Coulda. Shoulda. Woulda. That’s what comes out of our mouths and into our minds after we break up with an especially toxic person. I could have been more guarded. I should have read the signs. I would have dumped him/her months ago had I known…
Well, don’t be too hard on yourself. You were in love. (Or thought you were.) With love’s rose-colored glasses on, oftentimes it’s difficult to recognize abnormal behavior. Next time around, if you aren’t sure if you should listen to that nagging feeling inside of you, maybe this list will come in handy.
Ex-ample #1 – The Ex Is Still in the Picture
Now, having an ex in the picture isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. For those with children, it’s almost impossible not to have some sort of relationship with an ex. But if your significant other doesn’t have little ones and the preceding paramour is still undoubtedly in the way, there might be a problem.
Some people keep in contact with their exes and some people don’t—you have little control over whether your significant other falls one way or the other. But if you find yourself in this situation, you need to ask yourself some serious questions: Why is this person still hanging around? To what degree are they hanging around? (Phone calls? Meetings? Pictures?) Does this other person fulfill some kind of need? Am I (meaning you) really that important?
It’s hard to come to grips with that last one. Truthfully, if your boyfriend/girlfriend is really that into you, they shouldn’t need attention from a former flame. Examine your situation carefully and go with your gut. Even if you don’t feel particularly threatened, an ex in the picture is not something to wave off. Further, if your new sweetie isn’t ready to move on to the bright future with you, the timing isn’t right.
You Catch Them in Lies (Even Small Ones)
Because we are human, we lie on occasion. Let’s be honest: adopting a “no lies, ever” policy only results in hurt feelings. So spare your friend with the bad haircut. She feels bad enough. In most cases, the “white lies” are intended to save someone’s feelings, not cover up shady behavior.
However, little lies such as the whereabouts of your beau or the identity of the mysterious caller on the cell phone should send off a warning bell inside your mind. These fabrications imply there is something to hide, if not now, someday. Even lies that have seemingly little to do with you or your relationship should make you suspicious. Lies about trivial matters are a warning that the big one is around the corner, so don’t play the fool.
Worse, if you are the recipient of any big lies (about previous marriages, children, habits) you should take the cue to run. Honesty really is the pillar of a successful relationship, so expect nothing less.
They Check Everyone Out
Let’s face it. There will always be other people in this world who are more attractive than your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. If your relationship is honest and strong, you can recognize the attractive mailman or the cute barista behind the counter without dreaming of greener grass. If your mate is ogling every hot pair of legs or stud muffin physique you pass, however, something is wrong, and it’s not you.
A confident person will expect their sweetheart to treat them as the only one in the room. You can still like the way other people look, but you shouldn’t find it necessary to disrespectfully compare them to your partner.
You Really Can’t Stand His/Her Friends
When your significant other is spending time with friends that aren’t exactly stimulating, you wonder what he or she sees in them. If his friends are annoying jerks who would rather play video games and cheat on their women, then it’s time to rethink your choice. Perhaps your steady has a gaggle of single gals who are drama-loving divas, love the club scene a little too much, or are snooty jealous friends. It should make you wonder what she really prioritizes in life.
It’s true that everyone has one or two friends that are “special” (read: weird) that you have to tolerate. However, if all of your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s friends drive you nuts and these pals have been around since the sixth grade, odds are that the situation will not go away. If your new steady is surrounded by a village of idiots—guess what—your dearest is probably one too.
They Have Nothing Going On
Sometimes this may be regarded as romantic, but if your new mate is really into you (or too into you), it can be a sign that they don’t have much else happening. A healthy relationship is built from two stable people who have their own lives to live independent from the other. Although hard to see in the beginning since you want to spend every waking moment together, pay attention to the plans and dreams of your new sweetheart.
If your mate is waiting with bated breath for the entertainment you bring, sitting by the phone for your next call, or happy loafing around till noon, perhaps they aren’t a mover or a shaker. Most would agree that driven, determined people are the most attractive, and you want to be with someone who is committed to their future. Aspirations will tell quite a story about your intended, so see if your ambitions match up.
So, how will you know if your current love interest the right one for you? Trust your instincts and be receptive to the underlying signs that make you go “hmmm.” Moreover, you must be able to accept your potential partner the way they are, right now. No more time should be needed for maturing or healing—if your sweetheart is right for you, the timing will be right as well.