Most of us know when something is not right in a relationship. The signs are there but we hope that things will improve, or that we can change him – or we’re just scared there’s nothing better out there.
Sound familiar? Here are 20 signs it could be time to walk away…
1. He doesn’t care about you
Of course he cares about me, you cry, we’ve been living together/married for years! While a grand gesture (or even a bunch of flowers from the garage) on your birthday is welcome, a relationship means caring for one another day in, day out.
You have a migraine and he doesn’t offer you a pain killer. You tell him your sister might have breast cancer and he barely looks up from the TV – let alone drives you to the hospital. He knows you are upset, or in physical pain, and yet does nothing to help… that’s someone who doesn’t care.
2. His annoying habits drive you mad
He leaves his socks on the floor, turns the thermostat down when it’s already freezing and puts empty jars back in the fridge – but is that a good enough reason to leave him? Of course not!
We all have our annoying ways, but if his habits leave you seething with rage it’s time to look at what’s really going on. Are you simmering with resentment about some past hurt but too scared to bring it up?
When we squash our feelings, it can result in displacement – and the little things suddenly become HUGE. Another sign it could be time to walk away.
3. Your friends and family hate him
Your nearest and dearest were pleasant enough at the start, but now just being in the same room as him brings them out in a twitch. There will always be some people who don’t get on, but if the majority of your loved ones can’t stand your man, you have to ask why.
Perhaps they see him more objectively than you do – and in particular, how he treats you. While you may be able to overlook his ways, or have forgiven him for hurting you in the past, there’s a good chance they can’t.
Ask them – it might put things in perspective.
4. You no longer talk about the future
When you first got together you spent hours dreaming of the house you would buy, the holidays you would go on, perhaps even the children you would have together. Now it seems he won’t even commit to a dinner date next week.
If your man no longer makes plans for the future (or if his plans no longer include you), it’s a clear sign he’s distancing himself from the relationship.
Don’t organise another thing (especially not an expensive holiday or a mortgage), until you’ve had a heart-to-heart to find out what’s really going on.
5. You’re his life raft
Relationships are all about give and take and there will be times when you need his support, and times when he will need yours. A problem arises when one of you is acting as the other’s permanent life raft.
If you find yourself saying, “I couldn’t possibly leave… what would he do without me?”, you need to consider whether you’re really helping by staying.
Sometimes playing the saviour becomes part of our identity. We need it – as much as they do. Focus on getting him help (counselling, medication, a job, debt management), so that he can get back on his feet – otherwise you both risk going under.
6. He’s aggressive or abusive
No one should have to put up with physical or emotional abuse from their partner (whether a man or a woman). A boyfriend or husband should add to your feelings of safety and security, not detract from them.
Yet one in four women will suffer domestic violence at some point in their lives.
There are many organisations and support groups offering emotional and practical advice, no matter how complicated your situation is. Refuge or Women’s Aid is a good place to start. Do something before it’s too late.
7. You keep secrets from him
There was a time you told him everything – including things you’ve never told anyone else. If you got a promotion at work (or were told you were being made redundant), he was the first person you called. These days, you’re more likely to confide in the dog.
If you find yourself keeping secrets or no longer confiding in him, it’s time to ask yourself why. Do you no longer trust him enough? Do you feel he doesn’t really listen – or worse, doesn’t care?
If you find yourself confiding in another man it’s an ever bigger warning sign.
8. He keeps secrets from you
Of course, there are some things we keep to ourselves and others we prefer to share with a trusted friend outside of the relationship. If, however he’s only recently started to keep things from you it could signal a problem.
He’s looking for a new job/has been diagnosed with a medical condition/has won the lottery… and you’re suddenly the last to know. That’s a sign you need to sit down and talk. If he’s been keeping a bigger secret from you – like the fact he’s been sleeping with his PA – that’s a sign to let your feet do the talking.
9. He’s a lazy sod
Laziness takes many forms. There’s the couch potato who expects you to cook and clean (after all, mummy did). Then there’s the backseat man.
How nice to have an easy going man who lets you choose where to go on holiday, what to have for dinner, where to live! But is he just easy going or lazy?
Having to make all the decisions (whether you’re a man or a woman), can become a burden – and it’s only reasonable to want some input from the significant other in your life. Ask him to do the shopping – without giving him a list – and make some of the decisions. If he can’t, it could be time to leave your backseat man by the curb.
10. He’s a jealous guy
Who hasn’t suffered from the green-eyed monster at one time or another? Some would even argue that jealousy is a good sign – after all, it shows that he still cares.
But if you find him going through your mobile phone, hacking into your emails or chaperoning you on a girls’ night out there is something seriously wrong.
You will have to make a judgment call. Either address why there is a lack of trust in the relationship – and acknowledge any part you played in that – or accept that he has a (potentially dangerous) problem and get out now.
11. He borrows money from you (and doesn’t pay it back)
Couples argue about money (followed by housework) more than any other issue, if relationship surveys are to be believed.
While it’s fine to borrow and lend money occasionally no one wants to feel like their partner’s personal ATM.
If he frequently borrows money but the re-payments aren’t so regular, it’s time to lay down the law. Have an honest chat about your finances and seek debt advice if necessary. If the problem doesn’t improve you may have to re-evaluate the relationship. Don’t be taken for a (free) ride.
12. He flirts with other women
We all want the man in our life to get on with our friends – but not THAT well. When his flirting makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s time to have a word. It’s possible that he hasn’t realised and just thinks that he’s being friendly. Of course, you also need to consider whether jealousy is clouding your judgment.
If he continues to flirt with your friends (or other women), you have to question why. Is he insecure, does he like playing mind games, or is he looking for a way out of the relationship? Whatever his reasons, you deserve his full attention. Don’t be second best.
13. You’re dating the Invisible Man
Feel like you’re in long distance relationship, yet he only lives across town? If you’ve been dating for a few months and his movements are still a mystery to you, something clearly isn’t right.
A change in communication is a typical early warning signal of something wrong. If he used to text you every day but now you’re lucky to get a reply, he’s obviously got a different priority right now.
If he explains, and you accept his reason, all good and well. If that different priority is a 25-year-old barmaid down the local, leave with your dignity intact.
14. He’s a love cheat
Yes, it is possible (with a lot of hard work and counselling) for a relationship to bounce back stronger than ever when one of you has had an affair. If you’ve caught him cheating and you’re able to forgive and forget, you’re a bigger woman than most.
If he does it again and you take him back you’re asking for trouble. He may swear it will never happen again, but you believed him the first time and look what happened. No trust = no relationship. If you can’t trust him, what’s the point?
If you’re the one who’s tempted to cheat, do the honest thing and leave before you cause more hurt than is necessary.
15. You’re deeply unhappy
You can’t expect your man to make everything right in your life. Nor can you expect every day of a relationship (no matter how strong) to be filled with flowers and rainbows. What you can expect is for there to be love on both sides and more good days than bad.
If you think you may be depressed, speak to your doctor, as that could be having an impact on an otherwise good relationship.
One quick test: imagine yourself single or with someone new. If the thought makes you feel happier than you have done in weeks, it’s time to go.
16. He has an addiction
It could be alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography. If your man has an addiction it’s unlikely that staying with him is going to help.
By all means get him some professional support (if he’s willing to accept it), but don’t wait around in the vain hope that he will change.
Most addicts face a long hard road to recovery. If you love him, of course you’ll want to help – just accept that it might involve leaving him. Look for a support group for his addiction (there will be lots online). Speaking to others who have lived with an addict can help.
17. You don’t have sex
Libidos change as we get older, but if you’ve become more like brother and sister, why not give each other the chance of meeting someone new? Even if you’re happy with no sex, is he? Unless you’ve talked openly and honestly about it, you won’t know.
Of course there’s more to a relationship than sex, but if one or both of you still have natural urges, isn’t it better for you to have a full-filing relationship with someone else?
If you really are as close as you think you are, your friendship will survive it.
18. He’s not on your side
You have to know that your partner is on your side – even when you’re wrong. Yes, we should all be big enough to give and take criticism, but being in a relationship means being part of the same team.
If he constantly puts you down or undermines you, sides with friends and family against you (or any random drunk down the pub), it’s time to take a closer look at what you’ve got – and whether it’s worth having.
19. He’s an energy vampire
It’s one thing to go through a bad patch and it’s another entirely to be negative about every aspect of life. Do you really want to be with someone so mean-spirited?
Unfortunately, it’s easy to make excuses for this kind of behaviour – he had a negative mother, he’s had a run of bad luck.
If he regularly shoots down your dreams, ambitions and achievements, let alone your plans for the weekend, you risk your self esteem hitting rock bottom. Make your escape plans now – while you still have the energy!
20. He’s selfish
He never puts your needs first – and that includes in the bedroom. If you both know his top priority is himself you have to ask why you are still in the relationship.
Selfishness is one of the hardest character traits to change or fix. First of all, he would have to want to change – and why would he, after all, you’ve stuck around this far!
Do yourself a favour and find someone who can give you the things you deserve. Relationships are about give and take – not you giving and him taking. Find someone who’s willing to put in their 50%.