead to resentmentChan said.

“It is characterized by a seductive attitude, where one partner acts with moral superiority over the other partner,” Chan told BI. In a healthy dynamic, partners argue with the goal of understanding each other, not putting each other down, he said.

They are quiet in difficult moments

During a heated disagreement, some people may feel overwhelmed and may need to stop to process their emotions before finding a solution with their partner. It’s normal, and even helpful, to ask for space to do this, Chan says.

But if someone keeps quiet without first communicating their need to do so, and gives their partner the silent treatment, it could be a sign that the relationship isn’t working, according to Chan.

He said this behavior, often referred to as “stoning,” trust and connection can be broken because it leaves the partner feeling threatened and insecure during a major point of tension.

If a person disagrees with their partner, feels unheard, or wants their partner to behave differently, it is better to tell them directly and as calmly as possible, so that you can resolve it together, Chan said.

You feel disinterested in improving your connection

Everyone messes up in their relationship from time to time, accidentally rekindling a fight because they don’t calm down first, or forget to schedule date night because work has been busy.

But if you or your partner find you the strength is gone or interest in making your connection stronger and more sustainable, it may be time to end things, says Chan.

“If you have tried several times to communicate with your partner in a clear and concise way and maybe you have even changed a few things for your partner but they seem to resist all your attempts, then that is a sign that it doesn’t work,” Chan told BI.

In a healthy transition, partners apologize for their missteps and make an effort to invest in relationship-strengthening skills, such as reading self-help books, going to therapy, and regularly check in with each other about how to improve the dynamic, according to Chan.

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