Marriage Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.
Ah, the new year is practically here, time for self-reflection and resolutions. Instead of resolving to lose the same old five pounds that always seems to come back, how about taking a fresh look at your relationship? Are there some red flags you’ve been ignoring because it’s just too comfortable to keep on keepin’ on? Maybe it’s time to be honest with yourself and resolve to end the relationship if that would be better.
But how do you know if you’d be better off ending your relationship? The truth is that no one can ever know with 100 percent certainty that any crucial decision is correct because there’s no way of testing the two alternatives. That’s just the nature of life. But that doesn’t mean you should just take the path of least resistance. Writing for Psychology Today, Andrea Bonior, Ph.D. says “Sometimes… There are concrete signs that a relationship is unhealthy for you, and keeping you from meeting your full potential. Often, the inertia is strong enough that you may choose to remain in the relationship because the short-term discomfort of ending it keeps you trapped. That feels more visceral — the immediate fear of the (temporary) negative consequences of breaking up — even if you know that in the long-term you would be better off.”
Of course, you can more easily process judgments and the decisions that follow if we’re talking about a short-term dating relationship rather than a long-term marriage. But either way, some red flags are valid no matter the length of the relationship. The only difference may be whether the solution is ending the relationship or seeking counseling.
With that said, here are seven signs, according to Bonior, that you may never be truly fulfilled in your relationship.
“There are constant ‘if-onlys.’” When you’re preoccupied almost on a daily basis with something about your partner that could be better — especially if it’s a fundamental issue like values — then it may be time to step back and honestly evaluate the relationship.
“You don’t feel understood.” This is especially important if you suspect you might not be fully loved if you fully revealed who you truly were.
“You feel drained by your partner, even when they’re not being particularly draining.” Here’s a sign to look for: you need a little time away from them and don’t look toward the time with them as a respite from the world.
“You hide major parts of your partner from friends and family.” This is a surefire clue, especially if you value your friends’ and family’s judgment.
“You always assume or imagine that they’ll change in some major way before you have a future with them.” Do you spend time imagining what it would be like if your partner makes the change they’ve been promising to make? Uh oh – watch out.
“You have to make apologies for yourself, and often.” Have trouble being yourself around your partner? This could be a sign of a controlling personality.
“Conflict is constant, and you don’t ‘fight right.’” Arguments are okay — if you use the conflict to actually deepen your relationship. Wondering how this works? Here are some insights on handling disagreements and, more important, how to end them amicably.