You’ve been seeing a cutie for a while now and you’re pretty into them. You go on cute dates, have really great sex, and enjoy spending time together. But beneath the fun and frisky stuff, you’re starting to realize that you and your boo have never really brought up the future. And no matter how much time you spend together, it feels like you’re not really getting any more serious. No matter how long you’ve been seeing someone, if you’re not seeing any growth, it’s natural to wonder if your relationship is going nowhere.
If you’re starting to worry that your relationship is in a standstill — you don’t need to panic. “Relationships that are not in a growing phase tend to have different looks — in one phase of a relationship that is not in a growing phase, the couple may have become somewhat stagnant,” Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles tells Elite Daily. “Having said that, it is possible that any given couple may be in a phase where they may have temporarily hit a plateau that is both comfortable and also fulfilling.”
Dr. Brown shares four signs you may notice if your relationship isn’t really going anywhere.
1. YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TALKING
According to Dr. Brown, there are a number of reasons a relationship may start to feel stagnant. “Increasing conflicts without resolution, lack of commitment to real love and intimacy, one or both partners being willing to settle for less than what their potential as a couple may be, and taking their relationship for granted,” Dr. Brown says.
If you and your boo have been ignoring some major problems or if it’s clear you have different ideas about where your relationship is headed, it may be time to check in about what you both need to feel supported and loved.
2. YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE
If you’re starting to think that your relationship isn’t really going anywhere, Dr. Brown shares that you may start thinking about other people, or daydreaming about being single. “Wishing you were spending time with anybody but your spouse is now chronic,” Dr. Brown says. “Fantasizing about being with someone else. Complete lack of gratitude for your partner.”
If you’re thinking a little more about your cute coworker, or if you’re always canceling date night to spend time with your friends, these may be signs that your relationship isn’t really making you happy. Of course, all relationships go through changes, and it’s totally normal (and healthy!) to spend time with friends or to want your own life. Still, if you’re starting to feel a little distance, it may be time for a check in.
3. YOU WANT DIFFERENT THINGS
If you’re really into words of affirmation or enjoy PDA, but your partner is more private or less of a talker — your different communication styles could feel like a relationship lull. Regardless of what’s going on, if you used to feel like you and your boo were on the same page but now seem to think you’re literally reading different books — talking about where your head is at can help you reconnect.
“A relationship that is chronically not going anywhere is often the result of several things including lack of shared values, inability to agree on how much real love and emotional connection is desirable, or one or both no longer believing (if they ever did) that their relationship is worth pursuing,” Dr. Brown says.
4. YOU’RE SUPER COMFORTABLE
It’s important to remember however, that relationships have ups, downs, and sometimes dwell in the middle. If you’re used to dating around or past relationships have had a dramatic flare, settling into a stable relationship can sometimes feel like you’re standing still. “The trajectory of a healthy relationship has a number of phases,” Dr. Brown says. “If both people are truly happy and effectively communicating their needs, and the majority of their needs are being met, it really is OK if the relationship plateaus at various phases.”
If you’re starting to feel more comfortable with your partner or you’re pretty deeply nestled into a phase — you may be misinterpreting this new stability as a lack of growth or evolution. After dating for a while, it’s natural to have sex a little less or to spend time together doing boring adult stuff. This comfort doesn’t mean that your relationship isn’t growing, it just means that you’re getting more comfy together.
If you’re starting to think that your relationship isn’t going anywhere, take a moment to think about where it is that you want your relationship to be going. Do you need more date nights? Do you want to meet your partner’s family? Do you need clarification that you’re not seeing other people? When it comes to relationship questions, sometimes the best thing to do is to talk to the person you’re seeing. You deserve a relationship that will grow in the way you want it to, and you never need to settle for anything else.