1. Complete dependence on one another. We’re all guilty of this one in our adolescent lives. Young love is just so new and exciting and compelling and you just can’t spend a minute without that person… and it all comes back to bite you in the ass when you break up and you’re left with nothing because your whole life revolves around your former special someone. Don’t do this to yourself. If you know you’re in the middle of this, stop digging the hole and start climbing out.
2. You actually don’t love each other but you’ve confused love for something else. This one’s tough if you don’t figure it out until it’s too late. There are a thousand things that aren’t love that feel a whole hell of a lot like it. The way you differentiate, unfortunately, usually isn’t very pleasant. It’s usually when one of you knows that you don’t want to be with your partner but you stick around anyway: for security, not wanting to be lonely, whatever the reason. When you stay for any reason that isn’t love and/or dedication to your love even in the rough times, you’ve confused something else for love.
3. When one (or both) partners has feelings for someone else and isn’t truthful with themselves and/or their partner. If there are other avenues to explore, that desire will never cease until you do so.
4. When a partner berates or scolds the other in public. You are not parenting a child. You are equals and deserve to be treated as such. Joking around is one thing, but actually reprimanding your partner in public is usually not okay.
5. When someone makes their partner feel less than adequate based on their physical appearance. Love is not based on the physical. Love is unconditional and accepting and judgments on the physical usually indicate something less than genuine love.
6. Actually, any comments that aren’t positive regarding physical appearance. The exception to this is if someone needs to get their health under control. Otherwise, you deserve to be loved for who you are and how you are right now.
7. Lack of mutual respect. As in, if you find yourself saying, “oh, he’d be such a catch if he could just get a job…” When you don’t respect one another’s life goals and achievements thus far, you can’t have healthy love.
8. When one partner isn’t willing to step up to the plate or compromise, but the other is, and always has to. It is a partnership. Both people need to be willing to compromise and work together to resolve issues. This is something that just can’t be one-sided.
9. When someone feels superior to the other. It goes along with the whole you’re not parenting someone idea. To be equals, you need to feel like equals.
10. When you know there’s an underlying gut feeling that you should go. That feeling will not go away if you ignore it, it will just get more intense. If you feel like you need to go, you need to go. Especially if it’s an underwhelming little voice that tells you so– that’s the little voice that usually knows best.