What are the signs of an unhappy relationship and what should you do about it?

When you just start dating or when you’re just at the beginning of a new relationship, everything seems idyllic and almost perfect.

You’re naturally inclined to make an effort, you respect each other’s differences, you enjoy romantic date nights and you pay attention to details.

When you’re having a bad day, you know that your significant other will be there for you because they’re both your best friend and lover in one.

boyfriend comforing his beautiful girlfriend on the couch

And then, over time, something changes because when you’ve been together for a long time, there are no longer barriers between you and you are who you are in front of each other.

However, when you become too casual, you risk getting stuck in a rut.

When you become too casual and you no longer make an effort in a romantic relationship, you enter the zone of a lack of respect and appreciation.

Your relationship hits a rough patch and an initially happy relationship turns into an unhealthy relationship.

Being in an unhappy relationship is like slowly drowning in a swamp.

You feel like something’s pulling you down and you’re losing your breath but you’re not quite sure why you feel that way and what the real reason behind it is.

sad blonde woman sitting on the couch in the living room

You somehow misinterpret or miss all the red flags, thinking that it will pass and that everything will get back on track if you just give it time.

Or you get convinced that it’s normal to feel this way in a relationship because, over time, long-term relationships change and lose their initial passion and attraction.

Since you don’t want to end up having your heart broken, you subconsciously decide to suppress any potential red flag and you decide to pretend that you’re happy in front of your friends and family.

You refuse to acknowledge the fact that your once beautiful thing has turned into a potentially toxic relationship.

But that’s exactly what you need to do. The first step to dealing with an unhappy relationship is accepting the fact that you’re in one, that things are not like they used to be and that you deserve to be happy.

If you’re not really sure whether your relationship has reached the zone of chronic unhappiness, here is a list of signs screaming that you’re in a deeply unhappy relationship without even being aware of it!

1. You spend more time with your friends and family than with your partner

3 happy female friends taking a selfie and having fun in the street

The first and the biggest indicator of an unhappy relationship is the amount of time you spend together with your partner.

If you’ve noticed that you’re spending more time with your friends and family than with your partner, then you know something’s terribly wrong.

Just think back to the beginning stages of your relationship and compare it to your current relationship situation.

Do you notice that before, you used to spend a great amount of time together because you really enjoyed every second of each other’s company and now you no longer do that because something changed within you?

You no longer see your partner’s company as something enjoyable but more as torment because you’re not relaxed, because you’re constantly fighting with each other or because they are no longer the same man/woman you used to know.

They are no longer that one person who can make you happy and that’s why you no longer feel drawn to them. Instead, you prefer spending time with the people close to you or on your own.

2. There are no conflicts in the relationship

unhappy couple in the bed on their phones not talking to each other

I know what you’re thinking; how in the world can the fact that there are no conflicts in a relationship be interpreted as something negative?

Isn’t the whole point of a happy relationship to be conflictless and blissful, without any arguments?

Well, I’m sorry to tell you but it’s not. Every healthy relationship consists of conflicts and arguments to a certain extent.

While constant arguments are not healthy, no arguments at all are also not healthy in a relationship.

So, if you’ve noticed that you no longer fight over things, it’s a huge red flag that you’re unhappy with the relationship you’re in. Why?

Because by having arguments with your partner, you’re telling them that you’re not okay with something and you’re trying to find a solution for it with mutual efforts because you care.

However, by avoiding any types of arguments, you’re subtly telling each other that you don’t give a shit about what’s happening in the relationship and you don’t care about dealing with it.

This happens when you’re no longer attached to each other and you feel like there’s no point in fighting because you don’t really care about the outcome and all you want is peace, even at the cost of creating a passively-aggressive environment.

3. Date nights are no longer existent

unhappy couple not talking to each other while sitting on the couch

Many dating coaches, relationship experts and psychotherapists accentuate the importance of maintaining date nights when you’re in a relationship (regardless of how long you’ve been in one).

And a lot of times, right after things get casual, partners simply forget to nourish date nights and to still make an effort to surprise each other.

Or they don’t forget, but they just stop caring about it because they have more important things to do and focus on.

So, if you can’t remember when the last time was that you two had a date night, you can be sure that things are not as they should be.
Date nights exist for a reason.

They help you reconnect, they boost your passion and intimacy and they make you feel special (especially if one of you two is the one who takes the other on a date night by surprise).

When all this is gone in a relationship, you lose the opportunity to become one with your partner and to boost your relationship by enjoying spending time together. Your relationship becomes numb and lifeless.

4. You’re constantly criticizing each other

sad woman sitting on the couch with her boyfriend

When you just start dating, your tolerance for your partner’s habits and behavior is at a high level but over time, this changes.

When you’ve been together for some time, you become more and more aware of the things that annoy you, and if you can’t help but constantly criticize each other for it, then you know you’re in an unhappy relationship.

It’s one thing to tell your partner that something is bothering you about them from time to time, but constantly being on the lookout for every single inconvenience and bad habit is a sign that the root of the problem is much more important than you thought.

It’s a sign that you’re no longer happy with your partner and that’s why you get so easily irritated by everything they do.

You no longer see them as you used to and you’re subconsciously looking for ways to express your dissatisfaction with the current situation.

By constantly criticizing your partner, you’re basically telling them you don’t approve of them and that no matter what they do, how they behave or what they say to you, you’ll never see them as good enough for you.

You’ll never see them as good enough for you because you lost attraction, appreciation and respect for each other.

5. Lack of intimacy

sad and unhappy couple having a drink in a bar

Lack of intimacy is definitely one of the number one signs of every unhappy relationship.

Being intimate means connecting with each other, building trust and strengthening your relationship, so if all of a sudden you notice a lack of intimacy, there is a valid reason behind it.

If you’re constantly making excuses, like the one where you have a constant headache (if you’re a female) and other excuses if you’re male, to justify why you don’t want to get intimate with your partner, you know that you have a serious problem in the relationship.

If you never even mention intimacy or show any sign of desiring it, then you know your relationship has shut down and changed its title to an unhappy relationship.

The reasons why this happens are a lack of attraction or mutual respect, passive-aggressive behavior, controlling behavior and so on.

Basically, whatever is happening in your relationship on a daily basis reflects on the situation between the sheets and that’s how you know whether you’ve reached a dead-end street or if there’s still hope for you agree to make mutual efforts to make things right again.

See also: 10 Things Couples Should Try At Least Once To Increase Their Intimacy

6. Lack of gratitude

man hugging his unhappy girlfriend in the street

Gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in the universe because when you’re being grateful, you attract more positive things into your life.

If you’re showing you’re grateful for everything your partner does for you and vice versa, you’re motivating each other to continue doing so.

However, if there’s a lack of gratitude in the relationship, there is also a lack of happiness.

When you no longer appreciate the big things or the little things you do for each other, you no longer appreciate each other as a human being or as someone you once fell in love with.

Where there is no gratitude, there is no effort because effort stems from the willingness to appreciate, to notice and to embrace.

And where there is no effort, there is no harmony in the relationship because a relationship can’t survive without effort.

All this creates a huge gap between two people and can even destroy a relationship for good.

7. You’re feeling lonely in the relationship

sad blonde woman sitting on the floor next to couch with her hands on her head

A relationship should be a community of two people being in love with each other, and if you’re feeling lonely in the relationship, it means that you’re in an unhappy relationship.

It’s completely normal to feel lonely when there’s a lack of important elements like reciprocity, respect and mutual effort, which create a happy relationship.

That’s the main reason why you all of a sudden feel isolated. You feel lonely because you have no one to listen to you, you don’t feel secure and you feel like your partner doesn’t understand you at all.

And when that happens, you withdraw and you enter a labyrinth of overthinking and daydreaming about someplace nicer, like with another person who will be the exact opposite of your partner.

Because of that, you often find yourself connecting with strangers real fast just because they listen to you, give you a compliment, make you feel safe and are there for you.

When you start comparing your relationship with strangers who are just being polite to you, you know that you’ve been unhappy for a long time now.

8. You’re giving each other the silent treatment

young couple not talking to each other because they had a recent fight

The silent treatment is the silent killer of every relationship and it’s one of the biggest indicators of every unhappy relationship.

Giving the silent treatment means ignoring another person’s wishes, desires and thoughts.

The difference between a couple who is in a happy relationship and those in an unhappy relationship is visible in the way they deal with their arguments.

A couple in a happy relationship never give each other the silent treatment but they strive to make things work and find a mutual solution to a problem.

A couple in an unhappy relationship don’t really care about finding mutual solutions and choose to give each other the silent treatment instead.

Ignoring them means indirectly killing your relationship or what’s left of it. Ignoring them means building a wall between you and your partner and being unwilling to build it again or to reconstruct it.

And when you build a wall, you build unhappiness with all the unsaid words that are buzzing around your head.

9. You’re living separate lives

cute young woman doing work with her laptop by the window

While spending too much time together and doing everything together is not really healthy, living separate lives is also not healthy in a relationship.

You know that you’re living separate lives if you have no idea what’s really going on in your partner’s life (their job, family, friends or hobbies) and if you also don’t bother sharing what’s happening in your life either.

Living separate lives means being in a relationship as strangers where there is no common point where your lives intersect.

It’s when you don’t bother hanging out with your mutual friends, when you don’t bother telling your partner about that important event at your job and when you no longer seek comfort or understanding from each other.

The less you know about each other’s lives, the less you’re connected. And the less you’re connected, the less happy you are in the relationship.

10. There’s no meaningful conversation

sad couple can't find a topis to talk about

You know that you’re in an unhappy relationship if you can’t remember the last time you had a meaningful conversation with your partner.

Talking about your feelings, about the meaning of life or about other unconventional topics is another way to create a stronger bond with your partner.

On the contrary, constantly pushing only small talk is a real destroyer of every relationship because by doing that, you’re not making an effort to say something more meaningful, something that will bring back the spark to your eyes and make you feel enriched.

And as already said, not making an effort equals being in an unhappy relationship.

11. Instead of apologizing, you’re playing the blame game

sad young couple having a fight on the couch

There’s no perfect relationship. Making mistakes and arguing from time to time in a relationship is totally normal and the difference is in the way you deal with it.

If you and your partner always make sure to apologize after you’ve done something wrong or when you think that you’re the one who is not right, it means you’re taking responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions.

But if instead of apologizing, you play the blame game, where you have the need to accuse each other and blame the other for everything bad that happens in your relationship, you know that you’re in a toxic relationship.

Constantly finding a culprit for everything bad that happens instead of dealing with the situation is damaging for every relationship.

Most of the time, this has nothing to do with blaming someone for something but with expressing your dissatisfaction with the relationship because you’re no longer happy and content.

12. You’re fighting over trivial things

unhappy young black couple having a fight in the living room

When something serious happens, it’s normal for you or your partner to react in an argumentative manner but if you’re constantly fighting over trivial things, it means that you’re annoyed by each other to the extent of constantly being on the lookout for the other person’s next mistake.

Fighting over trivial things means fighting for no real reason except for the need of expressing your discontent with the overall situation in the relationship and your partner.

If you notice that you’re all of a sudden appalled by everything your partner does or vice versa, then you know you’re in an unhappy relationship and you should definitely do something about it.

See also: 7 Arguments You Have That Signal The Beginning Of The End

13. Lack of respect

unhappy young black teenage couple in the street have a fight

As you probably already know, respect is the foundation of every happy relationship. Respecting your partner means respecting their choices, personality and thoughts and all the differences between you.

Respect also means compromising and being willing to understand situations.

When a relationship lacks respect, it lacks the foundation needed for establishing a healthy relationship.

Lack of respect means undervaluing each other, criticizing each other, not giving a damn about how the other person feels and so on.

It’s when you no longer try to make each other feel special and instead, you only focus on yourself and your own needs and wishes.

14. You no longer show affection

unhappy young woman by the red table in front of a cafe

Affection in a relationship is like water to every flower.

For a relationship to flourish, both partners need to keep making an effort when it comes to surprising each other, making each other feel special, complimenting them and showing affection in many other ways.

A simple hug every day means a lot for both your partner’s well-being and your relationship.

If you can’t remember the last time you and your partner expressed affection toward each other (be it verbally or physically) then you know you’re stuck in an unhappy relationship.

15. You’re daydreaming about being single again

happy young readhead woman in the street leaning on the wall

And last but not least, when you’ve been stuck in an unhappy relationship for some time, you start daydreaming about being single again but for some reason, you can’t find the courage to do something about it.

And that’s why you enter the world of daydreaming about being single again.

When you’re contemplating and imagining that you’re solo again, that you’re dating someone else or finding someone through online dating, you feel liberated and you feel happy even for a moment because you know that you’re no longer happy in the current relationship and you’re subconsciously looking for a way out of it.

See also: Here’s To Being Single And The Magic Of New Beginnings

If you just realized that you’re in an unhappy relationship…

black and white photo of a nuhappy mature woman

If all of the above signs or the majority of them are indicating that you’re in an unhappy relationship, there are two things you can do about it: You can move on or fight for it if you believe that there’s still hope.

But remember that the fight and the effort must be mutual.

If you still love your partner and you feel like you belong together, it’s a valid reason to fight for what you have or, better said, for what’s left of your relationship.

But if you want to fight for your relationship just because you’re afraid of being alone, you need to know that this isn’t a good reason to stay, not for you or your partner.

The wisest thing to do is to first take some time to think about the whole situation before making any irrational decisions, to talk to your partner about it and arm yourself with patience, whatever you decide to do. Good luck!

See also: 14 Things To Do When You Are Unhappy In Your Relationship

15 Signs You're In A Deeply Unhappy Relationship