If Your Partner Ever Says These 11 Things, You Should Break Up
Almost every relationship issue can be discussed and worked on, so if you're encountering a few problems with your partner, definitely talk about them before calling it quits. There are, however, a few comments and conversations that are signs it's time to break up — especially if they're toxic, and your partner brings them up constantly.
When that's the case, it's up to you to decide what flies and what doesn't in your relationship. "A dealbreaker is any behavior that is unacceptable to you," NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle. So while one comment may be a dealbreaker in your friend's relationship, it may not be for yours. And that's OK.
Experts do agree, though, that there are a few topics that should almost always be considered dealbreakers in a relationship, usually due to their underlying, toxic meanings. In many cases, rude or hurtful comments are used on purpose in an effort to control or manipulate, which is obviously not OK. And other comments can serve as red flags pointing towards underlying character flaws that may affect your relationship in the long run. That's why, if your partner says any of the things below, experts say it may be time to move on.
1. They Say Something Extremely Rude To Another Person
Everyone's entitled to a bad day, and a few slip ups here and there. But if your partner is consistently rude to others, it may be a sign that they're a toxic person, and possibly one worth running far away from.
"Rudeness in general is a huge turn-off and you should pay close attention to how your partner treats people who serve them, their parents, the elderly, and friends for an indication about how they might treat you further down the road," Hershenson says.
While they may be super nice to you, if your partner is rude AF to the wait staff at a restaurant, for example, then you may be getting a glimpse at their true character, and it might only be a matter of time before they turn that negativity towards you.
2. They Tell You What To Think Or How To Act
It may seem cute at first when a partner has an opinion about what you do and say. But this can easily go too far. "If you are ... reprimanded for your thoughts and opinions, or are told who you can and cannot associate with, these are all huge red flags that you are in an [emotionally] abusive relationship," Hershenson says. These are the classic tactics of a manipulator, and if they're ongoing, it may be best to break up before you get further sucked into a toxic situation.
3. They Make A Comment About Your Appearance
In the same vein, if your partner can't stop making comments about your appearance, you may be slipping into a toxic situation. "If your partner makes comments about your appearance that are abusive or cruel, this is a dealbreaker," licensed psychotherapist Whitney Hawkins, MS.Ed, LMFT, tells Bustle. This is another manipulation tactic that can be used during emotional abuse that you should be aware of. Your partner has no right to tell you what you should and shouldn't look like, and if you are having difficulty breaking from this situation, speaking with a loved one, or even a therapist can help you find the strength to move forward.
4. They Say "Everything Is Your Fault"
During an argument, it's typical for one or both people to want to place blame on the other — especially when things are getting heated. But during the average day, your partner shouldn't be making every little thing your fault.
"If their anger is always because you 'did something wrong' or you wouldn't fight so much 'if only you didn't act this way,' it is time to move on from this relationship because it may be [emotionally] abusive," Hershenson says. In cases like these, reaching out to friends and family for support is a great place to start, as you make the decision to move on.
5. They Threaten You In Any Way
In some cases, a relationship can become so toxic that one partner may start to talk about hurting the other, and then brushing it off as a joke. But any type of comment that even hints at abuse or violence is a huge red flag.
"If your partner ever threatens to [hurt] you, it's time to leave," relationship counselor Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, director of the Baltimore Therapy Center tells Bustle. "Threats to [hurt someone], even if they are later taken back or claimed to be a joke, should always be taken seriously. Don't stay in a relationship with someone who would say such a thing. For your safety, it's time to get out."
In situations like these, it's important to stay safe. Even if you're told it's a joke, trust your gut. There are places you can call, such as certain hotlines, to get in contact with some outside help and support.
6. They Direct Angry Outbursts Towards You
Whether or not they say anything scary like the above comment, it's also important to reconsider a relationship when a partner directs their anger towards you.
"Individuals who feel that they are being routinely criticized, yelled at, or verbally abused by their partner should consider their options and possibly formulate a safety plan," says Hawkins. "Your partner should not be calling you derogatory names or insulting your character. It's not always what you are fighting about, but rather how you fight. Couples should evaluate whether they are fighting fair and how their partner treats them in moments of stress."
If it becomes an ongoing issue, and you don't feel supported or safe in the relationship, this can also constitute emotional abuse and it is time to move on.
7. They Say They Don't Want Kids
If you or your partner don't want to have kids, that's 100 percent OK. And it's also OK to talk about it, and agree as a couple about what you'd like to do. But if you've always dreamed about having children and your partner doesn't want to go down that path, or vice versa, it tends to be a scenario that leads to a break up.
"This is one of those decisions that I highly recommend [couples] discuss before marriage or making a long-term commitment," Hawkins says. "Often individuals think they will change their partner's mind and this does not always happen. This same logic can be applied for any other major life decision. Listen to what your partner is saying." Because, even though you may think they'll change their mind, it's not always guaranteed.
8. They Say They Don't Want To Commit
When it comes to creating a long-term relationship, you and your partner obviously need to be on the same page. If you're looking for something long-term, and your partner isn't on board, it may be time to go your separate ways.
"If your partner consistently argues with you about making plans for the future or dodges this conversation, this is a red flag," Hawkins says. "Arguments about commitment can signal that there are bigger problems in the relationship and desires are not aligning."
Of course, you can talk about it, and you may be able to reach this stage eventually — especially if you both care a lot about each other. But if it's been years and you find yourself facing the same reaction time and time again, it may be best to break up.
9. They Say You Need To Change
Being in a relationship means growing and evolving as a couple, and that often means discussing each others' flaws, and working on them together. But there's a big difference between bettering each other, and trying to change each other.
Your partner should never try to change who you are as a person. Do they make comments about your career, or try to alter your personality in some way? If so, "this could be a sign that they are more focused on what they are seeing on the surface and haven’t taken the time to really get to know you on a deeper level," professional counselor Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT tells Bustle.
In the early days, it may take some adjusting as you get used to each others' quirks and steadfast flaws. But as times goes on, you should both be able to love each other as you are, without attempting to make — or secretly hoping for — drastic changes.
10. They Say They "Have A Lot Going On Right Now"
People who don't want to commit often say things like, "I have a lot going on right now" when asked about settling down, and that's fine. If your partner isn't ready for a relationship, they're certainly entitled to that. But if they're making you feel like you're in a relationship on the one hand, but saying comments like these on the other, it may just be a way of eschewing responsibility.
"Partners that make [this type of statement] are actually saying, 'we probably shouldn't be together, but if you decide to stay, you can't say I didn't warn you,'" Noni Ayana MEd, Sexologist, Principal Consultant, and Founder of E.R.I.S. Consulting LLC, tells Bustle. "This is clearly a manipulation tactic, that helps the waning partner stay clear of accountability and responsibility." And by weighing your own personal situation, you'll be able to tell whether or not that's the case.
11. They Constantly Threaten To Leave You
Again, it's common to say things you don't mean when you're upset. But that doesn't make it OK for a partner to hold the threat of leaving over your head. As therapist Darlene M. Corbett tells Bustle, comments like this one can be a sign "of someone who is capable of being emotionally abusive." It's manipulative, and is "used as a way to control and isolate" and can "slowly erode the self-esteem of their partner." Which is, in many cases, the goal.
If you find yourself having conversations about your future as a couple, and how you don't share the same goals, that may be your cue to find another relationship — especially if you've discussed the situation and can't work it out with your partner.
Other times, comments that seem toxic usually are, and may be a sign that your relationship isn't as healthy as you once thought. When that's the case, it may be time to seek help in getting out of the situation. Friends are a great place to turn to, as are hotlines that can give you the correct steps to follow when it comes to getting out of a scary situation.
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.