I tried so hard to convince myself that my last boyfriend was “the one.” He was my first serious relationship, I was approaching my mid-twenties—(Okay, I was only 23, but still; post-grad life is daunting)—and it seemed as if all of my close friends were suddenly getting engaged and moving on to the next chapter of their lives. We had been together almost two-and-a-half years, and the thought of starting from scratch with somebody brand new terrified me.
However, when it seemed as if my world and future were crashing down, I soon realized just how much better it is being single and happy than taken yet unloved. Looking back, I can’t believe I ever thought he could be close to “the one”—the warning signs were all there, and now I’m sharing them, as a cathartic therapy and, hopefully, a helpful warning.
1. He talks about the future with no real mention of you in it.
A man that truly envisions you as someone that he wants in his life forever will envision forever around you, or will know that the future is uncertain but will involve compromises to keep you in it.
2. He compliments your looks above anything, and doesn’t ever note much else.
Every girl wants to be called beautiful and looked at is if they’re the most gorgeous one in the room, but they would also rather be noticed for their intellect, their athleticism, their musicality, their fill-in-the-blank – the beauty of their spirit.
3. He never goes the extra mile – or, when he does, it’s to hold it above your head.
Always beware of the guy who keeps a scoresheet of favors done for each other. A true, loving relationship ebbs and flows, and loving gestures are done without a hint of a second thought.
4. He makes you insecure.
The stressors of his own personal life will be taken out on you, making you awake each day wondering whether you will be treated as his rock, his love, or his punching bag.
5. He walks away from fights.
Or says whatever he thinks will get past the argument at hand, rather than tackling the root of the problem. Because one night of forged peace and calm is better than genuinely solving the issue, which will just arise again within a few month’s time.
6. As a couple, you only hang out with his friends.
He shows no interest in getting to truly know your girlfriends, nor does he think anything of the imbalance when each and every weekend is spent with his old college buddies.
7. He doesn’t click with your family.
If your family and friends are genuinely happy when you admit the roads are rocky, perhaps you need to reconsider the man you’re not only trying to insert into your own life forever, but theirs, too.
8. He takes no interest in your interests, but expects you to take interest in his.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you enjoy doing all of the same things together, as long as he truly enjoys watching you do what you love, which leads me to…
9. Your happinesses aren’t aligned.
By this, I mean that your happiness doesn’t affect his happiness, and vice versa. If there is any hint that he doesn’t want the best for you in every possible way, it will never work. If he doesn’t want to hear about your travel plans out of bitterness and resentment, if he doesn’t bother to know that you played the piano for 8 years until two years into your relationship, if he never bothers to ask to read one of your infinite articles on the Internet – maybe he’s not the one.
10. You are just as happier – perhaps moreso – with a dog than you are with them.
Because who really needs a boyfriend when you have a furry, four-legged, loyal and loving companion?