1: You are happier on your own than in each others presence:
This sounds pretty obvious, but actually it took me a while to realize that's how I felt. I'd have a great day at work, all positive, lots of fun, and then back home my mood would dip quite a lot. It became easier to be apart, even in the same room, barely uttering a word to each other. Often we would both forget the basics of relationships - the questions you should be asking. 'Have you had a good day?', 'I'm making a drink, would you like one?', 'You look shattered - shall I take the kids for an hour or two?' No - none of that. Just silence. This is not deliberate, it's just easier and prevents arguments.
2: You watch more TV than you used to:
This is a real brain drain. Passive and largely pointless, we'd spend hours just watching whatever was served up. No cable, no satellite - just free-view. We'd sit and watch anything until we were too tired to sit, before dragging ourselves off to bed.
3: Hugging in bed is a hassle:
I remember a time when hugging in bed was the thing we'd do - all night sometimes. We'd wake in each others arms happily, the warm sun streaming dappled light through the bedroom window, and we would smile, pleased that the first thing we'd see on waking was each other.
Things are different now! We sleep back to back. It's an effort to hug - bellies, elbows and knees get in the way. Turning over is more comfortable and by facing away we don't have to listen to each other breathing, or smell the staleness of morning breath.
4: You agree there is no point in buying each other valentines cards:
'Well', you say to each other, 'It's just an excuse to make money - another day hijacked by the capitalist system like St. Patrick's day in Dublin.' You decide not to buy into it. It's just trash after all. More teddies, love hearts, single red roses, small overpriced boxes of chocolates, small overpriced bottles of some fizzy, blush colored rubbish. No, you say, the relationship has moved beyond all that. We don't need that to be in love do we?
The trouble is - I think we do. Not the trash, but just the romance of it. Romance isn't natural. It's not something that happens to you or is done to you. Romance is a choice - something you can choose to work at. Once you agree you don't NEED to work at it - something's wrong - alarm bells should be ringing.
5: You spend too much money on home improvements:
There is nothing harder than facing the decline of a marriage or long term relationship. The emotional investment in it working out is huge - especially if there are children involved. A good way to avoid talking about the serious stuff is to find something else, important enough - albeit temporarily - to distract you from the elephant in the room. For us this was home improvement. We used it as a kind of surrogate. A better home might mean a better relationship. It doesn't.
Once you're spending more on home improvements than going out and enjoying some family time - you might need to take stock. Unfortunately we didn't and so are mortgaged up to the hilt! Hey ho!
6: You argue about the small stuff more:
Let me explain what I mean here. Of course we have always argued. Usually about money or children. These things are important. Agreeing how to raise your offspring, discipline them, inspire them and so on is a big deal. It needs serious discussion. Having a financial plan is much the same. By the end of our marriage we were arguing about things that hadn't even happened. We argued about things that might happen. We argued about facial expressions, walking too slowly, taking too long in the shower, eating noisily, folding crisp bags neatly when emptied, recycling and excessive use of the iphone. Especially excessive use of the iphone!
7: You forget to say 'goodbye' in the morning:
OK - so you're busy, your mind is full - work focused and ready for the day. You might forget the hug or the peck on the cheek. Anyone might. But when you walk out the door without even saying goodbye there has to be something wrong. Interestingly, we never forgot to say goodbye to the kids. Just each other.
8: You treat your most annoying acquaintance with greater respect than your spouse:
Think of that colleague. You know the one. No personality, surgically removed sense of humor, overly earnest about everything, fondness for paperclips and staples. When you would rather spend an hour after work at the pub with that person than your own partner, then things are pretty bad. When you think to yourself, 'well, he/she's not so bad - we've all got our little foibles', then it really is time to call it a day.
9: You find the wedding ring on the kitchen sink:
The ring that you so lovingly chose for you soul-mate, lies discarded on the side of the sink like a used teabag. 'Oh, it's there is it? I must have taken it off to wash up.' Mmmmmmm - speaks for itself doesn't it? The most obvious outward symbol of your love and devotion to each other - the one thing that can ward off unwanted attention - could just as easily end up in the bin than on the end of the finger for which it was bought.
10: You fart in bed - a lot:
I'm not going into details here. There's really no need.