dating

"You feel like your worst self." 8 signs that your relationship isn't working.

The lust-filled beginning of a relationship hides so many of people’s qualities.

Sometimes they’re good, like your partner’s undying love for animals. But other times, they’re what keeps your relationship from lasting in the long-run.

When those less-than-stellar signs begin to pop up, they’re hard to act upon. 

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Your commitment to the relationship can make you think things are fixable, and, sometimes, that’s the case. But other times, your mental health and well-being are being hurt too much.

I’ve watched several of my relationships turn from sweet to sour in a matter of months. 

But instead of letting those signs guide me to the inevitable, I let the relationship drag out until I was the one dumped and heartbroken.

So what are these signs that could help you avoid spending more time in a relationship that isn’t working anymore? Here they are:

Your partner suddenly stops communicating with you.

In university, I dated a man who had a giant ego, made bigger by the fact he worked as an underwear model. 

Our communication was okay initially, but as our relationship progressed, he retreated into tactics that maintained he was always right.

Communication is more complex than someone giving you the silent treatment. It’s the moments when you bring up an issue and they maintain everything is fine. The times when you’re talking to your partner, and they’re too glued to their phone to have caught a word you said.

You may be thinking, "This is a fixable issue," and I’d applaud your positivity. Yes, communication problems can be solved. But they need two people willing to come to a solution, not just one person.

Your partner disrespects you often.

The respect dilemma is two-fold because when someone doesn’t respect you, it’s hard to respect them. How can you go on to have a healthy relationship with someone you don’t respect?

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Disrespect comes in many forms, from the obvious (calling you names or bad-mouthing you to your friends) to the not-so-obvious (ignoring your needs and over-stepping your boundaries).

Whatever their disrespecting ways might be, it’s worth considering what that means for their character. Are they someone you want to form a lasting relationship with? And if so, do you think you to learn to respect them again?

Your partner makes you feel like you’re crazy.

The man I dated in university argued in ways that always turned the tables on me. He never accepted responsibility and blamed me for every problem we had. 

I’d leave our fights feeling messed up in the head; reality felt fuzzy, and I wasn’t sure what to believe.

He isolated me from my friends, lied so things worked in his favour, and often told me, flat-out, that I was crazy. It took until after I got out of the relationship to realise the problem wasn’t me.

That, my lovely readers, was Class-A gaslighting. 

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It’s when someone uses manipulative behaviours that make you question your thoughts, beliefs, and sense of worth. It’s a form of emotional abuse.

If you’re wary that your partner might be gaslighting you, reach out to a friend, family member, or therapist. 

Emotional abuse might not have the same signs as physical abuse, but, at times, it can be a lot more damaging.

You feel like your worst self with your partner.

It’s great to be with a partner who challenges you, but not one who triggers you. Read that again. Someone who pushes you to accomplish your goals is different than a partner whose simple existence makes you feel like cr*p.

Before I dated my current boo, I dated many womanising, cocky dudes — much more Chuck than Nate, for all you Gossip Girl fans.

When those men brought out my insecurities, I believed I needed to work harder on myself. But then I met the man I’m dating now, and he helped me see the light.

If someone consistently triggers you, it’s worth asking yourself if you feel safe in the relationship. Your partner should lift you, not tear you down, even if they’re not doing it on purpose.

You don’t trust each other anymore.

I once dated a former co-worker who was 12 years older than me. 

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I’d ignored some initial red flags — typical on my part at the time — but I let two particular instances slide that were unforgivable and should’ve been my reason to leave.

He physically and sexually abused me, on two different occasions. After they happened, I lost a crucial element for the relationship to thrive: trust. When we’d argue, I flinched at his slightest movements because I was scared he’d hurt me. 

In bed, things weren’t any better.

These are both extreme examples, but the point holds up across the board. 

Once you lose trust in someone, it’s hard to build it back up. It can be done, but what’s more important to ask yourself is if the event that made you lose trust is one you can forgive.

Their touch makes your skin crawl.

Until this point, I’ve described signs of a relationship that’s heading south because of something a partner does wrong. But what about partners who do nothing wrong?

Not every relationship has a dramatic breakup. Not every ex is a complete jerk. Sometimes, you both grow apart. Other times, you realise you’re great friends, but nothing beyond that.

While this is only one way to determine if that romantic connection is still there in the relationship, your reaction to your partner’s touch says a lot about how you’re feeling. 

If it feels foreign or makes you uncomfortable, it’s not a good sign.

I’m not saying you’ll always enjoy the embrace of your partner. But if you are actively turned off by it, then it’s time to ask yourself if you’re still happy in your relationship or if something is missing.

Your friends and family can’t stand them.

Though I might’ve been able to ignore the red flags my exes so obviously waved, the people closest to me couldn’t. 

On multiple occasions, my friends told me how much they disliked the guys I chose to date, but my rose-tinted glasses were too glued to my face for me to listen.

Lust and passion can blind us from seeing a person’s true character. It’s like being underwater and trying to guess what’s happening on the land. 

Your friends standing on the shore can see clearly, but your vision is blurred.

It might feel hard to listen to the people closest to you, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do. They’re not supportive of your relationship to make you miserable; all they want is what’s best for you.

A voice inside you whispers "run" more often than not.

At the beginning of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, she described how she had lain awake on her bathroom floor, crying, hearing a little voice inside her saying "run." 

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While I’m not here to judge Gilbert’s former marriage, what was happening at that moment was her intuition speaking.

Our intuition is a mystery yet studied by many researchers. There’s enough evidence out there to believe that we really do know what’s best for ourselves when all the surface beliefs and pressures aren’t getting in the way.

If in your gut, just reading this article feels like the truth you already knew is being validated, your intuition is speaking to you. 

When you’re invested in a relationship, it’s not easy to admit things need to end.

While your immediate life will change, and it’ll be an adjustment, the long-term effects mean you’ll open a door to a new life — one with a partner who makes you happier.

These signs can help you decide if you want to stay in your relationship, but, ultimately, that choice is only yours to make.

Admitting to yourself that a relationship isn’t working anymore is one of the hardest things to do. But you don’t deserve to stay in something that’s no longer bringing out the best in you.

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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