16 Subtle Warning Signs Your Partner May Not Love You The Way You Deserve
Being in love can make you see your partner through rose-colored glasses; it’s easy to overlook someone’s negative qualities when you’re head over heels for them. No relationship is perfect, and we all have to make compromises. But when things do go wrong in a relationship, people often blame themselves, which can make it easy to overlook warning signs that your partner may not love you the way you deserve.
“People minimize or downplay how hurt they are by things, how ignored they feel, how neglected or undervalued they feel,” Nicole Richardson, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. “They might not understand the depth of their feelings or be able to put words to it [...] people a lot of times don’t know how to have conflict constructively, so they shut down and stop talking all together. That’s a great recipe for disaster.”
This lack of communication is one main reason Richardson sees relationships break down. Without communication, it’s difficult for couples to get to the root of the problem, and move forward. But a break down doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break up. If you find your partner doesn’t love you the way you deserve, there are ways to mend a relationship.
If you’re struggling in your relationship, look for some of these warning signs to see if you need to re-evaluate things with your partner.
1. Your Fights Are Repetitive
If you feel like you’re having the same fight over and over again, it’s because you probably are. When fights become repetitive and no solutions are reached, it can be a sign you and your partner are not willing to compromise on some serious topics.
“Arguments are OK — but arguments that repeat themselves, that happen over and over with no resolution become a toxic drain on the relationship,” Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and Kurre & Klapow Radio Show co-host, tells Bustle.
If you find yourself having the same argument over and over again with your partner, you may want to try couples therapy to get to the root of your problems.
2. Arguments Become Personal
Arguing in a relationship isn’t always bad, in fact it’s normal. But when your partner cannot separate you as a person from your mistakes, and uses fights as an excuse to degrade you, it might be time to let them go.
“Arguments that go from behaviors and actions that one partner doesn’t like to characteristics about the partner that they don’t like is not a good sign,” Dr. Klapow says. “When it moves from ‘I don’t like what you are doing’ to ‘I don’t like you’ there are problems. Try to focus on your partner’s actions versus who they are as a person. Personal attacks have no benefit, do not resolve arguments, and can lead to divorce.”
3. You Never Fight
It might seem like a relief that you’ve found a partner you don’t argue with. But never fighting is not healthy, and it could be a sign of lack of commitment on a long-term level.
“It’s hard to fight. If [you're] not super committed to [your partner], and [they] do something that’s grating [your] nerves and pissing [you] off, [you're] not going to invest the energy in discussing this with [your partner] because why bother?” Richardson says.
Ignoring your problems instead of addressing them will eventually drive a wedge between you and your partner. Richardson recommends addressing your problems, or questioning why you may not feel your relationship is worth that energy.
4. They Don’t Trust You With Small Things
It’s not just a lack of trust when it comes to fidelity that is a problem. If a partner doesn’t trust you with little things, like to be on time for a date, it might be a sign of deeper insecurities.
“If you or your partner do not trust each other the relationship is doomed,” Dr. Klapow says. “Trust can be on any topic — not only infidelity. Trust that they will be on time, that they will spend money wisely, that they care about you, that they will be emotionally available in crisis situations. All of these are paramount to the success of a relationship.”
5. They Ask You To Change Your Habits
We all have things that make us tick, loud chewers, people who clap when the plane lands. But if your partner starts telling you to change little things about yourself, it’s often a sign of deeper, toxic insecurity.
“[It’s a problem if] your partner asks you to change the way you eat, talk, interact, spend time, or look,” Dr. Klapow says. “They are looking for a change because they know deep down that the relationship could be over.”
If your partner continually asks you to change yourself to better suit them, confront them about it, or consider leaving the relationship.
6. Your Partner Seems A Bit Too Independent
You and your partner don’t need to spend every waking minute together, but if your partner seems to start scheduling their life without ever checking in with you, it might be sign that they’re not fully committed to your relationship.
“[It could be a problem if] they seem to schedule their life differently,” Dr. Klapow says. “They are happy, they are nice, but they seem to now never be around. It may be more work, more time with friends, but their schedule seems to include everyone but you. This is not a sign of cheating per se, but really a sign that they may be wanting to be connected to others and other activities more than you.”
7. They Never Slip Up
It’s not easy to recognize a serial dater — that’s why they’re so good at what they do. But if your partner seems rom-com montage perfect, it may be a sign they have had a bit too much practice.
“When your date is not at all nervous, awkward and never at a loss for words; it can be impressive," Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and author, tells Bustle. "A polished approach is very attractive and pleasant, but there could be a down side. It may indicate a ‘professional dater’ who’s been single a long time, dated a lot, and is highly practiced. If your date seems very slick, and enthusiastic, but doesn’t open up, has had many short relationships, or shies away from discussing personal details, don’t be too trusting.”
8. They Don’t Ask, They Tell
It can be nice when your partner steps up to make plans, but when your partner needs things to be done a certain way, or tells you what to do, it’s often a sign of deeper insecurity and potentially abuse.
“A date who has it all together, makes the arrangements, can’t wait to see you again, phones frequently, is intense and persuasive, always knows what [they want] to do, and arranges things to perfection often feels very good, at first,” Tessina says. “[...] Jealousy can be flattering, especially if your date wants to be exclusive right away, but it may be emotional instability, and become a chronic lack of trust and suspicion.”
Although this isn’t always the case, Tessina reminds us to be aware of the signs of emotional blackmail — not taking "no" for an answer, shooting down your ideas, pressuring you to do what they want, and using threatening or coercing tactics like threatening to end the relationship, crying, or rage.
9. They’re Possessive
Jealousy is often portrayed as a positive in relationships — it shows that your partner cares. But jealousy often isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship, it’s a sign of insecurity.
“Anger, control, and possessiveness are all warning signs that your date may have a control issue,” Tessina says. “[...] Until you know who you’re dealing with, be careful you’re not just being used. [...] Users are often narcissistic, and really incapable of empathizing with you or recognizing your rights, needs and wants.”
10. They Have Negative Things To Say About Their Exes
If your partner only has negative things to say about their exes, it might be a sign that they have not learned from their mistakes in past relationships, and will blame you for relationship failures in the future.
“If your date’s past relationships were [...] always at fault and your date takes no responsibility, you could be the next one on that list,” Tessina says. “Every relationship disaster takes two. A healthy person does make mistakes, and people in relationships can grow apart, but your date should know what [they] could have done better.”
11. They’re Constantly On Their Phone
Cell phones have become such an integral part of our lives, it can be hard to know when to put it away. As a general rule, if you are on a date or with your partner, you are there to spend time with that person, not text other people.
“Rudeness says your [partner] doesn’t respect you enough to give you undivided attention. The most modern excuse for rudeness is the cell phone," Tessina says. “Using a cell phone at the dinner table, or leaving repeatedly to answer calls is rude."
It's best to address your partner's constant cell phone use immediately if it bother's you. If you are the one who simply has to be available during a time together, like for work or family, Tessina recommends letting your partner know first.
12. They Want To Spend All Their Time With You
It’s flattering when your partner thinks enough about you to make special plans, but if it becomes a constant need to spend time with you, it could be a gateway to emotional abuse.
“Beware if your [partner] has no one in [their] life but you,” Tessina says. “A healthy person has an active social life. [...] It may mean your [partner] has problems relating to people, and you’ll soon feel pressure to desert your own friends and fill up your date’s life.”
If your partner starts pressuring you to ditch your friends and spend all your time with them, set boundaries with them, or consider leaving the relationship if they become too possesive.
13. You Feel Anxious Around Your Partner And You Don’t Know Why
Our bodies have a knack at signaling when things aren’t right. If your partner makes you nervous or stressed, there’s probably a reason for that.
“You were born with the ability to ‘feel’ another person emotionally,” Tessina says. “If your feelings are at odds with your thoughts about the person you are with, your body’s reactions could be wiser than your thinking. Feeling tense, stressed or physically uncomfortable, intimidated, frightened, uneasy, or inexplicably angry, means your body is trying to tell you something. Honor these feelings, be cautious and go slowly.”
14. They Won’t Talk About Their Friends Or Exes
If your partner refuses to talk about their past relationships, it may be because they know they were in the wrong and are trying to hide it. Similarly, if they don’t want to introduce you to their friends or family, it may be because they’re trying to hide you from them.
“If your [partner] is reluctant to give a home phone number, or won’t introduce you to friends, or has very little time for you, [they] might have something to hide,” Tessina says. “Someone who won’t talk about past relationships, or seems too positive and rosy to be real, may have had a number of relationship disasters.”
15. They Tell You To “Do What You Want”
Even if they don’t use those exact words, a "do whatever you want" attitude may signal indifference toward you and your relationship.
"The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference," Richardson says. "Indifference can be after a lot of hurt, or just realizing that this isn’t your person [...] The person who’s in that place can blame themselves, because their partner hasn’t done anything wrong, and that’s confusing.”
16. They Talk About Their Future...But Forget to Include You In It
If your partner doesn’t talk about the future, or talks about their future and doesn’t mention you, that’s a sign they might not see staying with you in the long-run.
“Lack of commitment looks like not wanting to commit to future plans, or not talking about future dreams,” Richardson says. “If your partner is committed, they’re going to include you in future plans, not just next week, but in future fantasies. If somebody’s not sure about the commitment they’re making they’re going to have a really hard time projecting you into their future.”
To begin to mend relationships, Richardson recommends catching your partner doing something right, and trying to be more empathetic to their needs. “If you want your partner to know that they are valuable, tell them. Say it out loud, don’t just think it,” she says. For further help and relationship counseling, seek a professional.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.