You ignored a deal breaker at the start
If you went into a relationship knowing one of you had a deal breaker the other did not conform to, you’re setting yourself up for a rocky time. People have deal breakers for a reason, even if it might seem easy to ignore because of how much you like the other person. As an example, if you want children and your partner doesn’t, you’re both going to end up heartbroken if you continue a relationship knowing that incompatibility.
All your conversations are surface-level
There’s nothing wrong with having connections where talking about the weather or a shared hobby is the norm, but romantic relationships should go a little deeper than that. If you aren’t able to share your emotions or be vulnerable with one another, then maybe one or both of you aren’t comfortable with each other. If you are not able to find that level of comfort and allow yourself to be vulnerable, a romantic relationship is not going to work out.
You share every moment on social media
If you start out your relationship sharing every moment of your relationship on Instagram, Facebook, or wherever else, you will always have people watching. Every date and every problem will be up for friends and followers to analyse for themselves. No one needs to know about your arguments, and having other people’s input on your relationship can cause strain between the two of you! There’s nothing wrong with sharing an occasional cute couples pic, but sharing every date makes it seem like you have to prove your relationship is a good one.
You’re overly critical of one another from the start
If you start out criticizing each other for any and all things, it’s unlikely to get any better from there. Constructive criticism can be OK, but intending to make the other person feel bad never is. This criticism can come from feeling a sense of competition from your partner, resulting in you tearing each other down instead of building each other up. A relationship shouldn’t be a competition, though. If you start out that way, there’s probably no coming back from it.
You want to change things about your partner immediately
If you start a relationship and you already want to change what your partner is like, chances are you don’t actually like them for who they are. The start of a relationship is generally full of gushing about all the things you like about your new partner, not finding things you think should be different. If you try to mould your real life partner to fit an ideal you have, they’re not the person for you, and the same goes if they try to change you!
Spending time together feels like an obligation
If you feel relieved to not be around your partner, especially at the start of your relationship, that is a bad sign! A romantic partner should be someone you actively like and enjoy being around, or you’re going to end up sick of each other pretty soon. While it’s nice to have a person to relax with, your other half should not be the person you ask to hang out with just because you’re bored or don’t know who else to contact, but because you want to be with them!
You lack affection
Saying “I love you” should not feel like something you’re obligated to say, and sharing kind and loving words should be something you want to do with one another on the regular. Sure, if your relationship is new you might still be getting used to that, but if one party in the relationship is withholding that verbal affection, chances are they just aren’t feeling it. You can’t force yourself to feel differently about someone, but forgetting to show you do care sets a relationship up to fail.
Your values don’t line up
It is healthy for couples to have different interests, and even different opinions. You don’t have to share the same favourite films and sleep schedules, but if your base morals and values are too different, chances are the relationship won’t work out. If you are on total opposite ends of the political spectrum, or have very different plans about saving and spending money, you may end up arguing a lot and being unhappy with the relationship you’ve built. If you want to build a life together, your values regarding things like morals and money will end up mattering more than you might anticipate.
The little things get on your nerves
If every little quirk your partner has drives you up the wall, that doesn’t bode well for your relationship. Sure, we all get annoyed at each other from time to time, but if your partner’s way of doing everyday things like eating or reading gets to you, then there is probably something deeper going on. This could be due to other issues the two of you have in your compatibility. It’s important to evaluate this so you can figure out if you can save the relationship, because being constantly irritated by someone you should love is unpleasant for both parties.
You have no sex life
For many couples, sexual tension and an active sex life are important in maintaining a strong bond. If lack of a sex life is down to one or both of you having no sex drive or sexual attraction to anyone universally, this may be different. However, if you experience sexual attraction but are struggling to make that connection with a new partner, the two of you might not be a great fit. If sex just feels like a chore from the start, that’s probably not the relationship for you.
One of you acts disinterested from the beginning
Playing hard to get is exactly that: playing. If you’re looking for long-term love, games should not be a part of that. If one of the people in your relationship is treating your romance like some sort of strategy, pretending not to care too much, look elsewhere! It is not worth trying to gain the active attention of someone who is deliberately withholding it. This is also a sign of emotional immaturity, which is not something anyone should look for in a long-term partner!
You blame each other for your problems
This kind of relationship just breaks everybody involved down. Had a bad day at work? Blame it on your partner. Dropped your mug of coffee? Your partner was being too loud and made you spill it. See how that doesn’t make sense? If either of you are blaming external issues on one another instead of trying to comfort each other, the relationship is doomed to fail. Don’t make your issues your partner’s problem.
Every disagreement turns into a possible breakup
No couple agrees on everything all the time. You might bicker about what to eat for dinner or what day this week to have your date night, but a healthy couple will be able to move through these disagreements calmly and respectfully. If every little disagreement in your relationship turns into a screaming match and possible breakup scenario, it might be best to actually break up. Fighting about tiny issues is not just bad for the relationship, it’s bad for everyone involved in it too.
You’re sacrificing your joy for them
A life-long romantic partner should support your goals and dreams. Sacrifices do have to be made occasionally in the name of compromise, but that does not mean that you should be sacrificing your career progression, social time, or dreams of having a house cat one day. If your partner is stopping you attending your weekly pottery class to support them by making them dinner, newsflash: that’s probably toxic behaviour! The things that bring you joy matter, and sacrificing them for a new relationship will only make things worse if you continue that connection.
You catch yourself browsing the other options
If you have been in a relationship for a long time, it can be perfectly normal to develop little crushes on other people, but actively looking at what else is out there? That’s a sign this person might not be the one for you. Refusing to shut people down when they’re flirting with you to keep your options open should be signal enough for you to realise that the relationship you’ve started is not the one you want for the rest of your life.
You’re losing friends
Your partner does not have to be besties with all your friends, but when getting into a relationship, it is important to remember that your partner is not the only person in your life. A healthy romantic relationship should leave space for other kinds of relationship to exist alongside it. If your partner tries to stop you seeing friends, or you and your partner’s social circles actively despise one another, it is worth thinking about why this might be. It could even be worth re-evaluating the relationship before it makes things go sour.
You’re not friends
Having romantic and/or sexual chemistry is all well and good, but it means nothing if you do not know how to spend time with each other as friends. Your life partner should be someone you like and have enough common ground with that you can chat without feeling bored or out of place. If you find going for coffee or going on dates with your partner awkward or stilted because you don’t have anything to talk about, or it’s not fun to be friends with them, your relationship has very little hope for the future.
One of you isn’t curious about the other
Getting into a new relationship is exciting. There’s a person you’re getting to know, and you can’t wait to hear all their stories and jokes, and to find out what makes them tick. That is, except when one person just doesn’t seem to care about getting to know their new partner. If you’re going on dates and one of you is asking lots of questions while the other just talks about themselves, this does not bode well for having a relationship where you care about one another equally.
You have different visions for your lives
Picture the following. One partner wants a city penthouse, wants to go out every other night, and can’t stand to be without the hustle and bustle a metropolis provides. The other wants a quiet life in the countryside making pastry from scratch and having quiet nights in by the fireplace. No matter how many other interests you have in common, if you have fundamentally different desires for where and how you want to live, one or both partners are always going to be unhappy with the outcome somewhere along the line.
You’re walking on eggshells around them
Your romantic partner should be somewhat of a comfort person for you. Spending time with them should not take significantly more effort than being by yourself, and you should not be worried about your every word when speaking to them. If you feel like you cannot express yourself or be honest with your emotions with your new partner, it is time to rethink things. Whether the fear is of humiliation or retaliation, that is a sign the relationship is doomed to fail. Get out while you can!
You’re keeping score
Relationships are not football games. You don’t need to keep track of everything you do to gain imaginary points over your partner. If you’re keeping score on whose turn it is to do the dishes after every meal and saying that they have to hang out with your friends because you hung out with their friends last week, you are focusing on the wrong things and setting yourself up for failure. This type of behaviour only causes stress for everyone.
The same arguments keep coming up
If you’re just at the start of your relationship and already find yourselves returning to argue about the same few topics while getting nowhere, that’s a sign your relationship will not be a lengthy one. If there is something you cannot agree on that keeps coming up, chances are it’s important enough to one or both of you that you will always be incompatible.
The idea of your future together doesn’t feel right
When getting together, it is natural to imagine yourself and the person you’re falling for years down the line. What would that look like? Would you have a family together? Would they take care of your dog well? Will you go on lots of outings? If you try to picture a future together and cannot imagine a version that’s pleasant to you, something might have tipped you off that this is not your forever person.
You keep secrets
Keeping your partner’s surprise birthday party a secret obviously does not mean you’re in a bad relationship, but if you are purposefully withholding things, you might be on the way to breaking up. While there is nothing wrong with having space and privacy in your relationship, intentionally keeping secrets is guaranteed to end badly.
You’re reminiscing about past lovers
Our romances of the past will always be a part of us, but we should try not to let them affect our current relationships. If you find yourself thinking fondly about how an ex would make you tea in the mornings, or would bring you on surprise trips, it might be a sign that something you value is missing in your current relationship. There are ways to deal with this through communication, but if your needs are not being met, it might be time to move on.
Most of your time together is TV time
It is lovely having someone you can laze about with and be your grossest self. However, this should not be the majority of the time the two of you spend together. It is important to date each other, to find activities to do, and things to talk about. A relationship is about connection and romance, not just being able to tolerate 6 seasons of the same show together. Don’t forget that, especially not early on!
You’re being given the silent treatment
When you are upset with your partner, it is important to communicate honestly and openly. This cannot happen if one person in the relationship decides to stonewall the other with the silent treatment. This causes additional stress all round, invalidates the partner trying to communicate, and fixes absolutely no problems. Without communication going both ways, no one will be satisfied.
One of you is obsessed with the other
Being in a new relationship is exciting, and being totally smitten with your boo is expected. A problem arises, though, if one of you is completely obsessed with the other to the point that you forget about other things going on in your life. If one partner is way more excited about the relationship than the other, or is neglecting friends and career tasks, then it is important for both partners to reel it in and take a good step back.
You’re not trying to impress each other at all
Especially early on in a relationship, you might try to present yourself well in an attempt to impress your partner and make sure they enjoy being around you. It is normal to lower your guard when you’re together for longer, and even allow your partner to see you at your worst. That does not mean you should stop wanting them to see you at your best sometimes too! Putting effort into your relationship goes a long way.
You can’t name their positive traits
When someone asks you why you like your partner, and what makes them so great, do you have a long list, or do you struggle to think of anything specific? If you can’t think of what your other half’s positive qualities are, chances are you’re attracted to them without really liking them as a person. Liking someone is fundamental to building a strong partnership, so not being able to name what you like about them is a bad sign!
You’re jealous of your partner
Shakespeare called jealousy “the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” Nothing sours a relationship faster than envy of your partner’s successes and happiness. If their victories make you feel a simmering resentment rather than pride, it’s time to reassess why you can’t truly celebrate with them.
Money is stressing you out
Your partner is full of joie de vivre – maybe even a little too much. If money is vanishing fast because of your partner’s extravagant lifestyle, and they’re making financial decisions that feel out of control, it can be hard to relax. According to a 2019 survey by Policygenius, you are ten times more likely to split from your partner if you believe they are financially irresponsible.
You don’t trust them
Whether it’s money, other romantic interests, or personal secrets, plenty of people have an area where they don’t entirely trust their partner. But relationships are built on trust, and unless you believe in their good nature even when you’re not around, it is impossible to feel happy and secure. Trust issues often arise from negative past experiences, and couples can work through this kind of conflict with a therapist.
You can’t move on from past wrongs
Your partner might be your perfect match, and your feelings for them might be unlike anything you’ve felt before. But if you have a lot of pent-up frustration with past relationships gone wrong, these feelings can easily leak into your current one. Unresolved trauma and anger can hold you back in dating, and sometimes it’s wise to give yourself a break from relationships so that you don’t burden a new relationship with past wrongs.
Your partner exaggerates or lies
Everybody wants to put their best foot forward in a new relationship, and to show off the best version of themselves. However, some folks will take this further and fabricate or exaggerate parts of their personality to appeal to you. What’s more, direct lies and cover-ups can poison a relationship, even if they seem to create a smoother path. Building a relationship on foundations of total honesty can be tough, but it’s rewarding.
You don’t respect each other
Respect is a many-faced part of any relationship. When you and your partner treat each other as equals, with dignity, trust and grace, and give each other space when you need it, you are showing respect for each other’s individuality and autonomy. In particular, by respecting differences of opinion, you can avoid major arguments. In contrast, a relationship lacking respect can soon plummet into bickering and contempt.
You don’t show gratitude
Once that magical honeymoon spell is over, and the excitement that comes with a brand new relationship fades, it’s easy to become complacent with your partner rather than enchanted by them. We can end up taking our partners for granted. When gratitude fades from a romance, and you no longer feel lucky to have them by your side, the relationship can become unstable pretty quickly.
You dislike each other’s families
Romeo and Juliet were surely each other’s soulmates – but their families failed to see eye-to-eye. If your family can’t stand your new partner, or vice versa, it can be very challenging to attend family gatherings and social events as a couple. However, family troubles don’t need to be the death knell for your relationship. A loving, mutually respectful couple can survive all kinds of external rejection and make a life for themselves independent of less welcoming family or friends.
You don’t go on dates anymore
The hustle and bustle of everyday life leaves little time for dating, and this priority can get pushed even further down the list when you’ve settled into a new relationship. But the dating phase doesn’t need to end once your relationship becomes official. When you make time for days out and romantic nights in with your partner, you remind them of that initial spark.
You have unrealistic expectations
We often hear how media can give us unrealistic expectations around our bodies and our sex lives – but for decades, TV and movies have also set impossible standards for romance. If you’re expecting a relationship to always feel like Rose and Jack on the Titanic, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Love may not always involve grand gestures and overwhelming romantic moments, but by romanticising the little things in life, like a gift of flowers or a home-cooked meal, you can decide for yourselves what counts as a great love story.
You’re the jealous type
Being in a relationship should not restrict the friendships that someone is able to have. If you can’t stand to see your partner messaging or talking to anyone else, even in a casual sense, the relationship won’t last long. All kinds of jealousy are detrimental in a relationship, and worrying that any interaction they have with someone else means they’re either going to leave you or that something deeper than a chat is already going on is only going to stress everyone involved out.
Their friends change their tone on you
Maybe you got on really well with their friends before, or maybe you were all merely civil with one another, but now they’ve all suddenly gone cold and quiet on you at once. This could be a sign that they have either been talking amongst themselves about you, or that your partner has told them things about your relationship that reflect badly on you. Either way, it’s a sign the relationship might not carry on much longer.
If your relationship is still at its early stages and yet you can’t rely on your partner to get back to you for days, or even weeks at a time, it’s probably not meant to be. If they decide to ghost you and then reappear as and when they please, they do not respect your time and feelings, or they might not be ready for the commitment a long-term relationship requires. It’s not your job to be at their every beck and call.
It’s all about the sex
If you have formed a relationship based on mutual attraction, it is going to seem amazing at the start. All that passion and sexual attraction will keep things exciting, but that won’t last. If there is nothing to the foundation of your relationship besides sexual attraction, you won’t get far. Relationships need other kinds of connection, closeness, and intimacy to be successful. Once that high-passion honeymoon phase fades, there will be nothing holding you to your partner anymore.
They won’t make plans with you
Spontaneous outings and activities are fun, and can easily sweep you off your feet if you’re into the person taking you along on them. However, planning trips and days out for the coming weeks or months can be even more important when committing to a relationship. If your partner won’t commit to a concert ticket next week or weekend away next month with you, it might be because they don’t know if they plan on staying in the relationship. Being able to rely on a not so distant future with your partner is crucial if you’re wanting to take things further.
All your interests become all of theirs
It is great to have things in common with the person you’re dating. What isn’t so great is if your partner adopts all your interests as their own, and fails to have their own identity outside of the relationship. In order to function in a healthy manner, you both need to have your own interests and projects. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you should become the same person.
They can do no wrong
It’s normal to be completely enamoured with your new partner. Problems only start to arise when you are unable to criticise them at all. Even if you love someone, you should still be able to see if or when they act in an immoral way. To not recognise their wrongdoing means standing by while they cause potential harm to others or even to you. If you don’t think your partner can make a mistake, then have a long hard think about them as a person and the relationship you’re in.
You don’t keep boundaries with each other
While spending time together where possible is great, it is so important to have boundaries with one another. Just because someone is dating you does not mean they should be allowed to go through all your texts even if you have nothing to hide. It also should not mean that you feel entitled to bring your boyfriend to a girls’ night just because he misses you when you’re gone. Not having boundaries between your partner and yourself can affect not only the two of you, but the other people in your lives too.
They’re ‘testing you’
Relationships should be nothing like school. If your partner is giving you tests without telling you first it’s a test, that’s even worse. If they ask you strange questions about life or your ex or them, and they have a “correct” answer in mind, they have expectations of you that probably aren’t based in reality. You should not have to uphold yourself to standards you haven’t even been made aware of through little tests.
There’s no room for compromise
We all have things that matter to us. For you, it might be your weekly knitting group; for your partner, it might be cooking meals for family and friends. If neither of you can make allowances for compromise every time there is a clash with your plans or interests, even if it’s only a one-off, then things between the two of you are unlikely to work out.