Here Is How I Knew It Was Time To Let You Go

Nobody wakes up and thinks today will be the day they say goodbye to someone they love. It’s never like that. In fact, we tend to spend a lot of time forcing something to work so we don’t have to say good bye. However, every once in awhile we get pushed to a point where we have to decide what’s best for ourselves and unfortunately, it can include saying goodbye.

I know for me, it was similar. The first year was nothing short of incredible. We spent so many hours talking. I had never met another human being, especially a man, who I enjoyed sitting and talking with like I did with him. I remember the first time we had dinner; we closed down the restaurant and didn’t even notice. We were lost in each other’s company. Something I had never experienced before.

Soon enough, we spent close to every hour we could together. We went to dinner, movies, Seahawks games, beach trips, and that’s just to name a few. We shared things with each other we never thought we could. I understood you and you understood me. You always knew how to make my day. I remember the night you surprised me with a walk through Peacock lane and dinner at a restaurant I had been dying to try. I was always trying to get you to go to new restaurants but you had your favorites and didn’t like to stray from what you knew. We just spent the evening talking and enjoying each other.

I remember the drive home that night was quiet. Except for the Taylor Swift Pandora station you kept on the radio for me. You kept asking me about what was going through my head because I was being so quiet. I may have said nothing, but in reality I was just thinking about how badly it was going to hurt when it all came crashing down. I knew deep down we weren’t meant for forever but that didn’t stop me from loving you with everything I had. I would have taken a bullet for you and even though I play it off as if I want nothing to do with you now, I still would.

I know I’ll always love you, I just learned it has to be from afar.

We continued this roller coaster of us for nearly two years. There were times you pushed me so low, I couldn’t pull myself together. I couldn’t function. You had made me feel so disrespected, but, I realized at that moment it was me that didn’t respect myself. If I respected myself, I would have walked away so much sooner instead of accepting the treatment that was given to me.

You see, you once brought happiness when I saw darkness. You were the reason I smiled in the morning. You made me feel special and as if I was worth something to you. However, between your fears and my wanting more, it turned toxic. I found that where you once brought light, you now brought sadness. You haunted me and I knew you were going to be the first man to break my heart.

So how did I know it was time to let you go?

I knew once you stopped adding to my life in the positive ways you once did, that it was time to say goodbye.

I realized that being around someone who made me feel so low, was not the kind of people I needed in my life. As hard as it was, it was the best decision I have ever made.

***

From: Thought Catalog by Jules Martin

10 Relationship Facts I Wish I Knew Sooner

Here are 10 important relationship facts which, if you understand and practice them, give you a much greater chance of securing a long term happy and fulfilling relationship instead of it become just another “experience”.

Contrary to what you’ll see at the movies, relationships take work. We’re not talking “hard work” due to incompatibility issues or fundamental differences in important values – but making your partner feel valued so that he or she wants to stay with you and deepens their commitment to you, does require effort.

Studies have shown that intimate relationships between best friends is one of the surest ways to ensure that it’s likely to last. The honeymoon phases with its “high levels of passionate love” and “intense feelings of attraction and ecstasy, as well as an idealization of one’s partner”, doesn’t last forever, according to Monmouth University psychologist Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. There must be something more going on – and at the end of the day, being “best friends” first, just might be the key.

Relationship Facts that Everyone Should Know

1.  If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks.

“Making mistakes” doesn’t mean cheating.  What it does mean is, doing things within the boundaries of the relationship with good intentions but if it turns out that they were not healthy, you take responsibility for them.  Without mistakes, there is no growth.  So this process simulates change and growth.  The bonding comes from taking risks and making mistakes as a couple, then learning from them and becoming stronger as a team.

2.  Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.

Many believe relationships should just come naturally, like the rush of dopamine that shot into your brain when you both first met.  Actually, to be in a monogamous relationship where you are constantly challenged to look at yourself and compromise your wants / needs is unnatural.  It goes against our natural human instincts.  In order for us to adapt and embrace this, it takes time – a long time.  If you’re patient, then with the passing of time you will both adapt to each other so that ultimately, by sheer force of habit, it will feel more “natural”.

3.  Work very, very hard.

Nothing of value comes easy! There are some people who understand this principle when it comes to achieving financial security and success but for some reason, somehow imagine that all the happiness and fulfillment of a great relationship will just “come to them” like winning the lottery. There are those who are very proactive at investing time and energy into the relationship while “the chase” is on, or even into the early stages, but once they feel  secure with their partner, imagine that they can take them for granted – and yet – still hold him or her accountable to them for exclusivity and faithfulness. Nobody wants to be someone’s prisoner.

I think many underestimate how much work it takes to make a relationship successful. Referring to the heading again, most tune out after the first “very”.  So what does “very very” hard work look like?  It’s different for everyone.  But you will know because of that giant mountain you see in front of you, the one you’ve always avoided climbing.  The second “very” means self examination.

4.  Ask for opportunities.

Since we think we know our partner so well, we stop asking.  Instead, we assume.  The thing is people change.   If you want something, ask for it.  Their answer may be different today than it would have been yesterday.  If you don’t ask, you’ll never get.  It’s a basic rule of life.  And it also applies in relationships.  I believe this process of asking / communicating creates opportunities to get to know each other better.

5.  Finish what you start.

I’m referring to arguments.  Many start an argument but don’t finish it because it gets too heated.  They walk away and never come back to it.  Issues don’t get resolved.  Instead, people are not heard and there’s anger and resentment.  If you walk away from a fight without consent or getting things resolved, you’re leaving the relationship for that period.  One day, there will be no one to come back to.

6.  Say yes to almost everything.

Assuming it’s healthy and the intent is good, what’s the worst that could happen?  You get out pushed out of your comfort zone?  That’s called an opportunity for growth.  I think we say no too much in relationships.  We don’t like feeling uncomfortable.  If you want more yeses in your life, this is where to start.

7.  Busy is a decision.

Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean it’s time to stop life.  Each should have their own life.  This means making a choice to be busy and working on your own container.  I think many get into a relationship and stop or slow down their own personal busyness.

8.  Don’t censor your dreams before you actually dream.

What ever dreams you had when you were single shouldn’t change because you are now in a relationship, unless it happens organically and honestly.  Many give up their dreams because the relationship doesn’t allow them.  Your dreams can change but don’t censor your dreams for anyone.

9.  In order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide you want one.

I think the key word there is you not you guys.  I think many lose themselves in their relationship because they forget about their own wants, needs, and paths.  Remarkable can still happen when you’re in a committed relationship.  But you have to decide you want remarkable and you’re not willing to negotiate that.

10.  It is only a failure if you accept defeat.

We should fight for our relationship.  Always.  Not in our relationship, for our relationship.  There’s you.  There’s your partner.  Then there’s the relationship.  If you accept defeat, you are not fighting for the relationship.  Admitting that you are wrong is not accepting defeat.  Admitting that you are wrong is actually fighting for the relationship.

****

From: Happy Relationship Guide

Love Isn’t About Chasing Perfection, It’s About Finding Something Real

I’m tired of contemporary dating—quick, easy, convenient, swipe left, swipe right. We judge someone’s character by a picture on a four-inch screen. We jump from person to person, never satisfied. We buy into the hookup culture, thinking that people only want us for our bodies, for what we can give. So we give and give and just end up empty.

We don’t know how to love anymore. We think that love is returned text messages, romantic kisses, a little effort, and someone who doesn’t try to sleep with us on the first date.

We skip past the butterflies, the nervous dinners, and the awkward should-we-kiss-or-not moments. We don’t get to know people, really know them. Know the way their nose crinkles when they laugh, what gets them fired up, the way they like their eggs, or their favorite quote.

We don’t take the time to understand the inner workings of one another’s minds, the quirks, the interactions that make the relationship truly special.

We see each other’s bodies before we know each other’s hearts. Then we frantically work backwards, trying to make up for all we’ve lost.

Dating has become this terrain to navigate. And love is this glorified, semi-unrealistic thing we fall into by accident. We’re supposed to weed out people that aren’t compatible and not looking for the same things, and somehow in all that mess, we’re supposed to find ‘the one.’ This lover who will complete us, melt into our lives in all the right ways.

But love isn’t like that.

There isn’t this magical man or woman who will complete us, whose heart will fully interweave with ours without conflict or doubt. We don’t just find this person—there is no perfect person.

People are flawed and difficult. Even in the most wonderful person, there will be ways he/she doesn’t measure up. Our relationships will still be challenging, frustrating, and downright hard. So we can’t expect this ideal because it will pull us away, keep us wishing for something we’ll never find.

We need to stop chasing this idea that there’s a ‘Mr/Miss Right’ out there. We need to quit bringing one another’s faults into the light. We need to stop seeing people as stepping stones to our ‘one true love’. And we need to stop giving ourselves away to people who don’t deserve us, just because we’re trying to desperately to fall in love.

Love isn’t found on a phone screen, or in the small-talk on a date. It isn’t found bouncing from person to person, from seeing someone’s naked body.

It isn’t found by chasing perfection. Because perfection isn’t real.

Love and perfection are two different things. Love is real. Finding someone who will drive you crazy, but still make your life wonderful—that’s real. Learning someone’s inner fears, discovering what makes them laugh, finally working up the courage to kiss them—that’s real.

That’s what dating and what love are supposed to be about: finding a person whose mind and heart connect with yours in strange, fun, new, and flawed ways.

Finding something real. Something beautiful, rather than perfect.

***

From Thought Catalog by Marisa Donnelly

We Don’t Always End Up With The Loves Of Our Lives (And That’s Okay)

 

I believe in Big Love.

I talk and I date like I don’t.

I don’t have frivolous expectations for romance. I’m not looking to get swept off my feet. I am one of those rare, perhaps slightly jaded individuals who actually likes hookup culture and is happy to live in an age in which monogamy is not necessarily the norm.

But I believe in big love because I’ve had it.

I’ve had that massive love. That all-consuming love. That ‘I can’t believe this exists in the physical realm of this planet’ kind of love.

The kind of love that erupts into an uncontrollable blaze an then simmers down to embers and burns quietly, comfortably, for years. The kind of love they write novels and symphonies about. The kind of love that teaches more than you thought you could ever learn, and gives back infinitely more than it takes.

It is the ‘Love of your life’ kind of love.

And believe it works like this:

If you’re lucky, you get to meet the love of your life. You get to be with them, to learn from them, to give the whole of yourself over to them and allow their influence to change you in unfathomable measures. It’s an experience like nothing else we have on this earth.

But here is what the fairytales won’t tell you – sometimes we meet the loves of our lives, but we do not get to keep them.

We do not get to marry them, to pass our years alongside them, to hold their hands on their deathbeds after a life lived well and together.

We do not always get to hold onto the loves of our lives, because in the real world, love doesn’t conquer all. It doesn’t resolve irreparable differences, it doesn’t triumph over illness and disease, it doesn’t bridge religious rifts or save us from ourselves when we’re corrupting.

We don’t always get to hold onto the loves of our lives because sometimes love is not all that there is. Sometimes you want a tiny country home with three kids and they want a bustling career in the city. Sometimes you have a whole, wide world to go explore and they are scared to venture out of their backyard. Sometimes you have bigger dreams than one another.

Sometimes the biggest, most loving move you can possibly make is to let each other go.

Other times you don’t get a choice.

But here’s another thing they won’t tell you about finding the love of your life: not ending up with them doesn’t disqualify their significance.

Some people can love you more in a year than others could love you in fifty. Some people can teach you more within a single day than others could teach you over the entire course of a lifetime.

Some people come into our lives only for a particular period of time, but make an impact that no one else can ever quite match or replace.

And who are we to call those people anything but the loves of our lives?

Who are we to downplay their significance, to rewrite their memories, to alter the ways in which they changed us for the better, simply because our paths diverged? Who are we to decide that we desperately need to replace them – to find a bigger, better, stronger, more passionate love that we can hold onto for a lifetime?

Maybe we just ought to be grateful that we got to meet these people at all.

That we got to love them. That we got to learn from them. That we got to have our lives expand and flourish as a result of having known them.

Meeting and letting go of the love of your life doesn’t have to be your life’s single greatest tragedy.

If you let it, it can be your greatest blessing.

After all, some people never get to meet them at all.

***

From Thought Catalog by Heidi Priebe

The Truth About Meeting Someone At The Wrong Time

 

By: Heidi Priebe

Timing is something that none of us can seem to get quite right with relationships. We meet the person of our dreams the month before they leave to go study abroad. We form an incredibly close friendship with an attractive person who is already taken. One relationship ends because our partner isn’t ready to get serious and another ends because they’re getting serious too soon.

“It would be perfect,” We moan to our friends, “If only this were five years from now/eight years sooner/some indistinct time in the future where all our problems would take care of themselves.” Timing seems to be the invariable third party in all of our relationships. And yet we never stop to consider why we let timing play such a drastic role in our lives.

Timing is a bitch, yes. But it’s only a bitch if we let it be. Here’s a simple truth that I think we all need to face up to: the people we meet at the wrong time are actually just the wrong people.

You never meet the right people at the wrong time because the right people are timeless. The right people make you want to throw away the plans you originally had for one and follow them into the hazy, unknown future without a glance backwards. The right people don’t make you hmm and haw about whether or not you want to be with them; you just know. You know that any adventure you had originally planned out for your future isn’t going to be half as incredible as the adventures you could have by their side. That no matter what you thought you wanted before, this is better. Everything is better since they came along.

When you are with the right person, time falls away. You don’t worry about fitting them into your complicated schedule, because they become a part of that schedule. They become the backbone of it. Your happiness becomes your priority and so long as they are contributing to it, you can work around the rest.

The right people don’t stand in the way of the things you once wanted and make you choose them over them. The right people encourage you: To try harder, dream bigger, do better. They bring out the most incredible parts of yourself and make you want to fight harder than ever before. The right people don’t impose limits on your time or your dreams or your abilities. They want to tackle those mountains with you, and they don’t care how much time it takes. With the right person, you have all of the time in the world.

The truth is, when we pass someone up because the timing is wrong, what we are really saying is that we don’t care to spend our time on that person. There will never be a magical time when everything falls into place and fixes all our broken relationships. But there may someday be a person who makes the issue of timing irrelevant.

Because when someone is right for us, we make the time to let them into our lives. And that kind of timing is always right.

***

From Thought Catalog by Heidi Priebe

How to Keep the Girl You Love

Lately I am hearing so many stories about heartbreak. The stories seem the same… a girl leaves a broken relationship. She feels like he is crushing her spirit, he is no longer passionate about her, he says critical and hurtful words, he treats her like an option, and the list of reasons goes on. What surprises me the most is that when the girl finally walks away from all the hurt the guy is often surprised. What he doesn’t realize is that she left a dozen warnings maybe more that she was broken, that she could not fight anymore, that he has crushed her spirit. Instead of fighting for her he lets her walk away.

What guys don’t realize is that it is often quite simple to keep the girl you love. Of course there are the obvious things like being faithful, honesty, and just don’t be a big jerk! However there are little things that you can do to make her feel your love and devotion. When you do these things you are more likely to keep her then lose her and the relationship will strengthen. In the end you may even experience the most amazing relationship of your life.

1. It’s the little things that matter. It’s the gentle touch of your hand, how you wipe the hair out of her eyes, how you stare into her eyes, the random hug or kiss throughout the day, the simple text letting her know you are thinking about her. Text her every morning to say Good Morning Beautiful! You don’t have to do all these things every single day but most definitely make sure you are doing random little ‘I love you’s, I see you, I acknowledge your beauty things’ everyday.

2. Make her feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. That she is your dream woman. That you want to runaway with her. Women want to feel beautiful. We especially want to feel beautiful by the man we love.

3. Remember what is special to her. Show her you care about these things. Ask questions about her family, her children, her work, whatever she is passionate about. When you genuinely take an interest in her life her heart opens and love flows.

4. Notice the small things. How you think it’s cute how she looks when she wakes up, how her nail polish has sock marks in it or how she works hard to accomplish her latest goal. These things may seem unimportant but it truly is the small things that you notice that matter.

5. Have fun together and act silly! Jump off the boat and do cannon balls, playfully tease her or tell her how she makes you smile every time you think of her. Life should be enjoyed so why not do it together!

6. Kiss her Passionately. Grab her and kiss her like you can’t get enough of her. When you kiss tell her it was better than you dreamed it would be. There should always be a little romance sprinkled into your relationship.

7. Don’t take her spark away. A woman’s spirit is gentle, treat it with respect and love. You can either crush her spirit or encourage it. Critical and harsh words crush the spark within the spirit. Be careful with your tongue. Don’t let it blow out the beautiful and inspiring spirit that women contain. When you help this spark grow you can experience the greatest passion you will ever know. The men that crush this gentle spirit never experience all the beauty she has to offer.

A girl will move mountains for a man that adores, appreciates and truly loves her. A woman can sense a fake so don’t do these things without pure intentions in your heart. An authentic man that does these things creates a passionate and pure love within the woman he loves. Of course there are a lot more factors that determine if someone stays or not. Choose to do your best at loving your beautiful lady. Choose her daily and see the difference it makes in your relationship.

***

From: Huffington Post by Amanda Rose

15 Signs You’re In an Unhappy — or Loveless — Marriage

 

Making the decision to leave a marriage is scary: There’s often a deep fear of being alone, not to mention the possibility of an unknown future. So many stick with mediocrity, settling for low-level pain and dissatisfaction instead.

But that’s not your best bet: “Staying in a seriously unhappy marriage can have long-term effects on our mental and emotional health,” says Carrie Cole, a couples therapist and Master Certified Gottman Therapist by the Gottman Institute. Research shows that people in bad marriages usually have low self-esteem, struggle with anxiety and depression, and have a higher rate of illness than those who don’t. People feel sad and grieve when they decide to let go — but people who divorce do recover emotionally, and Cole says most find new relationships. In fact, “one statistic reported that 85 percent of those who divorce remarry within five years,” she says.

If any these signs hit home for you, it’s time to take a hard look at whether this is a marriage you want to stay in.

1. YOU AREN’T HAVING SEX ANYMORE

One warning sign would be that your relationship is totally sexless, says sex and relationship therapist Megan Fleming, Ph.D. — or if you’re having sex less than 10 times a year. After all, she says, it’s intimacy that separates a romantic relationship from all other sorts of relationships you might have. “When that’s going out the window, it’s a really big red flag.” Jane Greer, relationship therapist and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, says that a lack of visible physical affection — like kissing or hugging — is also indicative of a real problem.

2. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY TO EACH OTHER

When something comes up in life, whether that’s a work event or any accomplishment and your partner isn’t the first person you’re sharing it with — or one of the firsts, Fleming says that it may be that “you prefer to get your needs mets outside the relationship.” To that end, Greer points out that not having any meaningful conversations aside from “rudimentary conversations about chores and things that need to get done” is a warning sign that your relationship is not in a good place.

3. YOU’RE WITH EACH OTHER…BUT NOT REALLY WITH EACH OTHER

“You can be in the same room, one of you on the computer, one of you [watching TV],” Fleming says, but “if you find that you’re never actively engaging together — you’re together, alone, doing your own thing — that’s an indication there’s disconnection, or a lack of connection.”

4. YOU’RE ACTIVELY IGNORING YOUR GUT

Our instincts can often tell us first when a relationship just isn’t working — but we don’t always trust that voice, says couples therapist Susan Pease Gadoua, co-author of The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels“We often ignore our gut instincts because that voice is very quiet and calm, unlike the internal voice in our heads that thrives on high drama.” We’re trained to trust logic in many areas of life, so when a niggling feeling (“Am I really still in love with this person?”) presents itself, it’s hard to pay attention to it because there aren’t any hard facts or rational reasoning. Drill down on that initial instinct and ask yourself more specific questions. If you find your responses are things like, “I don’t feel safe to express myself, I don’t feel respected and haven’t felt happy in a long time,” that’s a sign that things have gone awry — and you shouldn’t ignore it. “The truth doesn’t go away simply because we don’t want it to be there; that voice stays in the background and weighs on you,” says Gadoua. “Getting quiet within is key to being able to hear instincts. And like a muscle, the more you trust your gut, the easier it becomes to decipher that voice — which comes from your heart — from the voice in your head.”

5. YOU’RE PREOCCUPIED WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S NEEDS AND PROBLEMS

Many women stay in relationships longer than they should because they tend to put the needs of others before their own. And since women often naturally take on the role of caretakers, they can lose parts of their own identity — and a sense of their own needs — in the process. “In order to face her relationship unhappiness, a woman needs to stop distracting herself by putting other people’s needs ahead of her own,” says Gadoua. “Doing this can be a way of avoiding her own painful truth.” So if you find yourself getting unnecessarily involved in a fight between your mother and sister, or you’re always rushing around trying to make other people’s lives easier, it might be time to take a hard look at your own relationship.

6. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU KEEPS GROWING — AND YOU’RE WAITING TO GET HELP

One way to distinguish between a run-of-the-mill marital rut (where you’ve, say, fallen into boring routines and don’t have much sex anymore) and a loveless marriage is to ask yourself how long the situation has been this way, and whether it’s been steadily worsening. “Most couples go through rough times, but if the difficulties last more than two years, with no sign of relief, I’d recommend seeking professional help,” says Gadoua. And sooner is always better to avoid passing the point of no return. “It would be ideal if we could tune into our longings and needs well before we get to the point that the love we once had is dead,” says Cole, who notes that the average couple waits six years from the time they recognize relationship problems until the time they try therapy. By then, it’s often too late — the problems in the marriage can corrode it to the point where it may be unsalvageable. So play it safe and consider scheduling a therapy session if you’re struggling.

7. YOU FANTASIZE ABOUT A LIFE WITHOUT YOUR SPOUSE

If you often imagine a happy (happy is the key word here) future without your partner, that’s a major sign that things aren’t right. This is a part of the emotional detachment process, during which you may try to convince yourself that you don’t care anymore so that the eventual separation feels less painful, says relationship therapist Jamie Turndorf, Ph.D., author of Kiss Your Fights Goodbye“Detaching psychologically by fantasizing about having an affair or making plans for the future that don’t include your partner can all be signs that you’ve fallen out of love,” says Turndorf. “It’s as if the mind has pulled its own plug so our hearts won’t suffer as much when the relationship ends.” If you notice this mental pattern, take it a step further to see if the fantasy holds weight. Gadoua suggests checking out real apartment listings online, and paying attention to how you feel. “It’ll give you another layer of reality, which can then help you know what the right next step is,” she says. As you click through, check in with your emotions. If excitement or relief is your prominent emotion (rather than fear or apprehension), it may be a sign to acknowledge that there are serious problems in your marriage. “But before actually taking steps to leave, see if there are things you can — or want — to do to work on the relationship,” says Gadoua. That way, if you ultimately decide to leave, “you can do so with some peace of mind,” she says. “It’s never easy to end a relationship, but having lingering regret that you could have done more can make the decision harder.”

8. YOU’VE STOPPED FIGHTING

If you’ve given up fighting, but feel further away than ever, it’s a sign that you’ve reached a crossroads. “If there’s a fight and the couple doesn’t talk about what happened, or becomes gridlocked in their position and refuses to listen to their partner’s perspective, that’s not good,” says Cole. However, you might still be able to turn it around. “Unresolved conflict can fool us into thinking that our love is lost, when it’s actually only buried beneath the ashes of smoldering resentment and anger,” says Turndorf. In other words, the love could still be there, but you just can’t access it. To get back in touch with those feelings, turn toward your partner emotionally —which creates closeness and connection—rather than ignoring them or responding negatively, which creates distance and disengagement. “Fights can lead to greater intimacy if the couple processes the fight and repairs the relationship,” says Cole. It’s up to you to decide whether you’ve got it in you to turn toward your husband and give it one last go, or whether you’ve maxed out your ability to keep fighting for your relationship.

9. YOU HAVE ONE OR MORE OF THE BIG RELATIONSHIP DESTROYERS

According to Cole, there are four behaviors that are super-destructive to relationships. If one or more is present in your relationship, you could be on the fast track to loveless-ness (if you’re not there already). Every time you criticize your partner — by attacking, blaming, and putting the fault on them by flinging negative statements like “You’re always running late,” or “You never do anything right” — you corrode your connection. By being defensive and refusing to accept responsibility, or attacking in response to feedback from your partner, you chip away at the trust and goodwill in your marriage. If you have an attitude of contempt, and call your partner names or make stinging, sarcastic remarks, you imply that you’re superior and your partner is defective. And every time you stonewall one another, or emotionally shut down instead of openly addressing the issues, you create more distance and dishonesty, rather than openness, communication, and love. If any (or all) of these sounds familiar, schedule couples’ therapy to discuss why you do these things — and how you can fix them.

10. YOU DON’T FEEL HEARD (AND YOU MIGHT NOT BE LISTENING)

When you sit down to talk with your spouse about what’s working and what isn’t, do you hear crickets? Or feel like nothing changes, no matter how vocal you are about your feelings? That’s a problem, says Turndorf. “The most powerful tool we have for resolving our conflicts is listening and understanding one another,” she says. “When we invite our partners to share what we’ve done to let them down, and when we truly listen and understand their feelings, decades of hurt and anger can easily fade away.” So make a point of listening for the underlying emotions and messages in your partner’s words — everyday issues, like yelling about whose turn it is to take out the trash, could be stemming from something deeper. “In most situations where couples go from being best friends to loveless opponents, I uncover a pattern of poor communication, dashed expectations and unhealed resentments,” says Gadoua. “They think the fight really is about taking the garbage out, when in fact it’s more likely about one or both feeling unappreciated, overwhelmed or unacknowledged.” And once you finally hear what they’re trying to tell you (or vice versa) you can get to the bottom of the real issue.

11. YOU’RE ON THE VERGE OF HAVING AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR

If you’re not happy with your husband, you might be falling into an emotional affair, making another male the priority in your life. And thanks to today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to get caught up. “Technology has allowed people who might never risk having any kind of affair to flirt online,” says Dr. Wendy M. O’Connor, a licensed marriage, family therapist, relationship coach, and author of Love Addiction: How to Overcome Toxic Relationships & Find Love. “This creates a situation of ‘temptation,’ and not everything that takes place online stays online. People are bolder when hiding behind a screen, and often click on send without thinking first.” If your relationship is already on the rocks, giving yourself to someone else — even if that’s only virtually — will only make things worse.

12. YOU’RE GOING TO YOUR FRIENDS INSTEAD OF YOUR PARTNER

When people have exciting news to share or even just need someone to talk to, they typically speed dial the person closest to them. If that used to be your spouse but is now someone else — whether that’s a girlfriend or another man — it’s a clear sign you’re not in the happy marriage you used to be. “Research shows that in healthy marriages, couples celebrate each other’s successes. If you’re turning to [someone else] first in good times and bad, then you’re replacing your husband emotionally and avoiding addressing what isn’t working with him,” says Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, director of My Dating and Relationship School and author of Dating from the Inside Out. Try putting your husband into your #1 spot again. If you’re not getting the support you need — or you don’t even want it in the first place — it might be time to sit down and have a serious discussion about your relationship.

13. YOU DON’T LIKE SPENDING QUALITY TIME TOGETHER

After getting home from a long day of work, do you and your spouse immediately go your separate ways? And when you’re at parties, do you tend to drift apart and do your own thing? If you’d rather be alone than with your husband, it probably doesn’t seem like there’s much of a point in being in a relationship in the first place. Getting a little time apart is one thing, but the trouble really starts when you’d rather be apart.

14. DATE NIGHTS ARE A THING OF THE PAST

Can’t remember your last date night? If you’re not planning any important or special events together on top of not spending time together in general, that’s not good news for your relationship, says Greer. Make an effort to get a couple outings on the schedule — maybe a movie night or a dinner at your favorite spot — and see if you can rekindle the flame. Marriages take work, and putting in the effort on things that bond you as a couple is part of that.

15. YOU’RE NOT EACH OTHER’S PRIORITY ANYMORE

When you say your “I dos,” you’re making each other your top priority above anything and anyone else. When you lose that essential part of your marriage, you can lose the person that once meant the world to you. If you’re not making your husband a priority in your life anymore — or if he’s not making you his — it’s going to be really hard to stay a solid unit. Try going back to prioritizing your time together, each other’s feelings, and each other’s goals to get back into a healthy place before it’s too late.

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From RedBook Mag