Where falling in love is this breathless and passionate tumble, falling out of love is a painful, slow crawl from the abyss. It's never easy. Naturally, having spent so much time with a significant other, separation from the familiar and comfortable always hurts. So how does someone know when the right time for a graceful exit is, when chances are, that very someone still has rose-tinted glasses on? Here are a few signs things have gotten stagnant, unhealthy, and downright toxic.
You have to censor yourself.
You find yourself stepping on eggshells, and hiding certain things from them. It starts with smaller details here and there. Until it eventually grows into a large percentage of your personality.
You're jumping through hoops to keep from boredom.
There's a never-ending search for a gimmick or a distraction to take the burden away from you two. The fine line between keeping it interesting and relegating the interesting starts to become out of control.
You keep having the same stale conversations over and over again.
After a certain point, there are some things that don't need to be said, sure. The problem is when those benign, meaningless, and empty interactions become the only things being said to each other.
You constantly have to ask for permission (for your side of life).
This delves more into power dynamics. It's more than being TV-show-married-couple-ha-ha whipped. It's being completely under the control of your other half, and effectively surrendering your own agency for their pleasure.
You have to sacrifice your social life.
Somewhere down the line, you started seeing your friends less and less. And before you know it, your entire life started to revolve around their every beck and call. What's more alarming is that the other person seems perfectly happy with this set-up.
You feel trapped with them.
You no longer feel like an equal party. You feel like you're held as an emotional hostage. An out seems impossible. I assure you it isn't.
You're only staying because you'd rather not be single.
The only reason you're still here is because the alternative would be single life, and that somehow terrifies you.
You feel drained all the time.
Contributing to this supposedly mutual exchange really takes a toll on you. At first, you think this is normal. But after a while, you realise it's not meant to be this difficult.
You can't see any progress five years down the line.
You don't see any type of future with them. All you see is more quiet dinners avoiding eye contact, more desperate searches for shows to binge with the other, and more endless circles. Any banal and inoffensive kind of routine to keep from instigating conflict.
You're relieved whenever you get time alone.
Time alone feels like air after extended period of suffocation. Relationships should be intimate, not smothering.
There's a clear imbalance.
Maybe you care about them more than they care about you. Maybe it's the other way around. Either way, any imbalance left unremedied is unfair on at least one of you.
You're just not you, and they're no longer "them".
You've changed. And people do. But this isn't an upward move. Hell, it's not even a lateral move. You're being pushed back, and before you know it, you don't like who you see in the mirror. It's clear as day. They're not the person you fell for. You're not bringing the best out of one another.