Well, that’s it friends. JLo and A-Rod are officially over – the pair have confirmed their break up with the world. In a statement, the former couple revealed that “We have realised we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so”. The duo called off their engagement and have gone their separate ways after four years together.
If the recent headlines about the celebrity couple’s split has you thinking about relationship health in a broader sense, you’re certainly not alone. Major break up stories tend to do that. And maybe it’s not such a bad thing.
Paying attention to the way your relationship is progressing is always a good idea. You don’t want to be mindlessly floating through a partnership for 3 years only to discover that your significant other has been unhappy for half of that time at the very end – y’know?
To gain some insight into the signs your relationship may be over, I chatted with relationship expert Dr Lurve (check out that name). Here’s what she had to say.
An argument is not a disaster:
Firstly, let’s all keep in mind that sometimes relationships are difficult. The occasional argument is completely normal, and as Dr Lurve told me over email “most relationships can be messy”.
“Long long-term relationships, in particular, can be tricky to navigate because you need a lot of compromise, sacrifice and mutual respect to get you through,” she said. But getting angry once in a while doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed.
Less communication, however, isn’t great
The key to keeping any kind of relationship alive is always communication. If you lose that, you’re going to find yourself in rocky territory very quickly.
Dr Lurve shared that “Less communication with your partner can sometimes feel as though you’re turning away from each other’s attempts to connect. It can make each party feel unseen or disconnected and just generally less satisfied with the relationship.”
If you’ve noticed this, try and build closeness by setting times where you can spend time together without phones or other people present.
“However if talking to your partner feels like pulling teeth, it might be time to move on.”
The sex has died off
Just to be clear: sex is not a must in all relationships and libidos are different for everyone. That is perfectly normal and nothing to feel concerned about.
Dr Lurve points out that it’s also pretty standard that your sex life is most likely to be its spiciest in the first few months.
“Eb and flows in your sex life is (sic) completely normal, but a boring routine that makes you wish it would end means your sexual chemistry has fizzled out,” she said.
Try and mix up your routine (this sex bucket list may help) with fun and new activities. However, if your “attempts at getting the spark back just don’t work, you’ll know it’s time to call it quits.”
Having the same fight over and over again
As I touched on before, arguments are not necessarily a bad thing. As Dr Lurve said, “fighting is proven to be a sign of a healthy relationship, but only when it’s balanced with conflict resolution”.
If you can’t move past a certain issue, or worse, find you can’t confront a sore point at all, you’re probably not going to be able to make this relationship work.
Thinking about or cheating with other people
I’m not saying you can’t notice that gorgeous barista who makes your daily piccolo. If he has guns like a Chris Evans (or anything like Chris Evans), you’re allowed to think that’s attractive.
Where this becomes a problem is when you’re always thinking about another person.
“If you’re frequently fantasising about someone other than your partner or envisioning your life without them, it means you’re clearly ready to move on,” Dr Lurve said.
Then there’s cheating. Emotional or physical, this is a painful experience that can destroy trust and break relationships.
Dr Lurve said:
“Some couples are able to overcome cheating scandals and come out stronger for it, however, most couples don’t get past the feeling of betrayal. Cheating is a huge violation of trust and if you’re unable to re-build that trust, it’s best to let the relationship come to a natural end.”
Breakups suck, and there’s no real easy way to accept the news that perhaps yours has run its course. But hopefully, if you can recognise these signs, there’s a chance you can turn things around and if not, prepare yourself emotionally.
Regardless, may the odds be ever in your favour.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.