Are You Meant to Be or Meant to Leave?
8 signs your relationship isn’t meant to be, no matter how much you wish it was.
Relationships are hard work. We hear that all the time, and we see it as we navigate our relationships. We have to compromise, talk things out, be vulnerable, and accept not only our own flaws, but our partner’s. It can be tough sometimes.
But there’s a line between working hard on a relationship and trying to force a relationship that just isn’t meant to be. Sometimes that line can be hard to see, which is why it’s important to know what signs to look for.
These eight signs are clear enough to be seen from space. If any of these are present, your relationship isn’t your happy ever after.
You see totally different futures
You want marriage and he doesn’t. He’s counting the days until he can move to a bigger city and you’re dreaming of country life till the day you die. You want to travel the world and he’s almost saved enough money to buy his forever home in cash.
It’s one thing if you see the same future with small differences. He wants three kids, you want four — that’s a difference you might be able to work out. The same if you see a different timeline for marriage. But if one of you sees something the other doesn’t, the relationship has no future unless one of you gives in. And that’s not fair to either of you.
While you don’t need to be discussing your dying wishes on the first date, at some point you should be talking about the future. Even if it’s just questions like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Questions as simple as that can give you insight into whether you share the same vision for the future.
You have bad timing
Your relationship is always on and off. You both admit to having feelings for each other, but you’re never single at the same time. You want to be together, but… There’s always a but. There’s always a reason why it doesn’t work out or you don’t get together or you need to wait just a little bit longer.
Bad timing is usually more than just bad timing. Often, what we call bad timing is really a matter of other important aspects of our lives not being aligned. For example, he prioritizes his career over relationships but enjoys a no-strings physical relationship with you, so you both convince yourself that it’s just bad timing. Or you’re both in unhappy relationships, but unwilling to go through the discomfort of ending them, so you chalk it up to bad timing.
Waiting around for the stars to align and the timing to be perfect is just going to result in your being single and unhappy — or in a string of relationships that you don’t give your all to and still unhappy. Let go of Mr. or Ms. Bad Timing and open yourself up to people with whom you won’t need excuses.
There’s no chemistry
He’s funny, handsome, charming, hardworking — he’s perfect in every way. But when you kiss him, there’s nothing. You couldn’t get a spark going between you if there was a bonfire there. The thought of having sex with him doesn’t disgust you, but it sure doesn’t turn you on either. You find yourself picturing someone else just to get in the mood.
When someone seems perfect for us in every other way, it’s easy to try to overlook a lack of physical chemistry. We tell ourselves that sex doesn’t last forever anyway and so it’s important to have other things going for the relationship.
While that is true, physical chemistry is still an important component of a romantic relationship. Unless you and your partner are both asexual and open about it, a lack of physical chemistry will eventually make you both unhappy.
You’re not the best version of you
If we’re in an unhappy relationship, even if we’re pretending things are fine, that unhappiness oozes out in other ways. We snap at others. We stop being kind and compassionate and assume the worst about people’s intentions. We get depressed. We don’t offer our best efforts to the relationship, to our work, to our friends or family.
When you feel like you’re not your best self, unless you can directly trace it back to a different source, it’s a sign this relationship shouldn’t last forever. Any healthy, happy relationship should bring out the best in you. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter how great the relationship seems otherwise.
A mean partner is not a good partner. It doesn’t matter if they’re mean to you, mean to kids, mean to service people, or just mean to their mother. A mean person is a mean person. Being mean might start out with namecalling, insults, or playful touching, but depending on the person, it can escalate to abuse.
Don’t make excuses for them just because they’re not mean to you. If they’re mean to others, they could eventually turn that on you. Pay attention to how they treat everyone.
Even if they didn’t eventually turn that meanness on you, ask yourself this: Would I want people to associate me with their meanness? Would I want my (existing or future) kids to see this and think it’s okay?
You feel pressured to stay in the relationship
The longer we’re in a relationship, the more we invest in it: time, emotion, memories, money, and more. This can lead to feeling pressure to stay. We’ve invested so much, how can we walk away now? Our partner may pull on our heartstrings, reminding us of good times, begging for another chance, or if they’re not a great person, scaring us with thoughts of being single forever or having nowhere to go.
Feeling pressured to stay is never a good reason to stay. Relationships should be a place of freedom. We choose to be in them because we want to be there, not because we have to. So if we’re only there because we think we “should” be, or “have to” stay, that should be a clear sign it’s time to go.
You feel like you or the relationship are a secret
You’ve never met any of his friends or family. You don’t know where he works. You don’t so much go out as stay in at his place or yours. You’re not “official” on Facebook and in fact, looking at his Facebook, anyone would think he’s totally single.
If you feel like you, or the whole relationship, is a secret, the relationship isn’t meant to be. If you’re a secret, there’s only three reasons for that:
· There’s someone else who isn’t such a secret
· There are numerous other someones and you’re all secrets
· He has no plans for a future with you, so he wants to be open to someone who he could see a future with
Whichever one it is, the result is that you’re being hidden away in a closet for his amusement and hoping for a forever love. And no matter what you tell yourself, that doesn’t generally change. Once you’re a secret in someone’s life, that’s where you stay.
You want to leave
We all have moments of emotional overreaction where we think, “I’m outta here,” but we don’t really mean it. But when you truly feel like you want to leave the relationship, it’s not meant to be. You don’t need to have a reason. You might not even have a good reason. You might just know that you want to leave and the relationship is over.
Cheryl Strayed once said, “Go, even though you don’t know exactly why you can’t stay. Go, because you want to.” Don’t stay out of obligation, fear, shame, or worry over other’s thoughts of you if you leave. Don’t stay because of what you’ve invested in the relationship. Go because you know you want to and you deserve to be happy, even if you don’t know exactly why you’re not happy here.
Staying when you want to leave is just setting both you and your partner up for a lifetime of misery.
It can be difficult sometimes to tell the difference between a relationship that needs a little work and one that will never last. As important as it is to recognize these, and any other signs, there’s one thing that’s even more important: trusting your own intuition.
You know what’s best for you. You know what you need. Trust that. Trust that gut feeling to steer you in the right direction, no matter how hard it is or how little you understand about why you’re leaving. Trust yourself. You will never lead yourself astray.
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