In the early days of a relationship, it’s tempting to overlook the warning signs that you and your partner may not be right for each other. But there are some red flags that are just too problematic to ignore.
Below, experts share seven signs your relationship will inevitably take a turn for the worse.
1. The criticism and nitpicking is constant — and the compliments are few and far between.
There’s a big difference between negative and positive attention. The right partner will provide you with positive attention, cheering you on after a promotion at work and giving you a reassuring bear hug on days when you’re less sure of yourself.
But the wrong partner will be too busy picking apart your mistakes to give you encouragement, said Patti Britton, couple’s sex coach and author of The Art of Sex Coaching: Expanding Your Practice.
“Unfortunately, I find that many of my clients want to feel that they are special to their partner and at times, even negative attention can make someone feel that way,” Britton said. “What you need from a partner is positive reinforcement.”
2. Being with your partner makes you feel less sure of yourself.
If you’re constantly checking your phone for texts and actively looking for signs that he’s really into you, he’s probably not a good match. A person who’s worthy of your attention will see your value and prioritize spending time with you because he realizes how lucky he is to be by your side.
“Relationships are meant to make you feel more like yourself, not less,” Britton said. “Feeling insecure may be normal in the beginning of a new relationship, but over time, that instability should wane and a calming comfort will settle in. If it doesn’t, you might be in a toxic relationship.”
3. Trust is nonexistent.
Elvis Presley was right about suspicious minds: You and your boo can’t possibly go on as a couple if you’re suspicious and constantly questioning what she’s doing when you’re not together.
“Honesty and trust really are the foundations of a healthy relationship,” said Andrea Wachter, a psychotherapist based in Northern California. “It takes time and consistency to build trust. That means being true to your word and authentic about your feelings and needs and whereabouts.”
4. You’re way too familiar with all of your partner’s exes.
You’re in a relationship with your S.O., not his law-school-attending, darn-near-perfect ex-boyfriend. If the relationship is starting to feel a little crowded, you have every right to ask your partner to quit it with the ex comparisons, said Sari Cooper,couple’s therapist and host of the web show Sex Esteem.
“Your partner shouldn’t flaunt their exes — it just keeps you in an anxious position regarding your standing in the relationship,” she said. “If your partner is looking for more of what he enjoyed in the past, he should give directions that don’t mention the ex.”
5. The two of you only have a good time when you’re partying.
Sure, you and your partner should have a good time together at social events — but those shouldn’t be the only good times, Cooper said.
“It’s a bad sign if — outside of drinking and partying — you avoid spending time together and end up arguing a lot when you do,” Cooper said. “If what binds you is the experience of getting or keeping yourselves in an altered state, you’re reinforcing addictive behavior in yourself and in your partner which is toxic to bothof you.”
6. The silent treatment is all too familiar.
There’s no room for eye-rolling and stonewalling in a healthy relationship. Stonewalling occurs when you or your partner becomes defensive and withdraws from an interaction or argument instead of taking it through.
It may sound innocent enough (hey, you’re just tabling the conversation!) but it’s more damaging to your relationship than you realize, said Megan Fleming, a New York City-based psychologist and sex therapist.
“A healthy relationship sustains you even in the tough times and your partner helps you to grow,” she said. “If there’s stonewalling in a relationship, it’s a red flag that need to be noticed and corrected.”
7. Your S.O. only shows you affection when they want something.
Your partner is as sweet and loving as can be when she wants something from you. But the moment you’ve agreed to go to her family’s for the holiday or take time off work for her friend’s wedding, she’s back to giving you the cold shoulder. You ignore it now, but the hot-and-cold treatment is sure to get old after a while, Cooper warned.
“It leaves you feeling used and manipulated and not valued for your authentic self,” she said. “The cold shoulder is indicative of someone who is only interested in fulfilling their own narcissistic needs. This is not a mutual give-and-take relationship.”