1. Your friends have told you. This may seem self-explanatory, but I know I’ve warned friends before. They never listen. It’s something they (you) must find out for yourself.
2. After they’ve realized you won’t listen, they start finding reasons not to hang out with you and your significant other. I’m not talking third-wheeling; no one likes to do that. But if they won’t even hang out with you two in a group, odds are they really can’t stand being around him/her. This is the part where you ask yourself who’s more important in your life.
3. Your friends refuse to mention him/her in a conversation. And if you mention him/her, the friend will change the topic. They don’t want to upset you and say something unkind, so they won’t say anything.
4. You feel the need to ask them permission, a lot. Whether it’s permission to see your friends, have dinner with your family, wear anything they haven’t pre-approved. If you have to ask permission for everything, it’s not love, it’s control. I’m sure you’ve heard this spiel somewhere before.
5. They tell you that if you ever cheated on them, they’d probably kill themselves. Okay, we all know that cheating is a no-no, but seriously, emotionally blackmailing you into fidelity is no relationship I’d like to be involved in.
6. They insist that your children’s name must be ________ and you don’t get a say. And you guys aren’t expecting, but, you know, just in case, let’s plan how I can control you forever.
7. You find yourself doing things that you both know you are uncomfortable with. I know all of your minds just dove into the gutter, but I’m not just talking sexually. They make you drink more than you want, do drugs you don’t feel comfortable taking, practice religion you aren’t comfortable, go on diets you don’t want, anything that you know for a fact you wouldn’t do if you were single.
8. Ladies, if he has the same problem as your father (drinking, drugs, physical and verbal abuse, ect) recognize that it is probably only daddy issues pulling you toward him and walk away from it. You didn’t need that then, you certainly don’t need it now.
9. Building on #5, if they routinely take on the “you owe me for _________” attitude, you owe them a reality check. This isn’t just talking to girls. Women are just as capable at emotional blackmail as men are, and are often more subtle about it.
10. They (finally) did something really cute/romantic/sweet/awesome for you, and you want to share it with someone, but you can’t think of one person who would believe they were actually capable of that.
11. Either they make you feel like nothing, or you are everything to them. And by everything, I don’t mean the cute “you’re my whole world” everything. I mean, if you leave them, they will have nothing. No friends, no job to speak of, no life, nothing. This one is tricky, because if you do leave them, the guilt may swallow you whole. But it’s a trap. If they tell you point blank that without you, their life will have nothing left, it’s emotional blackmail to stay. Refer to #5.
12. You find yourself unable to name a redeeming quality of theirs. Yes, technically “cute” can count as a redeeming quality, but do you really want to be stuck with a nasty, creepy, annoying person who happens to be cute? Didn’t think so. You’re supposed to be in love with them. If you can’t come up with something good to say, it’s probably because there isn’t anything. I once had a friend say “well, he’s not as much of an asshole to me as he is to everyone else.” That’s what you want to invest in a relationship with.