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How to know if your relationship is about to end?

It is difficult for us to accept that our partner no longer provides us with the same level of happiness as in the beginning and, and although sometimes it is just a crisis, at other times there may be more than obvious signs indicating that the relationship is no longer going anywhere. All relationships go through a series of phases until they are consolidated. This evolution is not linear or stable, so it is normal to confuse certain signs but we must also know how to identify when it is not a stage but an obvious break.

Relationship stages

Interpersonal relationships are the object of study of Psychology. One of the most famous psychologists dedicated to this study is George Levinger, famous for his theory on the  5 stages of a relationship. Based on this theory, we can find several phases that all people go through in their relationships :

Familiarization: The beginning of the relationship where the union is based on physical attraction and psychological similarities.

Development: Dependency increases and more time is spent together.

Continuation: Long-term commitment and firm union of the couple. It is the consolidation itself, based on other values, such as trust.

Deterioration: This phase, which does not always occur, is characterized by a lack of satisfaction.

Termination: Trust, intimacy and affection disappear, and it does not always imply a break. Sometimes it is a marriage that is maintained by the children or is simply extinguished upon the death of one of the members.

Identify the end

The signs are not always obvious, and this is due to the fact that it is something unilateral, where only one of the people does not want to continue with the relationship, or that we think that the couple is simply evolving to a less intimate stage. The signs can be identified if we know how and where to look, based on everyday relationships and moments of intimacy.

Lack of confidence. It is characterized by the absence of shared moments and secrets. It is not always because trust has been lost, but because the other is deprived of important and daily information as an unconscious punishment.

Non-existent interest or only for one of the two. No phone calls or messages appear, and few plans are proposed. It is very evident when one of the two is the only one paying attention to the other and there is a marked imbalance, but it can also occur on both sides and self-criticism must be done to identify it.

Little time as a couple. Social relationships, with friends or family, are prioritized. Less time is spent with a partner and if they do, there is always a third person. Boredom, disinterest and apathy appear in common moments.

Non-existent sexual relations. Sexual relations have a notable increase in the early stages of a relationship. They usually decrease as the months or years go by, even with periods of abstinence, but it may be a sign that shows the lack of interest that the partner has begun to generate in you.

Unresolvable differences. They may be due to problems with the children or with common goals, but an attempt is always made to reach an intermediate point. When the differences are irreconcilable, it is a clear symptom of a lack of interest in the welfare of the other and the couple.

Absence of goals. From more basic aspects, such as vacations and trips, to more important issues such as having children or buying a house. Without common goals we can be flooded by apathy and the couple can break up.

Toxicity. Disinterest becomes control over the other. His leisure, his work, his relationships and, dangerously, also his mobile phone are monitored. It completely unbalances the couple and can create low self-esteem and emotional dependence.

It is essential to detect the first symptoms when they still have a solution, but always, through dialogue and empathy, the situation can be reformulated and ended, if necessary, with the relationship in order to evolve and have a greater future well-being.

This article was originally published on elPeriódico