10 early signs a relationship won’t last, according to psychology

We all have baggage that we carry into our relationships, and having baggage doesn’t mean a relationship is doomed to fail.

But it’s hard to know whether it’s your baggage that’s causing issues or if you’re just dating the wrong person.

When it’s the former, you have to work to make things right. You have to work through your triggers and traumas to build a healthy, happy, long-lasting relationship.

If it’s the latter, no amount of work will get you through it. The person you’re dating just isn’t right for you and that’s why things don’t feel right.

It takes some soul-searching to figure out which way around it is.

To help you along, watch out for these 10 early warning signs that a relationship won’t last, backed by psychology.

1) You feel lonely

Being lonely and being on your own are two different things. You could be surrounded by people and feel alone. But what does it mean when that happens?

Well, it usually means that you aren’t that close to the people around you. They are strangers or people who make you feel excluded.

So what does it mean when you feel this way in a relationship? You’re with them but you feel a slight disconnect. When you aren’t with them, you feel even lonelier than when they’re around!

Experts say you could be feeling this way because YOU aren’t opening yourself up to create a meaningful connection.

But it could also be because you have unmet needs. You feel like your partner is holding back or doesn’t really care about you, and it makes you feel isolated and alone.

2) You feel like something is missing

Everyone talks about that “spark” you should feel when you meet the person of your dreams. You get butterflies whenever you’re around them or if they text you.

But having a spark isn’t actually that good. Experts say it can be a sign of lust rather than love. Just like butterflies can be anxiety rather than attraction…

So spark aside, does something just feel missing? Your conversations might only go surface-level and you feel like you don’t connect on a deep, emotional level.

You feel like there might still be better out there, and you might even feel like your past relationships were more meaningful than this one…

3) You can’t picture a real future together

Anyone can imagine a future with anyone. I could imagine a future with Ryan Reynolds if I really wanted to!

But a real future? A happy future? That isn’t so easy to see – and I mean really see – when you’re in a relationship that’s doomed to fail.

What do I mean by that? Well, you can imagine slow dancing together at your wedding. You can imagine staring into each other’s eyes as you hold your child for the first time. You can imagine growing old together.

But you only see this kind of happiness together with the version of them you have in your head.

The REAL them is very different – and you can’t picture a happy future with the real them. It just wouldn’t be as happy or romantic…

4) You can go days without talking

I know, I know, everyone is different. But even as an introvert myself, I couldn’t imagine not speaking to my boyfriend for days on end!

Yet I’ve seen it happen in relationships. Two people are dating but they don’t talk every day. Some days they hear from their partner. Some days they don’t.

They exist like friends. When something exciting happens, their partner is the last to know. If they feel down, they’d rather seek support from a friend.

But this isn’t actually normal, even if you’re an introvert! Couples should trust each other, rely on each other, and want to be around each other often.

When you don’t want these things, even in the early days, things might not be as good as you think…

5) You feel like you’re playing games

We should never play games in a relationship. People’s feelings aren’t to be played around with. But does that mean we don’t do it? Of course it doesn’t!

I’ve done my fair share of playing games in a relationship. Counting the minutes between when they last messaged so I could match it. Withholding information because I knew they were. Saying no to dates I could make to “make them wait”…

I know you’ve probably done these same things, too – and that doesn’t make you a bad person!

But the truth is, you won’t do this kind of thing in a genuinely good relationship. When it’s meant to last, you’ll just be yourself and they will, too.

6) You feel self-conscious around them

Nervous on your first few dates? Normal! Constantly worrying about what you look like and what they’re thinking about you? I’m sorry, but that’s not normal at all.

I was nervous on my second date with my now-boyfriend. I wanted to look nice, after all. But that nervousness quickly disappeared. I didn’t feel it on the date or when we were texting afterward.

Yet I’ve dated people where these nerves never disappeared. I always worried about what they were thinking of me. I even got nervous when they replied to my text!

I felt like I couldn’t leave my hair unstyled one day or wear shorts to bed without shaving my legs. What’s worse is that sometimes they actually used to comment on these things – and not endearingly!

But when a relationship is meant to last, they won’t care about these superficial things, and neither will you.

You won’t feel self-conscious about your appearance all the time. You’ll just feel loved and accepted as you are.

7) You don’t open up to each other

Being vulnerable is a two-way street. You have to open up to them and they have to open up to you for a relationship to be considered genuine.

But some couples don’t do this. One person will be vulnerable and the other person never will be. They’ll always hold back, saying, “I’m fine” when they aren’t, and hide bits of themselves so the other person doesn’t see it.

If you’re the one who’s opening up, you aren’t doing anything wrong. You’re doing the right thing and it’s them who aren’t. But it’s never going to last if they continue this way.

If it’s you holding back, it might be because you know this isn’t going to last forever

8) You feel embarrassed to be dating them

Ouch! There really is nothing worse than this. It reminds me of high school when someone would be nice to you in class and pretend they don’t know you at lunch.

It won’t be as dramatic as this in an adult relationship. Your embarrassment will be something you feel deep inside you and it’ll show in unexpected ways.

Like how you don’t want them to meet your family because they always say the wrong thing. Or how you never invite them out with your friends because you know they won’t get along. Or even how you don’t like holding their hand in public…

Yep, these are all signs you’re embarrassed to be dating them.

You might feel ashamed about how you feel, which is why you try to cover it up. You make excuses for your behavior – to them and yourself.

But feeling this way isn’t right – and I think you already know that. They aren’t your person and you aren’t theirs. Otherwise, you’d be nothing but proud to know them.

9) You’ve got one foot out of the door

People with commitment issues fear taking things to the next level. So, they hold onto their apartment after moving in. They withhold information about their past. They constantly avoid conversations about “the future”.

Just because you feel this way, that doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed to fail. Commitment issues can be worked through. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible.

Yet a relationship that stays this way, with one person always having a foot out of the door, won’t last. Eventually, things will break down.

If you feel like this, take a closer look at why. Is it because you don’t trust them deep down? Do they make you feel judged? Do you know it won’t last? If so, they might not be your person.

If it’s because your past wounds make it hard to commit, there’s still time to save things. You just have to do the work – together.

10) You constantly imagine life without them

Daydreaming about other people is actually very normal in a relationship. Experts say sexual fantasies are common and mostly unproblematic.

But that doesn’t mean you should shrug off this behavior. If you constantly dream about other people or what your life would be like without them, this isn’t good.

I did this in a relationship once. Almost every day, I thought about what my life would be like if I was still single. I pictured what it’d be like to break up with them and how it’d make me feel. I imagined dating a “better” version of them.

I realize now that I was longing for these dreams to come true. I just didn’t know how to get out of it all. A question I stumbled upon online helped me make the right decision. It said:

If you could end your relationship right now with no consequences at all, would you do it? No one would get hurt and you wouldn’t have to do anything to cut ties.

I think you already know what your answer tells you…

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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