I am in a long-term relationship that is less than ideal. While I love my partner of seven years dearly, the day-to-day is getting old. My partner takes me to the best restaurants, but he's also very dirty. TBH, he smells. And has cockroaches. To clarify, my relationship is with the city of New York. For me, glaring red flags in a long-term relationship with my city are easy to ignore because I love it dearly.
You might be overlooking red flags in your actual long-term relationship with a human because you love them, just the way I love NYC. When you've been with your partner for a long time, you might not even notice these red flags at all because you are so used to them (like me when it comes to rats in the NYC subway).
If something feels different in your long-term relationship, pay attention. Of course, you and your partner will have "off" days — maybe you are both busy or tired or really into binging Game of Thrones from the beginning or whatever — but if your gut is telling you something feels off, listen to it. Elite Daily spoke to experts to identify four red flags that are easy to overlook that you should look out for if you are in a long-term relationship.
1. You Don't Say "I Love You" Anymore
I used to gush about New York like I was Woody Allen (minus the creepy awfulness). I never thought I'd think about L.A., or any other city in the world, until I quite simply could not pay for my life here anymore. Now, I can't remember the last time I told someone how much I loved my city. If you and your partner have stopped articulating how you feel for one another, that's a sign something has changed.
“If you stop hearing those three little words, chances are it's because your partner is priming his or her way out of the relationship,” explains relationship and etiquette expert April Masini. It's so easy to overlook the fact that you've stopped saying "I love you" to your partner, but it's something to take note of. How do you really feel about them? Are you just in this because it's easier than breaking up? My dad talks about how much he loves my mom every day, and he is almost 60. Saying the words should be a part of your relationship.
2. You're Deliberately Ignoring A Suspicion
This is a gut feeling situation. Of course it's normal to wonder, or even worry, about a partner cheating. We're all human and it seems like cheating is pretty run-of-the-mill in society these days. Maybe you chat with your friends about it, or even mention to your partner that you are worried about them going on that work trip next month. Even when you trust your partner, fears will come up.
However, if you are feeling more and more consumed by a suspicion that your partner is straying, and you haven't spoken a word to anyone about it, this is a major red flag that something — even if it's not actual cheating — is no longer satisfying you in your relationship. You may be in denial about your partner's lack of affection towards you, or you could be avoiding your own dwindling interest in your partner. If you're pushing a thought or fear down in your relationship rather than speaking it out loud, even just to a therapist, take note. (And go see a therapist.)
3. Your Partner Doesn't Show You Off Anymore
OK, so I'm not suggesting that your partner needs to place you on a billboard that reads "Hottest GF Ever," but the way your partner introduces you to others can definitely reflect how they feel about you and your relationship. If you're in a long-term relationship, chances are your partner was so into you at first that they loved introducing you to new people in their life. They love you, so why wouldn't everybody else?
“When your partner is proud of being with you, he or she will show you off, but if your partner is looking to break up with you, they won't invite you to social events where they might flirt and meet other people,” explains Masini. This is a tiny thing to notice, so don't worry if they forget to introduce you to a co-worker once or twice. But if you've suddenly stopped being their plus one to events, take a second look at what's actually going on.
4. You Don't Feel Happy Anymore
We all have ups and downs, clinical depression is real, and even just the season can sometimes alter one's mood. That said, if your friends have noticed that you, a typically happy person, have seemed more withdrawn or have stopped spending time doing fun activities, listen to their opinions.
In a long-term relationship, of course you'll have moments of sadness with your person, but if the laughter and pure joy you once felt with your SO is completely gone, you may be ready to move on. If you find yourself wondering what it would be like to be with someone else, and you don't look at your partner as a person who will improve your day anymore, maybe it's time to accept that you are not so happy with your current partner.
With all of these red flags listed, I want to mention that of course every relationship is different, and spotting just one of these red flags is no reason to call off an engagement. With that said, you should be excited to say "I love you" to your partner and to introduce them to new people in your list, and simply be happy when you are with them. If you're no longer happy, it's time to think about changing something in your current relationship, or moving on entirely.
Not to minimize how hard it is to break up — I mean, I am still living in New York.
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