Here is the least hot take of all time: Relationships are hard work. When you enter into a partnership with a person you love, there are challenges to surmount. In an ideal world, these challenges are just bumps on the road to rom-com-worthy true love that you both nurture as a couple. Sometimes, though, these bumps on the road can swallow your relationship whole — and you might be living in "Trump didn't win"-level denial when you realize these bumps might be signs your relationship is already over.
It sounds harsh, but it's true. Breakups are horrific, but starting over is even more terrifying. Sometimes people stay together through affairs, bicoastal lives, and even a desire to explore their sexual orientation, because dealing with the logistics of rent, finances, and shared schedules seems impossible.
Plus, you really don't want to break your best friend's heart — you're going to miss them a lot. While it is completely normal to live in denial about the end of a relationship, Elite Daily spoke to dating expert Meredith Golden of SpoonmeetSpoon to find out the five signs you should look for that indicate that your relationship is as over as Obama's presidency.
1. You Fight... A Lot
Golden explains that "fighting incessantly" is a very common sign that your relationship is heading towards extinction. You should be concerned when "it's impossible to communicate and fighting replaces talking," says Golden.
Arguments are normal in romantic relationships. Bickering about where to order Seamless from does not mean that you need to break up the next morning, but when the fights become regular, it's important to ask why you are fighting.
If you and your partner are constantly arguing over little things like who bought the paper towels last, try to resolve that particular argument by setting up a schedule. If you set up a "paper towel schedule" and the fights start seeping into different parts of your lives, there might be something bigger going on that you are both afraid of confronting.
Talk to a couple's counselor, or bring up your worries with your partner. You don't want to spend the rest of your lives embattled and resentful of each other.
2. You Don't Feel Happy When You're With Your Partner
Not every day is going to feel like Chrismukkah in a long-term relationship, but when you don't feel joyful with your partner, it's important to take note. Is it just a dry spell? Is one of you going through a particularly rough period at work? Or is that original spark of happiness actually gone? Trust your gut when it comes to answering these questions.
"What was once a fun relationship and joyful partnership [becomes] beyond stale," explains Golden. "Even when you're watering the plant, it's still dead."
If you and your partner are making concerted efforts to make time for date nights and the joy still isn't there, maybe you really have grown apart. It's sad, but you both deserve happiness, and if you're not giving that to each other, it might be time to move on.
3. You're Not Really Friends Anymore
The best part of being in a relationship is having a best friend who is on your team (who also goes down on you). If you and your partner no longer treat each other with the respect you treat your best friends with, your relationship might be in trouble. You probably don't go down on your friends, but you do treat them kindly and make time to see them.
"When you don't feel like your partner is your friend, this is an enormous red flag that something is very wrong in the relationship," Golden explains.
She adds that friendship is an incredibly important pillar to any relationship. If you're not prepared to say, "I'll be there for you" to your SO, maybe things have truly taken a turn.
4. Your Sex Life Is Nonexistent
Maybe you and your partner treat each other like good friends, but you don't go down on each other anymore. This is also a red flag that your relationship is in trouble. While the sex is always hotter and heavier at the beginning of a relationship, if you aren't sleeping together anymore, there's a good chance your relationship is suffering from something bigger.
A regular sex life is extremely important to maintaining a relationship. Being willing to meet each others' needs in the bedroom is just as important as being willing to meet each others' emotional needs.
That said, if all else in your relationship is going well, maybe you just need to spice things up in the bedroom. Tell your partner "let's talk about sex, baby" and see what they say.
5. You Flirt With Other People On The Reg
Flirting with people outside your relationship is normal, and it doesn't make you a bad person, especially if you've been in, like, a seven-year relationship. The extent to which you flirt, though, can say a lot about how you feel in your current partnership.
"Flirting excessively with everyone but your partner can be a sign that you're feeling ignored, undesired, or not valued in your relationship," explains Golden.
If you're "making plans with everyone you know to avoid seeing your boyfriend," that's another red flag, says Golden. Think about the early stages of dating: If the person you met on Bumble is being noncommittal and only hanging with you once a week, usually that's a red flag. When you and your partner engage in those low-key f*ckboy-style dating behaviors in your long-term relationship, the relationship might be ending.
I'm putting all of this in simple terms. Every relationship is different, and you don't need to run for the hills at the first sign of one of the behaviors listed above. The main question to ask yourself when considering if you are in denial about the end of your relationship is, "What do I want?"
Force yourself to answer this question honestly. If you want excitement and passion, and that no longer exists in your relationship, then maybe your shared finances are what's keeping you together and it's time to consider moving on. If your sex life is lacking, but a vibrator remedies things in the bedroom, maybe couples' therapy can help with the arguments you have been picking with your partner.
No matter what, try not to act out of fear of being single again. I promise it's not the end of the world.