You’ve been together now for a while. Long enough to know how your significant other takes his or her coffee, what kind of deodorant they use and what they wear to bed (if anything). Despite the amazing chemistry between you and the regular declarations of love made, you are not quite sure of your future together. Is this person willing to take the next step? Are you willing to wait? Here are some signs that your relationship is not going to progress to the place you want it to go:
1. When you bring up the future of your relationship, you get into an argument.
Your significant other gets defensive and comes up with lots of excuses about why you’re A) not exclusive B) not moving in together C) not getting engaged or D) engaged, but not ready to plan a wedding. Your ego is bruised after these conversations. You can’t get a clear answer and are usually referred to words like “it’ll happen soon,” or “I just need more time,” or “can we talk about this later?” All excuses point to NOWHERE.
2. The family pulls the puppet strings.
If your significant other has not cut the cord with his/her family, you may be in trouble, particularly if the family is completely overbearing and opinionated. The worst-case scenario is if the family doesn’t like you. That sort of animosity does not easily disappear. You could be clinging to a bleak future if you marry into a meddling mother-in-law, demanding father-in-law, or even a controlling sibling. If the family doesn’t want them to marry you, there’s a very good chance it’s not going to happen unless you’re willing to navigate a hostile environment on a regular basis.
3. You’ve lost that loving feeling.
Bickering and pushing each other’s buttons has become the norm in your relationship. You used to feel sparks and butterflies but you can’t remember the last time you were excited to see your significant other. You find yourself grateful when your significant other has made other plans without you. You tell yourself that you just need some time on your own to unwind. But the fact that you can’t unwind WITH your significant other is a problem. Every conversation sets your significant other off. They used to be patient, soft spoken and interested in everything you had to say. Now you find yourself carefully thinking about each word that leaves your mouth in case it will set them off. You’re also finding that the relationship is a lot more work than it used to be. The flame has fizzled and it’s not coming back any time soon.
4. Celebrations bring up conflicted feelings.
Engagement parties, weddings, and babies make your significant other uncomfortable. When a new invitation or announcement arrives, you are guaranteed to receive a rolling of the eyes or a, “Why would anyone in his or her right mind get married?” It’s also a struggle to get your significant other to be your date to any sort of life celebratory events. It’s important to find out if you’re battling someone who just hates getting dressed up for occasions like these or if they put pressure on him or her to have their own life celebrations.
5. They’re not a great listener.
You’re extremely supportive of your boyfriend or girlfriend’s professional endeavors but when YOU are having an issue at work, it’s minimized. Any attempts by you to vent or seek guidance or even a good ear are rebutted. You’re then told to “suck it up” or “just quit” without any attempt to assist you in coming up with possible solutions for coping with your current issue. You feel hurt and alone more often than you ever thought possible for being in a relationship.
6. The future is bleak.
He or she speaks about long-term plans that do not involve you. Perhaps it’s a different city that they plan to live in, a job in a different time zone, or even traveling abroad. You start wondering whether you missed a conversation or weren’t paying attention when these plans were originally suggested. When you try to include yourself in the plans, you’re not exactly given a warm welcome. You question his or intentions of the future and are responded to with a shoulder shrug or a mumbled answer. You start searching and questioning for any indication that your relationship outlook is not as fleeting as you feel it is. Can he or she really be so unconcerned whether you join them or not?
7. Ultimatums go nowhere.
You opt for the dramatics of declaring that perhaps you should end things now if this person is not ready to commit or move forward. You throw something. Or cry. Or cry and then throw something. You storm out of the room. Out of your home. Out of a restaurant. Out of a car. You are not followed. 48 hours have passed and nobody has shown up with flowers, candy, love letters, and boatloads of apologies.
8. There’s a questionable exclusivity factor.
You start sending flowers and love letters to yourself in the hopes that your significant other may see and become jealous. You hope he or she may have a sudden epiphany that somebody else has deemed you marriage material and that they have been mistaken in waiting another second before declaring you the love of their lives and becoming exclusive, moving in with, proposing or marrying you IMMEDIATELY. When your significant other is finally presented with hints of another suitor’s presence, he or she shows signs of relief and says something like, “Okay, good. I didn’t know you wanted to see other people, too. I’m glad we’re on the same page.”
9. Red flags are waving.
Your significant other has a tendency to gamble. A LOT. Or drink. A LOT. Or to befriend suspect, sexually attractive strangers. At ALL. Red flag behaviors that bother you a tiny bit become gargantuan once you’ve made a decision to commit to them. The more attached you become to a person, the more attached you become to his or her problems.
10. Deal-breaker or compromise?
You’ve had a couple of discussions about the future and learned that you are not on the same page in terms of wanting to have children, how to raise those future children, religious practices of your household, or how to deal with finances. If one of you is a big spender and the other is as cheap as cheap comes, you’ve got an uphill battle in terms of budgeting money for the things you’ll need. Some issues can be compromised on but the bigger ones (children vs. no children, religion, debt) are usually deal-breakers.