Deciding to devote yourself to another person is a major commitment; one that’s not to be taken lightly. What mistakes will you try to avoid? What have you learned from previously failed relationships? The questions may be never ending, but there’s no way to know, without the shadow of a doubt, whether the relationship will last.
Whether you’re on your way up the roller coaster, teetering at the top, or about to make the final plunge down, it can be a scary ride. So, for good reason, there are some relationships that just aren’t meant to be.
1. The relationship that feels unsafe
Feeling unsafe typically points to an unhappy relationship, but it can still be difficult to leave. Or, maybe you’ve experienced this yourself, and were brave enough to leave the partner who made you feel this way. If that’s the case, you may have no problem spotting the red flags, as hindsight tends to be 20/20.
Psychology Today‘s Mark Banschick, M.D., writes, “In a nutshell, there are three basic categories of unhappiness in committed relationships. When a relationship goes awry, you may feel unsafe, unloved, unsatisfied or a combination of two or three.” If either partner experiences these feelings, the relationship is not meant to be.
2. The couple that’s no longer friends
For most, the start of any relationship begins with genuine intrigue. In the beginning, maybe you saw value in your partner’s talents, appearance, and ambitions. Naturally, you wanted to learn more, which is great, seeing as shared interests and hobbies help to forge a deep, lasting connection. When this happens, you not only recognize one another as partners, but as friends. But the moment couples stop being friends, Prevention says, is the moment the relationship stops growing.
3. The relationship that lacks empathy
Once one or both partners lose the ability to empathize, there’s little hope the relationship will stand the test of time. “A relationship has reached critical mass when there is little or no identification with the other person’s feelings,” Cari Wira Dineen writes in Prevention. When your partner has total disregard for your feelings, it’s impossible to connect on a deeper level, thus stunting your ability to thrive as a couple.
4. When certain subjects are off-limits
Being able to discuss everything with your partner is important, from minute details of your day to big-picture conversations about your future together. You should be able to depend on your partner for sound advice and a listening ear. After all, a significant other is supposed to be someone who cares about what you think.
As The Huffington Post says, it’s a bad sign if having “a conversation with [your partner] is worse than having your teeth pulled.” No subject should be off limits, and there’s no reason you should have to censor yourself around the person you love.
5. The relationship that lacks trust
Trust is a biggie, there’s no doubt about that. If there’s no trust between you and your significant other, there’s no way the relationship will survive. Being honest and upfront about all issues — good, bad, or ugly — you encounter is of the utmost importance.
Furthermore, while there are lots of types of dishonesty, cheating if often one that comes to mind. Cheating can be one of the most destructive forms of betrayal any relationship can experience. As Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., told Prevention, “It breaks the trust in the relationship, and sometimes the breach is not fixable.”
6. When one person feels the need to lie to their friends
Dishonesty between you and your partner isn’t the only cause for concern when it comes to a lack of trust. Typically, your friends are the people you go to for advice and venting, especially in the relationship department. And if you’re not being honest about what’s really going on, there could be trouble in paradise.
While keeping more intimate issues private between just you and your partner is important, there’s something to be said about straight up lying to your friends about the status of your relationship. “Yes, lies of omissions and half-truths count,” Bustle says. When you’re not telling the whole truth to your friends, it’s time to take a close look at the reality of your relationship.
7. The relationship with imbalanced emotional investment
It’s never a good feeling to love a person who doesn’t love you back. If you find yourself in this type of situation, consider it a red flag. Psychologist Kristin Davin told The Huffington Post, “If you find that you’re always the one doing the [emotional] heavy lifting, it changes your relationship and the heavy lifter feels like the relationship is more work than it should be.” Being on the same level emotionally is key to any healthy relationship.
8. When one person has morphed into someone they’re not
A relationship should be equal parts give and take, within reason, and no one person should have all the say. If you’ve sacrificed everything that makes you who you are to fit the mold of what you think your partner wants, there’s a huge problem. Keep in mind, there are several things you should absolutely never compromise on, such as your personality, self-worth, and goals. Morphing into someone you’re not is one of the biggest disservices you can do for yourself.
9. The relationship that lacks respect
Similar to a lack of trust and a lack of safety, a lack of respect should be a total deal-breaker in any relationship. “The glue in a relationship is respect,” MSN explains. “Self-respect, respect for one’s partner, what they go through, the choices they make, etc. Everything should be based on that value. Otherwise, your relationship could dissolve within a year.” So, if respect isn’t a top priority for both you and your partner, it’s time to have a serious conversation about where things could be headed.
10. The relationship that’s filled with contempt
Harboring ill feelings for just about anyone is an unhealthy behavior. And when you do so for your partner? Well, it’s likely your relationship is doomed. In fact, four decades of research lead Dr. John Gottman to name contempt as the No. 1 predictor of divorce.
According to The Gottman Institute, mocking a person with sarcasm, name-calling, mimicking, and eye-rolling are all forms of contempt. “In whatever form, contempt is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust. It’s virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message that you’re disgusted with him or her,” the Institute explains. If you can’t help expressing contempt, especially when it’s not warranted, you need to consider the fate of your relationship may not be happily ever after.