Chances are you’ve known a fellow who stayed with a she-beast for years, even though, by all appearances, she was ruining his life. Or perhaps you’ve got a friend who gets along with his girlfriend just fine—they just act more like roommates than lovers. It seems obvious that these people should break up… to everyone but the guy himself. And maybe that “guy” is “you.” Why the blind spot? In the first place, it’s simply hard to leave a woman you love. People invest so much into relationships that it’s painful to just walk away. Plus, you can often be too close to the problem to actually see it. But it’s a brand-new year, and it might be time for a change. Whether you’re wondering or a friend is, here are five signs it’s over. Or should be, anyway.
1. No future: You know that at least once you’ve been the guy thinking about what it would be like to be married to a woman you’ve known for all of three weeks. That’s not the time to start discussing future plans, but it can point to something telling on the flip side: when you stop thinking about the future, things between you and your girl are sterile at best. A quick test to know if she’s still on board? Ask her something about your future together. It can be as simple as what type of place you want to live in for your next apartment. If she’s not interested in the conversation, it’s time for a talk of a different type.
2. Crappy sex: You’re not being shallow for wanting a healthy, zesty sex life. You’re being a human being with needs. No one should be in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling them sexually. In fact, a lack of a mutually fulfilling sex life often underpins other problems. The question isn’t what’s “normal” for other couples, the question is, are you enjoying your sex life? If you don’t find it fulfilling, you don’t need someone else to tell you that it’s OK to be unfulfilled; you just need to eject.
3. Nasty fights: Bickering happens and so do really intense fights, but what shouldn’t happen (or at least shouldn’t happen very often) are arguments that turn into little more than one personal attack after another. When things really start getting nasty (insults about your mother or things she knows you’re particularly sensitive about) or the slightest dig has you wanting to go ballistic, you should consider throwing in the towel.
4. Excessive passive-aggressiveness: If either one of you is being passive-aggressive, it’s generally a sign that things are too far gone to be fixed. Ditto on a constant sense of annoyance coming from either direction. You might love her, but that doesn’t mean you like her, and to make a relationship work, both partners have to both love and like the other one. When sniping and backbiting starts creeping into your everyday life, you’re probably nearing the end of the road.
5. No fun: When you begin dating a woman, you generally can’t make enough plans. When things start going south, you look for any excuse to not spend time with her. Or maybe it’s not that severe. Maybe you’re just not ever doing anything cool and fun together anymore. Either way, if you’re not spending quality time together doing things you both enjoy, your relationship is on the rocks.