As relationships become longer sometimes they settle into a rut that just needs a little a imagination and willpower to break out of. However, other times the relationship may well and truly be over and you could be hanging on just postponing that dreaded step where you’ll be free and single all over again.

Knowing how to tell the two apart can make a huge difference in your future as a dead relationship will only sap energy and life, making this short existence a waste. It may seem daunting starting a new life as a single person, but it’s important to remember that a relationship that has come to an end will only poison your life from the inside out.

See if any of these ring a bell. Are you?

Point Scoring

Healthy competition is good and makes for a great night out if you’re watching the footy, going bowling, or taking part in a sponsored run, however when you try to score points on everyday life issues it can turn the home into a battle field. Engaging in pissing contests (excuse the language) of who does the most housework, who’s the most tired, and who works the hardest can make every conversation a heated debate that never ends amicably. These point scoring games often surface if there’s hidden resentment, so address the real cause, seek relationship counselling or start afresh with someone else!

Bringing up the Past

We all know the arguments that begin about the washing up and turn into a rehash of a year old issue that was never really resolved. In the latter stages of a dying relationship these will become more common. It signifies that there are a lot of arguments in the past that never received the closure they needed and one or both partners are finding little annoyances to pick on in a subconscious bid to find the resolution they crave.

Disagreements disguised as disgruntles over housework or the remote control create a veil over the real issue at hand. This could be anything from his flirting with your sister at Christmas, to visiting a strip club when out with the lads last year. If the same issue is recycled again and again you have a problem. However, there is a solution. You can bite the bullet and actually discuss what’s really niggling you (even if it causes embarrassment or brings feelings to the fore you’d rather forget), you can seek counselling, or you can accept that you’re never going to forgive and it’s time to move on.

A Lack of Respect

Many relationship gurus wax lyrical about how trust is the most important factor in a relationship. I disagree. We all tell little white lies to save the feelings of our loved ones and no matter how much we’d love to believe in the fairy-tale the only person we can truly trust is ourselves.

Of course it’s important but personally I think respect deserves the higher ranking as without it your relationship is dust. It’s respect that stops a partner giving into temptation as they think too highly of the other half at home, it’s respect that stops you talking to each other as if one of you is mentally challenged, it’s respect that gives you the privacy you need to retain your own independence whilst still being one half of a loving couple, and it’s respect that keeps couples on an even footing no matter how lengthy the relationship.

You’ll notice a relationship without respect as one of you will start talking to the other as if they are a little bit thick. This partner may also act without any worry about the effect of their actions on the other, be it staying out later with friends, or flirting with the boss. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do once this is lacking so step away quietly whilst you can still retain some dignity.