5 Signs Your Relationship is on Autopilot

Relationship on autopilot

Relationships, especially long-standing ones, often feel like a constant in our lives. This seeming permanence sometimes lulls us into complacency, gradually relegating our relationships to the backdrop of our priorities. Before we realize it, our relationships enter autopilot mode, moving forward without our active guidance.

So, what does it mean for your relationship to be on autopilot? Simply put, it signifies an absence of active nurturing and intentional direction. Under such circumstances, your relationship stops evolving and deepening. Rather than flourishing, it remains stagnant and, if left unaddressed, may weaken to the point of rupture.

To avoid a crash, it’s crucial to detect and rectify signs of a relationship on autopilot. Here are five key indicators and their solutions:

1. The Absence of Quality “Slow Time”

‘Slow time’, moments where both of you consciously slow down to enjoy the present, is a cornerstone of a strong and evolving relationship. If you struggle to recall the last instance where you both shared quality slow time, it’s a significant indicator that your relationship might be on autopilot.

Solution: Actively schedule regular dates or moments of connection. Ensure these moments are in settings that foster privacy and intimacy, allowing you to truly savor the slow time together.

2. Lack of Future Conversations

Dreaming and planning for the future are natural extensions of a committed relationship. Regularly discussing future goals and aspirations ensures that both partners are on the same page and supporting each other’s dreams. If such conversations have dwindled, it’s another sign your relationship might be coasting.

Solution: Initiate discussions about your collective future. Reflecting on shared dreams can be easier and more effective after implementing the solution from point #1.

3. Dwelling on the Negatives

Remember the early days when you saw your partner through rose-colored glasses? As relationships mature, it’s only natural to recognize and address imperfections. However, if negative thoughts start to overshadow the positive memories and qualities, your relationship could be on autopilot, drifting away from a collective “us” mindset to a self-centered “me” perspective.

Solution: Make a conscious effort to recognize and appreciate the good. For every negative thought or comment, ensure you acknowledge and express at least two positives. This practice not only highlights the good but also gradually shifts your mindset away from lingering on the negatives.

4. Growing Closer to Others Over Your Significant Other

Your partner should always be the primary person you feel closest to in life. If someone else starts occupying this space, it’s a sign that the attention and effort once dedicated to your relationship are now diverted elsewhere.

Solution: Intentionally prioritize your significant other. Dedicate more time and attention to them, reaffirming their importance in your life. The initial change might be met with surprise, but the positive outcomes will soon become evident.

5. Avoidance of Reflecting on the Relationship’s State

If thoughts about the state of your relationship induce discomfort or are frequently overshadowed by distractions, it’s likely that underlying issues are being avoided. Whether these are minor misunderstandings or larger unresolved issues, avoiding them only lets the relationship drift further into autopilot mode.

Solution: Commit to a deep introspection of your relationship, identifying and addressing any underlying problems. Tackling issues head-on, no matter how big or small, can prevent the relationship from spiraling further into autopilot.

Remember, recognizing the signs that your relationship is on autopilot is the first step toward revitalization. By actively addressing these indicators and implementing the suggested solutions, you can ensure that your relationship remains active, attentive, and continually growing in love and understanding.

11 thoughts on “5 Signs Your Relationship is on Autopilot”

  1. Ah, this is a big issue in LOTS of relationships.

    I always recommend that couples see a marriage therapist every so often, even if they are not having big conflicts.

    The reason for this because it will improve your relationships now matter how good or bad it is. It will also help to prevent issues like the ones described in this article from occurring.

    Great post.

  2. Heh, yeah – this only works if both parties are interested.

    In my case, I couldnt get through my exes thick head :\

    Tried for two years

  3. Thanks for the article Jason!

    I am in a very strong and loving relationship, but even so there is a sense of autopilot about it. This article has inspired me make a bigger and better effort.

  4. Or, as another guy put it:

    A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark. (Woody Allen)

  5. I searched on “Stagnant Relationships” in the first place (finding this article in the process) because I am in a strange one indeed. I’ve been with the same man, off and on, for 12 years now. He avoids talking about the future at all costs – I’ve left a few times because of our lack of forward motion, and came back because of the love that we do have and my apparent inability to find something more real and with potential. I can try in my way to “revive” things, but the basic fact that we’re going nowhere is getting harder and harder to accept as our reality. We have all 5 of the “signs” here and the big unspoken “can’t talk future” thing, to battle. I’m not sure it’s even worth it anymore.

    1. Well Kate – your story sounds like mine wih the exception that we have never separated. We have been together for 12 years and he can’t – won’t consider marriage and gets frustrated with me when I bring it up. When we were first together I was totally convinced that he would change his mind with time becasue he loves me so much. He may even be more hard core against marriage now than he was in the beginning… still I know that he loves me. I have been married a couple of times so you would think i wouldn’t want marriage either still I care about marriage… it is still importatnt to me. I want to share his name – I want to be proud to say that I am his wife.. He was burned pretty bad and thinks that since we are in the stage of life that we are & won’t be having children that there is NO reason to be married. If you are like me I’ve dated some real jerks so I know how tough it is to be out there in the dating scene & I’ve never been treated as wonderful as he treats me with only this one issue that causes pain for me. I try to let it go but it comes back to haunt me. It’s tough! I hope things work our for the best for you … from one who toally understands!

  6. This text hit close to home for me. It’s so easy for long-term relationships to slip into autopilot mode, where you start taking each other for granted. I’ve been guilty of some of these indicators myself. We often forget to just slow down and enjoy each other’s company. Those moments can be so precious. Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away – it just lets them fester. It’s tough, but addressing issues head-on is essential. Great article!

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