Relationships don't end. They erode slowly.
I have written about this before, but in an angry tone; this is more of a saner glance on the topic.
At first, the signs are small: Minor differences give way to subtle conflicts.
One challenges what other believes in - and the other person starts losing confidence and commits to doing something out of character, allowing the long held personal values to change.
If this continues, one half of the relationship starts acting as if they are contributing more to the relationship, while subtly (or brazenly) indicating that the other half isn't doing anything.
This continues. Neither can stay truthful to their feelings nor talk about the issue (one feels that she/he is not doing much, while the other feels the opposite), continuing to avoid it altogether; there is plenty of good to concentrate on.
This, I guess, is what happens in creative collaborations that break, failed start-ups, and any failed enterprise which requires emotional involvement.
Is there any solution to this? I guess there is. And it is rather simple.
Listen. And supplant that listening with meaningful talk.
When the other seems upset, put your grievances aside and listen. You might have a hundred different problems, but they can wait. Let the other one pour their heart out, and don't judge them. Don't give an indication that you are judging them.
Tell them what you're thinking and when you are feeling otherwise. If you've lost your passion, say that. If you feel like being alone, say it. Just speak what you think is true. And let the other person do the same.
Don't avoid the problem, pretending everything is OK. That's what I did - and I ended up like whatever I am today.
Kicking the emotional can down the road and hoping
that things get better will not make things better.
We can't achieve anything worthwhile without tremendous effort.
And relationships take a lot of effort.
If you're not sure, ask. Try not to second guess the person who has chosen to be with you. When things go haywire, we either stop talking or start blaming everyone around us, and also look for the worst by reading other's minds. These 'reads' destroy whatever semblance of reality we have, along with pushing the other person away.
Sometimes, all the effort one puts in is not enough. Some relationships are bound to end. They go on great for a short duration of time, each person complementing the other beautifully, but as the time passes - the differences grow and cannot be ignored anymore.
If this happens to you, do yourself a favour: end it. It's not fair on you or the other person. Don't let it erode slowly.
Instead of staying in and wondering what went
wrong and what more could've been done, every single day.