Is It Over?

Are you in a dead-end relationship? Sometimes, it's easy to see the writing on the wall -- but other times, things aren't so clear. We talked to relationship advisor and therapist Dr. Terri Orbuch, author of Five Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great (Random House) for expert advice and signs your relationship is going nowhere.

Unhappy couple

1Future discussions

Partners in love (or committed to one another) are comfortable talking and fantasizing about the future -- next weekend, holiday season or year. Imagining life together five or 10 years from now doesn't guarantee relationship success, but the absence of any such hopeful plans is not a good sign. Also, if you start talking about future plans and your partner changes the subject or gets defensive, you are getting a message you should heed -- even if you don't want to hear it.

2Family introductions

Someone who is serious about you wants you to know and spend time with his friends and family. He wants to show you off. Ask yourself whether you know most or all of the people who matter to your partner. Also, just as important, someone who is sincere wants to know and impress your family and friends.

3Good contact

Partners who are serious about each other know where and how to contact each other at all times. In case of an emergency, aren't the two of you a team? Also, if your partner is talking about how he needs space or privacy, ask for specifics (how long and for what?). It is one thing to want independence, and quite another to want space.

4Expression of love

If your partner is serious about you, he should be able to say "I love you" without being prompted. So if you've been in a relationship for a long time and he isn't saying those three little words -- or is just saying them after you do -- be aware that this isn't a good sign.

More dating tips

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Lose the baggage
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