When we’re caught up in a relationship, whether it’s a week-long fling or a 30-year marriage, we often have our rose colored glasses on. We want to see our partner in the best light. We know how tough their life has been. We understand the reasoning behind their decisions, and after all, we love them despite their flaws.
But sometimes these flaws can be damaging or even dangerous to us.
Where do we draw the line? Below is a list of tips to help you identify if you might be dating a loser. If you notice any of the following behaviors in your partner, talk to someone you trust. In extreme cases, you may want to advise your partner to get help, or, if you feel the situation is damaging for you, leave them. Remember, you need to do what’s right for you.
There’s no excuse for violence in any relationship. If you feel intimidated by threats or if your partner has physically hurt you in any way, it’s time to end the relationship. No matter how sweet he (or she) is normally, if they have to resort to hurting you physically you have to leave. Tell someone you trust and call a service like the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US or the National Domestic Violence Helpline in the UK. You’re better than this: you owe it to yourself to get this person out of your life.
They’re Desperate to Commit
We’ve all been there, you’ve been dating for a couple of weeks and suddenly your new beau wants to move in with you, or even worse, they unexpectedly pop the question one night at a restaurant! Love at first sight can happen, but this doesn’t feel right. You’re in a good place, maybe you recently ended a relationship or you’re just enjoying being single – or hell, you’d just like to get to know them a little better before you commit! There’s no rush, if it feels weird don’t get caught up in the fantasy. Tell them you want to slow down, and make sure you’re ready to commit if that’s what you really want.
You Feel Like Sh*t When You’re Around Them
Part of a healthy relationship is giving and receiving positive reinforcement. We all need a little boost now and then to get us through the tough times, and someone who really loves us gives us the support we need to feel good about who we are. Of course, it’s great to have a partner who challenges us and likes a good argument about politics, movies, music or whatever we’re passionate about. But if your partner criticizes you often, says nasty things, makes you feel stupid or unattractive, maybe they’re not right for you. If you feel like you’re in a downward spiral with their attitude constantly chipping away at your self-confidence, it’s definitely time to consider leaving.
Going Out In Public Is Humiliating
Pay close attention to how your partner reacts to other people when you’re out in public, even the little things like ordering a coffee, talking to a waitress, doing your weekly shopping. Are they rude? Do they push in line, get angry or frustrated? Do people warm to them or are they shaking their heads in disbelief? Do they put you down or make inappropriate jokes about you in front of other people? Do you wind up in loud, aggressive arguments, or even crying over your meal at a restaurant? You should be proud of your partner and want to show them off, not in living constant fear that they might explode. If your dates are excruciating, maybe it’s time to let it go.
It’s Always Your Fault
Okay, nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. But if your partner constantly shifts the blame onto you for everything that goes wrong, chances are you’re dating a loser. Similarly if they refuse to take responsibility for any of their actions, and continue to blame others for all their problems, you’re probably not in a healthy relationship. It can be difficult, it’s tough to argue with someone who’s always right and who will spiral into self-loathing, or outright anger if you criticize them. Of course, you’re also to blame you for making them angry when you have these fights. But how can you be responsible for their affairs, their debts, the things that they’ve broken or destroyed, even their unhappiness about their own life? The truth is, you’re not. Let it go.
What do people who’ve known your partner for a long time say about them? Do you get generally consistent reports? Do people seem to like them? This is a good sign. If you get wildly conflicting reports, then you might be in a risky relationship. Things might be great now, but what happens when the going gets tough and your partner can’t keep a lid on the unpleasant aspects of their personality? Listen to the stories they tell about themselves, clues could be that they talk a lot about sex or brag about being a womanizer, they talk a lot about the “crazy things” they’ve done, or they glorify fighting and violence, or enjoyed “screwing someone over” to get what they want.
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Everyone needs to debrief every now and then, or get something off their chest when someone annoys them. That’s normal. But if your partner is unrelentingly negative about everything, you could be in an unhealthy relationship. Maybe you know the deal, you visit your family and have a nice time, but in the car on the way home your partner criticizes everybody—from your sweet old grandmother to the family dog. Your friends get a serve regularly: it seems no one is good enough to hang out with your partner. If it gets so bad that he tries to isolate from your friends and family, this is a definite red flag.
Friends and Family Think You Can Do Better
When you’re crushing hard on someone, it can feel like no one understands. They just don’t get this person like you do, if only they could see things from your perspective. It’s true that having an objective perception of someone you’re dating is hard. You’re on their side, and you see it from their perspective. You empathize. It’s normal that some of your friends and family won’t like your partner, you can’t please everybody. But if the dislike is universal, it’s time to take another look. Maybe they’re not just that sexy bad boy/girl you think they are; maybe it’s just bad.
Do you feel like you’ve given everything, your body, your soul, your love and support, and yet all you get in return is ambivalence? You say “I love You” every day, but it’s not enough. They criticize you for not putting your arm around them at a party. They make you feel like you’re cold, emotionally deficient. They constantly harp on about everything they’ve done for you, how much they love and support they give you. You start to feel inferior, and they tell you how lucky you are to have them. If you’re not careful you can wind up feeling worthless and trapped.
Walking on Eggshells
Finally, watch out for your partner’s temper. Do they have a hair trigger, and you never know what could set them off? If you find yourself screaming over a lost TV remote, not responding to a text message immediately, or simple requests for your partner to do something, you might be in a bad relationship. If you find yourself walking on eggshells, afraid to broach serious topics or even get your partner to clean up their mess, you need to rethink your relationship. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life like this?