In the movies, it seems that most relationships end dramatically: one person cheats, for example, or there’s a huge fight about something huge like family, trust, or what each partner wants for the future.
But during my years of dating, I’ve found that many relationships do not end this way. Instead, they end with less fanfare, often when one person realizes that his or her partner can never be what they need.
These breakups have their own kind of sadness because the person who ended it is left wondering if they did the right thing. Maybe this person can change. Maybe I’ve made a mistake by sticking to this particular standard. It’s these very cases that often bring couples back together after they’ve broken up, usually only to end again for good eventually.
While some conflicts can be worked out, relationships with certain problems are doomed no matter how many chances you give them. Below are 8 people you must end it with, even when you really, really don’t want to. It’s not to say that these problems cannot be solved if the person is committed to changing them, but as long as the problem remains in the relationship, you should not. Before committing to someone else, you must first fulfill your commitment to yourself.
1. The partner who doesn’t appreciate you the way you appreciate them.
There are few things more heartbreaking than thinking that your partner is the best thing since sliced bread and your partner not feeling the same way in return. We meet someone by whom we are smitten, and it’s as if no one else exists in the world. That’s a great feeling – when that feeling is returned.
It may take a few weeks or even months before one partner catches up with what the other partner already knows – that this is something special. But if you have been far more smitten by your partner than he or she has been by you, and it has been going on for a while now, beware. It’s wonderful to feel that you’ve met a great individual, but you deserve for someone to feel the same way about you. If they can’t, even when you’ve given them time, move on and find someone who can.
2. The partner who doesn’t know how to communicate.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, did it fall? If your boyfriend or girlfriend appreciates you but never expresses it, does he or she actually appreciate you? Maybe. Probably. Oh, I don’t know, it’s hard to tell. But that’s the point.
There is no practical difference between your partner not appreciating you (your talent, your beauty, your intellect, your sense of humor, or anything else) and appreciating you but being unable or unwilling to show it. You can’t go through a relationship wondering what your partner is thinking.
Poor communication causes a host of other problems as well. If you are with a partner who fails to communicate, there may be the potential for improvement, but only if your partner realizes that it’s a detriment to the relationship and will be its demise if things don’t change. Proceed with caution.
3. The partner who has substance abuse problems.
This is a tricky problem because the definition of substance abuse varies widely among experts, doctors, and psychologists. But the key here is that you should be with someone who shares your view of what substance abuse is.
If you believe your partner might be dependent on drugs or alcohol, it’s not something to ignore, even if your partner drinks just as much or less than his or her friends. Your boyfriend or girlfriend’s friends are not in this relationship. You are. Even if you feel that your partner is not dependent on drugs or alcohol, it’s important that you are on the same page about what substance abuse is.
4. The partner who verbally abuses you.
The term “verbal abuse” carries quite a connotation, but all it really means is that your partner makes you feel bad about yourself using his or her words. More and more women in particular are coming out against verbal abuse and using the term to correctly identify mistreatment. I hope that this spurs a revolution that helps others identify verbal abuse and get out of bad relationships for good.
If you’re being put down by your partner, it’s time to get out. Period. It is possible that your abuser could change over time with counseling from a professional. But do not stick around to find out. If they are willing to undergo a transformation and learn how to respectfully treat a partner, good. They should. But get out of the relationship first. After they have sought counseling and made lasting changes, it may be possible to reconsider sometime in the future. Don’t wait around though. Commit to finding a partner who treats you like the treasure that you are.
5. The partner who doesn’t support your dreams.
Life is a series of tries. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail. But the best chance we have of achieving our goals is having a social support system in place. You cannot have a partner who does not support your dreams or encourage you to achieve them. There are enough naysayers and doubters in the world. You do not need your S.O. to be one of them. You are better off alone than with someone who will cause you to later regret not going for your goals.
6. The partner who won’t spend time with your friends or family.
It is my personal belief that if your partner is serious about you, he or she should be kissing your family’s ass. Your family is your blood. They are where you come from. If your boyfriend or girlfriend cannot make an effort with your family, especially during the early stages of a relationship, run in the other direction. Likewise, if you’re always hanging out with your partner’s friends but your partner always has a convenient excuse as to why he or she can’t hang out with yours, this is a red flag.
This doesn’t mean that your family or friends are perfect or that your partner needs to believe they are. But just as you should make every possible effort with your partner’s family and friends, so should he or she with yours. If they can’t, it’s not a good sign. If this is the case, chances are that there are other warning signs as well. Some of them may be in this very article.
7. The partner who needs “fixing.”
Do not date a fixer-upper.
I repeat: Do NOT.
You cannot and will not change an individual to make them better suit your needs. Think of dating like a restaurant menu with items that cannot be changed. Want the entree but can’t stand onions? They come with the meal. So if you can’t stand onions, you’d better choose something else.
No one is perfect. You certainly won’t love everything about your partner, just like he or she won’t love everything about you. But you must find a person whose characteristics you can live with for the long haul.
It’s hell trying to change a person to fit your needs, but what’s even worse is feeling like you are not good enough for your partner the way you are. Do not date someone you feel you need to change. It’s not just a doomed idea, but it can damage a person tremendously. Accept others just like you want to be accepted.
8. The partner who is always looking for something or someone better than you.
Dating has practically become a competitive sport with the explosive popularity of online dating. Tinder has the odd feeling of a deck of cards: choose a card, but if you don’t like what you’re dealt, there’s more where that came from. As a result, when many men and women find someone special online, they are always curious to see if they can find someone better.
Perhaps your partner has never been interested in online dating. It doesn’t matter. Since the beginning of time, there have been partners who can’t help but be on the lookout for someone better than their current partner. Their attention will always be divided.
Sometimes this comes in a different form: they are not on the lookout for someone else, but for something else. Maybe they have a life dream that for some reason can’t involve you or would upset your career. We all have goals and aspirations and often have to make tough decisions in order to attain them. But if it’s clear that you are your partner’s second choice while they are your first choice, why stay in that relationship?
Why accept a fraction of your S.O.’s attention? When will your partner finally come to believe that he or she is in the right relationship? When will it be enough? Again, don’t stick around long enough to find out. You can do better, even if that means being alone for a season.
While Hollywood sometimes misguides our notion of relationships, we must remember that our life is not a 90-minute film or a TV show. Your time and love are valuable, and in some situations, you may need to make a tough decision to show yourself respect and love rather than staying with a partner who makes you compromise it. You may be in a meaningful relationship, but there is no more meaningful relationship than the one you have with yourself. Nurture that relationship first, and the others in your life will follow suit.