Studies have shown that being in a relationship can be beneficial to your overall health, but being in the wrong relationship can have the opposite effect. With this in mind, it’s important to be able to recognize the eight red flags that are clear indicators of relationships-gone-wrong. That way, you can know when it’s time to wave the white flag and move on.
1. You’re not yourself. When you’re in the wrong relationship, you may find yourself hiding your real interests, background, true feelings or any other aspect that makes you, well, you. Are you too embarrassed to share your passion for poetry? Are you dumbing down when it comes to politics? In many cases, you’ll do or say certain things because you believe it’s what your partner wants from you, even if it means not being your 100% authentic self. Since there are no Academy Awards for relationship acting, it’s time to take a bow and bow out of this wrong relationship.
2. You’re overly criticized. While there’s such a thing as constructive criticism, too much criticism can be destructive to a relationship.
You don’t have to put up with a partner who is constantly putting you down. Crude insults, snide comments and disparaging remarks have no place in a happy and healthy relationship. If you’re feeling that your worth isn’t appreciated, it’s definitely worth cutting the cord and moving on.
3. You’re doing all of the giving. A one-sided relationship isn’t a relationship, and if you’re always the one giving and never taking, it’s time to take off. There’s nothing wrong with pampering your partner, buying him or her presents and doing him or her favors from time to time, but selfless acts have to go both ways. You’re not your partner’s parent, housekeeper or personal assistant. A happy and healthy relationship is a two-way street, and doing all of the giving while receiving zero in return is a bad investment in every sense.
4. You’re distrusting of your mate. Trust is the foundation of every happy and healthy relationship, and if you and your partner can’t take each other at your word, the next word on your mind should be “breakup.” Feelings of distrust, suspicion and jealousy are strong enough to sink any smooth-sailing relationship. So instead of living with these negative emotions day after day, trust in yourself that you’ll find someone else who is worthy of your trust.
5. You’re constantly fighting. While some conflict is natural and healthy in a relationship, if you’re always angry, upset and mad at your partner, it’s time to put an end to fight mode and go into flight mode. Pointing fingers at each other and constantly arguing and disagreeing on every point is no way to live your life—there’s no point in that. Agree to disagree (if you can even do that) and look for a new and more agreeable partner in every respect.
6. You’re unhappy. It may seem straightforward, but if you’re feeling sad, depressed or hopeless in your relationship, you’re in the wrong one. Even if you’re intimidated or scared about the prospect of moving on, starting over, being alone or an unknown future, there’s no excuse for putting your desire for happiness on the backburner. Breaking up can be difficult, but being miserable in a relationship is actually more difficult. What would Pharrell do?
7. You’re longing for someone else. Is your heart pining for a person who’s not your partner? Are your thoughts constantly about another person? If you’re wishing that you were with someone else, whether this is an actual person or simply the idea of the kind of person you’d like to see yourself with, you’re in the wrong relationship. It’s not that you theoretically could or should even be with the person you’re longing for, but when you’re in the right relationship, your thoughts will rightly be about the person you’re actually with.
8. You’re falling for the “sunk cost fallacy.” For many people, even if they’re not feeling confident, excited or passionate about their relationship, they stay with their partner because they believe it’s too late to turn back. Maybe you feel that you’ve already invested so much time and energy into your relationship that you might as well keep sticking it out even if you’re not having fun, know your mate is wrong for you or wish you were with someone else. In economics, this concept is known as the “sunk cost fallacy.” That’s when you continue investing in something just because you’ve already put a lot into it—even if you know it’s a bad decision. And if this is your reasoning to stay in an unfulfilling relationship, it’s time to cut your losses and move on. It’s never too late to find happiness.