No one enjoys ending a relationship – there is always loss and disappointment involved. But sometimes it is better to acknowledge that you are in a relationship that is going nowhere fast and put an end to it sooner rather than later. All relationships have their good days and their bad days. There will be arguments and differences of opinions. There will be times when he wants to do something that you really couldn’t be bothered with, and vice versa.
So, with all the inevitable pitfalls in a relationship, just how do you know when you’re headed for a dead-end?
Some of the following points may be red flags that signal you are headed for a fall:
Incessant petty arguments
We all know that arguing is part and parcel of relationships, but when you find yourselves arguing incessantly and over small, petty issues then perhaps it is time to re-evaluate whether the relationship is working. This point does not stand by itself in terms of defining a dead-end relationship, but when you find yourself arguing more often than not and the other points are also present, then you can be sure that there this is a red flag for a relationship that is not working.
A lack of mutual respect
When your arguments are coupled with verbal abuse and nasty insults then you can be sure that a certain amount of respect is lacking from the relationship. Couples in healthy relationships respect and care for one another even when they are angry with each other. There is absolutely no excuse for insults and verbal abuse.
You have huge differences in your goals for the future
You can be sure that healthy relationships have shared goals and aspirations. If you find yourself in a relationship where your partner wants things that are vastly different from what you want, like having children or not having children for example, then be warned that this relationship is not likely to take off. Other differences in goals and aspirations include where to live, ideas about family and spending time together and beliefs around holidays and religious occasions.
There is no talk of the future
Of course new relationships never talk too much about the future lest they scare each other off. But if the relationship has been going a while and your partner still seems scared to discuss the future then perhaps this is a red flag that it is going nowhere. Most relationships that are happy and healthy will have some talk of future commitments and dreams of the future, even if it is simply talk of a big holiday spent together. Dead end relationships don’t seem to have the future in sight at all so this is a clear sign that you should get out.
You miss your independence
This can work in two ways – 1) you wish you had more time alone and find yourself annoyed at the amount of time you are required to spend with your partner, or you notice that s/he feels annoyed at the time you are wanting to spend with her/him. Or 2) you find that you are both becoming more independent and have vastly different interests. There is very little quality time spent together as a couple. This is normally indicative of a problem and could mean that you don’t actually enjoy each other’s company that much.
Delaney is a senior registered psychologist working with people of all backgrounds and with a special interest in LGBTI+ people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous people.