Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Trevor E.S. Smith | Seven telltale signs your relationship is in trouble

Published:Sunday | July 2, 2017 | 12:00 AMTrevor Smith

Relationships are like driving on the road. We have to pay attention or we run the risk of getting into a crash and wrecking our car.

However, paying attention is not a guarantee that problems will not arise in your relationship. Like driving on the road, relationships are not controlled by one person. You could be dedicated but something still goes off track.

On the road, if you are alert to early signs of danger, you can take steps to avoid a crash. Early warning signs can do the same for your relationship.

These seven telltale signs could help you avoid a crisis in your relationship. Take heed!




Awkward silences: One of the earliest indications of a cooling off in a relationship is that the partners have few mutual interests to talk about.

In healthy relationships, there is a lot of dialogue. During the courting period, you could go on and on and be shocked at how much time has passed.

Now, however, the conversations are like a throwback to the days of the telegram where you paid to send each word. When the dialogue dries up, a part of the relationship is drying up with it.




Nitpicking is one step up from the failure to communicate.

Everything and anything evokes a negative response. Misunderstandings abound.

You wonder, 'Why are we having this discussion again?'

You engage in drama routines.

You play boring, unhealthy roles repeatedly. You detest your role, yet, on cue, you deliver your lines faithfully to create another unpleasant scene.

This nitpicking and boring theatre may be signs that your relationship is on a slippery slope.




Limited intimacy is another telltale sign that your relationship could be running into trouble. This relates to the extent of physical contact - intimate or otherwise.

When the passion is high, couples tend to touch each other. It comes from a subconscious feeling that a touch reaffirms and validates the emotional connection. If physical contact is the confirmation of an emotional connection, what is the message that you can take from the absence of touch?

By the time it gets to the withdrawal of sexual relations, you will already know, right?




Once you were almost inseparable. You went everywhere together. Now, what has your social calendar been like in the recent past? Are you virtual strangers occupying the same space?

On the outside, it appears that there is a happy couple living in your residence.

However, in reality, there are two emotionally unconnected individuals in the home. At this stage, the writing is all over the wall. The time is far gone for serious corrective action!




Any form of abuse is a no-no. Abuse need not only be physical.

Check on the tone and language that is being used in communication. Are you saying supportive things or complaining and throwing verbal darts at each other?




Suspicions will abound about whether infidelity is at play when one or the other party senses that things are not as they used to be.

Be careful not to throw another issue in the mix without good cause. If you have concerns, then your best bet is to have a frank discussion about the matter with your partner. If it is confirmed infidelity is taking place, it is not all over, but you have a challenge. This is a pretty loud wake-up call.




When talk of separation (taking a break, 'cooling off with my parents') start, take the clue - your relationship is in crisis!




Hopefully, your relationship is on solid ground. However, like car wrecks, relationships can be repaired. Strong, decisive action taken in a timely manner can lead to restoration and years of continued happiness.

Review these seven early warning signs, and take swift, corrective action.

Ignoring them or being bogged down by fear or hurt is a bad idea.

Too many salvageable relationships fall apart because one party or the other was inattentive or failed to act decisively to restore the relationship.

Don't mope, there is hope. Take the next step. Invest in your relationship!

Select practical options to make your relationship last today. Go to: http://7telltale.com.

- Trevor E.S. Smith is a director of the Success with People Academy - a SHRM preferred provider and home of the SHRM-accredited 3-D Team Leader Certification: leading difficult, dominant and diverse personalities.

The Success with People Academy team are world-leading implementers of personal behavioural DNA analyses and 360 surveys on the revolutionary FinxS platform from extended DISC.