Picture this – you’ve finally found who you believe is the love of your life, your soulmate, your dream come true. Everything is going absolutely fantastic; it’s better than you could have ever imagined. They are your best friend. But what happens when the romance starts to slowly fade away and things begin to change in a way you didn’t plan.
Romantic relationships are a wonderful thing. Friendships are a great thing, too. But when your romantic relationship starts treading down the dreaded path of becoming platonic … now, that’s not so fun. It’s the friend zone and it can be scary.
One of the most exciting things about new relationships is the falling on new territory. You get to learn what makes the other person tick, what they love and what they hate. You have hopes for the future, but you can’t be completely sure on what the future holds, right? Sometimes, two people just aren’t meant to be together in that way. That’s just the way life works, and it is okay.
However, you should be able to recognize the signs that your relationship is headed into the friend zone and not becoming the fairytale you deserve. There are several things that change within a relationship when your partner starts becoming less of a soulmate and more of a schoolmate. Check out these 20 signs the relationship is headed straight to the friend zone.
20When The Honeymoon Phase Is Over
When you first meet a person of romantic interest, you can’t get enough of them. You want to be with them all the time. You long to hold their hand and lay in their arms. After a while, this “honeymoon phase” starts to fade away.
Usually, a true relationship will outlast the down period after the honeymoon phase.
The amount of physical contact might dwindle, but it won’t disappear altogether.
If the initial connection you felt fades away with the decreasing physical contact, you’re more than likely headed to the friend zone. That physical contact should never completely vanish from the relationship.
19When Group Hangouts Become The New Norm
Hanging out with a group of friends is always fun. It’s great when your romantic partner is in your inner friend circle. But if they only ever want to hang out when the group is around, then you’ve got some problems on your hands.
In order for relationships to work out, the couple needs to connect on a deeper level than friends do. If you and your partner rarely spend time alone, it makes it hard to connect in that way. Eventually, things won’t progress into the romantic relationship you’re looking for. The relationship will most likely find a comfortable place in friendship city.
18When They Start Making A Lot Of Excuses
Time is everything in relationships. Forever isn’t even long enough when it comes to time with the person you love. If your partner starts making excuses not to spend time together, you have to ask yourself why that is. They should want to spend tons of time with you. Are video games with the buddies all the time more important than sharing moments with you?
Does your person make time for you, or are they constantly searching for reasons to get away from you?
If it turns out that they don’t want to hang out with you as often as you’d like, it’s probably because they don’t see you the same way you see them anymore.
17When You Begin To Notice A Lack Of Effort
At the beginning of new relationships, you work hard to look your best as often as you can. You don’t prefer to be seen without your makeup on or in your holey sweats. It’s important to make a good impression in new relationships.
When you want to be with someone for the long run, you’ll try to give them a reason to stay committed. It’s simple, you want to do great things with and for your partner. If your person doesn’t seem to be making any effort to impress you with dates or appearances, they aren’t looking to lock you down for very long.
16When The Only Conversations You Have Take Place Over Text
Communication is key in all of life’s relationships, and it’s a huge factor in romantic relationships. Getting to look deep into your partner’s eyes during a special conversation can be powerful. However, technology has become the pesky third wheel in today’s relationships.
Texting is great for the quick “good morning” and “I love you,” but if your only conversations happen via your fingers, things aren’t going too well.
We get it, texting is sometimes just more convenient. Even long-distance relationships communicate in other ways than texting, though. After a while, it gets to be more about the amount of effort being put into the relationship.
15When Wandering Eyes Become A Concern
Wandering eyes are never good to find in a relationship. If you’re committed to a specific person, you’d like to think that person is the only one you want to look at. However, this isn’t always the case. A lot of people believe the grass is greener on the other side. They get into a relationship and then wonder if there are still better choices out in the world.
If you notice you or your partner start to develop wandering eyes, then the two of you probably aren’t in a forever type of relationship. This type of habit could mean you guys are better off as friends.
14When The Third Wheel Becomes A Permanent Chaperone
We’ve already covered the importance of making time to connect alone with your partner. Group hangouts are fun, but you need to be able to hang out alone every now and then. It’s hard to find that time when your partner insists on inviting the third wheel every time you get together.
The phrase “three’s a crowd” wasn’t just made up out of nowhere.
There is some definite truth behind that saying.
The third wheel isn’t the only one put in an awkward position during these situations. If your partner is always inviting along the best buddy, they are probably avoiding the alone time a good relationship needs.
13When They Awkwardly Talk About Setting You Up
This one should come as a huge red flag. Think about it, you think you’re in a committed relationship, but then the other person starts suggesting you start to hang out with someone else?
The reason your partner starts pointing out people you’d look good or match up great with should be obvious. They are most likely looking for an easy out in the serious commitment part of the relationship. If you find someone you like better, then they don’t have to do the hard break up part. This type of partner is definitely taking you on a one-way trip to the friend zone.
12When You Stop Talking All Together
When you and your partner stop all forms of communication, is there really any relationship left? A relationship cannot survive without communication. According to Better Health, communication can be done both verbally and nonverbally.
Both partners in a relationship need “to communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings that may cause hurt, anger, resentment or confusion.”
If you are no longer communicating, the relationship won’t be very healthy. Once your partner gives up trying to communicate their thoughts with you, it’s safe to say they are struggling with something and it could be whether or not they want to continue the relationship in a romantic fashion.
11When Nicknames Go From Cute To Casual
Babe, baby, honey; those are the typical nicknames in romantic relationships. When your partner starts referring to you as buddy, dude or some other casual nickname, you might want to question the future of the relationship.
Another awkward nickname that raises friendzone flags is if your partner refers to you by your last name. It’s not romantic and it probably doesn’t give you any butterflies. If you and your partner don’t have nicknames for each other, that’s fine. And if you like being called dude, then that’s good, too. But if this is happening in your relationship, you deserve a conversation on your partner’s intentions with you.
10When The Romance Feels Forced
When relationships start changing for the worse, romance is often the first thing to go. Once the romance dies, it’s hard to get it back. According to Love Panky, romance can’t be forced.
When two people start to grow apart, they might find the things that once made them go out of their way to make the other person feel special are no longer there.
Once the romantic gestures start to feel forced, or your partner doesn’t care about appealing to you anymore, the relationship might be heading toward the friend zone. It’s hard to have a happy romantic relationship without the romance.
9When You Have To Make The First Move Most Days
You might be at a point in your relationship where you start to notice you’re the only one putting in any effort. Are you the only one planning dates? Do you always grab for their hand first? If you start to notice your partner isn’t exactly trying to make the relationship work, you need to ask them what they really want from you.
It’s sad to say, but you can’t be the only one trying. In order for a healthy relationship to exist, both parties need to make a true effort. After all, it takes two to tango, right?
8When Too Much Information Is A Bad Thing
It’s great when your partner likes to share the special details about their life with you. You feel appreciated and cared for when this happens. However, when the relationship is newer, and a person is truly interested in the other person, they aren’t going to openly share every single detail about their life with you.
According to Elite Daily, it usually takes at least three months for partners to start sharing all their secret gruesome details.
This goes in hand in hand with feeling the need to impress your partner.
If you notice they are telling you all about their bathroom experiences at the beginning of the relationship, they might see you more as a close friend.
7When They Seem Obsessed With The Ex
An important part of a healthy relationship is revealing your past experiences. You deserve to know how many other relationships your partner had before you. However, if your partner is always bringing up stories about their relationship with someone else, that’s a sign you should reconsider your current situation with them.
We know it’s hard to move on, but if you are trying to connect with someone new, constantly mentioning an ex, even in a negative light, isn’t going to help your current relationship. If your partner seems obsessed with their ex, the relationship isn’t in a good place and might not be what you hoped it would.
6When They Seem Interested In Someone Else
This one should really be obvious. Has your partner asked you for advice on how to attract another person? If the answer is yes, then things are not working out for your relationship. It would seem they are keeping their options open and just playing the field.
By openly giving out advice on how to impress another potential partner, you’re basically telling your person you’re okay with not being the only person they’re committed to.
This type of relationship is more than likely going to end up with you sitting sad in the friend zone, while they are out there connecting with other people.
5When They Become Emotionally Unavailable
Connecting on an emotional level is something usually reserved for life’s serious relationships. You want your partner to be your rock and to still be there when the whole world has turned their back on you. You need someone you can share all your hopes, dreams and biggest fears with. Your partner will make you feel safe.
If you start to notice your partner isn’t there for you emotionally, your relationship needs some work if it’s going to stay out of the friend zone. There’s a reason behind why they shut down every time you get emotional or want to talk about feelings.
4When The Laughter Stops
People connect with humor. Isn’t the fastest way to the heart through the funny bone? Okay, maybe not, but it’s a powerful force in relationships. Having fun is very necessary for lasting relationships.
Once your partner no longer finds you funny, it’s only a small step to them feeling annoyed with you.
It’s a sad realization when you start to feel they don’t find you funny. If they aren’t even willing to give you the pity laugh, this relationship most likely won’t be lasting forever. A partner who doesn’t find you funny is a partner not willing to make the relationship work romantically.
3When All You Share Are Friend-Only Pictures
Snapchat gives people the opportunity to feel pretty. The apps many filters allow us to take on a different persona and take away our “imperfections.” On the other side of the spectrum, Snapchat gave us a platform to send out completely ugly pics to our friends. The keyword there is FRIENDS. We feel comfortable sending our closest pals the most obnoxious pics of triple chins or hairy man faces.
We would never want our new romantic partners to see these pictures. They’re borderline embarrassing. If you feel comfortable enough to send your new partner those ugly pictures, you are close to hitting the friend zone with them.
2When There’s No Alone Time
A romantic relationship cannot last if you don’t get to spend time alone with your partner.
If you are spending too much time apart or with other people there, too, what kind of relationship is that?
“If you can’t enjoy each other’s company in a vacuum, then it may be time to give that relationship the ax and move on to someone who’s a bit more interesting,” explains News Cult. You can’t find out what the relationship really is if you don’t get that alone time to find out if it’s awkward or boring. If you and your partner never spend time alone, it’s probably more of a friendship.
1When The Contact Disappears
You can’t have a romantic relationship without any type of physical contact. You should want to hold your partner’s hand or give them a nice long hug. Once you and your partner stop making the moves, the intimacy of the relationship won’t last. A healthy relationship takes effort and work.
If your partner has stopped making moves on you, or you stop making moves on them, the two of you might get along better in a platonic situation. If there are no moves being made, the whole thing is already based on a friendship and probably already in the friend zone.