There are a number of challenges involved in repairing a damaged relationship, whether a marriage or otherwise, and one of the most notable in many cases is simply recognizing the issue to begin with. Some people don’t begin to notice negative trends in their relationships until it’s too late to do anything about them; on the flip side, the right attention to the nuances of your relationship might allow you to spot negative trends and address them before they spiral out of control.
At Sunrise Solutions, we’re here to help. We offer services like marriage counseling and couples therapy to help people address and manage the issues facing their relationships in positive, organic ways. Here’s a primer on how to spot negative trends, both in a two-person relationship and in yourself throughout multiple relationships, plus some tips on how to get to work on these.
Recognizing Individual Patterns
Firstly, before we dig into some of the telltale signs that your specific current relationship might be struggling, we wanted to touch on a related but different area: Individual patterns. Many people bring certain biases or behaviors from past relationships into their present ones, and these can be more difficult to recognize because they become so commonplace.
When you have a hunch that something isn’t quite right in your relationship, but can’t put your finger on it – consider looking for any individual patterns you might have adopted as a result of past experiences. For instance, after some introspection, some people realize they have a tendency to become overprotective of their partners after a breakup, or to become passive-aggressive when their partner is too busy to spend time with them. Once you recognize these patterns in your own behavior, you can then work on improving them and avoiding similar issues moving forward.
Our next several sections will move toward more specific signs that your current relationship could be struggling.
Communication Has Broken Down
Communication is one of the single most important factors for a happy, healthy relationship. When communication between two people breaks down, it can be difficult to resolve conflicts and make sure both parties feel heard and respected. If you notice that you or your partner are using fewer words when talking, or that arguments become more frequent, this could be an indicator of a relationship in need of repair.
Another telltale sign of a communication problem in your relationship is when one or both partners start to become more closed-off. If you feel like you’ve stopped talking about the things that matter, or if it feels like your partner has stopped listening to what you have to say, this could be a sign that something needs to change.
Major Codependency Issues
In other cases, a relationship can be damaged by too much reliance on the other person. Codependency is when one partner starts to rely on the other for their own sense of self-worth, or when two people become so dependent on each other that it becomes difficult to maintain an individual identity.
If you notice that either you or your partner has become excessively clingy and/or dependent on the other, this could be a sign that your relationship is in need of repair.
Jealousy That’s Not Addressed
Another common sign of a damaged relationship is when one or both partners start to become overly jealous. This can happen even in healthy relationships, but if it’s not addressed and discussed in an open and honest manner, the underlying issues can cause major problems down the line.
If you notice that your partner has started to become excessively possessive or jealous of you, it’s important to address it head-on. Talk to them about their feelings, and do your best to ensure that both of you feel heard and respected in the process.
Control-Seeking Behavior Becomes Noticeable
Have you begun to notice that your partner has started to try and control you? Maybe they are overly critical of the decisions you make, or they are doing their best to dictate how you live your life. This type of behavior is a sign that something needs to change in order for the relationship to be salvaged.
It’s important to recognize this type of behavior early, before it becomes too entrenched and difficult to address. If you notice that your partner is trying to control you, talk to them about it in an open and honest manner.
By recognizing the potential signs of a damaged relationship early on, you can start working on repairing it and getting back to a happy, healthy state. Pay attention to individual patterns you might have, and be sure to address any communication, codependency, jealousy, or control issues that arise. With some patience and diligence, you will be well on your way to restoring the happiness in your relationship.