It’s not the best idea to be constantly searching for warning signs in every relationship. If you’re always looking for trouble, nothing is ever going to actually work out. Still, once you’ve been dating long enough, it starts to get easier to notice the tiny flags that typically mean a relationship just isn’t built to last. Here are 14 signs a relationship is probably doomed.
The ETI staff was asked to spill the things they see as dating death sentences.
1. You’re trying to change each other. People can change, but it takes time, and it doesn’t work if someone is trying to force it. If you catch yourself thinking, This person would be perfect if only [insert thing here], you’re probably less happy than you think you are.
2. Hanging out just feels like an obligation. It’s nice to have a go-to person to share meals with and be lazy with when you have no energy but need human contact. But if you’re only hanging out with the person you’ve committed to dating out of obligation or as a default “I’m bored, wanna hang?” situation, where’s the fun in that? No spark! No sizzle!
3. Tiny things annoy you. Especially if it’s tiny things they mean to be nice but just end up annoying you anyway. Like they offer to wash the dishes, but do it all wrong, and you get mad instead of laughing off the mistake. There’s something deeper happening here that has nothing to do with forks and knives, and you should take a moment to evaluate what’s really bothering you.
4. Every argument feels like it could end in a breakup. If you can’t have a calm (or even heated!) argument with your partner without feeling terrified they’re going to dump you at the end of it, that’s a problem. People argue. Couples argue. Again, there’s something deeper happening here if every single disagreement feels like it could be The Big One.
5. Parts of their personality feel like a compromise. It’s normal to compromise in a relationship – no two people are exactly alike, and even if there were someone exactly like you out there, would you even want to date them? (NO!) What’s not so normal is to feel like there are parts of their personality you just have to ignore in order to keep dating them. That’s not fair to either of you.
6. You feel like you’re constantly sacrificing your feelings to please them. Sometimes you have to put your feelings aside to appease someone else, and sometimes that sucks. If you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around your partner, that’s not a good sign. Not only is that just enabling them, but it’s exhausting for you.
7. You catch yourself window-shopping. So sure, you’d never actually meet up with that person who sometimes texts you at night or flirts with you on your commute, but the idea of it is thrilling. It’s like a job search – once you start looking around at other listings, just to see what’s out there, you’re already unhappy in your current position and probably just need to move on.
8. Or you catch yourself reminiscing on things you loved about ex-partners. Not that you want to get back with the guy from college who never washed his sheets a single time during your relationship, but man, now you can’t stop thinking about how much you loved the way he always made coffee for you first thing in the morning. This isn’t a sign you should revive old flings, but it is a sign that your current relationship is missing things that are really important to you.
9. More often than not, a Saturday night out with friends sounds way better than a Saturday night date. By no means should you spend every waking moment with a partner – your friends will hate you for this, and they very well should. But you should obviously want to spend some alone time with whoever you’re dating! And if that’s not the case, why are you with them at all?
10. You log more hours on the couch watching TV than you do talking or doing real activities together. It’s delightful to have a slug buddy who will be totally disgusting with you and spend 12 hours on a cold, lazy Sunday marathoning Riverdale or something. That shouldn’t be the primary activity for your relationship though.
11. It dawns on you that things you thought were early relationship flukes are actually just the way your partner is. Everyone does some weird, off-color things early on in a relationship because it’s actually terrifying to be fully yourself around someone you’re trying to impress. But if, a few months in, you discover those odd habits (like maybe they never want to sleep at their place) are just part of who they are, it could be time to reevaluate.
12. The sex feels routine early on and there are no signs of that changing. It’s so great that you found a routine that works for both of you! Now do your best not to lean on that too hard, or else, whoops! All of a sudden, you’ve become the cliché “we have three moves and only three moves” couple that no one wants to be.
13. Your friends aren’t enthusiastic about the relationship. Maybe your friends aren’t openly commending this whole relationship because they like you and are trying to be supportive, but it’s not hard to tell when they’re making an effort to keep opinions to themselves. Your friends want you to be happy and if they don’t like this relationship, they probably have very valid reasons that are worth listening to.
14. You’re no longer trying to impress each other at all. It’s good to be comfortable around the person you’re with. But if you really like someone, and they really like you back, you should want to do nice things for each other. Little gestures are sweet and go a long way. It’s easy to lose sight of the romance if you two become friends who sometimes make out in only a few months. You want something more than that! Relationships are tough and should be rewarding, when they’re truly good.
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