Not every relationship you experience leads to happily ever after. You can’t mold someone into your idea of prince or princess charming — sometimes two people just don’t work out. Whether you can sense the shakiness in the beginning of the relationship or years down the line, sometimes it’s best to trust your gut feeling. Here are six telltale signs that the relationship you’re in won’t last long term.
1. You mistake comfort for love
While it’s important to feel comfortable in your relationship, comfort is one of the key reasons why people stay in relationships that have long passed their expiration date. It can be nerve-wracking to put yourself in the dating pool again, and it’s even easier to hold on to a relationship because of the history you and your SO have. If you find yourself recounting the reasons of why you guys are together and the main reason is because “you’ve been with him for a long time,” you should realize that complacency does not lead to happiness.
Lauryn Higgins, a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, knew that her long-term relationship wouldn’t last just because of the longevity.
“I was in a three-year relationship and when a friend said to me, ‘Would you want your daughter dating the guy you’re with?’ And my first thought was, ‘I would want more for her,’ I knew I had to start having a conversation with my SO,” she says.
Evaluate if just feeling okay within your relationship is where you want to be. Love should be the most gratifying feeling in the world and should never be confused with complacency.
2. You feel like a secret
On the contrary, there’s the classic “situationship,” which we’ve all been in or witnessed. Just like you can’t mold a person into your version of perfection, there is no way to force someone into a relationship they don’t want to be in.
Ashley Drayton, a Georgia State University graduate, knows that your relationship will remain at a standstill without a few key elements.
“If he’s content with having a situationship, staying in the house instead of going on dates, he seems to be hiding you or parts of his life, and he doesn’t put a lot of effort into things regarding you, it’s not going anywhere,” she says.
At this point in life, if someone wants you to be a part of their life, it will be clear to you. You shouldn’t be left guessing whether or not you might have a chance of working out.
3. You give and give, and they take and take
Sacrifices and compromises are a part of any relationship. However, they should not be coming from only one end. It’s not a good sign if you give so much of yourself to someone with little investment in return.
You can easily burn out early on in a relationship if you are constantly giving. Megan Scavo, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, knows from personal experience that selfishness can cause a relationship should go downhill quickly.
“If your SO expects you to plan your entire life around them, such as school, work and friends, it’s not going to last too long,” she says.
If you find that you are the only one sacrificing up your time, money and energy, recognize that that is not normal.
4. Your friends and family can tell it won’t last
Nobody is in your relationship but you and your SO, so sometimes it can hard for outsiders to judge your relationship. However, the saying “Mama knows best” may not be so cliché in this case. Love can blind you enough to the point that you don’t recognize warning signs.
“If your friends tell you they don’t see you with him forever or that he’s not the one, listen,” Megan says. “Your friends know you better than you know yourself sometimes.”
You may have that one friend who doubts every relationship you get into, but if the overwhelming majority of your friends and family do not see things working out for the best, you should at least listen to them as to why. They have a more objective view of the relationship. Plus, if they know you well enough, they can tell when things just click and when they don’t.
5. You try to justify bad behavior
Your SO is not immune from making mistakes. It’s completely understandable to forgive small mistakes, but your SO should not get a free pass on everything.
Something that should be immediately addressed is any form of abuse. “If he says rude things or degrades you, even if it’s out of character when angry, that’s a definite red flag,” Megan says. “Way too many women put up with that too long.”
Rachel Petty, a senior at James Madison University, advises women to trust their gut feeling when it comes to a bad feeling about a relationship.
“If you find yourself making excuses for your SO and letting big things slide, that’s a sign you should probably end things,” she says. “If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.”
You can’t shake off your intuition telling you something is wrong forever. In many cases, our feelings of uneasiness are justified.
6. Your core values do not align
Opposites attract in many cases, but in some cases they cannot work long term. Having differences with others is what makes humans unique, but some differences may be too big to ignore.
Alyssa*, a junior at Kennesaw State University, could not look past a difference in religion between her and her SO.
“I am religious and my ex was not,” she says. “At first, I looked past this difference. But when he became comfortable enough, he would essentially make fun of me for believing in something. That’s where I had to evaluate if I could handle that intolerance for years to come.”
The important thing to remember is even though you and your SO have differences, there should be mutual respect for each other’s beliefs. You should never feel ashamed or scared to practice your beliefs because your SO believes the opposite.
Envision your future a few years down the road. If you cannot see your future with your SO and their current behavior, it is time to have a conversation with them. Whether or not you chose to end things or work on things is up to you, but know that you do not have to put up with behavior that doesn’t mesh with you.