A puppy. A newborn. An orchid. Your relationship.
What do all of these things have in common? They all need constant care and attention.
And yet, because a relationship doesn’t pee on the carpet, cry, or wilt, you may forget to give it the nurturing that it needs. But relationships DO cry out for help in their own way, and today I am going to show you the 10 most common signs that your relationship is in need of help.
1. You have become a bulldozer.
You know how you want the bathroom, the weekend, or your vacation to go, and you push and prod your partner to do it your way. OK, so it’s great that you have a dream. But it’s not much fun to spend all of your time with yourself, and yet the more you bulldoze, the less you spend time with anyone other than yourself. Give your partner the remote control, and start celebrating them for what they bring to the relationship.
2. You've become a mute.
The opposite of a bulldozer, you stuff down your thoughts and feelings and don’t share them. Your partner knows you less and less, and then, like magic, you like them less and less. After all, one of the great gifts of a relationship is knowing and being known by another person so deeply. It’s what all of us crave.
3. When faced with leaving, your biggest fears are about logistics.
When I broke up with my ex many years ago, one of the concerns that popped into my head was “I will lose my Amazon Prime account!” Crazy, I know. Even if your concerns are less petty than mine—a house, a group of friends, finances—if your biggest concern isn’t “I would miss them SO much," then you are not staying in the relationship because of the other person. If you truly are committed to love, the relationship has to be based, first and foremost, on wanting this person in your life.
4. You multitask.
When spending time with your significant other, you usually look for something else to do, like checking emails, watching TV, or cleaning. It’s OK to multitask sometimes, but if you do it all the time, you're likely avoiding being present and focused on them—two things that are essential for a healthy relationship.
5. You fantasize.
We all know that cheating is a no-no. I am here today to say that even fantasizing about another person in your head is “giving away the jewels” that should be given to your partner. I don’t mean going to an Adam Levine concert and thinking he is looking good. I mean daydreaming about being with someone else ... repeatedly. Save your mojo for your relationship, where it will serve to build one of the most important aspects of your life: your relationship.
6. You can remember every episode of "Scandal," but not the last time you had sex.
Even if it isn’t always creative and exciting, sex is one of the best ways to reconnect with your partner, soul to soul, on a deep level. If you don’t feel that sex is a spiritual act, then it’s time you figured out how to make it one!
7. Even a date night isn’t fun.
You know you used to look forward to date night. But now it feels a bit …. boring. This is a sign that you need to reconnect with how the two of you have fun, and then go have it! A tip about having fun: you can make agreements to not talk about certain subjects that kill the fun, and to check any moods you might have at the door. Date night does not mean “dump night.”
8. You groan when their calls interrupt your work.
When you first started dating, you loved how she showered you with attention. But now you wish she would stop taking up so much time. Does she not know how many things you need to get done today? The problem here is that you've lost sight of the fact that this person loves you and just wants to connect with you. That is likely more precious than anything on your To Do list.
9. You vehemently dislike your in-laws.
It’s your job to build a great relationship with your in-laws. I'm not talking about cases of extreme abuse or psychiatric disease, but the “normal” annoyance with in-laws. Here is why it matters: these people are the parents of your partner, they raised them and helped them become who they are today. They likely have many of the same personality traits as your partner, whether you care to admit it or not. Accepting your in-laws goes a long way toward accepting your partner.
10. You compare your relationship to others.
Of course it’s natural and healthy to look at other relationships you admire, and learn their special sauce. But if you find yourself continually comparing your relationship to other relationships, you likely aren’t focusing on what makes your relationship great and unique, and making it even more so. No two relationships are the same, and your job is to build your own definition of “a great relationship” and make that your rock.
How well is your relationship doing? Which one of these signs describes your relationship?
The good news is that you can take action on every one of these. Just like watering a plant or raising a puppy, you can take caring and deliberate actions to make your relationship flourish. You just need to recognize when it’s thirsty.