13 Signs You're Becoming Disillusioned In Your Relationship

When a relationship is new and exciting, it's easy to be drawn to all of the wonderful attributes of your partner, as well as the feelings they give you. You may even begin to think about a more serious future with this person, one that includes commitment, respect, and endless happiness. However, even the best relationships can encounter difficult challenges. Challenges in a relationship don't mean it's doomed to end, but ignoring issues and feelings of disillusionment can definitely lead to bigger problems up ahead. 


In an article for Psychology Today, Dr. Randi Gunther says, "Most partners would rather focus on what they love about their relationship. By the time these problems cannot be ignored any longer, it may be too hard to solve them." So recognizing that you're becoming disillusioned with your relationship may not always be a bad thing (and doesn't necessarily mean the end of your relationship is imminent). Here are 13 signs you're becoming disillusioned and what they mean for your relationship — whether you should consider splitting or if facing these issues head-on will help your relationship long-term. 

You're questioning aspects of your relationship

Trusting your partner helps create a solid foundation from which to grow and progress in your relationship. Trust brings openness, positivity, and strong bonds with a partner. However, when that trust is broken or put into question, it may cause disillusionment — or even a complete breakdown of the relationship. 


Everyone has different boundaries and thresholds for what they are willing to tolerate, dismiss, or forgive in a relationship. If you feel that trust is broken but the relationship isn't without hope, you may want to consider committing yourself to "zero tolerance for dishonesty in your relationship," according to therapist Mary Joan Brinson at The Relationship Centre. She says that healing from a breach of trust "will take time and will require patience."  If you or your partner are not willing to put in the work to rebuild trust in your relationship, however, it may be time to have a difficult conversation about whether this is simply disillusionment or the end of your relationship.

Your partner isn't who you immediately think of when you have news to share

When receiving good news — whether it's getting a raise or even just having an exceptionally great day — most people might be compelled to share these notable achievements or day-to-day joys with people they care about. In this case, a significant other. Though it is natural (and healthy) to maintain a level of privacy between yourself and your partner when in a relationship, a significant other is often who one might turn to first to talk through the minutiae of daily life. 


If you're finding that you can't or don't want to share with your partner, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship. If you're not comfortable with the idea of opening up to your partner, it's important to ask yourself why. The answer may lead you to some self-reflection, but it can also lead you to more questions that bring to light potential disillusionment or even diminishing interest in sharing your life with your partner, which is a more serious issue.

It feels like the spark has gone out in your relationship

A decrease in intimacy over some time is totally normal. However, a notable lack of desire — especially when it seems to happen suddenly — might be worth looking into. According to a 2020 study, while there is no "normal" frequency of intimacy, approximately 30% of married couples engaged in sexual activity one to three times a month (over a span of two years), while about 60% had sex at least once a week. 


Again, while there isn't necessarily a standard guide for what is a healthy amount of sex between yourself and your partner, a significant decrease should be discussed as it could mean many different things — though not necessarily that your relationship is over. In an article for Everyday Health, Katie Gilly, a marriage and family therapist, says that factors such as stress, low self-esteem, and sexual dysfunction can lead to "boredom between the sheets ... (and) play a role in a decrease in desire for one or both partners." If you're trying to end a long dry spell, try these tips for reigniting your sex life

The future is starting to look not-so-bright

From writing your crush's name in a school notebook to exchanging promise rings, people imagine or commemorate their commitment to a future together in all kinds of ways. So much of the excitement around a relationship is the thought, hope, or promise of a future filled with love and support. When you no longer see those things, it could be a red flag that you need to address. 


You may want to ask yourself if you are completely unable to see a future with your partner, or if the future you dream of just seems less attainable in the moment. For couples in long-term relationships, especially those who are actively committed by way of a shared home or finances, not making your desires for the future known may make your partner "more likely to hold off from moving a relationship forward when they're content and already getting what they want," says sex coach Amy Levine (via Today).

You find yourself making significantly more compromises

There is a difference between making compromises and bending to the will of another person. Relationships do require compromise, but both parties should be willing to meet each other halfway in order to have an equal partnership. If you feel that you're rarely, if ever, getting your way in your relationship — even with small things like choosing a date-night location or getting to decide on what movie you two are going to watch — it may cause disillusionment or resentment, which could be a critical issue. 


"Resentment is like a poison in the psyche that continues to erode your own confidence in having your needs met and feeling respected and honored," shared sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr with Elite Daily. "There can be resentment for yourself for giving up something that you value or need; there can also be resentment towards your partner over the injustice of the situation and for them having more of what they want." Communicating your feelings with your partner could make the difference between creating understanding and working on true compromises that serve both of you or the potential end of a relationship.

Your partner seems like a totally different person after some time together

In the early stages of a relationship, you may be compelled to put your best foot forward, so to speak, in an attempt to leave a lasting, positive impression on your partner. You and your partner may amplify your more positive and attractive traits in order to present the most appealing version of yourself. As you grow more comfortable with each other, imperfections will inevitably start to show, which is totally normal. And while change is a natural occurrence as we grow as people and as a couple, there is a difference between changing and simply presenting a false persona to woo or impress a partner. 


This can certainly lead to disillusionment or unease and distrust in a relationship. Determining whether a partner has been deceitful — or if they are simply changing and adopting new interests that differ from your own — can help you to assess whether your disillusionment is something that can be worked on with communication and compromise, or if it's a sign that you and your partner simply are not compatible. 

Personal change or growth begins to feel like a roadblock

Just as your partner can go through changes during the course of your relationship, you are also not immune to changing and evolving. A healthy relationship should have breathing room to allow for one or both of you to change and grow without feeling stifled. There are so many ways people can change individually or as a couple: career changes, a shift in belief systems like political views, or even a drastic change in your appearance by way of a new haircut or changes in your body. 


It is natural to feel unease or need time to adjust to personal changes or transitional periods as a couple. However, if you are finding that your partner actively wants you to stay the same, even when change could be healthy and necessary for your personal development, this could be a red flag. A partner who makes you feed bad about positive changes in your life may cause disillusionment, resentment, and bitterness in a relationship.

Everyone else's relationships give #couplegoals, except yours

It's perfectly normal to want to emulate or aspire to the kind of love, romance, or commitment you see in other couples around you. When you begin to envy those relationships and compare them to your own, however, there may be more serious issues at play. At the same time, things like excessive consumption of social media can contribute to an unhealthy amount of comparison that can leave you unsatisfied with everything from your job to your clothing to your partner and relationship. But where does the desire to compare come from? 


In an article for The Atlantic, couples therapist Joshua Coleman writes that some people compare their relationships and partner to others in order "to express satisfaction with their own partner. But more often, they wonder if they'd be happier with someone more attractive, more sensitive, funnier, smarter, or richer than the person they're committed to." If you're comparing your relationship to other people's because you are unhappy, this may be more than a feeling of disillusionment that you need to communicate with your partner. 

You feel as though you're losing yourself as an individual

Caring for and loving your partner can encompass many feelings, including the enjoyment you get from spending time with them. It's not uncommon to build relationships upon shared interests (like sports, movies, or music) or shared values (like a similarity in family dynamics or a sense of humor). 


However, just as it's great to have many things in common with your partner, it's also normal to have differences. It is healthy to pursue individual interests away from your partner, and setting some boundaries on how much time your spend together could be a way to build a secure bond that doesn't need to be reinforced by being physically together all the time. If your partner reacts poorly to spending time apart to do things for yourself or with friends, this may lead to disillusionment and a feeling like you can't function as an individual outside of your relationship.

Your relationship is feeling too comfortable

Comfort can be a sign of a healthy relationship, as it shows that you're at ease to be yourself around your partner. Comfort can also mean that you're not trying too hard or forcing a connection with your partner. Most people crave comfort and intimacy in their romantic relationships, so feeling comfortable is definitely a positive sign that you and your partner have a solid foundation for your relationship. 


However, there is such a thing as getting too comfortable. A level of comfort that can start to feel monotonous and routine can feel boring and cause disillusionment. Your partner shouldn't feel like just another one of your friends. To avoid this, relationship expert James Preece said in an article for Elite Daily that you and your partner should "switch up what you are doing. Have regular date nights and think up new places and activities you can try together," to add spontaneity and avoid the feeling of disillusionment in your relationship. 

You feel like you're stuck in your relationship

Commitment in a romantic relationship generally means that you do not want to spend time building your life with anyone other than your partner. This level of commitment and devotion to potentially spending the rest of your life with someone is really special. However, if your commitment to your partner comes from a place of fear, or simply loving the thought of having the company of a committed partner, this could cause disillusionment in your relationship. 


Whether it's codependency or complacency, feeling as though you can't leave a relationship is a pretty huge red flag. A partner should never make you feel like you must stay with them, nor should you keep someone around because you don't want to be single or are trying to avoid being alone. Being with someone in a romantic partnership should be a choice you and your partner happily make, even when there are challenges in your relationship. 

There is a lack of effort being made in your relationship

Relationships aren't a one-way street. When you find yourself in a partnership, especially one where you are committed for the long-term, making an effort is crucial. According to Marriage.com, making an effort in a relationship requires time, energy, and attention toward your partner. That may come in the form of reminding yourself to listen or cuddling after a stressful day. At the beginning of a relationship, effort may be made in spades as you and your partner build your connection. However, once that is established, the effort to woo and impress may decrease. 


A drop-off in effort can cause disillusionment because it may feel like your partner doesn't care, or cares less. However, you can avoid disillusionment by addressing this early with your partner and being clear with your feelings. Talking through something like this can even bring you and your partner closer together as you communicate your expectations for a healthy and happy romantic relationship, and how much effort your feel is adequate for your both.

You feel as though there is a communication breakdown

Communication is one of the key elements of a healthy relationship, so it's no wonder that it can be easy to feel disillusioned in a relationship when communication is lacking. Changes in communication like passive-aggressive behavior (for example, the silent treatment) or defensiveness can cause disillusionment in a relationship, as you may not feel heard, understood, or valued. Unrealistic expectations that you automatically or always know how your partner is thinking or feeling can also be damaging. 


Though every couple has their own ways to communicate with each other in a healthy way, if you feel that previously productive and positive communication has changed — and not for the better — discussing a way to improve and move forward can eliminate disillusionment and deepen your connection. If your partner is unwilling to listen and take your concerns into account, however, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship.