Considering separating from your partner is more common than you might think - and there are a whole host of reasons why couples decide to break up. If you're unsure whether to call it quits, recognising the signs your relationship is over may be helpful.
“For some people, it is a slow recognition of a number of factors that begin to emerge in their relationship, while for others, there is a defining moment – when they realise that the relationship simply can’t last, often when you realise that you no longer love the person that they are with, or sadly, that they no longer love you,” says dating coach and behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings.
“If you want to address the issues that are building up in your relationship, then the only way to truly understand whether you have a future together is to talk it through with your partner and tell them how you are feeling, however difficult it seems,” she adds.
“Sometimes these feelings will be to do with something else altogether like illness or work stress, but if you don’t communicate, it will tend to get worse. If you are the one who is feeling like you don’t see a future, then it is kinder to be honest, rather than let your partner continue to suffer in fear and concern.”
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Some of the UK’s leading relationship and marriage experts have shared the signs that could spell the end of your relationship.
A lack of excitement and communication
Leading dating coach and psychologist Jo Hemmings lists the top reasons that a relationship has come to the end of its course.
“Rowing over inconsequential things that never bothered you before," she begins. "Or if really bad, not actually arguing at all, because you or your partner simply can’t be bothered even to row.
"Another is a growing lack of communication or disconnect, both in and out of the bedroom and not feeling concerned about who they are with or what they might be doing. Others include increasingly enjoying or looking forward to spending time without your partner; noticing flaws in your partner, where before you weren’t aware of them or even loved them for it and feeling that sex is a chore or lacks intimacy."
James Preece – otherwise known as ‘The Dating Guru’ – says that one of the most common reasons for couples splitting up is boredom.
"If you don’t get excited about seeing your partner anymore, then something is wrong," he says. "You’ve both stopped making an effort and are stuck in the same routines. You go to the same place, do the same things and have the same conversations over and over. It’s possible to save a relationship by mixing things up again, but if you don’t want to, then your days are numbered."
Resentment is also a strong (and strange-sounding factor) in a break-up, says Preece.
"If your relationship is strong, then you are a team," he says. "Your partner’s successes and happiness are yours too. If you are heading towards a split, then you’ll start to feel these are personal slights against you. Every comment or action they take will begin to annoy you, no matter how well meaning they are."
Of course, arguing is also high on the list. "Most couples bicker from time to time and it’s usually a healthy way to express your feelings," says Preece. "However, if you find yourselves doing it much more than there are probably built up issues bubbling away. You’ll begin to snap at them for the tiniest little things."
But a lack of arguing can also be a bad sign, according to Preece. "Even more worrying that arguing too much is when you completely stop. If you can’t be bothered to fight for what you want then you won’t be bothered to fight for your relationship."
Your gut feeling
Sometimes, your gut feeling is right. "If your relationship has run its course then you’ll both know deep down, even if you don’t want to admit it," Preece adds. "It will be a nagging little voice telling you that things aren’t quite right. In this situation, it’s best to talk about what’s happening and plan a separation as amicably as possible."