Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out if you’re dating the wrong person or if you’re just in a temporary relationship rut.
Partners don’t come with a preview of what they’re really like — it’s often when you’re already invested that you uncover problems. But, there are still ways to figure out if they’re a good fit long-term or not.
Based on previous relationships, here are a few things that should be deal-breakers (that have nothing to do with appearance, finances, or how many kids they want).
1. They make you feel small
If your partner regularly goes out of their way to hurt your self-esteem, they’re not worth your time.
I still remember a guy I dated years ago who used to say things like, “You don’t have that much acne!”
As an already-awkward teen, the last thing I needed was for someone to bring out my worst insecurities under the guise of compliments.
Life is already challenging as it is. You don’t need or deserve a partner who makes you feel small instead of helping you grow to your full potential.
2. Your anxiety goes up when you’re around them
I’ll never forget how I felt when I got back from a long trip and stood on my front lawn, waiting for my then-boyfriend to come for a visit.
Strangely enough, I wasn’t happy.
I hadn’t seen him for a month, and yet the thought of being around him put me on edge.
Of course, I should have realized that anxiety was the last thing I should have been feeling at the prospect of seeing my partner. But I didn’t. At least, not until later.
Now that I can look back from another perspective, though, I know this:
Relationships aren’t always easy, but they shouldn’t always be hard, either.
If being around your partner gives you anxiety, that’s not a good sign. A relationship should make your life better, not more difficult.
3. You never completely believe what they tell you
I try so hard to believe what people tell me, especially people I love. But often, despite my best efforts to trust others, my gut feeling tells a different story.
Often, my initial misgivings about someone turn out to be accurate, no matter how much I don’t want them to be.
In one of my previous relationships, I couldn’t shake the impression that my boyfriend was unfaithful. It was the last thing I wanted to think, of course, but it consumed my thoughts. Sadly, I found out I had been right.
If you don’t believe your partner is telling you the truth, you’re not necessarily imagining things. Trust your gut, and don’t settle for someone who makes you doubt their sincerity.
4. You don’t feel whole on your own
Your partner shouldn’t be the center of your universe. Though it might sound romantic to be so attached to someone that you can’t do anything without them, it’s not. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Be secure enough and happy enough on your own that you don’t depend on your significant other to fill a void inside you.
Realize that no one, no matter how compatible, will ever be enough for you until you’re enough for yourself.
5. You’re always wondering if they really care about you or not
During one of my past relationships, I was never entirely sure where I stood in my partner’s life. Even though he often told me he loved me with words, his actions told me the exact opposite.
Sometimes, he became angry for no apparent reason. Sometimes, I wouldn’t hear from him for hours and hours on end. When I talked to him about it, though, he would shrug it off or mock me for being concerned.
If you’re with someone who genuinely cares, you won’t constantly be wondering where you stand in their life.
You’ll know because they will show you in their actions. You’ll know because they will value you and love you enough to keep your relationship strong by putting in the work.
Anyone who isn’t willing to put in the work isn’t truly invested, and anyone who isn’t truly invested isn’t worth dating long-term.
It’s that simple.
Dating the wrong person is like wearing shoes that are the wrong size: no matter what you do, they’ll still make your life painful.
It’s only when you start dating a compatible person that you’ll realize just how unnecessary all the extra stress and pain and worry was.
The key is to date someone who treats you well and who has the same vision for the future — not necessarily someone who has rock hard abs and who drives a bright orange Ferrari (although that sounds exciting too).
Ultimately, remember this:
If you want a solid, happy relationship, stay away from anyone who makes your life painful.