Once you see them, you can’t unsee them…
You know that couple you thought would never break up, until one day they surprised everyone by splitting, seemingly out of the blue? They were the ones who never fought, who seemed to have it all together. The ones you held up as a model of what a healthy relationship should look like.
Of course, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. But sometimes couples don’t even know what’s going on in their own relationship.
There can be subtle signs of danger in a relationship – so subtle, you don’t even see your own split coming. And these ones in particular, could indicate you may be starting to subconsciously uncouple…
1. You’re reconnecting with old friends on Facebook
Facebook is great for catching up with people from your past. And there’s nothing wrong with reconnecting with old friends. But if you find yourself friend requesting a bunch of your former classmates, or pals from your single days, think about why you’re doing it.
They don’t necessarily have to be old flames; even reigniting platonic friendships from your past can mean you’re trying to recapture someone you used to be – the person you were before you were married. If she’s trying to tell you something, you might want to listen.
2. You’re spending a lot of time on your own
Doing your own thing is healthy; no one wants to be one of those women who loses her identity to her relationship. But at some point, spending loads of time apart is a sign that something is wrong. Matchmaker and author Siggy Flicker compares a relationship to a dance that can’t be done alone.
“Once people start going on their own way and getting busy and they stop making a point to spend time with one another one-on-one, their relationship starts to go sour,” she told TODAY.
3. You’re hanging out with your single friends more often
If part of the reason you’re spending a lot of time apart is that you’re hanging with the girls more often, it could be a sign that you miss your single life – and that maybe you should go back to it. Happy couples are boring; they’re often content to Netflix and chill.
4. You’ve got a bunch of new hobbies
Have you suddenly taken up knitting, and canning vegetables you grew yourself? Have you joined a book club, and a church, and started training for a marathon? And are you doing all these things without your partner? There’s a fine line between pursuing your own interests and trying to avoid your marriage.
Relationship expert and author Susan Shapiro Barash says it’s normal for a marriage to go through phases, and one of those is the phase when women start to get restless and wonder if they’re getting anything from their marriage at all. According to Barash, this often happens around midlife, and it’s frequently the last act for a marriage.
5. Your friends are splitting up
Researchers have found that divorce can actually be contagious. James Fowler (University of California, San Diego), Nicholas Christakis (Harvard University), and Rose McDermott (Brown University) studied groups of friends and found that when a couple split up, the odds of their close friends also getting divorced jumps by a whopping 75 per cent.
Not only that, but people who have divorced friends in their larger social circles are 147 per cent more likely to get divorced than people whose friends are all still married. Having a divorced sibling or colleague can also even up your odds of getting divorced. Why? One theory is that watching your friends, family, or coworkers get divorced makes divorce seem like a more viable option. People who wanted to get divorced, but were afraid of being judged or experiencing other negative outcomes, might be more likely to take the leap if someone else does it first.
6. You haven’t had sex in a while
There’s the classic sex-starved marriage, in which couples stop having sex but still want to fix it, and then there’s the marriage where you can’t remember the last time you did it, and you don’t even care anymore. If you’re not connecting physically, you’re not connecting emotionally, either. Sex therapist Dawn Michael says sexual intimacy is a vital part of marriage. If you’re not having sex, says Michael, you’re just roommates. And it shouldn’t be just any old quickie, either.
“One of the quintessential qualities about marriage is the ability to share sexual intimacy with each other,” he told YourTango.
This is not…a quick interaction…but the deep connection through intimate touch that makes the bond in the relationship a marriage.”
7. You never feel jealous
Contrary to popular belief, a little jealousy is healthy in a relationship. Admit it: if you get dolled up to go meet a guy friend, don’t you want your husband to act just a tiny bit territorial? Of course you do – it’s a sign that he values you, and thinks you’re worth getting a little jealous over. Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love, says jealousy is actually good for a relationship – in small doses.
“A little bit of jealousy in a healthy relationship is fine. It’s going to wake you up. When you’re reminded that your mate is attractive and that you’re lucky, it can stimulate you to be nicer [and] friendlier.”
8. You rarely fight
Relationship experts Julie and John Gottman say fighting allows you both to let off steam, learn to resolve conflicts, and know each other more intimately. The key is learning how to fight, not avoiding fights altogether. If you can fight fair, and maintain respect for each other, fighting is actually good for your relationship. But if neither of you even cares enough to have a fight, you might as well call it quits. Case in point: Melania Trump says she and Donald have never had a fight in their entire 12-year marriage. And how happy do they look?
Bottom line? Getting divorced isn’t fun; but neither is staying in a marriage that’s run its course – or that was a mistake in the first place. If you’re not happy, you don’t have to stay. And when it’s time to go, you’ll know.
GIFs via gurl.com, giphy.com, tumblr.com, perezhilton.com, and metro.co.uk.
Comment: What do you think are the signs it’s time to call it quits on a marriage?