How can you tell if your relationship or marriage is experiencing more than just a rough patch? We talked to relationship expert and author Dr. Jane Greer to find out. According to her, there's a telling sign that you and your partner's problems are beyond repair.
"If one person is insistent and adamant that they're not at fault and not doing anything wrong or they're blaming you — making you the problem, saying you're being critical . . . a relationship is about two people making it work, not one," Dr. Greer told POPSUGAR. "It's a red flag if they aren't willing to be open-minded and grow. Things are going to continue the way they've been."
The only way couples can fix issues in their relationship is if both parties are committed to making it work. But if you continue to butt heads in the process, you'll prevent yourselves from making any real progress. Unless he or she is prepared to put their stubbornness aside, you'll remain at a standstill.
To further gauge where your relationship stands, Dr. Greer says to first "confront the issue head-on" and "start from a place of mutuality." Have an open and honest conversation with your partner about the state of your partnership. See if they've also noticed the same things. Are you two always upset with each other? Does it feel like you've grown apart? And as difficult as it may be, go as far as asking your partner whether they see your relationship ending to really get a sense of how bad things are.
"If they say yes, ask what the most distressing things are — what are the worst problems that are making them want to end the relationship?" Dr. Greer said. "What are they unhappy about? How can you change and adapt to fix some of these issues? Then you switch and do the same for them."
If this only sparks an argument, consider seeing a relationship counsellor or therapist to help facilitate. Otherwise, if the two of you find yourselves exchanging constructive feedback, continue to focus on one behaviour or problem area at a time to improve on. Dr. Greer explained how beginning there and taking a pulse once a month to evaluate any progress will best help you move forward as a couple and possibly come out on the other end even stronger.
"For example, if one person is really messy, or one person doesn't want to have sex, or whatever, work on the changes you agreed upon, and then see where things are in a few weeks," she said. "Talk about it again, revisit it. Ask if your partner sees any changes. Do they feel you're more cooperative? Less messy? Initiating more sex? Etc. This will have you working as a team in a cooperative spirit."
Remember: you and your SO are a team!