Six Signs That You're in a Stagnant Relationship
Your relationships go through several stages, during which you live different experiences and overcome different challenges. However, in these continuous processes of change, you may have the feeling that your relationship isn’t progressing and isn’t growing. When this happens, your relationship is stagnant.
Sometimes, despite your desire to stay together, your relationship doesn’t evolve or it does so in the opposite way to the individual development of you both. Why does this happen? Does it always signify the end of a relationship?
Knowing how to interpret certain information associated with your relationship is essential to be able to initiate a process of change. It always begins with you recognizing that something must change.
Below, we explain what the main signs are that indicate that your relationship isn’t progressing.
1. You feel empty
Your relationship projects feelings of emptiness in you. Perhaps, in other areas of your life, you feel fulfilled, but when you think about your partner and your relationship, you feel that something is missing. You might not even know what it is.
The emptiness could come from an absence of meaning in your relationship. You don’t seem to have a future to walk toward and you wonder what you’re actually doing in the relationship. This lack of direction, purpose, and meaning leaves an empty hole. That’s because you’re unfulfilled.
2. You have no joint plans
When your relationship becomes stagnant, you avoid making dating plans. This is usually because there’s unresolved conflict between the two of you and you only want the bare minimum of contact. Therefore, avoidance is a strategy you employ to keep the discomfort of the conflict away. This strategy becomes evident when you find yourself spending more time at work or with friends.
If your relationship is stagnant, you’ll notice how you’ve stopped making plans together. This type of avoidance worsens the situation and stagnates the relationship even more because you’re not facing your difficulties and obstacles. That’s because the best way to solve your problems is to face them.
3. Lack of passion, intimacy, or commitment
If your relationship is stagnant, you’ll notice how the passion and your desire to be with your partner have gradually faded. You’ll see how intimacy, closeness, and connection between the two of you have been diluted. You’ll also notice that the commitment you had before to overcome adversity and maintain a stable relationship is no longer as strong.
When the blockage is really noticeable, you’ll notice shortcomings in all three dimensions. However, it’s not necessary for all of them to be present for the relationship to be considered stagnant. Whether a certain component is affected or not depends on the causes or resistance that impede the progress of your relationship.
4. A blurred horizon
Another sign that your relationship is stagnant is that you avoid thinking about a future together. For example, do you have difficulties imagining yourself in a few years’ time with your partner? Do you notice that they avoid the subject of talking about the future of your relationship? Alternatively, do you really enjoy talking or even fantasizing about the future but your partner finds it difficult to speak about it or changes the subject when you bring it up?
Not having a vision of a future together is a sign that your relationship is stagnant. That’s because there’s no desire to preserve the relationship. Consequently, if there’s no future, how will you know whether you’re moving forward? How will you advance along the right path, if you don’t know where you’re going?
5. Your individual evolution is divergent
A relationship is sustained by the joint contribution that you both make. If you go down different paths, it becomes extremely difficult for your relationship to move forward and it becomes stagnant. It’s as if you expected a car to move forward when the rear wheels are turning in the opposite direction to the front ones.
One person doesn’t make a couple. A minimum of two people are required. Indeed, the evolution and development of your relationship depends, to a large extent, on the harmony between you, the communication, and the support that you both offer each other. This motivates you to both walk toward the future you’ve visualized together.
If you both feel frustrated or angry at what each other says or does, it’s a sign that your relationship has become stagnant. Usually, these feelings are related to the dissatisfaction or discomfort of being around each other.
The continuous conflict between the two of you can also make you both feel frustrated. That’s because nothing changes, even though you’ve tried.
Finally, we must mention the fact that, just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, one single warning sign isn’t sufficient to claim that a relationship has become stagnant. In fact, a stagnant relationship is the product of multiple factors that support the appearance of the signs we’ve mentioned in this article (as well as some we haven’t).
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- García, F. E., & Ilabaca Martínez, D. (2013). Ruptura de pareja, afrontamiento y bienestar psicológico en adultos jóvenes. Ajayu Órgano de Difusión Científica del Departamento de Psicología UCBSP, 11(2), 42-60.
- Pérez, B. T., García, P. J. C., & Rodríguez, N. T. C. (2006). La atribución de causas a la ruptura de pareja. International Journal of Developmental and Educational Psychology, 2(1), 477-486.