For most of us, there have been times when we've questioned our relationship. Sometimes, it's something major, like a breach of trust or a difference in future plans, and sometimes it's something minor, like they're a Slytherin and you're a Hufflepuff.
But there may also be times when your relationship is headed for trouble, and you aren't even aware of it - and those can be the most troublesome moments of all. So here are four of the most common signs that you and your partner may be just days away from that, 'we need to talk' chat - and just what you can do to fix it.
The sign: One of you compromises more than the other
We all know that every relationship involves compromises of one kind or another, but sometimes, those compromises can be massively uneven. Perhaps you refuse to spend any time with your partner's family, but insist that they always accompany you to family events; or maybe you're sacrificing all the time you would spend doing the things that you loved when you were single to spend time with your partner, but they won't consider doing the same.
In these cases, it can be very hard to maintain this kind of self-sacrifice long-term, and resentment will begin to build.
What you can do:
Sometimes, one of you might not even be aware of lack of equality, which is why it's important that you don't let it all build up without saying anything.
Next time you find yourself in a position where you feel forced to compromise unfairly, speak up, and calmly (but firmly) tell them how you feel. If they don't agree, rather than reeling off a number of times that this has happened (which will just make them feel attacked), discuss the possibility of arranging a system whereby whenever one of you gets to make the decision on one occasion, the other trades this for getting their way on another occasion. This helps to keep things fair, and should help to highlight the differences in behaviour which you can then build on.
The sign: You have the same arguments repeatedly
Every couple argues. That's a fact. Arguments are the sign of a healthy relationship, because it shows an ability to speak freely with each other, but when you're having the same argument all the time about the same topic, that's not the way it should be.
Perhaps there is someone at work that you don't like your partner spending time with, and you keep arguing about it. Or maybe you have the same fights about money all the time.
Whatever it is, if you can't resolve it, you're going to be stuck in some sort of bickering Ground Hog Day situation until you eventually break up because you are getting nowhere.
What you can do:
To stop having the same argument, both of you need to figure out what it is about that particular situation that keeps drawing you back to it. Is it a trust issue? A commitment issue? Or just a superficial thing that's actually a sign of a deeper problem? Until you've worked out what it is about that same argument that means you're unable to let it go, then you won't be able to move on.
The sign: You socialise separately all the time
Again, just like arguing is typical of a healthy relationship, being able to comfortably spend time away from each other is a key factor in long-lasting relationships. After all, you're more than just that person's boyfriend or girlfriend. But what happens when the time spent doing other things massively overtakes the time spent together doing the things you both enjoy together?
What you can do:
We all have short-term distractions that mean we don't always spend as much time with our partner as we would like, so the first thing to do is to give it a little bit of time.
If, however, after a couple of weeks, one of you is still feeling cold-shouldered, then you need to discuss it, and arrange to actively do things together to strike the right balance.
What's important is that you aren't asking each other to stop doing something you enjoy, or seeing your friends, but that you are asking for a balance whereby for a certain amount of time - be it two evenings a week, or three weekends a month, or whatever you feel is fair - that you and they spend some time together, and your relationship becomes the main priority.
If you find you're struggling to schedule in that time, make sure to check out this piece on five easy ways you can make more time for your relationship.
The sign: You clash over sex
Sex is by no means the be-all and end-all of a relationship, but it is, of course, a vital part for many couples. However, when there's a massive disparity between the frequency with which you and your partner want to get intimate, it can lead to feelings of guilt, pressure, rejection and shame - none of which are conducive to a long-lasting or healthy relationship.
What you can do:
Making sure that you are open about your feelings is massively important, as keeping quiet about the feelings of rejection and hurt that can come from mismatched libidos is only ever going to make things worse.
If you find that your sex drive has dwindled, but your partner is still very sexual, it's vital that you don't feel like you have to have sex with them in order to keep them. This is just as destructive as saying no. Likewise, if your partner never seems to be in the mood but you are, don't try to force them or guilt them into having sex. After all, that's not really going to be enjoyable for anyone.
Consider the things that could have caused the shift in sexual appetites. Has one of you drastically changed your diet, or are you on medication? Has something stressful or traumatic happened to one of you?
There are tons of reasons why people lose interest in sex, and it's so often not as simple as your partner just not finding you attractive any more, so make sure that you can both talk through the reasons this could be happening in a calm, non-judgemental manner.
You can find out more about how to boost a flagging sex drive here. Or you can watch this great video from The School Of Life on how a lack of sex can affect a relationship, and what you can do to change things.
Do you think there are other signs that a relationship could be in trouble? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
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