Relationships define us and we have many throughout our lives. Some acquaintances are short and fleeting, while other connections may span a lifetime during which you travel to the ends of the earth together.
Everyone we meet has something to teach us, that is the beauty of life. It's about working out which relationships are worthwhile investing in and which one's aren't; because life is transient and so too must you be.
Relationships are not always easy, far from it, however it can be especially difficult knowing when and if the time has come to call it a day. There is no text book for how to navigate relationships (unfortunately), however there are questions you can ask yourself to better ascertain what course of action is best for the long term.
If you are feeling unsure about your relationship; firstly remember that all relationships have wobbles from time to time, but ask yourself...
Do you have a wondering eye?
It's OK to look, however if you are actively thinking about being intimate with another person, or secretly wishing you were able to make a move on someone else, then there could be a problem. Do you find yourself ignoring your partner and avoiding physical contact? Attraction, on whatever level, is an important part of keeping a relationship alive,
Do you now hate the things you used to love about them?
Everyone has their quirky habits and "unique" personality traits, it's what makes us individual. To be compatible you must learn to accept the other as a whole; 'warts and all'. If over time, however, those character quirks become irksome to the point of fuelling hatred within you, then it's time to get out. Move on. It's not healthy for either of you.
Another mistake is to think that you can eventually mould that person into more of what you like and less of what you don't. Big mistake. You learn to love the person exactly as they are, or not at all, if you are both to be truly happy.
Are you subconsciously avoiding date night?
Do you find yourself making excuses when it comes to spending quality time alone with your partner? Whether it's work commitments, or plans with friends, your excuses may well be legitimate; however, if you are finding less and less time for your relationship, then it may be because you are no emotionally invested in it.
Is your phone more interesting than their company?
We are all guilty of spending too much time on our phones or getting obsessed with Netflix but if you find that you are using your phone as a distraction from having to engage in conversation with the other, then there is an issue. When you find yourself caring more about what someone's posted on Facebook, rather than how your partners day was, then it's time to decide whether it's the phone or the relationship you want to put to one side.
Have you stopped caring about making them happy?
Making people that you love and care about happy is what makes us human. Naturally, the little acts of kindness you took great pleasure in doing during the early stages of a relationship can start to fade out as time goes on. They tend to be replaced with more pragmatic acts of enduring love, such as being there to support each other in times of trouble.
However you choose to express it, being in a relationship requires that you show your love for the other person and have a deep seated desire to make them happy. If this is no longer the case, then the relationship is not going to last in any meaningful way.
Do you see them in your future plans?
Being in a relationship doesn't mean that you have to do everything together and you can no longer have your own goals in life. Quite the opposite. For a relationship to remain healthy it's important not to fall into the trap of codependency. That said, if you find that your future plans are fundamentally different to the other, or maybe don't include them, then you may need to split ways in order to follow your true calling in life.
Have you lost the fear of losing them?
When you are fully committed in a relationship, the thought of losing that person fills you with a sense a dread. If, however, it no longer concerns you whether or not they stay or go, then you know that you've fallen out of love and need to end things.
Sometimes, we can confuse the fear of losing someone to fear of being alone, which are two very different things. Ending a relationship is never easy. There will always be a sense of loss and of sadness, however this feeling will pass and is far more tolerable than the emotionally draining, negative experience of dragging out a relationship which has all but fizzled out.