Everyone experiences the relationship rut now and then. Our lives are constantly in flux, and having something stable to fall back on is both comforting and reassuring. But sometimes, we can get stuck in a holding pattern with our significant others, especially after being together for many years. Taking a step back and really looking at what your relationship means to you, and what the future holds, can be challenging, but it's important to be up front about what you need from your relationship to avoid hurting yourself and the person you love. If you find yourself doing any or all of the things below, it may be the right time to reevaluate what you want from your significant other and figure out how to get it.
1. You blow things out of proportion.
OK, so he left his clothes on the floor (again). Is that really a good reason to start World War III? Probably not — but for whatever reason, you find yourself seeing red at the smallest things. If you are looking for a fight where fights don't exist, or needlessly attacking him for no reason, then you need to examine what you're truly upset about, and chances are it's not his dirty socks laying around.
2. You're letting your eyes wander.
We all like to take a look now and then when someone particularly tempting walks by, but that is usually the extent of it. Checking out random hot strangers is totally harmless, and everyone does it (yes, even your significant other). But are you taking a second look and then a third? More concerning still — are you starting to think twice about people you actually know and spend time with? Most likely, you aren't even interested in those guys, but the fact that you're even considering opening those doors means that it may be time to look at your own relationship and figure out why your eye is beginning to seriously wander.
3. You're looking for ways out.
If you're exploring the "what if?" scenarios more and more and mentally going over the logistics of a potential breakup if it were to happen, then that's a relationship red flag. Making mental plans about where you would move, how you would split your stuff, or who gets the dog, are all signs that your subconscious is nudging you in a direction that you may not want it to be nudging you — but that doesn't mean you should ignore it.
4. You are constantly bickering.
Arguing is difficult on both parties involved, but bickering is just plain frustrating. Most of the time, arguments at least lead to some sort of resolution and (in theory) can help improve a relationship. Constant bantering about small, insignificant things is a pointless back-and-forth battle of unrelenting wills. It's exhausting, unproductive, and if it's an ongoing method of communication for you and your significant other, it's often a sign that a bigger problem is buried deeper.
5. Your sex drive is struggling.
Sex. It's good for you, it's good for him, it's good for the relationship. Not having sex at all, or very infrequently, is a problem. Don't get us wrong — no one is saying that five years down the line, you should be in the honeymoon phase and going at it like bunnies. But if the idea of sex with your partner is unappealing or seems like a chore, then it's time to figure out why that may be.
6. You're low or no maintenance.
It's great that you can pee in front of your significant other and burp out loud while watching Netflix together in your pajamas. Being comfortable around each other is an important aspect of a relationship and can be a sign of true intimacy. But if you find yourself completely apathetic about how you appear to your SO — you have no idea when you last shaved your legs and you're pretty sure this is the third night in a row you've worn that shirt to bed, for example — then you should ask yourself why you used to love getting dressed to impress for them and now have lost that drive.
7. You're apathetic.
One of the biggest signs that you need to contemplate what you're really doing in the relationship is if you have become more or less apathetic about it. Apathy is worse than anger. If you're basically checked out, then you are hurting yourself and your partner — who you probably still care about on many levels — more than you are helping either.
8. Who he is — not what he does — drives you nuts.
Aspects of their personality that you used to find adorable, endearing, or interesting — all of that just drives you crazy now. His "-isms" embarrass you when you're with other people to the point where you feel like you need to apologize (you don't). Your significant other may be baffled as to why, although they haven't changed, you seem easily frustrated with them even though they are doing things you used to like.
9. Small talk is all you've got.
When you start dating, you have deep conversation that fuels your relationship. You get to know each other on so many new and exciting levels, and then as the relationship progresses and your lives become entwined, you have even more important and meaningful things to discuss. If you've started to feel like you need a television or phone between the two of you to even keep the conversation going, then you should take a step back and figure out the cause. Your significant other should stimulate you both emotionally and mentally, and if that's not happening, then the two of you should talk about ways to revive the conversation (and maybe the relationship).
10. You feel trapped.
If you feel like the walls are slowly closing in on you, then it's important that you make your way out of whatever place you feel trapped in. Maybe you think there is more to see, more relationships to experience, or simply more time that you want to yourself that you aren't getting in your current relationship. These feelings are totally OK — as long as you address them and make the right moves toward fixing the problem. It's not fair to you or your partner to remain stationary if you feel the need to move.
11. You love them, but you aren't in love with them.
This is one of the hardest truths to come to terms with, but one that ultimately should be the deciding factor in your relationship reevaluation. If you love the person, but no longer feel the same way about them that you used to, then you should either work on rebuilding that love, or move toward a solution that is right for both of you, even if that means moving on.