While rom-coms and fairytales might teach us to believe otherwise, not all relationships can (or should) last forever. Don't get me wrong: true love does exist, and it
is possible to find someone with whom you can successfully navigate all of life's ups and downs. But as we each grow and change as individuals, sometimes our relationships don't grow with us — and that's totally OK. However, if you reach a point where you feel like you have one foot out the door in your relationship, it might be worthwhile to re-evaluate and figure out what you really want for your romantic future.
"Dating can be a bit of tricky balancing act to achieve," Caleb Backe, Certified Life Coach and Health & Wellness Expert at
Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "When one person is up, the other might be down, when one person is deeply in love, the other might be having second thoughts... So, what does having ‘one foot out the door’ mean in relationship terms? Basically, it means either you or your partner is considering leaving the relationship or breaking up, but hasn’t quite done it yet as they might still be considering the pros, cons or their own emotions and feelings on the matter."
Having 'one foot out the door' is kind of like relationship purgatory: you know
your heart's not really in it, but you haven't yet brought yourself to actually break up. Ultimately, though, it's unfair to your partner if you're half-in, half-out when it comes to the relationship — because everyone deserves someone who wholly wants to be with them.
"[Having one foot out the door] is unfair to your partner because it prevents them from living honestly in their relationship, prohibiting them the opportunity to feel prepared for single life the way that you are preparing to be without them,"
Kryss Shane, Relationship Expert and Licensed Social Worker, tells Bustle. "If you are already halfway gone and you are feeling happy about it, this seems to indicate that breaking up is what you want and no one should stay in a relationship they don't want, nor should your partner be in a relationship with someone who does not want to be there."
It's a tough pill to swallow, but both you and your partner will be better off if you're honest with yourself about
how invested in the relationship you are (or aren't). Here are eight telling signs that you're at least partially checked out of your relationship — and that it might be time to bite the bullet, break up, and move on.
You're Avoiding Future Commitments
If your partner is super excited to plan a trip abroad with you next year, but you shudder at the thought of committing to something with them so far in advance, that's a serious sign that you're not as into the relationship as you perhaps once were.
"Having one foot out the door implies that you’re not ready to fully commit," Lori Bizzoco, Relationship Expert & Founder of
Cupid's Pulse, tells Bustle. "This may be seen if you’re constantly avoiding any discussion that could imply a future with your partner."
You're Putting Your Partner On The Back Burner
You don't have to spend every waking moment with your partner, but healthy couples know that it's
important to prioritize each other and the relationship. If you find yourself putting plans with everyone except your partner at the top of your to-do list, that's a sign you're not really happy with them.
"Whether it's hanging out with friends more or forgetting to text your partner back, putting your relationship on the back burner can signify that it's not one of your main priorities at the moment," Bizzoco says.
You're Not On An Equal Playing Field
TBH, there's almost nothing worse than dating a hypocrite: someone who has different standards and expectations for you than they have for themselves. If you catch yourself doing or saying things that you wouldn't feel comfortable with your partner doing, that should be a wake-up call that the relationship is imbalanced.
"Check to see if there are things you find yourself doing that you may not like if your partner was doing the same," Bizzoco says. "If so, this could reveal conflicting feelings in regards to your freedom in the relationship where you don't want to be single but you also don't want to be tied down as well."
You Don't Envision Life With Your Current Partner
When you fantasize about your hypothetical future, does your partner's face swim to the forefront of all your daydreams? If not, it could be a sign that you're unsure whether or not your partner is who you really want to
settle down with in the long-term.
"Having one foot out the door means that the person already envisions not being with their current partner," Shane says. "It may mean they have begun to start a relationship with someone new or that they have begun to plan a life as an individual rather than as half of a couple."
You Only Do Things With Your Partner Out Of Obligation
When you're in a healthy, happy relationship, you do things with your partner for no other reason besides the fact that you love them and enjoy their company. If you notice that you're only "tolerating" date nights and other couple-y things, that's a big red flag that it might be time to end the relationship.
"If you only do relationship activities, like holiday photos, shopping trips, weekly movie night, etc., because of [a sense of] duty, even when you don't enjoy them, you may have one foot out the door," David Bennett, Certified Counselor, Relationship Expert, and Co-Owner of
The Popular Man, tells Bustle.
You're Emotionally (Or Physically) Cheating
Cheating comes in many different forms, so even if you haven't physically crossed any lines, if you've allowed yourself to open up to and emotionally connect with someone other than your partner, that's a sign that you definitely have one foot out the door.
"Many people draw the line at physical cheating, but will emotionally cheat as if it has no impact on a relationship," Bennett says. "If you find yourself emotionally connecting with attractive people who aren't your partner, you may subconsciously want to leave."
The whole point of having a partner is so you don't have to go through life alone: you always have a teammate who's by your side. If you've been feeling lonely, even when you're around your partner, that could be a clue that at least part of you is not totally invested in the relationship anymore.
"Feeling lonely or non-validated is another sign that one foot may be out the door,"
Colette Lopane Capella, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York, tells Bustle. "As individuals it’s important to validate and express our feelings, especially with our significant other, when this is lost It may be time to look deeper into the relationship "
You're Already Mourning The Relationship
The most telling sign that you have one foot out the door when it comes to your relationship? You've found yourself
mourning the relationship, even before the breakup actually takes place.
"Having one foot out the door may also be emotional, with the beginnings of feelings of happiness about no longer needing to plan for a partner's needs or sadness as the person begins to mourn a relationship they know is over, even if their partner has not yet been clued in," Shane says.
Even though it sucks to go through a breakup, it's much better to be single than to feel trapped in a relationship where you're not totally happy and fulfilled. So instead of hanging around with one foot out the door, it's time to make a decision: either actively,
sincerely work on your relationship, or break up and move on— in the long run, both you and your partner will be better off for it.