Relationships need a lot of nurturing to make them last. They are never stagnant, rather, always in a ‘work-in-progress’ stage, and that is the reason you need to look out for little signs and nip the problems in the bud.
Psychologist Seema Hingoranny says, “There are some signs that make it easy to gauge if your relationship is on the rocks — when a couple loses respect for each other, they stop empathising and begin to hit below the belt for every random argument.” And that is when one should realise that there is trouble in paradise. Here are a few red flags to look out for…
A pronounced lack of intimacy
Sexologist Dr Rajan Bhosale says, “Intimacy is one of the most important things in a relationship and the lack of it is a sign of trouble. If a partner stays away from the other, avoids touching, then he/she is no longer in the relationship.” In some cases, even if a couple is still active in the sack, but is not touchy-feely otherwise, it does not necessarily translate into the relationship being all hunky dory. Romance and touching are some of the basics of a healthy relationship.
When a couple do not trust each other
Trust is the basis of every relationship and when that is broken by cheating financially, emotionally or sexually, the damage done can be irreparable. When you can’t trust your partner, your relationship might just be on the brink.
Contempt, criticism are predominant
When your conflicts become dark and ugly, filled with a lot of contempt and open criticism, it is time to sit up and take notice. A simple statement of, “Please clear the table” could instead become, “Are you a moron? Can’t you understand what I said?”, when a couple does not really care about each other. In such times, every little thing in the relationship becomes a direct attack on the person or the character and not on the issue at hand. Sneering, rolling eyes and that ‘I dislike you’ vibe, are among the non-verbal ways to express contempt.
Feelings are cut off
If you both have stopped revealing any emotions to each other, or there is a cold war or a conscious blocking of feelings in front of the other, it goes to show that you both do not care much for the other. Seema says, “When a partner stops returning calls, does not reply to texts and all the time wants to escape, then it is a sure sign of trouble.”
When a couple just lose interest in each other
A relationship is on its way to a slow death if the couple do not have any interest in each other. A genuine lack of affection and excitement could be a signal that they are no longer into each other.
Indifference, the most important sign
Considering your partner insignificant in your life and day-to-day activities at home is a red flag. Dr Bhosale says, “When a partner does not get angry or irritated despite provocation by the other, and has an ‘I don’t care’ attitude, it just goes to show that he/she is no longer interested in the relationship. Even fighting or shouting at one another is about attracting negative attention, and the lack of that is a major indicator that the relationship is over for the partner.”
Here’s how to hold on to love…
– For every hurtful and negative comment you make, offer at least four positive and good ones. This will stop the vicious cycle of negativity and help you both to have a smoother relationship.
– Communication is the key. “Reprogramme your relationship. Find out the root cause of your problems, have a polite talk and jot down the cause of problems. Ask a friend to be a mediator,” states Seema.
– It is difficult to fix trust issues unless both want the relationship to work and are ready to give up some privacy for that sake. The couple need to be okay with complete accountability even for little things, at least till the trust has been regained.
– Reciprocating intimacy can lead to a stronger, better relationship. Check your body language and make sure that you are not trying to unconsciously distance yourself away from your partner.
– If you want the relationship to work, be open about your feelings, thoughts and express them. Talk to each other and more importantly, listen to what the other has to say.
– Bring some of the old friendship back. When you have joy and excitement even for little things in your life, your relationship grows in a healthy way.
– Relationships should be about both give and take.