Over my many, many years of experience with relationships (successful, and failed alike) I’ve deciphered 5 clear signs that helped me come to terms with the fact that a relationship was wrong for me… before it was too late.
Note: if you’ve seen these signs in previous relationships but didn’t get out when you should have, go easy on yourself. You don’t know until you know.
Consider this a reminder to sharpen your radar and remember to honour intuitions. That could mean having some painfully honest conversations with your partner or modifying your own behaviour.
1. You don’t feel truly like yourself.
Everything you’ve always liked about yourself – who you are, what makes you uniquely you – is gone or muted.
Unfortunately, this happens a lot in relationships. And it happens gradually, otherwise, we would most likely notice sooner and stop it right away. Some partners try to control us and call it love. Over time, this strips away at who we truly are or want to be. Then one day, we wake up, look in the mirror and don’t recognize ourselves anymore.
This doesn’t mean it’s the other person’s fault. You may find this to be a pattern in all your relationships, which means the common denominator is you. It’s easy to lose yourself in your relationships. Especially if you also happen to be an empath (like me).
This usually happens due to a distorted understanding of love as self-sacrifice, rather than thinking about it in terms of healthy compromises and growing together. If you follow the logic of this mindset, you’ll usually end up thinking about your upbringing and what you learned about love as a child.
The key is to be aware and work on finding yourself again, no matter what it takes. If you don’t, you’re not bringing you to the relationship. You’re bringing your conditioning.
2. You’re constantly trying to prove your worth.
It’s bad enough that we have to constantly seek our worth in the world. But if we’re also doing this in our relationship, there’s something seriously wrong.
But how do you know if you’re constantly trying to prove your worth? First, start by acknowledging that there’s a difference between seeking approval and validation (which we all do to a certain extent) and seeking your worth or value.
Here are some signs that your worth isn’t being recognized in your relationship:
- Most or all of your ideas are shot down.
- Your partner doesn’t support your dreams.
- You rarely get to talk about you.
- Your partner may listen to you but they don’t hear you.
- You feel invisible.
It’s not your partner’s job to make you feel valuable, but it is their job to create a safe space where your worth is encouraged and grown instead of ignored or even bashed. Relationships shouldn’t make you feel invisible. They should make you feel invincible.
3. You feel like you’re witnessing the relationship instead of existing in it.
Many people get to a state where they sit back and let life happen to them. Instead of engaging and truly living at their fullest, making their mark in the universe, they start to go simply go through the motions.
This can also happen in relationships. You know the relationship but no longer actively engage in it. You know that you’re “taken,” not single. You know the important dates and when to buy gifts. You know the routine for dinner. You know what s/he likes in bed.
But all this is information, not presence. The relationship is no longer built on passion. It’s built on routines.
4. You break up with you.
At some point, you ended the relationship you had with yourself. You gave up. You gave in. And you may not even know it.
Maybe you convinced yourself that this is what a relationship looks like. Maybe you told yourself that “true love” means finding someone who makes you want to live longer and be a better person. And maybe that’s how you justified changing yourself in order to make the relationship work.
Whatever the case, you and your needs are no longer in the equation. If this is where you’re at because of your relationship, you are probably not meant to be in this relationship. At this point, it’s not about signs – It’s about whys.
5. You’re doing all the work.
A healthy relationship requires a balanced amount of effort from both people involved in it.
You may find that you are the only one making compromises to resolve arguments, or the plans you are making for you and your partner are always designed, and implemented by you, and you alone. These are glaring signs that things have become too one-sided to remain sustainable in the long-term.
If your partner simply isn’t investing in you as much as you are investing in them, it’s time to start asking why.
6. They wear Crocs.
Honestly, you should question everything this person does if they even OWN a pair of these things.
(Okay, so the last one isn’t as serious as the others…. but these topics are exhausting to write about. They make my heart sad. So what’s the harm in a little giggle at the end, hmm?)