All relationships go through their ups and downs. How do you know if you are really in trouble or if this is just a phase?
Here are some observations I have made based on working with many couples over the years.
- Strange as it may sound, as a couples therapist, I think when a couple reports that there is no fighting or conflict between them, I believe they are disengaged and disconnected from each other. Some conflict is healthy and unavoidable; it tells me that there is life and some passion here and that the people have not given up. In a way, when partners fight with each other, they are fighting for their relationship. They are also fighting for themselves to be seen and heard.
- I think a relationship is in trouble when one of both spend a lot of time on the phone or other device or are in a different space from the other. I think these devices are tools for avoidance and creating distance from your partner and people fall into these patterns, not realizing what they are doing or their meaning. Sometimes when one person spends a lot of time on the phone away from the other, it can mean they are having another relationship.
- I think that frequent late nights out with no ability to reach one another is another potentially problematic symptom of a troubled relationship. It is disrespectful to not be unreachable almost at any time and especially late in the night for many reasons, including safety and possibility of inappropriate encounters.
- Sudden changes in your partner’s schedule, more frequent trips, unexplained absences and unaccounted for gaps of time all spell potential trouble and possibility of an affair – sexual or emotional. It is critical to pay attention to ebbs and flows of your connection to your partner.
All couples have problems. To create a relationship built on love and trust is to practice acceptance and compassion for your spouse. Recognizing these four signs in your relationship is a great way to identify whether you are just going through a rough time or it’s something more serious. Consult a trusted loved one or a couples counseling to help you overcome relationship challenges.