How To Know When A Relationship Just Isn’t Working

Sometimes people fall in love with the idea of being in love and they might not realize that their partnership could use a lot of work. The key to happiness in any relationship is to be honest about your wants and needs in a relationship, and recognize that things are falling flat. Here’s how to tell if your current relationship just isn’t working out.

  1. You’re not all that attracted to them. Attraction isn’t just a physical thing. It’s also a behavioral thing. Maybe he chews too loud. Perhaps he refuses to brush his teeth. Or, maybe he just never picks up after himself. If something your partner does continuously grosses you out (and conversations about fixing that habit seems to lead to no change)  maybe that’s a sign that you’re not getting everything you desire out of the relationship. You should never be repulsed by your partner.
  2. You both want different things. It’s one thing to have a different preference on where to grab food for the night. It’s another to disagree on whether or not to have kids or to live in the city or the suburbs. You and your partner should be aligned on the important stuff since it’s not fair for someone to live in a state of unhappiness for the sake of their significant other — especially long term.
  3. You’re quick to anger with them. If you’ve noticed yourself losing patience and going from 0 to 100, it’s time to rethink things. It’s not fair for your partner if you constantly snap at them. But, it’s also not fair to you to be in a situation where you’re constantly pushing the blame onto your significant other. Unless you have a known stressor (like a big project at work) that’s causing you to act this way around everyone, it’s a big sign that things aren’t working out.
  4. Their family isn’t welcoming. It can be really hard to date someone who has a family that’s hard to deal with. While all families have their quirks, you never want to be in a situation where you’re instantly hated by their mom or dad. It’s even worse if the hatred stems from something like race, culture, looks, or age. It’s hard to feel like you’re a team when you date someone who grew up with values much different from your own. Their parents will always be in the picture. If they can’t recognize how cruel or unfair they’re being, it’s a battle you won’t win.
  5. You feel stuck when they feel happy. It’s nice to be comfortable in a relationship. But, that relationship should grow at some point. If your relationship is in the same pattern, and nothing changes, it may just stay that way — especially if your partner is happy with the arrangement. Making big changes in the relationship can be tough. If they aren’t willing to at least try to mix things up to keep the romance alive, it’s time to say goodbye.
  6. You’ve noticed more space in-between texts. Back when you first got together, you texted nonstop — and, that’s both healthy and normal. But now, you’ve realized it takes them hours to get back to you, even if you know they’ve been using your phone. And, this isn’t a one-time occurrence. At this stage, you just expect them not to respond in a timely manner. That means they’ve lessened you as a priority, which can hurt. It’s also an added strain to the relationship since those texts you send might be questions like, “do we have eggs back at home?” and “what do you want for dinner?” It’s the start of miscommunication.
  7. They never think of you. Imagine this scenario — it’s a nice summer day, and your partner runs out to get ice cream. But, they only get a pint for themselves, even though you’ve been living together. A great partner will always think ahead and figure out what you want. Someone who’s checked out of a relationship, or just not very good at relationships, will only think of themselves and their needs at the moment.
  8. You’re not happy. This seems obvious, but it’s very easy to make excuses to avoid really questioning your happiness. If you’ve noticed yourself crying a lot, or even fantasizing about what life would be like without your partner, it’s obvious that you’re no longer feeling any joy about this partnership. Be honest with yourself. It’s much better to be single than to be with someone who brings you down.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.