Romance and relationships are wonderful. They enrich our lives and bring most of us increased feelings of connection, self-esteem and well-being. Recent studies have found that the increased incidence of love and sex improves our outlook on life and enhances our health.
The early stage of a love relationship is called the honeymoon period—a time of blissful happiness that often does not last long.
According to Mary Pender Greene, New York City psychotherapist and relationship expert, “Partners in a love relationship tend to wait until they get comfortable with each other—typically three months or longer—before they reveal information that might have been a turnoff at first acquaintance. Disclosure of problems such as substance abuse, chronic unemployment or debt may cause you to question your choice. If you learn things about your companion that disturb you, it may be time to reevaluate.”
Revelations aside, someone’s behavior may simply change in the context of new realities, like work pressures or family discord. If the changes alter how you feel about the person, it could well be time to move on.
Pender Greene identified several warning signs that your relationship is unlikely to last:
1. The connection feels more like a friendship.
2. S/he says, “I love you,” and you can’t bring yourself to say it back.
3. You have little to say to each other.
4. One of you cheats on the other.
5. There’s a feeling of disconnect as you try to communicate.
6. Drama between you is more exciting than the relationship itself.
7. Your talks about a future together seem fanciful or unreal.
8. You find you’re more likely to fight than to have fun.
9. You’re having sex mainly because one wants the other to want it.
10. S/he isn’t supportive of your work or your interests outside the relationship.
11. You find yourself looking at other, more attractive “prospects.”
12. The sex is often bad or sad.
“You may linger in an unhappy relationship because it has become part of your routine and you don’t know what to do once you break away,” Pender Greene advised. “You may continue because the relationship serves functional purposes, such as simple companionship or broader social connections. Regardless, the longer you stay in an unsatisfying relationship, the less chance you’ll have for a good one. Letting go can be difficult, uncomfortable, even frightening, but it isn’t the end of the world. It can be the beginning of a new life.”
Sharon Fenster is a NYC publicist and writer. Contact her at [email protected]