You can feel it in your gut, though you can't put words to it. But it's there ... silently hovering in the air, unspoken,
a sense of dread that the loving, monogamous relationship you've been in for a number of months, or years, is over, even if
neither of you has said anything, even if you are still together physically.
The change was so
gradual, you didn't see it coming at first. But now there's no denying it. Communication between you has
broken down. You seem to be saying one thing and he or she is responding with another, totally unrelated to what you
were trying to convey. He's distant, separated from you even when you're in the same room together. Her expression,
once so adoring when she looked at you, has changed.
What went wrong?
Probably it's nothing
that you did. The sad fact is, many relationships just reach the end of the road, and neither party is to blame.
Feelings change. It can happen to the best of us, and often does. But how can you tell the difference between
a disagreement that can be resolved and an irreconcilable situation that can only be rectified by ending the romance?
There are many signs
you can, and should, look for.
- Does your partner
seem distant lately? Is she holding something back when you're making love, as though her emotions are disconnected
from her body? When you speak to her, does she hear you or does she seem not to be listening?
- Does your partner
start quarrels with you for no apparent reason, especially if it culminates with him storming out of the house?
- Has your partner
gotten in the habit of complaining about things you do, beginning every sentence with "You never" or "You always"?
- If your
partner criticizes you, and you respond by correcting the behavior he/she found offensive, does your partner seem pleased
or does he/she actually get angry, responding either with total silence or something else he/she doesn't like about you?
Have you been getting the impression that no matter how much you do for your partner, it isn't enough?
- Does she expect
you to be a mind reader ... responding to your repeated questions of "What's wrong?" with silence, or with a tartly snapped,
"Nothing!" or "You know what's wrong!" Or, worse, "If you really loved me you wouldn't have to ask!"
- If you try
to talk to your partner about moving to the next step in your relationship, which you'd discussed before--for example, if
you'd been talking about moving in together, or if you're already sharing a residence and had been contemplating marriage--does
he either grow silent or respond with a non sequitir or some vague, generic statement, like, "We'll see what happens?"
- If you're already
married or living together, has he lost interest in doing things around the house or making improvements to the property,
such as repairs or yard work?
If any of these scenarios
sound familiar, you may have to brace yourself for the unhappy fact that your partner wants out of the relationship and has
not worked up the courage to tell you directly.
Many times, we can sense things even if they're
unspoken. Things just don't feel the same anymore. Your partner is there in body but not in spirit, and you've
almost become like two strangers even if you're continuing to spend the night together or share a residence. When that
happens, it's time for a long talk, whether your partner wants it or not.
It doesn't have to be confrontational.
If possible, rehearse what you're going to say so that you'll be able to talk without stuttering or breaking down. But
you will have to prepare yourself for the worst outcome, or you'll be shocked and devastated if things don't turn out the
way you'd hoped.
Ending a romance is never easy, regardless of
whose doing it is. If you loved your partner heart and soul, it can be devastating; but if you suspect the romance has
reached a dead end, you must speak up or you'll be destined to remain in limbo for a long time. You deserve better than
that. Gather your friends around you for support if need be ... avoiding those who say things like "I told you so" or
"I never liked him anyway." Don't be afraid to cry. And, whatever you do, don't be afraid to fall in love again.
It's what life is all about, and it may be that God has someone better waiting in the wings for you.