It's easy to feel incredibly close and connected with someone you're dating in the beginning of the relationship, but after a while — six months, a year — the honeymoon period ends, and then you find out whether the two of you are in it for the long haul or not. Though there are signs the person you thought was "The One" is not the one for you, they're not always immediately apparent. So I asked three relationship experts to identify the red flags that indicate that it might be time to let go.
"When you reach a point that you realize they aren't "The One," be courageous and direct," marriage and family therapist Esther Boykin tells Bustle. "The old saying, 'It’s not you …' is actually a good starting point. The truth is that it's neither of you, it's the 'us' that doesn't work." Sad as it may be, accepting this and moving on will allow you the chance to find happiness, and the same goes for your partner.
"They may be a great person, but they don't fit for you, and the sooner you say that, the sooner you both are free to find someone who is a good fit," Boykin says. "Highlight what attracted you in the first place, and then follow up with the reasons that it won't work long-term." They might agree, she adds: "While they are likely to be hurt, it's possible that they've been feeling the same thing, and just hadn't figured out how to say it to you." First, here are 11 signs that the person you're with is not "The One."
1. You Censor Yourself
"If you're in a relationship with someone and feel like you need to censor yourself, or stifle parts of who you are to make it work, that's a red flag that they may not be 'The One'," says Boykin. You should be comfortable with being exactly who you are — goofy, weird, beautiful, funny, awkward you. "Anyone who asks you to be a different person or indirectly makes you feel that you can't be all of who you are isn't a good fit," says Boykin. "The 'right' partner will make you feel empowered and supported. They will motivate you to be the best version of you — not a completely different person." If you feel silenced in any way by your partner, bring it up immediately. If things don't change, this is a huge red flag.
2. You Intuitively Know They're Wrong For You
It happens sometimes: "You just come to know in your heart of hearts that no matter how perfect and wonderful this person may be, and no matter how much you wish with every fiber of your being that you could actually love this person … [he or she] is not the right one for you," Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Grant Me a Higher Love and Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships, tells Bustle. If this is the case, it may be best to say goodbye with love.
3. You're Not On The Same Page
If you disagree on major topics, things might not work out, which is why it's wise to discuss such things in the first year or so. "Whether it comes to finances (bill handling and choice of expenses becomes an issue), intimacy (you're not sexually compatible), religion (especially when it comes to certain holidays), kids (where one person may want children and the other doesn't), or other issues, [if] you two are just not clicking on major topics," you're not with 'The One,'" relationship trainer Daniel Amis tells Bustle.
4. They're Emotionally Unavailable
In the best of times and the worst of times alike, we want a partner who is able to show up. "Someone who is emotionally unavailable and seems unwilling or unable to be present with you during difficult times is unlikely to be the right one for you," Boykin says. "A healthy relationship requires you both to be able to show up emotionally for each other, especially when things are hard." Emotional availability is tantamount in a relationship. You should be able to freely share what's going on with you — and your partner should be able to do the same.
5. You're In Love With Being In A Relationship
As time goes on, if "you realize that you had no idea what or who you were signing on for when you got involved with this person," says Sansone-Braff, this is a definite red flag. "Your heart and your hormones begin to take a backseat to your mind and your better judgment, and you begin to realize that you were actually in love with the thought of being in love and in a relationship, and that you were never really in love with this person at all."
6. You're Not Bouncing Back
"If it's difficult to weather through the storms in your relationship," this is a bad sign, says Amis, author of Unbreakable Love: Proven Methods For Developing a Stronger, More Satisfying Relationship In Just 30 Days . When you can't get over your arguments or problems and you keep bringing up the past, you're not being compassionate and understanding of each other. Bad sign.
7. They Need You To Feed Happy
"Someone who needs you to feel whole or happy is not 'The One,'" says Boykin. "Their unwavering devotion and admiration can feel like a fairytale romance, but someone who is incomplete without you isn't going to be a a good partner." It's important that both of you are independent, and have full lives already. Slowly, as time goes on, your lives will meld in some ways, but it's still vital to keep your own hobbies, goals, etc. "Be sure they have their own life and interests," says Boykin. "Forget what Jerry Maguire said — a healthy love doesn't complete you, it complements you."
8. You Don't Trust Your Partner
If "you don't trust or respect your partner, or they don't trust or give respect to you," says Amis, this is a near-impossible problem to fix. "Once trust and respect is lost, then so is the relationship," he says. "In order for a relationship to be successful, it has to be built on a strong foundation, which includes trust and respect."
9. The Things You Used To Love Are Now Repellant
"Little things and not so little things start to bother you about this person, and many of the personality traits that drew you to this person in the first place are … the selfsame things that start to repel you," says Sansone-Braff. "For example, at first you liked the expensive clothes and jewelry she wore, but then you realize that she's a spendaholic; or you liked the way he put you above his career, and then you come to realize he is lazy and just plain hates working, and he wouldn't mind one bit if you would let him quit working. so that you could begin supporting him." If you find yourself unsettled by the way your partner is, and disinterested in being understanding of them and trying to figure out how to make things work, they may not be a good fit for you.
10. You Want To Change Your Partner
When there are a lot of things you want to change about your partner, you're not on board with who they are, says Amis. "It could be their bad habits. It could be their attitude. It could be their beliefs." Whatever the case may be, a good match is someone who has habits, attitudes and beliefs that you like — or that you can understand and respect. And they might want to change you as well: "There may also be a lot of things they see and express to you that they don't like," he says. Bad news.
11. You Can't Picture The Future
Even if you're happy together, it's a sign that you might not be together forever if you can't really imagine what it would be like to be with them for many years. "You just don't see a future with them," says Amis. "You can't see yourself growing old with them. You find yourself looking at them and thinking, 'Why am I with him/her?'" Conversely, if you can see it, you'll be more willing to work through any issues you might have. "If you can't see yourself living happily ever after — regardless of any challenges that you may be facing, big or small — chances are, he or she is not 'The One.'"
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