Have you ever been in a relationship with someone you just knew it wasn’t going to work out with? Obviously not, right? Because if you did, then you never would have even bothered in the first place! And none of us would be wasting our time getting our hearts broken and falling for the wrong person if we had known right from the start that they weren’t the one for us!
But alas, love is tricky like that. It’s such a deep, powerful emotion that sometimes we just feel helpless against who we fall in love with. And all too often do we let our feelings for someone get the better of us and blind us of all the red flags we should’ve been looking out for in the first place. With that said, here are 7 early warning signs to help you know when a relationship won’t last:
1. You’re not open with each other.
First and foremost, for a relationship to work there needs to be honesty, trust, and communication between both parties (Domingue & Mollen, 2009). So if you and your partner can’t be open with each other even early on in your relationship, then it’s definitely not going to last. Do you feel like you can’t speak your mind around them? Or like they aren’t really hearing you out? Do they act passive-aggressive and never really say what they mean? Or treat you with sarcasm or dismissiveness? Problematic behaviors like these can quickly lead to keeping secrets, being dishonest, and having an overall lack of trust with one another – all of which spell doom for any romantic relationship.
2. You’re not a priority to them.
At the start of a relationship, most couples want to spend a lot of time getting to know one another and growing closer with each other. But if your partner is usually “too busy” for you even when you just started dating, then there’s definitely trouble waiting ahead. Do they take a long time to reply to your texts? Or often reschedule the plans you’ve made together? Do they always have something else going on that makes it hard for you to see them? Don’t be so quick to excuse this kind of behavior! If your significant other can’t make the effort to spend time with you and make you a priority in their life, it means that they don’t put as much value into your relationship as you do.
3. You run away from fights.
Although no one ever wants to fight with the person they love, conflict can actually be quite healthy for your relationship sometimes. Why? Because it shows that you are honest and clear with one another about your differences, and how you work to resolve these differences are very telling of how likely your relationship is to stand the test of time (Hocutt, 2018). But what happens if you and your partner never fight? If you just end up avoiding the problem and never really talking about it because you’re both so conflict averse? Well, if all you do is run away from your fights without ever resolving them, then you will most likely end up bottling all your negative feelings towards each other and resenting one another over time.
4. You can’t control your emotions.
While you and your significant other may love each other very much, the truth is it’s never going to work out if either of you lack the emotional maturity it takes to navigate a serious relationship (Behera & Rangaiah, 2017). Dating someone who doesn’t know how to keep their emotions under control can be exhausting because they tend to be moody and temperamental. So if they have trouble managing their anger or have a bad habit of overreacting to every little thing that goes wrong, then that’s a definite red flag you need to look out for.
5. You can’t agree to disagree.
Another warning sign that things aren’t going to work out with this person is if you can never agree to disagree with them. You argue about things endlessly because both of you are too proud and stubborn to ever back down or find a compromise. You always have to have your way, you always have to prove you’re right, and you can never take no for an answer. And while it may seem fun or exciting to challenge each other at first, you will quickly come to realize that neither of you want to listen to each other and that you lack the empathy to see things from the other person’s perspective.
6. You’re attracted to other people.
Do you feel attracted to other people even when you’re already in a relationship? Do you find yourself flirting and crushing on someone that isn’t your significant other? Or maybe it’s the other way around – do you notice your partner making eyes at someone else and getting suspiciously close to them? While it’s actually quite normal to feel attracted to people even when you’re already dating someone, it’s not good to feel more attracted to them than you do to your partner (Lee, et al., 2010). It may mean that you aren’t ready to settle down and commit yet, or that you are trying to force yourself to have feelings for someone you care about but aren’t attracted to! Either way, you and your partner deserve better than to be with someone who doesn’t excite you or can’t keep your attention.
7. They get jealous too easily.
Does your boyfriend/girlfriend want you to spend time with them and only with them? Do they get angry with you when you see your friends or go out without them? Do you have to constantly text them to let them know where you are, what you’re doing, and who you’re with? Yikes! Don’t buy into the idea that you should be flattered by their jealousy because it “shows how much they care” about you. This kind of distrustful and overly controlling behavior is actually very toxic for relationships and it shows that they don’t respect your privacy or your boundaries (Shulman & Knafo, 2017).
So, do you relate to any of the warning signs we’ve mentioned here? Have you ever had these very same struggles with someone you were dating? Or had a relationship end because of one of these reasons? Relationships don’t need to be perfect to be worthwhile, but it’s important that you know who’s worth letting into your heart and who’s not. Because the truth is, no matter how much you may love a person, if you don’t share the same values or want the same things as them, it’s just not meant to last. And you owe it to both yourself and your partner, to be honest about what that means for you.
- Domingue, R., & Mollen, D. (2009). Attachment and conflict communication in adult romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26(5), 678-696.
- Hocutt, M. A. (2018). Relationship dissolution model: antecedents of relationship commitment and the likelihood of dissolving a relationship. International Journal of service industry management.
- Behera, S., & Rangaiah, B. (2017). Relationship between emotional maturity, self-esteem, and relationship-satisfaction: a study on adolescent relationship dynamics. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34(11); 109-121.
- Shulman, S., & Knafo, D. (2017). Balancing closeness and individuality in adolescent close relationships. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 21(4), 687-702