7 signs you’re just forcing your relationship to last

When a relationship begins to lack the spontaneity and comfort that once characterized its communication, it might signal deeper issues. Here are signs that suggest you might be forcing your relationship to last, particularly through the lens of conversation dynamics:

1. Lack of Natural Conversation

1.1. Struggling to Maintain Basic Communication

When interactions that used to flow easily now feel like a chore, it’s a significant red flag. Communication is the lifeline of any relationship, and when it becomes effortful rather than effortless, it suggests a disconnect. This struggle can manifest in many ways, from hesitating to share daily experiences to feeling burdened by the thought of having a simple chat. It indicates that the ease and comfort in your relationship have diminished, making basic conversation feel like an obligation rather than a joy.

1.2. Forced Topics and Awkward Silences

The presence of forced topics and awkward silences is another sign that the natural rhythm of your relationship might be off. In a healthy relationship, conversations arise spontaneously, fueled by mutual interests, shared experiences, and genuine curiosity about each other’s lives. However, when you find yourselves grasping for topics or enduring long stretches of uncomfortable silence, it may indicate a loss of connection. The absence of effortless dialogue points to a deeper issue, possibly reflecting a lack of alignment in your values, interests, or goals.

2. Diminished or Forced Physical Intimacy

A healthy relationship often features a level of physical intimacy that feels natural and desired by both parties. However, when this intimacy starts to diminish or feels forced, it can be a sign that the relationship is being artificially prolonged. Here are two aspects to consider:

2.1. Lack of Spontaneity in Physical Affection

Physical affection, such as touching, hugging, and kissing, should ideally be spontaneous expressions of love and attraction. When these gestures no longer arise naturally or if they begin to feel routine and devoid of genuine warmth, it’s a concerning sign. This lack of spontaneity can indicate a deeper emotional disconnect or a loss of physical attraction. If you notice that your interactions lack the affectionate spontaneity they once had, it might suggest that the relationship is no longer thriving in its natural state.

2.2. The Role of Obligation Over Desire

Physical intimacy is a significant part of most romantic relationships, serving as a bond that connects partners on a deeply personal level. However, when this intimacy is motivated more by a sense of obligation than by genuine desire, it can feel unsatisfying and even resentful for one or both partners. This shift from desire to duty can strip away the joy and connection that physical intimacy is supposed to foster, leaving a hollow space where warmth and affection once resided.

3. Futile Efforts to Revive Past Feelings

The desire to recapture the initial spark of a relationship is common, but when it becomes the main focus, it may indicate that the relationship is being forced rather than naturally progressing. Here’s how this can manifest:

3.1. Living in the Past

Nostalgia for the early days of a relationship is natural, but an overreliance on past happiness as a measure of the relationship’s current value is problematic. When partners cling to memories of better times without making efforts to create new, fulfilling experiences, it suggests a disconnect from the present reality of the relationship. This tendency to live in the past can prevent both partners from addressing current issues or appreciating the growth and changes that have occurred over time. It’s a sign that the relationship may not be evolving in a healthy way, as it relies on outdated dynamics that no longer reflect the couple’s current situation or needs.

3.2. Comparison to Previous Relationship Stages

The “honeymoon” phase, characterized by intense attraction and idealization of one’s partner, is often unsustainable in the long term as relationships naturally shift towards deeper, more complex forms of connection. Constantly comparing the current state of the relationship to this initial period can set unrealistic expectations and foster dissatisfaction. This comparison can create a sense of failure or disappointment when the natural deepening of the relationship—which often includes facing challenges and navigating conflicts together—is viewed as a loss rather than a sign of growth. It indicates a reluctance to accept the natural progression of a relationship, which includes both highs and lows, and can hinder the ability to find fulfillment in the present.

4. Over-Reliance on External Validation

A relationship should primarily fulfill the emotional and companionship needs of the partners involved. However, when there’s an over-reliance on external validation, it might indicate underlying issues within the relationship itself. Here’s how this concern can manifest:

4.1. Seeking Approval from Others

While it’s natural to want our loved ones to support our relationships, an excessive need for friends or family to validate the relationship’s worth can be a red flag. This need for external approval might suggest that you are unsure about the relationship’s value and are looking for reassurance from others to compensate for doubts or insecurities. This dependence on external validation can detract from the authenticity of the partnership, making it difficult to make decisions or assess the relationship’s health independently. It may signal a lack of confidence in the relationship or in one’s own judgment about what is fulfilling and right.

4.2. Social Media as a Relationship Crutch

In today’s digital age, social media plays a significant role in how relationships are perceived externally. Using social media to consistently portray an idealized version of your relationship can be a sign of seeking validation from a broader audience. While sharing happy moments is normal, an overemphasis on curating a perfect image can indicate discomfort with the reality of the relationship. This behavior might be an attempt to convince oneself and others that the relationship is more successful or happier than it actually is. Relying on social media in this way can prevent genuine connection and addressing of issues that may exist within the relationship.

5. Avoidance of Serious Discussions

The health of a relationship can often be gauged by how partners manage to navigate through difficult conversations and disagreements. Avoidance of serious discussions is a sign that the relationship might be under strain, as it hinders the ability to resolve issues and move forward together. Here’s how avoidance can negatively impact a relationship:

5.1. Skirting Around Key Issues

Avoiding conversations about significant topics such as the future of the relationship, financial planning, family matters, or personal values can lead to a superficial connection that lacks depth and security. When partners skirt around these key issues, it prevents the establishment of a solid foundation built on mutual understanding and agreement. This avoidance can stem from a fear of disagreement or the potential realization that both partners might not be on the same page. However, not addressing these topics can lead to greater problems down the line, as unresolved issues and misunderstandings accumulate.

5.2. Fear of Conflict Leading to Resentment

The avoidance of conflict, while might seem like a peacekeeping strategy in the short term, often leads to the buildup of resentment and frustration. When grievances are left unspoken, they don’t disappear; instead, they can fester and grow, potentially erupting over seemingly minor triggers. This dynamic can create a cycle of avoidance and resentment, where the fear of initiating conflict prevents the resolution of underlying issues. Over time, this pattern can erode the trust and intimacy in the relationship, as partners may feel misunderstood, unvalued, or neglected.

6. Individual Growth Feels Stifled

A healthy relationship should encourage personal growth and the pursuit of individual goals alongside shared ones. When a relationship begins to stifle this growth, it might indicate that the dynamics within it are unbalanced. Here’s a closer look at how individual growth can be impacted:

6.1. Sacrificing Personal Goals and Happiness

When one finds themselves constantly sacrificing their personal aspirations, interests, and happiness for the sake of maintaining the relationship, it’s a sign that the relationship may be becoming restrictive. While compromises are a natural part of any relationship, they should be mutual and not come at the expense of one’s personal growth or happiness. Continuously putting aside one’s own goals can lead to feelings of resentment and loss of identity, as the relationship becomes the sole focus at the cost of personal development.

6.2. Feeling Trapped or Hindered

Feeling trapped or hindered by a relationship is a strong indication that the partnership is not fostering an environment where individual growth is valued. This sensation of being stuck can manifest when one partner feels that their aspirations, whether career-oriented, educational, or personal, are being limited or disregarded by the relationship. A relationship should be a source of support and encouragement for personal development, not an obstacle to it. Feeling hindered can lead to a significant strain on the relationship, as it may cause one to associate their partner with their inability to pursue personal dreams and ambitions.

7. Forced Compatibility and Shared Interests

A sense of compatibility and shared interests is often what draws people together in a relationship. However, when these elements are forced or fabricated, it can signal that the relationship is not naturally aligned. Here’s how pretending to share interests and ignoring fundamental differences can impact a relationship:

7.1. Pretending to Share Interests

While it’s common to try new activities or hobbies to connect with a partner, consistently faking enthusiasm for the sake of harmony can be draining and insincere. This pretense can lead to a lack of authenticity in the relationship, where one or both partners are not truly expressing their likes and dislikes. Over time, this can result in feelings of dissatisfaction and disconnect, as the relationship is built on a foundation of misrepresented interests. True compatibility cannot be forced through feigned interest; it should come from a genuine place of shared or complementary passions and curiosities.

7.2. Ignoring Fundamental Differences

In the early stages of a relationship, it’s easy to overlook or minimize fundamental differences in values, life goals, and worldviews for the sake of maintaining a romantic connection. However, these core aspects of our identities play a crucial role in long-term compatibility and satisfaction within a relationship. When significant differences are ignored rather than acknowledged and addressed, they can become sources of conflict and resentment. It’s important for a healthy relationship to have a solid understanding and respect for each other’s core values and goals, even if they do not always align perfectly. Ignoring these fundamental differences can lead to a superficial relationship that lacks depth and true understanding.

Leave a Reply