Whether or not a relationship is “meant to be” is often determined by how much work each partner decides to put into the relationship.
And if you feel you’ve done all that you can, and it still didn’t work out, then the relationship wasn’t meant to be.
So let’s review some signs that can help us identify when a relationship is wrong for us. Just a note: if you’ve seen these signs in previous relationships but didn’t get out when you should have, go easy on yourself. You had different lenses then.
The purpose of this post isn’t to make us feel regretful about our past or panicked about our current relationship. It’s just a reminder to sharpen our radar and possibly have some things to chew on. That could mean having some honest conversations with our partner or shifting our behavior.
Here are five signs we’re in a relationship that’s not “meant to be.”
1. You don’t feel like you.
Everything you’ve liked about yourself, who you are, what makes you uniquely you, is gone or faded.
Unfortunately, this happens a lot in relationships. I coach people going through this all the time. And it happens gradually—otherwise we would stop it right away. Sometimes partners try to control us and stamp it as love. Over time, this strips away at who we are or want to be. Then one day, we wake up, look in the mirror and don’t recognize ourselves anymore. This is a sign, a bad one.
Now let me stop here and note that it doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent the other person’s fault. You may find this to be a pattern in all your relationships, which means the common denominator is you—because it’s easy to lose ourselves in our relationships.
This usually happens due to a distorted understanding of love as self-sacrifice, rather than thinking about it in terms of healthy compromises and growing together. If you follow the logic of this mindset, you’ll usually end up thinking about your upbringing and what you learned about the experience of love as a child.
The key is to be aware and work on finding yourself again, no matter what it takes. If you don’t, you’re not bringing you to the relationship. You’re bringing your conditioning.
2. You’re constantly trying to prove your worth.
It’s bad enough that we have to constantly seek our worth in the world. But if we’re also doing this in our relationship, there’s something wrong. That’s the one place where you shouldn’t have to prove your worth. But how do you know if you’re constantly trying to prove your worth? First, start by acknowledging that there’s a difference between seeking approval and validation which we all do to a certain extent, and seeking your worth or value.
Here are some signs that you’re constantly seeking your worth in a relationship:
Your ideas are shot down.
Your partner doesn’t support your dreams.
You rarely get to talk about you.
Your partner may listen to you but they don’t hear you.
You feel invisible.
It’s not your partner’s job to make you feel valuable, but it is their job to create a safe space where your worth is encouraged and grown instead of ignored or even bashed. Your relationship shouldn’t make you feel invisible. It should make you feel invincible.
3. You feel like you’re witnessing a relationship instead of being in one.
Many people get to a state where they let life happen to them instead of allowing them to happen to life—engaging and truly living at their fullest, making their dent in the universe. You start to go through the motions of life rather than fully living yours.
This can also happen in relationships. You know the relationship but no longer engage in it. You know that you’re “taken,” not single. You know the important dates and when to buy gifts. You know the routine for dinner. You know what s/he likes in bed.
But all this is information, not presence. The relationship is no longer built on passion. It’s built on routines. If you believe in your heart of hearts that this is due to him or her more than you, it’s a big sign. Scratch that. It’s a giant a banner that says “You Guys Are Not Meant To Be.”
4. You break up with you.
At some point, you ended the relationship you had with yourself. You gave up. You gave in. And you may not even know it.
Maybe you convinced yourself that this is what a relationship looks like. Maybe you told yourself that “true love” means finding someone who makes you want to live longer and be a better person. And maybe that’s how you justified changing yourself in order to make the relationship work.
Whatever the case, you and your needs are no longer in the equation. If this is where you’re at because of your relationship, you are probably not meant to be in this relationship. At this point, it’s not about signs. It’s about whys.
5. They wear orange pants.
And one red flag:
Author: John Kim
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Kenzie Campbell/Flickr