The end of a relationship is, more often than not, emotionally draining. It's hard to adjust to being alone, to accept that the person who's been a near-constant presence in your life isn't around anymore, and to recognize that your life really is going to change. When you realize that you and your partner weren't meant to be, you probably wished that you could've found all of this out sooner, so the break up wouldn't be quite as painful. Well, there are some early signs a relationship won't last — you just have to know how to spot them.
You'll likely have more failed romantic relationships in your life than successful ones. That's just how life is. That being said, there were probably clues early in each of your failed relationships that pointed to the fact that it would end, you just didn't recognize them for what they were. Some people, for example, think that fighting is a bad omen. In an email exchange with Romper, however, associate professor of psychology at Syracuse University Laura Vanderdrift says that some fighting within a relationship can actually be beneficial, and isn't necessarily a sign of terrible things to come. If those arguments start to become overly critical, nasty, condescending, or full of contempt, however, it might be warning sign that the relationship is doomed.
If you and your partner exhibit these relationship warning signs, that doesn't necessarily mean that all hope is lost. But recognizing what they look like might help you tackle them head-on and make your relationship stronger in the long run.
1. You Have Communication Issues
It seems like nearly every couple — if they're together long enough — goes through a period when they're just not as completely in sync as they usually are. All that aside, communication issues can, in fact, also be an early sign that you and your partner aren't going to make it. "Some of the things that lead to failed relationships [or] divorce are communication issues concerning 1) financial management, 2) raising children, and 3) other lifestyle choices," as divorce and family attorney David A. Post tells Romper by email. "Often times these tell-tale signs are apparent from day one but not addressed, which leads to problems down the road." Vocalizing your feelings on these topics and others early might prevent it from becoming a relationship-ending issue later on.
2. You'd Rather Spend Time Somewhere Else
Everyone goes through periods where work, family responsibilities, volunteer commitments, and the like demand more of your time and energy. During those periods, your relationship could take a bit of a backseat. That being said, if you notice early on that you'd rather work late or go out with your friends and leave your partner at home, Vanderdrift says that's a major red flag that the relationship isn't going to make it.
3. You Struggle Early On
Early roadblocks and obstacles might be a sign that things aren't going to end the way you'd like. "The minor issues that you experience early on should be simple enough that the euphoria of the new relationship wins over them," licensed clinical social worker and practicing psychotherapist Judi Cinéas tells Romper by email. "If you are having arguments so serious that the bliss of new romance can’t help, you’re probably dealing with differing values and other non-negotiables, which will continue to be an issue."
4. You Don't Want To Introduce Them To Friends Or Family
If you're putting off introducing them to the people closest to you, certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Romper that it's probably because you instinctively know, deep down, that the relationship isn't going to last. Those are the people who likely know you the best and, chances are, they won't be fooled into thinking the relationship is the forever kind. Also, if you know the relationship isn't going to work out, you're probably avoiding introducing your partner to friends and family because you don't want anyone getting attached.
5. You Aren't Interested In Similar Things
Many successful couples aren't passionate about everything their partner loves. But if you really don't have any overlapping hobbies, it might be a sign that the relationship isn't going to last. According to Cinéas, if you don't like any of the same things, it can make it difficult to find things to do together where you'll both have fun or that you'll both enjoy. If one or the other is always miserable, it'll take a toll on the relationship.
6. They're Always Looking At Their Phone
These days, it seems like everyone's phone is surgically attached to their hand. If, however, your partner is constantly checking their phone, texting friends, watching videos, or scrolling through social media feeds while with you, it could be a sign that they'd rather be elsewhere. "This is a sign he isn't present in the relationship," , as therapist Kimberly Hershenson tells Romper via email. "Take a technology break together. Turn off phones, computers and TV and spend time talking."
7. Your Sex Life Leaves Something To Be Desired
There are lots of reasons why your sex life could go through ups and downs, but if you're avoiding having sex or are finding the sex you are having a little bit boring, Hershenson says it could be a sign that something's wrong in the relationship. Additionally, if you're only having great sex, but aren't also connecting emotionally outside of the bedroom, according to Bennett, it could signal that the relationship isn't serious and won't last.
8. They Make Plans Without Considering You
It's natural and even healthy to do things on your own, or with friends or family without your partner around. If, however, they're always making their own plans without thinking to include you, Hershenson says that could be a warning sign. Make sure that you're both deliberate about spending time together, as well as apart.
9. You Just Have A Feeling
Don't underestimate or disregard the gut feelings you get about a relationship. Could they be wrong or misguided? Sure, but, if you have a feeling that it might not work out from the beginning, it could be a sign that it won't. "When people want something they have a way of justifying what their instincts are telling them," Cinéas says. It might be tempting to explain away whatever problems your gut's telling you exist, but that could spell disaster down the road.