Love. Lust. Loneliness.
Stuck in the comfort zone. Afraid of moving on. There are many reasons why you can feel like your relationship is coming to an end. Sometimes, it just isn’t right.
I’ve been in several relationships throughout my life, and it’s strange to think that one day you can feel madly in love with someone, and seemingly the next, sometimes over the course of a single fleeting moment, they can become a complete stranger.
Maybe you can’t pinpoint when it happened.
Through the series of arguments, growing interests in other things — and perhaps other people — , and several bouts of feeling misunderstood, one day you wake up, and you find yourself questioning everything you thought you knew.
Maybe you were happy.
Perhaps you thought you’d found the one.
Many of us found and build our realities based on the feelings of love we have for other people, but when it just isn’t there, at some point, you’ve got to decide to move on. This is for the greater good for both you and your partner.
Of course, it’s going to hurt, but this act of closing yourself off to a more connected, more right-feeling opportunity for love — even if this is the joruney of loving yourself — is going to hurt you even more.
Whether you had a sudden pang of doubt, a niggling thought you can’t seem to shift, or you’re always trying to hide from the storm of emotion you feel each and every day, masking it with the mantra that everything’s going to be okay, it might be time to open your eyes and acknowledge how you truly feel.
You just need to look for the signs.
Feelings of Disconnect
If you feel disconnected from your partner, then chances are, surprise surprise, the connection isn’t there.
You may sense this disconnect in little flickers here and there. It may be a more constant feeeling. If you look at your partner, or even think about them or visualize them in your mind’s eye, and you don’t feel that physical/emotion/romantic pull towards them, then love has probably left the building.
Desperately Looking for Wins
I have such a bad habit of trying to look on the bright side. There’s nothing wrong with being optimistic, but when you’re telling yourself you’re in love with someone and you’re trying your hardest to celebrate even the tiniest of wins that can barely be seen through the shitstorm of arguments, disagreements, and fallings out, this isn’t love.
This is an attempt to cling onto your comfort zone.
Yes, life isn’t all good, and there are peaks and there are valleys. However, if you’re examining your relationship under your mental microscope to find something you can hold up and scream ‘eureka’ about — if it’s not something that comes naturally and securely to your relationship — it’s not love; it’s forcing it.
As Kris Gage so wisely writes (paraphrased);
Love doesn’t happen in the highs of a relationship. The highs are all about smiles and enjoying life and creating and capturing all those memories you want to fill your mantlepiece photo frames with in later life. This is just a happy relationship.
Love is tested and shines through in the lows of a relationship. This is where love really happens.
When shit gets tough and hits the fan (what an image, right?), this is when your love for each other should really be apparent.
Do you come together, melt your minds into one and figure out how to move forward, or, do you put your barriers up and initiate your lockdown protocol?
It’s fine to have some barriers, especially if you’re dealing with stuff from your past and you’re trying to work through it etc., but if your true, deep-down feeling is to run and cover for yourself when things start going wrong, regardless of what your partner is doing, then the chances are that’s what you really want to do.
I’ve been in so many situations throughout my relationships when something happened, such as being cheated on or in an argument about whatever, when my gut instinct has screamed at me something like;
‘What the fuck are you doing Mike, you deserve better than this’
Then, I’ve ignored it within several seconds and returned back to my old relationship patterns of suppressing how I truly feel, even if that means lying to myself, and then trying to make it work.
How you react internally is probably a clear indication of what you actually want in your life, no matter how much you try to cover it up.
You’re Telling Yourself You Don’t Want to Put the Work In
Look, I know this may seem paradoxical, and if you didn’t want to be in a relationship, then you wouldn’t, but this isn’t the reality of the situation, at least not for me.
If you want to be single, or you want to work on your career, or finding yourself, or you want to travel, or sexually experiment with other people, or any other thing you want to do with your life, you can go and do these things. Yes, sometimes you can be in a relationship and do all these things, and sometimes you can’t.
My point is, if there’s a big, majority part of you that’s saying you don’t want to be in a relationship because you want to focus on yourself or other things or other people, there’s probably a bit of truth to that, and it’s worth listening too.
It might mean you need to have a conversation with your partner, an open and honest conversation about what you really want, but if you keep telling yourself over and over again that you don’t want the relationship you’ve got and you’re unwilling to put the work in or compromise, then it isn’t love.
Like the above, I’ve always seen romantic relationships as a connection where you love each other as a team effort. You’re looking out for each other. You support each other. You’re there for each other to celebrate wins and to help each other through the losses. It takes two to tango.
On the other hand, if you’re point-scoring with each other or you can’t even start talking about something without the other getting defensive or spiteful comments coming out, then you’re not acting like a team.
The barriers are up, and everyone involved is out for themselves.
A good way of figuring this out is to listen to the words you say to each other. If words like ‘you and ‘I’ are being used way more than words like ‘our,’ ‘we,’ and ‘us,’ this is a clear sign there’s no “teamwork mentality”.
Another way this works is being able to set boundaries for one another, encouraging each other to grow in the ways that you want to grow.
For me, I wanted to practice early morning starts. I’ve read allabout how helpful they can be, and many claim it’s a great way to make the most out of life.
Sure, it’s up to me to enforce that change and want to make it work, meaning I need to set boundaries to make it happen. However, if I was to share this goal with my partner, they should bear it in mind and help to encourage it as well.
Let me give another example.
If you had a friend who wanted to lose weight but was very self-conscious about it, you wouldn’t suggest eating at a fast food joint at the weekends. A good friend who works in a team would suggest cooking at home or going to the gym one night together.
This is the level of support you should be giving each other in your relationships when you love the other person.
Lust Over Love
I dated a girl for about a year, and, in the beginning, we were madly head over heels for each other. We were about a month into knowing each other when we first slept together, that sweet spot where you’re still exploring the mysteries of each other’s minds while still finding the comfortable ground where it’s enough to be you.
All these heightened emotions and exciting feelings meant the sex was amazing. I remember it being one of those times where you snap back to reality afterward, laying on the floor gasping for breath, and then everything that just happened kind of hits you at once.
We were laughing for several minutes just in supposed disbelief that we could feel that connected to another person.
A few months went by, and the exciting spell dried up. We knew each other well; we argued weekly (read ‘near-daily’) about serious relationship stuff and the petty things that meant nothing like work and who didn’t put the bins out. It was all the same to us. One day we were planning our future, the next on the verge of breaking up. She slept with someone else. I resented her for it. I couldn’t let it go. We drifted apart.
The sex was still amazing.
It turns out sex is a great distraction when it comes to acknowledging feelings and making the right decisions. Whenever we argued, we could end up in bed together, and all the problems would seemingly melt away into non-existence. Of course, they never did; they were muted below moans and beads of sweat.
If you’re able to have an intimate relationship with someone, intense or casual, that’s just about sex, that’s great. If you’re trying to retain a relationship that’s falling apart on the basis that the sex is great, and you’re telling yourself the love/passion must still be there, it’s just going to keep falling into pieces.
You’re Reading Articles Like This
TLDR: whether you’re clicking on articles like this because they show up in your feed or you’re actively Googling them, trying to see if you resonate with content like this is a very clear sign that something is up.
If you were in love, you wouldn’t need to read this.
My first novel is out now! I ESCAPE THROUGH YOU is an intimate retelling of the challenges of modern relationships told with hindsight and lessons learned.
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