It can be hard to figure out when to leave a relationship, especially since it can be so easy to tell ourselves that it’s just not the right time, or that we should give him another chance.
Although I’m all for second chances, I do think that relationships need to be handled with a special degree of care. From my own personal experience as well as talking many of my friends through their relationship difficulties over the years, I have come to the conclusion that if you’re sure you’re in a bad relationship, you owe it to both yourself and the guy involved to end it sooner rather than later.
Now that school is starting again I’ve gotten quite a few e-mails from you trying to figure out if it’s worth the long-distance relationship to keep seeing their high school boyfriends. It can be so hard to decide whether or not a relationship is good, and whether it’ll stand the test of time.
I am approaching this topic with a bit of trepidation, because every relationship is so different. That being said, I have seen the negative effects of being in a bad relationship over and over again and I feel so strongly that if you are seeing any of these 7 signs, it is better for you both to get out now rather than to continue down the path you are on, perpetuating the negative cycle and thinking that it’s OK for you to remain in a relationship that makes you miserable (hint: it’s not!).
1. You feel you have to change to make him happy
There is a very big difference between being inspired to change and feeling like you have to. You want to find someone who organically makes you want to be a better person by being around them. Being with someone, however, where you constantly feel like you need to be better to keep them happy or interested is not the makings of a healthy relationship. You might be able to handle it now, but unless the relationship ends that will be something that continues for years down the road, and that’s something that will tear you apart.
Please, girls, stand up for yourself now and end things. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy–just not the guy for you.
2. You feel he has to change to make you happy
If you’re in a relationship because you think he might become a good guy in the future, please be careful before continuing for a while. It’s one thing to hope that he’ll get a good job after graduating, because none of us know what we’re going to be doing five years from now, but if you’re hoping that he’s going to stop playing video games 24/7 or stop eating so much that it’s seriously damaging his health or that he’s going to stop looking at other girls, stop kidding yourself. Have a frank conversation with him, give him a chance to change, and if he does not take it, please understand that you deserve someone who wants to be a great man for you.
However, take this with a grain of salt. You also need to make sure that your expectations of men are not out of this world crazy. There’s a very big difference between wanting your boyfriend to get off of the PS4 for an hour or so to sit down and have dinner with you versus always being at your beck and call when you still expect him not to bother you if you’re watching your show. Make sure that your expectations are realistic, and understand that while you most definitely deserve to be treated well, you need to make sure that it goes both ways.
Related: 7 Weird Things to Look for in a Guy
3. You never want to spend time with him
If you would rather spend your Saturday night scooping your dog’s poop off of the lawn than spending time with your boyfriend, that’s a red flag.
If it’s just that every now and then you need some time to just relax and not talk to anyone, that’s a totally different story. If, though, more often than not you’d rather ditch your guy than spend quality time with him, I would seriously reevaluate the relationship.
4. He doesn’t share your religious beliefs
I know I have quite a few non-Christian readers, but this is a huge one for me. If you are a Christian, and you are dating someone who is not a Christian, I firmly believe that it is unwise to be in a relationship with him. That is not because I believe that only Christians make good boyfriends, I just believe that if you believe in God, you need to be with someone who understands that part of you.
As soon as you became a Christian, your identity became united with Christ. If someone doesn’t know Christ, they can never know your full identity. On top of that, there will be other more practical complications. Do you go to church together? What happens if you get married? Will you have a Christian ceremony or not? What happens when you have kids? Will they be raised with your religious beliefs? What about sex? Do you have sex before marriage? How far are you willing to go? What happens if you slip up? Will he be OK with going back to nothing?
When you are able to converse on the same plane, both as Christians, your relationship is able to be a lot more authentic, and you don’t run into these problems since you both are on the same wavelength.
5. He belittles you in public
This one I see all the time. I’ll meet up with a friend and her boyfriend and be absolutely appalled by how he talks about her in front of me. Then I’ll talk to just the girl and she’ll say something like this:
“Yes, he’s silly in public but he’s really sweet when it’s just us”
GIRLS: there is a difference between telling a funny story to some friends and making you sound like an idiot so that he can get a laugh out of his buddies. You deserve to be treated well, to be with someone who will defend you, not tear you down.
6. You don’t feel safe bringing up issues with him
Relationships are filled with ups and downs, and you need to make sure that you are heard. What is he like when you two are arguing? Does he get scary when you’re fighting? One thing I love about Connor is that in two years he has never raised his voice once at me. Personally, that’s what I need to feel safe in conflict.
That’s a personal thing, though! I have a lot of friends who are actually totally OK with a little bit of yelling because they find it therapeutic to be able to just scream when they’re angry. That being said, there’s a difference between raising your voice and getting violent. If a guy makes you feel unsafe when you are arguing, even if it’s by something only meant as a playful joke, trust your instincts. Get out of there.
7. He has pressured you into going further than you wanted
Finally, if a guy has pressured you into doing absolutely anything physical you did not want to do, end it. If both of you made a mistake, that is one thing. Work through that together, and get back on track. There’s a difference between making a mistake and being pressured. As soon as a guy has coerced you into going further physically than you wanted to, leave. I’m sorry, but it has become a matter of safety, and you need to make sure that you are not putting yourself in harm’s way.
Remember: you deserve to be treated with the utmost of respect. It isn’t enough to just be tolerated, or to be living in a relationship where you feel that you are being taken advantage of. It can be really hard to end things, but you deserve all the best in a relationship, and to be loved.
Obviously, since I don’t know your relationship personally, take my advice with some discernment. Bringing in a friend to discuss the situation is a great idea, and I highly recommend it.
Sometimes it seems easier to just wait and stay in the relationship than to end it. That’s not true in the long-run, though. The longer you are with someone you are not good with the longer you are spending in a position that stops you from finding someone better for you, and you’re also keeping him from finding someone else, as well. Yes, it can be hard to end a relationship, but it is better in the long run if you know it’s definitely on the decline.
What else would you add to this list? Do you think that there are any things that are 100% deal breakers? What are they?
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