One of the struggles that bring single people the greatest pain is related to the confusion about whether their current boyfriend or girlfriend is “The One.” You can imagine what it might be like for the couple in the picture below as one, or both, of them, are wondering whether the other really is “the one” or not.
There can be so much uncertainty when trying to figure all of this out.
It’s such a hot topic that I recently wrote a blog about some of the important positive signs that you’re on the right track.
This article is an extension of the first, but with a different emphasis. I wrote this blog to give you some tips on how to recognize the indications this person may not be the right fit for you.
Having worked with singles and couples for over 25 years, I can tell you from first-hand observation, that these are typical red flags indicating real problems that may need your attention.
Your basic “must haves” are not on their radar
It’s good practice for guys and gals who are in the dating game and ready to narrow down the search for their long-term mate to have a list of “must-have” qualities. You know, the things that are absolute deal breakers for you if missing in the relationship. Honesty, loyalty, family minded, responsible, self-aware and emotionally mature. These are a few that may be on the list. Many people in your situation find it helpful to actually write a checklist of their must haves to help them sort this out.
If your potential lifelong partner doesn’t have something on your must-have list, you may need to re-evaluate. Maybe it’s minor, or not as important now as it was when you formed the list. Priorities and opinions do change over time. However, if you talk about the status of the relationship and he or she doesn’t even know what you mean when you address a quality or trait, then it could be a red light.
These must-haves are the things that are going to lead to your fulfillment. You can’t give them up.
Your partner is chronically depressed and refuses to get help
That’s not necessarily a deal breaker IF they are open to getting some help. If they’re not, this does not bode well for your future – or theirs. Nowadays, there is lots of help available for people who suffer from depression and anxiety.
To be clear, just because someone is depressed from time to time, is not necessarily a reason to end things. As a matter of fact, someone who has lived through depression may be in a much better position to feel true empathy for you when you may be feeling sad yourself. They’ve been there. They know firsthand what you are going through.
Chronic substance abuse
This is similar to the point above regarding depression. Substance abuse can destroy people’s lives and relationships. What’s important here is the ability for the person to recognize they have a problem and seek help. And then to maintain the lifestyle changes that come along with being sober.
If you are in a close relationship with this person, I’m sure they are eternally grateful for your support and love as they recover. But recovery is not finite; it’s ongoing. Please be aware of repeated relapses, denial of responsibility or accountability, or blatant deceit. These would be the signs that cause you to seriously reconsider your commitment to the relationship.
They say “no” more than they say “yes” to things that are important to you
I don’t mean just not wanting to have chicken for dinner. I mean for bigger issues. If they are not supportive of life decisions or choices you’d like to make – maybe career changes, desires about where to live or relocate to, or whether to have children, this can be a major problem or set of problems. These are BIG themes in a relationship.
At the heart of this issue, if your potential life mate always wants their way with things or is so strongly opinionated that he or she doesn’t even appear to be considering your point of view or wants, then this could be a red flag. Trust me, you do NOT want to spend your life acquiescing to someone else’s point of view and abandoning your own wants and desires. This will not set you up for a fulfilling life!
They have “wandering eye syndrome”
One surefire way to know that the person is not a first-round draft choice in the game of marriage is when you notice that they are repeatedly looking – sometimes even leering – at other women or men. It’s one thing to occasionally notice others, it’s another thing to constantly watch this person look at others all the time.
This behavior doesn’t exactly leave you with that “I feel special” feeling, does it? This isn’t a good indication for future fidelity. Move on!
You feel more distrust than trust
They seem nice. They promise you everything. They say that you can confide in them. Then it turns out that they aren’t so nice. They routinely break their promises. They even breach your trust when you share something vulnerable, and post your most private innermost thoughts on social media. This is a sure sign that they are definitely NOT to be trusted…and definitely not the one!
They don’t comfort you when you need it
Does he spend time looking at anything but you when you are together? Does she avoid eye contact? If so, they may not really know how to connect with you, or anyone else for that matter.
Ask yourself, is he someone you would see as empathetic? This is important because if they are not compassionate, how could they be comforting to you if they are so self-absorbed?
Along these same lines, people who are preoccupied with themselves tend to be narcissists in the extreme. It’s all about them. Any compassion they display is likely more designed to make them look good, rather than making you actually feel good.
You don’t feel any chemistry
Meh. They are attractive, kind, attentive. But it’s not right somehow. This is ok! Trust your gut. You deserve (as does the other person) to have a relationship that is not only good on paper but also full of passion. If the chemistry just isn’t there, that’s OK!
Everything is a fight
Disagreements and arguing are healthy in a relationship. But if you are feeling more and more like each time a difference of opinion comes up, a fight ensues, then this could be a red flag. Here we are thinking of a fight as a bout of yelling and screaming, prolonged anger or bitterness, basically just not being able to let it go until their (or maybe your) way is had.
Compromise is integral in all relationships – work, friendships, family, etc. Without the ability to compromise and give in to things that aren’t your #1 choice once in a while, things aren’t going to end well. Eventually, one or both parties become plain ole tired of the fighting. Or worse yet, one of the parties has gotten their feelings hurt by a rash action or statement and now the relationship is beyond salvageable.
You never fight
Conversely, never fighting can be a bad sign too. Part of being in a trusting, caring, authentic relationship is having the confidence to be able to disagree and work through hard times. There is conflict and hard subjects that come up all the time – from finances to family issues, you name it! If you don’t have the trust between each other to have frank conversations, the future of your relationship may not be on the best foundation.
Respect is not a word that you would use when talking about them
Another of the main building blocks of relationships, along with trust, is respect. Respect means listening to your other half, valuing each other’s feelings and thoughts on a given subject, being encouraging to each other, and honoring the boundaries of the other person.
If the person you are with right now is not living up to these basic demonstrations of respect, then I encourage you to seriously consider the health of the relationship and how much longer you are going to be involved.
Breaking boundaries, physical or emotional, is a major red flag and greatly damages your ability to trust the other person, or them, you.
Without trust or respect, from a very basic level, the relationship is in jeopardy.
You have this increasingly uneasy feeling that something is very wrong
Sometimes you just can’t put our finger on it. You can’t really describe the growing feeling that they are not the one. It’s confusing! They look great on paper. Almost everyone thinks that they’re a great catch…and perhaps, on the surface, they are. And then something began to shift inside you.
At first, there was a small voice inside sharing doubts. It used to be an occasional fleeting thought – “maybe they’re not the one.” But then your inner voice started saying, perhaps even screaming, the word “NO.” And that inner voice is now repeating itself almost every waking moment. You still can’t explain why but you just know in your being that this is wrong. Listen. Listen hard.
Dr. Gary’s Ultimate Test
I have what I call the “ultimate test.” It’s this: would you want this person to be the mother or father of your child. Are they a good and decent person? Would they truly love your child? Would they be compassionate with your child? Devoted to your child?
It doesn’t matter if you never want to have children. What’s important now is that you ask yourself this series of questions. If you are honest with your answers, and the answers to the ultimate test questions are “no,” then you are closer to understanding that this person is probably not “The One.”
Respect your doubts
When we’re in love – or we think that we are – it is sometimes difficult to acknowledge to ourselves, much less others, that we aren’t sure we are compatible with the other person. Trust the sincerity of your conflict because this is one of the most important issues you will ever deal with. If you would like some help with this, contact me for a free 15-minute phone consultation to help you sort this out.