dating

"Moments of silence feel awkward." The 10 signs you're with the wrong person.

Over the past decade, I’ve been in one relationship after another. I’ve told a total of eight men I loved them. Yet here I am, with only one man.

I don’t say any of that to incite pride. If anything, I feel my serial monogamy did me more harm than good. But one thing I can say is, I have a lot of experience of knowing what it’s like to be with the wrong person.

Because I imagined eight different future weddings with men I thought were “the one". And now, I feel rather foolish. The signs were, many times, obvious. I just wanted to only see the good or ignore them wholly.

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If you want to know if you’re with the wrong person, you have to do a few things first.

Be honest with yourself. Most of the time, people know they’re with the wrong person; they’re just scared to admit it. No amount of articles or books you read can reassure you enough to make up for the courage you need to admit the truth to yourself.

Take off the rose-coloured glasses. Don’t only try to see the good in your partner. See the bad as well. Better yet, see what they present to you (their words and actions) and take them at face value.

Have the tough conversations. Because a surprise break-up isn’t fair to anyone unless they’re abusive. Maybe what’s bothering you is something your partner hasn’t realised. It’s okay to be honest with them on where your head is at.

If you’re able to do the above with yourself, then you’ll be in the right headspace to really figure out if you’re with the wrong person. Through those seven failed relationships that I thought would last forever, I realised there are a few key moments that tell you loud and clear that this isn’t the person for you.

1. Moments of silence feel awkward.

It’s such a small, seemingly insignificant thing, but feeling awkward when you and your partner aren’t talking isn’t a great sign. This means you’re uncomfortable merely being with your partner. If silence makes you feel like you need to quickly think of something to say, I’d ask yourself how at ease you feel with your partner.

2. You always feel like you need space.

If you want space because you both work from home, together, then this makes sense. It’s healthy for any relationship to maintain your individual identities. But if every night, you’re wishing that you could just be alone, there might be something more going on.

3. Their opinions bother you.

I used to date a man that I now realise was sexist and racist. The things he would say made my skin crawl. While I was bothered by them at the time, I forgot about those comments shortly after. But what I failed to realise was how wildly different our morals and values were. Both of which were signs I wasn’t with the right person.

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4. Your needs feel incompatible.

Only you know what bothers you to the point that you feel upset. It may be something as little as your need to talk throughout the day and your partner’s disdain for texting. Maybe you want someone that’s able to express their emotions, but they see feelings as a sign of weakness. These aren’t small things to ignore; they’re signs your needs aren’t on the same page.

5. You don’t feel respected.

With any relationship in your life, respect is of the utmost importance. A healthy relationship is one where the two people are equal, not when one person is up on a pedestal. Disrespect is a significant sign you’re with someone that doesn’t treat you as an equal.

6. You regularly dream of a different life.

I once lived abroad in China after I graduated from college. I dated a guy I met there. Regularly, I dreamt of living elsewhere and pursuing more adventures, and, to be honest, my boyfriend was never in those fantasies. It’s so clear now that I didn’t see a future with that boyfriend, I only saw a “for now” with us.

7. You feel isolated from the rest of your life.

Whether your partner actively keeps you from your life outside the relationship, or you feel obligated to focus your energy on your partner, neither of these are healthy signs. A supportive partner will encourage you to see your friends and pursue hobbies. A thriving relationship will feel like one where you love living your separate lives and coming back to each other at the end of the day.

8. You feel trapped.

If you know, deep down, you’re with the wrong person, but you feel trapped, for any reason, it’s time to start making a game plan for how to leave. You should never feel trapped by a relationship. Also, you should never be with a person in which it feels your trapped with them. That’s not fair to either of you.

9. You find any reason not to go home.

Maybe you plan events with your friends after work every day. Perhaps you’re always saying yes to any invitation. Or maybe you’re making plans, and purposely not inviting your partner along. All of these may be a sign you’re no longer happy with your relationship.

10. You can’t imagine spending your life with them.

Once you’ve been with someone long enough, you can usually get a sense of whether you can see the relationship lasting forever. If, right off the bat, thinking about “forever” makes you feel claustrophobic, then that’s not a good sign. I’m not saying you have to commit to forever right now, but not being able to picture a future at all is something to consider.

I do believe that most of us know we’re with the wrong person, but we’re scared to admit it. I know that’s how I felt with many of my relationships, for a variety of different reasons.

But when you’re with the wrong person, you’re simply wasting your time and the other person’s time. You both deserve to move on and find someone that feels more right.

This article originally appeared on Medium and was republished here with full permission. You can read Kirstie’s other articles on Medium or follow her on Instagram  @wordswithkirstie

Feature image: Getty.

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