People who are unhappy in their relationships but too scared to break up usually display these 10 behaviors

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Are you noticing a shift in your relationship? Do things feel “off” or like your partner (or you) has checked out? Do you wonder if it’s just not possible for you to be happy?

You’re in large, if not exactly good, company. Research indicates that close to half (40 percent) of those in relationships are unhappy occasionally during the course of their union.

So, yeah, pretty common. It’s good to know that not feeling happy every minute is par for the course, even in a great relationship.

So, while it’s completely normal to sometimes feel dissatisfied with your love life, you still need to commit to making an effort to either improve your relationship or call it a day.

Many people recoil at the idea of ending their relationships, especially if it’s a long lasting one. My Gram always said the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

Fear of breaking up is the result of numerous factors, but low self-esteem definitely comes into play. The person considering ending the relationship may fear that they’ll never find a new partner.

People often stay in a subpar relationship because they’re afraid of the inevitable pain after a break up. I don’t know about you, but some of the worst times in my life were post-breakups. It’s a low ebb, and who wants to subject themselves to that willingly?

Some folks panic at the idea of being alone or hurting their significant other’s (SO) feelings, while others are scared that calling it quits would involve having to leave their comfort zone and delve into the unknown.

Here are a few behavioral indications that your relationship has run its course.

1) You prefer spending time with anyone but your partner

We know it’s important to carve time out for your loved ones outside your relationship. It keeps you well-rounded and grounded.

But it can become a problem if you’d pick hanging with your friends or family over your SO every time.

Think about this:

When you finally get that promotion or find fifty bucks in your coat pocket—who’s the first person you want to call?

If you’re in a healthy partnership, I’d be willing to bet it’s your partner. If not, you may want to ask yourself why.

If you’re depending on your mom or your bestie for emotional support over your SO, this is also a red flag.

It would seem that sharing your deeper emotions and being vulnerable with your partner isn’t your first choice anymore.

Perhaps you no longer feel safe doing so?

That’s definitely your cue to peace out.

2) Date night? What date night?

Remember when you and your boo were a new couple and you’d find a way to squeeze in time together no matter what?

If you no longer prioritize quality time with each other it could be a sign that you’re growing apart.

Healthy, happy relationships require a lot of work. When something–or someone–means a lot to you, you’ll put in the effort to nurture and protect it.

When that no longer seems worth the effort your relationship is losing its value to you.

When date nights become a thing of the past  or your partner always finds a reason to work late (or vice versa), it could be the death knell for your union.

Being “busy” is a classic way to escape and avoid any unwanted intimacy. You hope that things will magically repair themselves and backburner the issue until it’s too big to ignore.

3) You live separate lives

If you’re part of a couple your lives should be intertwined.  But if you and your partner’s lives don’t intersect anywhere important anymore, someone is probably unhappy.

If you’re in a committed relationship you can’t just follow your own separate path and expect your SO to meet up with you on the trail whenever.

That’s called being friends, or single. Even then it’s still pretty selfish.

And you don’t need to spend all your free time together. It’s actually healthy for a couple to have separate interests.

But you should always feel like, and behave like, a crucial component in your partner’s life.

Can you tell the class what your partner was up to during the last 24 hours, even when you weren’t together?

People in healthy relationships make a point to check in on each other and share the minutiae of their day, vent, or just say, “I’m thinking about you.”

So if you’re not privy to what they’re up to when you’re not around and you really don’t care, it might be time to reevaluate the state of your union.

4) Stonewalling

The term stonewalling is used to describe when one partner stops responding to the other. They will ignore you, disregard you, and act like you don’t exist.

Stonewalling can be construed as an attempt to control the narrative, because the stonewalling partner is preventing any further discussion about the matter at hand by disengaging emotionally.

Usually when a person reaches this point, they’re completely depleted by stress and stonewalling is their way of averting overwhelm.

And the person on the receiving end of the stonewalling? They’re left feeling unloved and unheard.

Not an ideal situation to say the least.

5) You take things for granted

When you’re in a serious relationship you do a lot for your partner—and they reciprocate for you. Feeling like you’re appreciated is a crucial aspect to a successful partnership.

And being taken for granted feels awful.

When gratitude has hit the ol’ dusty trail you both stop thanking each other for all you do and recognizing your partner’s efforts.

So why bother doing the stuff you hope your SO will like if they’re not going to appreciate it?  This thought process often leads to an unending cycle of resentment.

6) You’re jealous of your unattached friends

Once upon a time, you may have been jealous of your coupled-up friends. You longed for the intimacy and safety of a serious relationship.

Until you got in one and eventually grew restless. 

Whether you’re nostalgic about the excitement of your dating days or you find yourself living vicariously through the exploits of your unattached friends, or have reason to believe your partner is, pay attention.

7) No respect

Respect is the cornerstone to any healthy relationship. Without mutual respect in your relationship, you have nothing.

When your partner is losing respect for you and demonstrates it through verbal or physical abuse or engaging in activities that are best described as shady, it’s time to take stock and decide whether your relationship is still serving you, or even if it’s safe.

8) You’re picking fights

If you’re having huge blowouts over insignificant issues, you can bet there’s something more significant going on below the surface.

If you and your partner are having knock-down, drag-out fights over which shelf the peanut butter belongs on, you might want to consider that your differences are more than organizational.

Deliberately picking fights is a surefire way to create space between you. Anything to avoid interacting.

If you’re making a habit of this, it may be time for a heart-to-heart with your partner. Do you want to make your separation official, or do you want to do the needed work to save your relationship?

9) Sex is but a memory

Sex doesn’t always mean intimacy, but in a committed relationship it’s a way that couples demonstrate their love and longing for each other.

If a couple isn’t engaging in sex, it could indicate that the pair isn’t at ease or comfortable being intimate with one another.

Whether that’s because of a lack of sexual satisfaction in the relationship or not having an emotional connection anymore.

Let me add that a sexless marriage works, but only if both parties are honestly on the same page.

10) Someone’s got a ‘tude

Is it you? Be honest.

If they don’t smile when you’re around you (or vice versa, of course), no longer show you affection, or are just petulant and jerky in general, somebody’s clearly not happy.

Is it one or both of you? And what do you want to do about it?  That’s what you two needed to suss out.

Final thoughts

Most relationships go through periods of ebb and flow, which is perfectly normal. Temporary lapses in enthusiasm don’t mean that something is wrong.

But if the temporary “downs” have become permanent it may be time to take action, either by improving your relationship or ending it.

Kathleen Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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