Even the “best” of relationships can run their course. One day you think you are happy with someone, then the truth rears its ugly head and you must face the demise of your partnership.
It can be devastating, but you have to admit, there are signs.
If you have questions about your relationship — get ready. This is a deep dive into that gray area you keep painting with pretty colors and presenting with a smile. It’s about the sub-surface aspects of your relationship that just don’t feel right.
Aside from the big ugly ones: abuse, infidelity, fighting all the time, it’s the little things — those things you try so hard to ignore or like in my case, the little things that eat away your trust.
Your gut is screaming at you there is something wrong, but you just want it to last a little longer. After all, you do enjoy each other’s company and you’ve invested so much in this person.
For all the little things you are ignoring, there’s a host of details you don’t even know about. For the little bits of truth that eke their way to the surface, there’s a huge iceberg just beneath.
Today, we address that iceberg. (Or those icebergs.)
Here are some of those warning signs in print — because maybe you need to see them in black and white to accept them. If something is wrong and you know it — perhaps this will give you the kick you need to address those issues head-on.
Your partner disappears a lot
There’s an expectation that when you are in a relationship, you have a general idea of where each other are located — without this being a big deal. No one should be suspicious, accusatory, or controlling about it at all, of course, but just to have comfort about sharing openly about your movements is normal.
Sometimes, your partner starts making excuses and disappearing. Mysterious behavior like making silly reasons to go “out” and they don’t seem to want to discuss it with you, or they get defensive. Or they start making the same excuse over and over that just doesn’t sit right with you.
If you find yourself continually wondering where your partner is going and what they are up to — you may have a problem. Those sneaky suspicions are either a sign that your insecurities are rising (a red flag) or that your partner is really up to something (another red flag.)
Bottom line, when they used to be all about spending time with you — they are now coming up with reasons to be away and they are hiding the core purpose of those disappearances. A tiny alarm is going off in your brain. (Trust, but verify, comes to mind.)
Your partner turns their phone or computer screen away when you approach
I admit I have ignored this one for YEARS.
If your partner gets jumpy and evasive with their screens — it can be easily explained:
- They do not want you to see what they are doing
- They do not want you to see who they are talking to
- They do not want you to see what they are viewing
The common theme here is: They do not want YOU TO SEE.
This is a “red flag” moment. An “iceberg” moment. A STOP and PAY ATTENTION moment. Ignoring it means you are rationalizing away their “iceberg” behavior and pretending the ship is afloat on perfect seas, when likely, it is not.
Your partner keeps all passwords from you
No, I do not think full disclosure is completely necessary, especially when it comes to lawyers, big finance, investments, or private heirlooms, memories you may not want to share (you get what I am saying here), or with more sensitive information you would not want getting out in the case of a vengeful ex— but when trust is an issue, some disclosure (meaning openness, even when it feels a bit intrusive) is necessary.
Most partners keep some secrets to themselves, but when the secrets become BIGGER than the openness in the relationship — that relationship is taking a backseat.
Read that again:
When the secrets become BIGGER than the openness in the relationship — that relationship is taking a backseat
Passwords. This one is tricky, but a relationship with trust doesn’t involve being overly concerned or “freaking out” with the sharing of a password. Don’t miss this point — the point is that your partner is afraid to let you into “private areas” of their life.
Is your partner locking all their screens and you do not have the password? Keeping their devices “hands-off” to you? I find that suspicious — and I think you should too. It says to me they have one foot out the door, just in case this “thing goes south.”
Your partner does not speak well of your relationship or you
From the lingering past relationships to the coworkers to the new “friends” your partner has, you kind of get the feeling people don’t like you very much. You are introduced to them (if you are at all) in a hushed and dismissive manner.
Your partner is not presenting you or your relationship to the world with the same respect, validation, and honor that you are giving it. The disproportionate sharing of, aka “bitching” about, you to their friends, family, coworkers, etc. is getting noticeable.
This is either a sign that your partner is less happy with you than you think — or they have no issue disrespecting you and your privacy. Both are problematic.
Your partner has bad habits they hide from you
Drugs. Pornography addiction. Gambling, debts they are hiding, excessive and reckless spending habits. A drinking problem. Late night conversations with their ex. When a partner has secrets — you have a problem on your hands.
It is truly up to you to decide where in the sand you draw your lines, how much of these behaviors you will tolerate, and whether or not you can live with a partner keeping their habits downplayed or hidden from you.
Your partner is emotionally unavailable
Is your partner so secretive that you feel you do not really even know them sometimes? Are they always on their phone, yet when you ask about it, you get the short answer response — as if the lock screen is your partner themselves — and you have NO password? If you are always getting the short answer, the surface answer, the smiles and deflections that keep their heart and inner thoughts bubble-wrapped, then you may be dealing with an emotionally unavailable partner.
Healthline describes emotional unavailability like this:
Emotional availability describes the ability to sustain emotional bonds in relationships. Since it’s pretty much impossible to have a healthy relationship without an emotional connection, emotionally unavailable people tend to struggle in relationships, often preferring to date casually and keep some distance. — Emotional Unavailability
Let that sink in a bit. It’s hard to put your finger (logic) on your partner’s emotional unavailability — but your heart knows. Your gut knows.
Your partner romanticizes the activities of single people
Suddenly, your partner is changing their lingo, mentioning the clubs, or expressing an interest to go out with a new set of people — all single people. You get the feeling this new behavior is a longing for those single days. Party behavior or a change in their social activities or friends could be an indication they are ready to part ways and move on or that they are not respecting the boundaries of being in a relationship.
Your partner does not seem to want to move the relationship forward
I can sum this one up easily. I was with him for 10 years. Living together for 9 1/2 of that time. NO PROPOSAL. If this does not shout noncommitment, I don’t know what else does. (And NO, introducing me to everyone as his wife does NOT count.)
If you express your needs to your partner and those needs go unaddressed, it is ok to pull the plug. Both parties have an idea of what they want out of the relationship, but if your partner is telling you one thing and doing another that is contrary to the commitment they are verbally sharing with you — then their actions are not measuring up to their mouth.
But it is measuring up to what is really in their heart.
Your partner does not prioritize the relationship
You are last on the list of priorities with your partner. They put work and everything else ahead of the relationship, and it’s obvious, their interests, time commitments, and goals are wrapped up elsewhere.
Your partner, whether they mean to or not, is holding you back from being authentic
This one is personal.
It isn’t a sign. It isn’t a symptom or a memory or an event.
IT IS A FEELING. It is that little nudge that won’t go away. Your dreams. Your goals. How you see yourself as a person. The growth you need to do.
If your partner isn’t a part of all of that, you have this feeling of being held back or diluted or complacent, it is truly ok to let go if your relationship has run its course of growth in your life.
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best in all of your relationships — don’t waste too much time on the ones that drain you of your spirit. You can address the issues with your partner and work on them together, or agree to part ways. But don’t be afraid to be honest about what you really need from your partner and for yourself.
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