Mandy Kloppers

10 signs you are in a dead-end relationship

Sometimes we get so used to being in a dead-end relationship that the misery we feel becomes ‘normalised’, in that we forget what it feels like to be in a fulfilling relationship. Here is a list of signs that indicate you could be living in a dead-end relationship:

  1. You don’t enjoy the physical side anymore

If you dread the idea of sex with your partner, that’s a pretty clear sign that things are not going well. Of course, libido changes and we go through phases where we want sex less but if you actively dread any closeness and feel physically uncomfortable – take notice.

2. Your emotional needs aren’t being met

Do you feel alone in your relationship? Does your partner show a lack of empathy to what you are experiencing in life? When we feel unsupported we tend to begin to our distance between ourselves and our partners. Sometimes, counselling and/or improving communication can sort this out but being left to feel unsupported for too long is definitely not a good sign for the future of any relationship.

3. You don’t miss your partner when you are apart

If your life carries on just as before and there is no void left when you are not with your partner. It could suggest there is a lack of emotional closeness. This doesn’t always mean the end of a relationship but it can be one sign that things are not as good as they could be. Dead-end relationships evolve into a partnerships between two strangers.

4. You don’t feel valued by your partner

Is your partner considerate? Are they able to put themselves in your shoes? When we don’t feel like a priority, resentment can set in and this erodes the goodwill in the relationship. It may be that your partner is selfish and always puts their needs first or that they just don’t place you highly within their list of priorities. Whatever the reason, if someone loves and cares they will make an effort to keep you happy and try to meet your needs as much as possible.

5. You lack respect for your partner (or vice versa)

When we consider our partners to not be pulling their weight or feel they act like a child instead of an adult, this can be a sign of a dead-end relationship. It is not possible to change someone else, so your options are:

a) accept them as they are

b) change the way you think about them and their behaviour

Some people are unable to accept responsibility for their behaviour and lie to themselves and to others about how responsible and reliable they are. They live in denial – don’t get sucked into their fake world.

6. You don’t get on with their friends and family

When we are similar, we tend to find that we get on well with our partner’s friends and family but if our values are far apart, we may find it harder to connect with their friends and family. It can be especially tricky to conduct a relationship with someone who has unhealthily close ties with their family. They may fulfill many of their relationship needs through their close family ties which can disrupt closeness in any relationship.

7. You can’t seem to communicate and resolve conflicts

It’s a sad state of affairs when you try your best to communicate and resolve problems, only to find the problems persist as if there was never any mention of it. Either a partner is unwilling to make changes for the sake of the relationship or they just aren’t bothered enough to do it. Either way, it suggests that you might be in a dead-end relationship. Talking round in circles is frustrating for anyone to live with.

8. You can’t see how the future is going to work out

If you have been together a while yet there seems to be no clear picture for the future, it may be time to take your head out of the sand and take a long hard look at what you want from life and from the future. Do you think this relationship you are in has what it takes? Do you share the same level of commitment to the relationship? Often, dead-end relationships live day to day without any vision for the future.

9. You have started thinking about being out of the relationship

When you feel so unhappy that you become restless and entertain the idea of being single again or with someone else, it is a strong sign that things are not well in the relationship.

10. You cope as a single person would rather than someone in a supportive relationship

Some people just don’t know how to be in a relationship. Either they lack emotional intelligence or they struggle to maintain intimacy and don’t understand the mechanisms involved in keeping a strong close relationship going. They act like a single person and don’t think to discuss things with their partner. Again, you can’t change someone like this – you can explain how you feel and set out clear instructions as to what would make you happier in the relationship but if they are unable to apply this knowledge, there is little hope that anything will change.

All relationships go through difficult phases, that’s a normal part of life. This post is more about relationships where there has been a history of trouble, perhaps 6 months or more. It’s sometimes easier to stay as it is familiar and we can feel threatened by the unknown. However, staying in a dead-end relationship that leaves you miserable will colour how you see life in general and can lead to anxiety and depression in other areas of life. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages and try to see a new life in a positive way rather than giving in to all your fearful thoughts. Life is often what you make of it.

Mandy X

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