There are some bare necessities when it comes to a successful long-term relationship – words like commitment, patience and communication come to mind. Effective communication can be difficult to achieve even at the best of times and when emotions run wild between two people that spent a great deal of time together, problems are likely to occur. Of course, a big part of a healthy relationship is being able to resolve issues that arise. It is when communication breaks down that the relationship becomes strained and starts feeling like a chore.

The realities of the problem

Communication can be both verbal and nonverbal. It’s not always about what you say but about the tone of your voice, your body language and even about what you fail to say or do. Physical intimacy is incredibly important and the lack of touch can be just as detrimental to a relationship as a lack of verbal communication. Some problems can be solved and you can soldier through certain rough situations, but staying in a bad relationship despite a great number of major problems can be emotionally and psychologically taxing.

Having a row with your partner every now and then is completely normal, as is making compromises, sulking, changing your behavior and saying sorry. Sometimes, though, there is a lot more give from one partner’s side while the other partner remains rock-solid on a lot of issues. This can lead to one-sided arguments, a breakdown in communication and one or both parties ignoring the other.

It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact point in time when things started going downhill, but there are some definitive bad signs that start to gradually build up over time. Spotting these signs can help you solve the problem while it’s still in its early stages – either by sitting down and working things out or by jumping ship.

Lack of physical affection

After a while people can start to care less about their partner’s problems and focus solely on what they want, need or feel. Watching TV becomes more important than giving the partner a hug and a kiss and asking about their day. Going to the bar becomes a better way to spend the night than buying some sexy costumes, lighting up candles and role playing with your significant other. These are some very bad signs and these issues need to be resolved quickly.

Spending a lot less time together

The ultimate blow to effective communication in a relationship is just avoiding any type of discussion by simply not being there. A partner that is absent most of the time and either sleeps or likes to sit alone when they are home is a partner that has stopped caring. It takes some serious counseling to work out such problems and sometimes it is simply best to end the relationship if things have become pretty bad.

Inability to make compromises

When most discussions become full-blown arguments, and little arguments quickly explode into fits of angry yelling and finger pointing, then you know that you have some serious problems with communication. The source of a lot of these serious, aggressive arguments is the inability of one or both parties to back down, calm their emotions, think rationally and offer the other person a face saving exit.

There are some easy to spot early warning signs that your relationship will devolve into a screaming mess – a partner will become less and less careful about what they say and less willing to think about your feelings or see things from your perspective.

There is no single thing that was said, a single argument or a single moment in a tie that marks the beginning of the downfall of a relationship – rather, there are numerous little signs that pop up and start becoming major problems. Watch out for these issues and don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about them, good communication is the most important prerequisite for trust and understanding.

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Damian Wolf has been a writer and a web marketing consultant since2009. He mostly writes about business, lifestyle and relationships. Damian currently works on web strategy for Australian costumes web shop.