We have all seen it. How many times have you gone to a restaurant and watched a couple not speak a word to one another? They stay married for the sake of being married and robotically go through the daily motions of life. These couples have absolutely nothing in common and most likely have not touched each other in years. No affection. No emotion. No warmth between them.
They may have been in love at one time, or maybe they weren’t. The fact is that they are no longer in mutual love. These couples may have grown tired of each other or have simply taken two different directions in life. Many relationships fall flat in what is known as the “convenient” stage of marriage.
This convenient stage of marriage can come from many things. Maybe you were madly in love at one time, but something changed along the way. You may have grown and blossomed as a person, and your partner did not. Maybe you ultimately sought two different paths in life. Possibly one or both of you simply outgrew each other. Or maybe your priorities shifted and you allowed your connection to take a nosedive.
Recognize the early signs of relationship demise and determine whether to fix it – or leave it
1. Lack of intimacy
Lack of sex, intimacy, or touch is the first sign your relationship may be falling apart. Sex is the glue that cements your relationship as a couple. It’s special and sacred to just the two of you. It’s a powerful act of togetherness that keeps you centred and connected. Without sex and affection, the two of you have simply become good pals.
2. Poor communication (or none at all)
Lack of daily communication with your partner is a sign your relationship could be heading south. When relationships start to crumble, silence is generally one of the first indicators. When loving text messages, emails, and phone calls become scarce or non-existent, it could be time for a relationship check-up.
3. PDA is nonexistent
If your public displays of affection have become public displays of separation, you may have cause for concern. Touch is driven by love. When you are in love, you want to touch your partner. When sweet kisses, hand holding, and walking arm-in-arm have been replaced by crossed-arms and a measurable distance between you, there is likely cause for concern.
4. Terms of endearment are rarely used
When “Sweetheart,” “Honey,” and “Lover,” have been replaced with “Angela,” “Jack,” and “Stacey,” you might want to listen up. The way you are addressed by your partner speaks volumes. Love elicits loving terms of endearment. Your boss should call you by name; your partner should not.
5. No more common interests
Doing activities as a couple strengthens your bond. Mutual interests keep you connected as a couple. When you explore life as a tag team, you look forward to your time together. It’s like being married to your best friend, with the bonus of sex. If the interests you once enjoyed together have become strictly solo adventures, you may need to restructure your interests to merge back together as a couple.
With a fragment of love and attraction still felt by both of you, your relationship may just require a bit of polishing to reboot and get back on track. I cannot stress enough the importance of putting in the effort to save your relationship, if and only if, you both have some crumb of attraction left for your partner. To fix and revive your once-felt attraction and devotion, both partners must feel (and want) some potential hope for love revival.
So how do you know if your relationship still has some underlying and mutual love left in it? You take the “Dang Factor” test, which consists of two questions:
Question 1: If, after you had split up, you were to see your ex-partner walk, hand in hand, into a restaurant with a new love interest, how would you feel?
Before you answer that question, take note: the first “Dang Factor” rule explicitly states that you cannot have it both ways. In other words, you can’t say you aren’t attracted to or interested in being with your partner and at the same time say seeing them with someone else would send you into a jealous rage. Remember, either you feel the magnetism or you don’t. Even a fragment of attraction is still an attraction.
Question 2: How do you feel when your partner touches you?
If you do not enjoy being touched by your partner, it could be a sign that your attraction level has died or is temporarily out of order. Intimate touch between yourself and your partner is the one thing that sets your relationship apart from that of your best friend. It’s that shared sexual intimacy that marks your relationship as different from what you share with coworkers, friends, and neighbors. Sex, kissing, hugging, and holding hands are the components that classify you both as a “couple.” If you are not touching, then you are simply living as roommates.
Take Quiz: Are You Spouses Or Just Roommates?
Once you determine if there is an aspect of attraction left in your relationship, how do you go about pulling your relationship out of the fix-it stage? Easy! You put in the effort.
Plan of action for love resurrection
You rearrange your priorities so your partner comes first (before your friends, the kids, or the dog), like when you were dating. You will need to step outside of you and look in to find the current state of your relationship. If there is still some morsel of desirability and you are just going through a rough patch or have become disconnected as a couple, it may not be necessary to end the marriage. If you passed the two-pronged “Dang Factor” test, there is hope for love resurrection, and it is time to get serious about bringing good love back into your life.
If one or both of you choose not to put effort into the revitalization of your once fun and sexy marriage, you could end up divorced. You both need to be prepared for this and the realization that you could lose an otherwise incredible love when all that was needed was a bit of polishing and effort.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Michelle Afont