With school, work and friend drama, it can often seem like your SO is the only person keeping you sane. But what happens when they’re driving you crazy, too? Although every couple has fights (which is perfectly healthy!), sometimes it may seem like too many things are going wrong. It can definitely be hard to let go of a relationship you’re comfortable with, but if something doesn’t feel right, it likely isn’t. We’ve talked to collegiettes with firsthand experience to get the lowdown on signs you and your SO just aren’t meant to be.
1. You don’t communicate effectively
Communication is key in any successful relationship, but it can sometimes be the most difficult aspect. When you’re each living separate lives, things can get sticky. If you’re in a long-distance relationship like Caroline Wolf, a freshman at St. Michael’s College, was, it can be even more difficult.
“We just weren’t addressing issues that needed to be dealt with and we just were very immature people,” she says. “We’d omit details about important things to avoid making each other angry and that’s just a really unhealthy issue. The more time we spend apart, the more I realize I need someone who is willing to be open and honest.” Hiding things from each other and neglecting to discuss your problems is just going to make things worse. If you and your SO can’t communicate effectively and talk through what’s bothering you, your relationship isn’t going to be healthy.
2. You don’t see eye-to-eye
Although everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, disagreeing on big things like religion or politics can be an issue. When your differences are causing you to fight all the time, it’s likely that the relationship isn’t going to work out. For Emma*, a sophomore at the University of Alabama, her and her boyfriend’s differing views put pressure on their relationship.
“There were many subjects that we did not see eye to eye about,” she says. “For example, my Christian faith is important to me but he was a stark atheist, and he had trouble understanding some of my feminist views.” If you and your SO can’t agree to disagree, you’re going to have a lot of issues. It’s okay to have different views, but you have to accept each other’s.
Katie Formichella, a sophomore at Penn State University, recently broke up with someone she realized was very wrong for her. She says you and your SO aren’t mean to be if “there’s something that is fundamental to who each of you are that you don’t agree on, mostly things like religion and politics. This also kind of plays into maturity. It’s okay to have differences. But if it gets to the point where you argue all the time over it and make each other miserable, let the relationship go.” Take it from Katie—if you and your SO’s fundamental beliefs are different and you fight about it, you’re not meant to be.
3. You’re unhappy more than you’re happy
If you often feel upset in your relationship, you and your SO may not be for each other. If it isn’t something more serious, your SO could be the reason you’re feeling down. For Emma, her SO was making her unhappy around his friends.
“The biggest problem we had was that I constantly felt like he didn’t defend me when I needed him to when it came to his friends,” she says. “If his friends did something that hurt my feelings, he would say that I just had to change the way I think about it rather than sticking up for me and trying to make me feel better about whatever happened.” This is no way to treat someone—if your SO is making you unhappy, it’s time to move on.
“If someone is reading this and is having questions about their relationship, I think it is incredibly important to self-reflect and determine whether they would be happier or sadder without their SO,” Emma adds. “Life is too short to stay in a relationship that is making you unhappy, no matter how many positives there are or what other people think.” The happy moments should definitely outweigh the sad ones. If they don’t, it’s time to let go and find happiness in something else, like doing yoga or cooking.
4. The relationship is one-sided
If one person is putting more effort into the relationship, it isn’t going to be fun for that person. Relationships are all about working together, so if one person is doing all the work, it’s not going to work out. Katie says you and your SO aren’t meant to be if “there’s no reciprocation.”
“If one party does all the work in the relationship, it’s not meant to be,” she says. “Someone is stringing the other person on, and both parties may not even realize it. It could be someone is always texting the other person more, or there is always one person always making the plans. Relationships are all about give and take. If that isn’t there, it’s not meant to be.” If only one person is doing nice things for the other, that’s a sign the relationship isn’t going to last. Find an SO who will put the same effort in that you will.
5. You don’t laugh at the same things
While everyone has a different sense of humor, not laughing at the same things as your SO can cause tension. When you can laugh with your SO, it makes the relationship a lot more fun. Katie says you and your SO aren’t meant to be if “you don’t laugh at the same things, especially when it’s each other’s jokes.”
“Having the same humor is (personally) super important in a relationship,” she says. “It’s okay to be a little different, but if someone is laughing at something the other person finds offensive, obviously there’s too much of a difference.” For example, if your SO still thinks poop jokes are funny (they only are sometimes) and you have a more mature sense of humor, you may get annoyed with them. Find someone you can laugh with.
Although it can be hard, realizing you and your SO aren’t meant to be can be liberating. Being in an unhealthy relationship isn’t fun for anyone, so it’s better to end things sooner rather than later. With a strong support network, you’ll get through anything. Good luck, collegiettes!