Is The Romance Over?

Tonja Weimer

With a Masters in Human Development, Tonja is an columnist, coach, speaker and author. Her latest book 'Thriving After Divorce', offers insight on how to become a better person and getting through after a break up.

There comes a time in every relationship when one of the two people pauses to look at the other person and ask, “Is this who I want?”

This is a natural progression when you are growing closer to someone.  Relationships can often feel like a dance: you hold each other near for a while, and then, sooner or later, you back up and look at each other with a bit of emotional distance.  Depending on what you “see” when you take a step back, and the level of your conversation about the issues you’re having, you decide to reunite and keep dancing, or, move away from each other.  No doubt about it… the love dance can sometimes feel more like a rollercoaster ride than a sweetheart waltz.
Here are some questions that will help you get clarity to decide if it is time to stop dancing… or re-commit.  Answer these questions as honestly as possible:
1.    The “Other” Factor
When you’re with your love, do you often wish you were with someone else?  This is can be a red flag that says you want out because you know she isn’t quite right for you.  You may have settled; you may have fear of being alone; or, you may feel that there is a scarcity of potential partners and that you are lucky to have found someone, even if they aren’t “IT” for you.
2.    Resentment or Other Negative Emotions
Do you often resent the requests made of you?  Does she do things that embarrass you, or make you feel bad, but you are afraid to mention it?  Can you learn to say NO when you need to?  If you don’t know how to do this graciously, and you are starting to overflow with the hot lava of anger, your mutual dynamic has to change.  If it doesn’t, you will either start behaving covertly (flirting or seeing other women on the side), have an emotional explosion, or…you’re heading for a breakup. 
3.    Values and Standards
Do you both share important values?  Take a good look at what you treasure and see if your partner feels the same way.  Does your partner have a temper, a passive personality, or bad habits?  Does it upset you?  Can you talk about it and is she willing to get counseling as soon as possible?  If not, your relationship is probably hanging by a thread.  If there is any physical or psychological abuse, don’t make excuses for her.  You want out now.
4.    Lying and Cheating
Has your partner cheated on you?  This is a big problem for most relationships, is not easily solved, and is a definite warning sign that your partnership may not last.  Your best hope for working this through and coming out successfully on the other side is to get a coach or therapist and address the issues that brought it about.  Beware: Do not settle for easy answers.
5.    Liking and Respecting Each Other
Do the two of you LIKE each other?  Even if you have fantastic chemistry, you can count on that to vanish over time if you do not genuinely like each other.  Liking someone usually involves sharing a sense of humor, following the same spiritual beliefs, having respect for each other’s character and integrity, and admiring the work that each one does and the contribution they make. 
6.    Love and Passages
Do you love each other?  Do you believe that the feelings are mutual?  When the infatuation stage passes, do you still find this person to be someone you love unconditionally?  Do you care as much for their happiness as you do your own? 
Sometimes, love grows apart through no fault of anyone’s.  When that happens, can you let go and move on if your partner wants to leave?  When you are strong enough to walk away when the other person doesn’t want to be there anymore, then you have a chance to talk it through and possibly mend what got broken.  If you cling, feel desperate, and inflict guilt or blame, your chances for making it together are small. You may have to make a decision to be friends but not lovers.
7.    Enduring Love
Do you feel that your love is timeless, and if you had met at any time in your life, you would still have chosen each other?  Is your deepest desire to grow old together?  Can you picture the stages of life you will have with each other?  These are all positive signs that you are in this relationship for the long haul. 
Is your “romance dance” over?  Depending on how you answered the above, it doesn’t necessarily mean a breakup is imminent—but it does mean that you have some work to do.  Which is entirely normal.  Anything worth having is worth working for.

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  • Wice says
    Marriage is a bit like getting out our life savings and buying a house.

    The search is on. You look at all sorts of different houses – small, big, sunny, dark, spacious, cramped. Some have big faults, others little. Then one day you see one that you fall in love with. It may be almost perfect or it may need some work, but you know – this is the one! You are bedazzled! You invest all your money. You move in.

    At first it’s heaven. Then the roof starts to leak. You find there is no time to look after the garden properly. After a few years, the house needs painting. A bit of wallpaper would be good. Even the furniture looks shabby. The stove explodes. You discover some dryrot in the wall. A few mice have moved in. In the end, the house becomes unliveable.

    Would you let this happen? Would you let your financial investment dwindle away through lack of maintenance?

    Marriage is the same. You have to keep working at it. You need not only to maintain it, but to enhance it – to plant flowers. If the house is solid at the start, it should last well regardless of the small jobs that need doing; if shaky, it will need work or maybe you shouldn’t buy it at all. Regardless, you can improve your investment and enjoy it for ever, or you can neglect it and it will be you who is the loser.
  • Anna says
    i agree wice you do have to keep working on it... but i also know alot of people especially young people who have stayed in relationships simply because of a fear of being alone... and a fear that they are not good enough to find someone else... but they convince themselves that its because this person is the one and they just need to work on it/... when really its time for it to end... maybe some people would benifit from reading this!!
  • Wice says
    It reinforces the idea that kids need more help and information before they make a commitment to someone. It comes back to that old adage that about how much training it takes to become a pilot and how much training you need for marriage.

    But how can you get this information to kids? Maybe a start might be to have a campaign similar to the budgeting advice campaign recently seen on TV. For A website giving advice with questionnaires and fun activities could be set up and advertised as a community service – somewhere where individuals or couples could go to sort out their ‘relationships’ rather than their finances – a place where they could sort out what was going right or wrong and maybe how to improve things.

    I don’t believe that anyone should stay with an abusive partner (emotionally or physically). In fact, in France, emotional abuse has now become a valid grounds for divorce. However, I do believe that many people give up on relationships too easily. It’s the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, rather than looking at the picture before taking the plunge!
  • Anna says
    yer it is a rather difficult topic... haha have you ever seen the show parental control? its a little silly but sometimes its good... parents go on there when their kids partner is no good for them... and the kid gets to go on a date with two other people then choose to stay with their partner or go to one of the new people... i think its good in some ways because alot of young people have only ever had the one partner... and dont know that there is better out there... so it gives them an opportunity to see life on the other side!!
  • Wice says
    No I've never seen this show but I do believe the media plays a huge role in the problem. Unfortunately, popular TV and movies seem to be based on people acting like idiots out of control. They don't need to to show personal responsibility or consequences and probably wouldn't find the same success if they did. Who finds 'normality' and 'maturity' entertaining after all.
  • Anna says
    lol thats true... and all the soap operas make life kind of easy... like they kill someone and get away with it... cheat on someone and there are no consequences etc...
  • Laura_actually says
    It takes a strong and sensible person to value themselves enough to choose what direction they personally want in a relationship.
  • GTRugby says
    in a relationship (of any kind)
    I believe YOU can get quite complatcent with either your partner and or the situation you're in
    if you feel like it's not going where YOU want it to or YOU want more or less in it then
    DO SOMETHING about it.... you have to keep it fresh for the other person as much as you want it fresh or you want the other one to make it fresh for you.
    So, get off the couch and grab them, take them for a snuggle walk around the block or just to buy a Magnum ice-cream at the local (with or without the car ride)
    - go for a moonlit walk on the beach
    - drive out of town for a meal at a small town near by
    just simply buy some new fresh outfit to show-off to your other half (say to them eg --> "let me slip into something more comfortable")
    a little bit of something new now and then can NEVER do any harm
    Good luck
    enjoy :-)
    • KH says
      Love it. Simple and practical advice!
    • Wice says
      We have been married a pretty long time. However, romance is not dead. A very simple thing that I always find so touching is "notes". Hubbie is not all that romantic but every now and again, when I least expect it, I will find a little note from him that he has left somewhere unexpected for me. It might just be one on my pillow saying "Sweet dreams" or it might be in the bathroom cupboard saying "Have a lovely day!"

      For anyone who has difficulties saying the words, this is a lovely way to show your partner you are thinking about them and value them.

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