11 traits that make someone high maintenance in a relationship

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They say relationships are hard work. And this is true – to a certain degree.

But honestly speaking, it largely depends on your definition of “hard”. Solving conflicts is hard. Making compromises is hard.

But the hard things should be occasional obstacles during a relatively easy journey. Relationship difficulties are something to overcome, not something to live with.

Unfortunately, some people are just too high-maintenance. These are the 11 traits that make them so.

1) They have rules for everything

And I mean everything. There are rules for fun (Monica from Friends, anyone?), cleaning, groceries, or even the way the pots need to be organized in the kitchen cupboard.

And yes, the latter is based on a personal experience. It’s safe to say I did not, in fact, organize the pots correctly and was called high maintenance because I wasn’t able to follow high-maintenance rules.

Dating a high-maintenance person is like trying to navigate the nuances of the law. And if you accidentally step out of line…

2) They use past grievances against you time and again

Remember my pots story? I couldn’t shake it for the majority of the relationship. It clung to me throughout the years because my partner simply refused to let it go.

“You always complain about my dirty dishes, but everyone’s got something. Remember how you messed up the pots?”

This is obviously quite a minor issue, but the metaphor can be applied to everything in the relationship. High-maintenance people hold onto grudges, using them as leverage in all future conflicts.

This makes it incredibly hard to move past previous mistakes and keep the relationship resentment-free. They’re resentful because of what you’ve done in the past, and you’re resentful because they just can’t leave it be.

Soon, you’re in a vicious cycle of bitterness and constant fighting.

3) A week doesn’t go by without another problem

You just can’t catch a break.

One of the primary reasons high-maintenance people are so difficult to deal with is that they’re always unhappy about something, from the one-sentence message you sent when you were busy to the fact they got caught in the rain in their best outfit.

Their problems may not be always caused by you, but you’re the number one person they turn to when looking for reassurance or solutions.

This means you get constantly drenched in the issues of someone else. Combined with your own problems, the pile grows so high it feels like it’s about to tip over any second.

It’s deeply tiring.

4) Their energy is absolutely draining

The constant complaints and issues are rooted in one primary thing: negativity.

Not every high-maintenance person is a huge pessimist, of course, but if your partner’s constantly complaining, worrying, and needing you to give them comfort, it’s a sign they’re high-maintenance.


Because there’s nothing more exhausting than constantly lifting someone else’s spirits. Especially if you feel pretty rubbish yourself.

What’s more, their vibe inevitably rubs off on you, which means you might end up feeling in a rut, too. When you finally get home, you just want to sleep for eleven hours and talk to no one but the food delivery driver.

5) They regard everything as an emergency

Of course, it’s not easy to get eleven hours of sleep when you’re dating a high-maintenance person.

They might call you at any point and demand your 100% attention even though it’s 3 AM and you have work tomorrow.

The problem here lies in (dis)respecting boundaries. High-maintenance people are so very wrapped up in their own universe that they don’t realize how important your needs are.

They can be super self-centered and think that just because you’re in a relationship, they are fully entitled to your time.

But remember that you always have the right to prioritize your needs and cultivate your own world of friends and hobbies.

Your partner isn’t a number one priority 100% of the time, and that’s okay.

6) They expect 100% dedication from day one

It’s not completely easy for them to understand that they don’t always take precedence, especially in the early stages of a relationship.

“Either he wants to give me one hundred percent, or he can walk away,” I’ve heard girls say about guys they’ve been on two dates with.

High-maintenance people want too much too soon. They don’t give you enough space to develop deep feelings and show your love – instead, they demand it from the first second you lay eyes on them.

This means it’s incredibly hard to please them from the get-go.

7) They constantly want reassurance

Do you know why your partner constantly calls you to fix their problems, has rules for everything, and expects you to go to the ends of the Earth for them?

Self-esteem. People with low self-esteem hold tighter onto their relationships with others because they’re terrified of losing them.

But the tighter they squeeze, the more they’re likely to lose you. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, a subconscious act of self-sabotage.

One of the best ways to know this for sure is to see how often your partner wants reassurance. Do you love me? Are you sure, though? How much? And why?

These things can be said in jest, but people with low self-esteem actually mean them.

The repeated need for dramatic expressions of love can drain you like crazy, turning “I love you” into something you say automatically rather than something you truly mean in the moment.

8) Their moods change rapidly

“Ugh, you’re so annoying today.”

“Yay, I love life!”

“This is horrible!” (Hiccups between dramatic sobs as tears flow from their eyes.) “I just want to be alone!”

“Please don’t go.”

Just one day with your partner is an onslaught of ten different emotions, all of which directly affect you.

Now, it’s no one’s fault if they get a bit too moody, but your partner should be able to regulate those feelings, making sure they don’t take it out on you.

If you’re constantly thrown between different waves of emotion, how are you supposed to feel great yourself?

You simply never know what’s coming, and that makes it really hard to have an easy-going relationship.

9) They plan and plan and… yep, plan some more

Their moods might change like crazy, but you know what doesn’t?

Their plans. A high-maintenance partner isn’t big on spontaneity. In fact, they love to plan everything to the last detail and stick to it religiously.

Obviously, this means you have got to stick to the plan, too. There’s no space for you to move through life freely, without restriction – your partner’s always there to tell you what to do.

And when the plan fails – as it inevitably will because life thrives on coincidences and surprises – they break down.

And what do we do when our partner has a meltdown?

We reassure them.

At this point, you’re basically their therapist.

10) They need to have the last word, full stop

Obsessive planning and the need to always be in control result from too much rigidity. Your partner has a certain perception of what’s right and wrong, and they can be really stubborn when it comes to letting go of those ideas.

This makes for incredibly difficult disagreements.

Instead of opening themselves to your thoughts and opinions, they’re always on a quest to convince you why they are right and you are wrong.

No matter what, the conversation has to end in their favor.

11) They make you walk on eggshells

High-maintenance partners can be so challenging to handle that you end up walking on eggshells each time you interact with them, trying your best not to upset them.

If you bring up a certain topic, they’ll get furious.

If you don’t text them first thing in the morning, they’ll give you the silent treatment.

If you’re too busy to come and solve another problem, they’ll cry.

Dating a high-maintenance person is like navigating a labyrinth with traps at every corner. No matter what you do, you just can’t get it right.

But the truth is, you’re not always the problem. If you try your very best to please your partner and still end up feeling like you’re not enough, the fault might lie elsewhere.

At the end of the day, a partner is someone who should make your life better, not worse. It’s time to stop maintaining what can’t be maintained.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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