I'm sure the haunting question has crossed your mind too: Am I in a doomed relationship?
Recently, whilst I was rummaging through some old belongings, I felt compelled to dust off an old journal that had been stored away in a forgotten corner of my home office. When I opened it, I was immediately transported back in time as I began to read through entries that were filled with the raw emotions of my journey through betrayal and the heartbreak of infidelity. Words like 'hopeless,' 'trapped,' and 'doomed' were so boldly scrawled across the pages that they seemed to almost leap out at me, reverberating with the same potency and urgency as if I had just written them yesterday. Was I in a doomed relationship all along?
As I continued to read, I could feel a heaviness form in my stomach that reminded me of how my past self felt. It was like returning to the day I wrote these notes and I could sense the younger version of me seeking some sort of guidance, longing for an answer.
I was searching for any sign that could shine a light on the path forward during such a confusing and difficult time in my life.
The words weren't just ink on paper; they were the the shadows of a lesser-prepared version of myself who'd been trapped in a maze of emotional turmoil, simply trying to find a way out.
Bringing myself back to the present moment, I realised just how transformational it has been to gain an understanding of the signs that typically indicate a relationship is doomed. The revelation can be a double-edged sword, it's liberating but also tremendously painful. While it doesn't make the pill any easier to swallow, it does offer a distinct kind of freedom: the power of choice. When you recognise these signs, you're at a crossroads that most people don't even realise exists. It allows you the option to either dig in and navigate the jagged terrain with newfound awareness, seeking to mend what might be broken, or to make the difficult but sometimes necessary decision to seek a new route altogether, to set trail toward a future where your emotional well-being is honored and valued.
Recognizing the signs of a doomed relationship might not present an easy path, but it does lay out paths for you to choose from, each leading to different versions of what your life can be. And that, in itself, is a form of liberation.
Allow me to share what I have learned when it comes to recognising when a relationship is doomed, how to navigate it, and most importantly, how to identify when enough is enough and it's time to walk away. Here is what we'll cover:
🔍 Identify the warning signs within your Relationship
💡 Gain insights into the psychological underpinnings of these challenging issues
🛠️ Practical steps for your next course of action
🚪 Lastly, determine the timing and approach for making the painful choice to part ways
What are some of the signs?
Your partner shows less interest in you, communication has reduced. You feel like they are deflecting and a greater disconnect is forming. When emotional distance creeps in, it creates a void that separates not just you as individuals, but also your hopes, dreams, and even a basic sense of security.
Persistent conflict acts like emotional sandpaper, eroding the comfort and safety foundational to any thriving relationship.
Betrayal and Distrust
A relationship with betrayal and distrust at its core is like a house built on quicksand—no matter how architecturally appealing it may be, it's destined to collapse.
Lack of Respect
When respect wears thin, so does the essential fabric that binds two people in a mutually beneficial relationship, opening the door to resentment and devaluation.
Incompatibility isn't just about having different hobbies or tastes; it's a misalignment of values, goals, or emotional needs that makes harmonious coexistence increasingly difficult.
What are the psychological drivers of your relationship downfalls?
The Power of 'Why'
Understanding your 'why' should be the primary objective for any individual in a relationship, it provides direction and purpose, even when the path becomes rough and obscured. Why do you want to be in 'this' relationship? Why do you want to be in 'any' relationship?
Taking personal responsibility isn't just about owning up to your actions; it's about embracing discomfort and owning that you are the creator of your life, both its joys and its challenges.
Recognising your internal saboteurs is akin to unveiling hidden enemies within your own fortress; they may be part of you, but they don't define you, and their influence can be mitigated.
Cognitive dissonance is the mind's warning bell, signaling a misalignment between your values and actions that, if not resolved, can lead to long-term stress and dissatisfaction. There is a lot more on cognitive dissonance here
How to overcome signs of a doomed relationship after betrayal
Honest communication is a simple, yet essential component of any relationship, allowing for trust to flourish and misunderstandings to be dealt with proactively.
Establishing boundaries is like setting the rules for a well-coordinated dance; they enable freedom of movement while preventing missteps that could lead to emotional or psychological injury. Want to master your boundaries? Learn the 2 key steps to setting healthy boundaries in the "Know Your Boundaries" podcast episode
Taking time for reflection is like conducting an internal audit, giving you the opportunity to align your actions with your core values and identify areas for growth.
Facing difficult decisions is an inevitable part of life's journey, and how you navigate them often serves as a defining moment, sculpting your character and future.
When it's time to walk away after infidelity
Emotional & Physical Abuse
Both emotional and physical abuse are corrosive acids that erode self-worth and trust, creating a toxic environment where healthy growth and love are virtually impossible.
Chronic betrayal is like a recurring nightmare, casting a shadow over the relationship that no amount of 'good times' can fully resolve. It undermines trust at its very roots.
An emotionally draining relationship is akin to a leaking vessel; you can never keep it filled, impacting both your well-being and your capacity for joy.
Stagnation in a relationship is like sailing in a windless sea; while you may not be sinking, you're certainly not going anywhere, leaving you questioning your sense of direction and fulfillment.
Irreconcilable differences serve as an insurmountable mountain range between partners, making the journey together too perilous to continue, despite any shared history or momentary affection.
What about all the shame?
Few people enter a new relationship with the goal of it coming to an end. Even when a relationship is showing many of the signs listed above, it can still be very frightening to actually call it a day. There is so much shame around failure, with thoughts like:"Why didn't it work?", "What is wrong with me?", "Are all my relationships going to be like this?" can lead to feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty.
Shame is more than an emotion, it's an identity, and it's saying -"I am not comfortable with who I am."
Add on top of that some of the unhealthy behaviours this post is hoping to highlight in your relationship, and it becomes easier to understand why you might think you deserve it, or that it's all your fault. Your partner's behaviour can actually reinforce your belief creating a vicious cycle almost impossible to escape from. THIS IS NOT TRUE - It is escapable. Nobody deserves or is required to remain in a relationship that is unhealthy, or that they do not want to remain in. So go back, re-read those signs, how does your relationship stack up? Then make a decision that is aligned with your core values.
By Luke Shillings, Relationship & Infidelity Recovery Coach
Love a podcast? Did you know that I also host the 'After the Affair' podcast. I discuss everything about infidelity and betrayal. I truly believe it could be your compass through this fog, as it has been for many others.
Check out Episode 53, "Betrayed and Doomed - Spot the Signs and Know When to Walk" to learn exactly what I think and how it can help you decide if your relationship is worth saving.