Recognize the Warning Signs: 10 Signs Your Relationship is in Trouble

Last Updated:
November 28, 2023

If you are currently in or ever have been in a committed relationship, you likely know that they are not what everyone’s favorite rom-coms make them out to be. Of course, there are moments of hand-holding, long walks, and romantic dinners but there can also be disagreements, lack of intimacy, and moments of miscommunication. And while it’s perfectly normal for there to be highs and lows, how do you know when the lows are a sign that your relationship is in trouble?

At Ritual, we understand the importance of recognizing warning signs in a relationship early on. Read on for our expert's common warning signs that your relationship may be facing challenges and how you can navigate them.

The 10 Signs Your Relationship is in Trouble

#1 Communication breakdown

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, open, honest, and effective communication is key to a healthy relationship. This is why when you start to experience communication breakdown, it can be one of the first warning signs that your relationship is in trouble. Avoiding conversations, becoming defensive when speaking about a certain issue, or deciding not to express your feelings altogether; if this sounds familiar, pay attention as it may indicate that there is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. 

#2 Emotional distance

Following on from communication breakdown is emotional distance. If you or your partner begin to completely disengage with both your own and each other's feelings, it might signify a deeper problem. This might look like avoiding deeper emotional conversations or not providing support during challenging times. Being emotionally intimate and having an emotional connection with your partner is crucial for a strong relationship so it’s important to recognize when that connection weakens early on.

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#3 Lack of intimacy

If you begin to notice a decline in intimacy in your relationship, it can be an indicator that something is amiss. And while you might immediately associate this with a decline in physical intimacy, that’s not the only sign. It might be something as simple as no longer hand-holding during walks, having a cuddle or hug in the evening, or talking to each other about your day. While fluctuations in physical and emotional intimacy are normal, if it’s persistent, it is worth exploring the potential underlying cause.

#4 Constant conflict

Conflict can be a natural part of any relationship - it’s pretty unlikely that you will always agree on everything. However, when disagreements escalate into constant conflict in your relationship, it can be a sign of trouble. When these arguments go unresolved, they can slowly break the foundation of your relationship. If every discussion seems to turn into the same argument, it’s crucial to address the root cause of these escalations and find ways to navigate the disagreements.

#5 Trust issues

When trust is compromised in a relationship, it can be pretty challenging (although not impossible) to rebuild. You or your partner might lose trust through dishonesty, infidelity, or deceit. Once this trust is broken it’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety, resentment, suspicion, and jealousy; each of which can create a toxic atmosphere and impact the health of your relationship. Rebuilding trust takes time and serious commitment from both partners

#6 Change in priorities

When you first met your partner you might have been interested in hiking, maybe that's escalated to trail running, and next year you might join a knitting group. This is all to say that the person you were when you first met your partner probably isn’t the person you are today! Individual priorities and interests change, however, if one partner experiences a drastic shift in priorities that impacts the other, it can lead to feelings of neglect. Maintaining a balance between personal and shared priorities is crucial for a healthy partnership.

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#7 Emotional resentment

When it comes to a conflict or argument, we can all be guilty of putting it under the rug and believing we are happy to just simply move on. Sometimes, however, when these issues remain unresolved, they can fester into deep-seated resentment. If you or your partner find yourselves harboring persistent negative feelings towards a certain situation or past unresolved issues, it’s essential to try your best to address these problems openly and honestly.

#8 Disengagement

Did you and your partner always spend quality time together after work? Share chores in the house? Or always make joint decisions in certain situations? When one or both of you begin to disengage from these shared activities or responsibilities, it can indicate a lack of investment in the relationship. Remember to reevaluate and realign priorities in this situation to ensure both partners are happily contributing to the relationship.

#9 Unhealthy coping mechanisms

Stressful situations can lead to individuals adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse*, excessive work, or emotional withdrawal. If you or your partner are using these methods to deal with relationship issues or problems outside of your relationship, it can make problems worse rather than resolve them. Encourage open communication and seek healthier coping strategies to overcome challenges. 

*If you or your partner are dealing with substance abuse, it is important to seek the help of a professional.

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#10 Lack of future planning

Partners typically envision a shared future together, and speak about settling down and where they see themselves years from now. If these types of conversations become scarce or are met with avoidance, it might be a warning sign that there is a lack of commitment or a disconnect in long-term goals. It is crucial to discuss and align future goals to ensure you are both on the same page about the direction of your relationship.

If you and your partner are experiencing any of the above issues, consider speaking with an expert who can help guide you both. Ritual is a schedule-friendly and affordable app that helps you heal and turn crisis into opportunity with the help of our experienced Relationship Experts, and science-backed method.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Tell us about yourself: Start by having a session with one of our experts. Together we explore your goals and needs, to make sure our guidance stays relevant and effective.

  2. Get your personalized plan: Decide which areas of your relationship you want to focus on. You’ll receive insights and tools to help you get where you want to go, while better understanding your partner (and yourself).

  3. Make daily steps forward: Improvement becomes a habit, with new skills and approaches you’ll start practicing right away. Weekly 1:1 sessions with your expert will help you track the changes as you go, and keep you motivated in the process.

Start your journey with Ritual today.