Do you believe in love at first sight? Maybe that seems a bit idealistic nowadays. It’s all the more difficult to believe in instant love IF you’ve experienced heartache and disappointment in relationships. But by the same token, if you believe in love at first sight, then you also believe in “incompatibility at first sight.”
And if you believe in growing in love over time, then you also accept falling out of love, or at least out of infatuation. If you are conscious of what you feel and what you see happening, then you can’t deny evidence that a relationship is NOT going to end in a happily ever after love story.
If you’re honest with yourself, you can also say that what once felt like love, was probably not the real thing. Or at least, it was a love that grew cold, or maybe an infatuation that was intense enough to feel like love. For a little while. Before reality set in.
That’s why it’s best to think logically about the future of a relationship to counteract the intense emotions that can sometimes cloud our judgment. Rather than focus on what feels right or comfortable, it’s time to start paying attention to the evidence. The facts, the stuff we see and hear about and feel, and that send a very loud and clear message. That this relationship is temporary and is not going to progress into something completely different than it already is.
Consider some early signs a relationship is not going to last, despite our best intentions.
1. You have completely different values.
Whether you disagree about politics, religion, or all the other volatile subjects you know you probably shouldn’t bring up at dinner (and right at Christmas in front of grandma, geez!), or if it’s just your lifestyle that’s so different, values matter.
If you are incompatible with a person intellectually and spiritually, all you’re ever going to have in common is sex. The relationship is characterized by lust – and not much else. And sex is not enough to make a relationship.
2. Your partner is always testing your loyalty – and challenges get more and more ridiculous.
Most relationships get peaceful over time. You find the things you have in common and you hold them dear. You don’t have to prove anything to each other. You just enjoy each other’s company – and then you go off to do your own thing.
But when you’re with the wrong person and the relationship is crashing and burning, THAT’s when the testing starts. Your partner gets suspicious. They don’t just accuse you of all sorts of wrongdoing – they push you. They dare you to leave. They do things to piss you off because that’s the TEST.
Testing is not the sign of a healthy relationship! It’s just one or both of you wanting to bring things to a head. Wanting conflict and wanting him to SAY what you know he feels. Come on, this psychodrama is just rehearsal for a breakup.
3. You never feel completely honest about who you are with this man.
Sadly, he’s the most important man in your life and yet it feels like he doesn’t know you. You have to act around him. You have to pretend to be someone else. Or at the very least, you can’t share your real feelings because he’s going to get triggered and start a big discussion or a loud argument. That’s not someone you can grow old with, trust completely, and give your whole heart to forever. That’s a volatile relationship that will burn to a crisp in time.
4. You don’t like his family, friends, or anything about his life.
The more you think about it, you’re just so unevenly matched. His family is difficult. His friends are judgmental. His job, his schedule, is too much to deal with.
Was it the perfect fling in the beginning? (Or maybe a nice flirtation) But the more you got serious, the more you realized “Wow, we are complete opposites in everything.” Attractions can be opposites sometimes. But they usually don’t lead to long-term relationships.
Most relationships succeed based on shared values and goals. When you have opposite goals you progress in different directions.
5. Your opinion is disregarded.
If your partner doesn’t listen, or never takes any of your opinions seriously, or even admits he devalues your opinion, something is way off. This is not a healthy relationship. Why get together in the first place unless you both value each other’s opinions? Your wisdom, your beliefs, your intelligence and experience – does he cherish all of this? If he devalues your opinions all the time, then he’s just dating you for your body. Mind is optional – and that is not the sign of a respectful relationship.
6. You are both trying to change each other.
What happens when both partners think they’re right and never admit to being wrong? What happens when both partners lose all trust in the other and begin making accusations? What happens when both partners decide the other is wasting their life and needs to start taking life seriously?
These are all examples of extreme conflict – and the final result is that you’re both trying to change each other. It’s a war, quite literally, a war inside the home.
If neither of you is backing down (meaning your disagreements are so entrenched in your values and identity) it’s a no-win situation. You will both try to change each other until conflict explodes.
In order for there to be a loving union, you can’t be at war. You must be on each other’s team. You must believe in each other and deeply respect your partner’s identity.
If your relationship is in constant conflict, it’s never going to get any better.
In conclusion, don’t regret that you had relationships that didn’t work out. Sure, it’s easy to do that and think of them as mistakes. But in the end, if you learn something about yourself from a doomed relationship, that’s valuable.
Every relationship teaches us about ourselves – what we want out of life. What we expect from others. What we need to be happy. Consider the end of one relationship the beginning of a better relationship, one that completely meets your needs. Take a positive approach to the past, and don’t linger on the mistakes. Think of them as lessons learned, and take that with you to a better tomorrow.
The Four Attachment Styles of Love
If you’ve ever heard about the four attachment styles, then you might be researching two slightly different but related ideas.
First, we have the basic four attachment styles of psychology. Then, there are the four attachment styles speaking of love – as in the four ways someone expresses love, according to the type of attachment they feel.
First, let’s consider what are the four attachment styles and why people follow these patterns.
According to Scientific American, attachment is a bond that we form with a caregiver, typically a parent in the formative years of youth. When you’re a baby you look up to the person taking care of you and will continue throughout your life. Eventually, the great love you have for a parent affects the way you think, feel, and even the way you approach romantic relationships.
Even when you grow up you will still feel the same feelings of attachment, to a parent, and eventually to a person you want to date. Most psychologists agree these attachment styles include:
Let’s consider each of these and how they work. Then, we’ll discuss how it affects the way you “love” in relationships.
Secure attachment style means that you grew up feeling safe in your home. You always felt protected, welcomed, and comforted by your parents or guardian at that place. As time went on, you matured and had high confidence, a good sense of who you were and what you wanted, and knew what kind of relationship you wanted, when you were ready to marry.
When you love someone, you understand what motivates them. You can commit and adapt fairly easily when you know your partner’s needs. You are emotionally open and honest about what you feel. You’re independent alone but also can come together as a team.
This attachment style typically happens when childhood role models are inconsistent. Parents may have been emotionally moody, unpredictable, and erratic. They were not necessarily abusive but uneven in their approach to emotional openness.
Therefore, children will become confused about how to love. This kind of attachment is characterized by anxiety – to the extent that you put the needs of your partner over your own. You can have normal relationships, but you will often lose the sense of what you really want and who you are, by trying too hard to please the other person.
Emotional highs and lows may cause stress in your relationship. You do want to connect and you even want to be intimate with someone and find happiness. But the dependency on your partner and the clinging behavior may push your partner away, despite your best intentions.
3. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment
For children who experienced great loss, trauma, or even abuse during youth, they can develop a destructive dismissive-avoidant approach to relationships. They may long to be close to someone emotionally but may also fear what they really want.
If you tend to push a person away, pull them back to you, perhaps apologizing, and then doing the same thing again, this is a pattern of mistrust. Other people may see you as indecisive, ambiguous or even abusive, especially if you lash out at others in anger.
They key issue is that you don’t like depending on others, trusting others, and cannot deal with the stress of that in a healthy way. In fact, it might be easier for you to isolate yourself and find other unhealthy coping mechanisms (like loveless sex or alcohol) rather than chasing what you truly want.
Avoidant-dismissive attachment results from a childhood of detached parental love. If your parent(s) were emotionally detached or even completely unavailable or absent. In this category type, a parent’s coldness (but not abusive behavior, mind you) teaches you the pattern of distancing yourself emotionally from others.
You may have great difficulty developing closeness to a partner, just as you found it difficult to open up emotionally with your parent(s). You see yourself as a lone wolf. On one hand, you are independent and perhaps emotionally mature, at least on your own. Your self-esteem may be high and you may feel successful.
But you will find it very difficult to trust others or become emotionally vulnerable with someone else. In fact, avoiding emotion is what keeps you strong. You may not be opposed to trying to love someone, but when it’s time to confront feelings and have those honest and stressful conversations, you tend to hide.
Can You Change Your Style?
Once you realize what attachment style seems like you, you have a choice. To see the pattern and learn where it comes from, and then make a conscious choice to avoid the same actions that make you unhappy.
Learning these patterns and understanding where they come from doesn’t mean you blame your parents. It simply means you have observed these patterns, you accept them, but you also accept that you can change.
It’s not a matter of you “should” change. Rather, if you want to be happy and change your bad dating experiences to something positive, you can make a conscious effort to avoid reverting back to those patterns.
You can see the disaster coming. This time, you understand that it’s not your bad luck, your destiny, or another sad chapter in the novel of your life. You learn, over time, that every relationship we enter into is by choice.
You always have the choice to see the pattern coming and put a stop to it. Rather than letting the wrong type of guy into your heart, or the wrong type of circumstances qualifying for a relationship, you can make an effort to do something different.
Not surprisingly, as soon as you start making different choices, you notice immediately that these new relationships turn out different. You resist falling back into the same old patterns just because they’re familiar. Even though emotionally they feel right, your logical mind says, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this anymore. It’s always brought me heartbreak.”
Yes, you can always “change your bad luck” and start creating the relationship you deserve and truly want.
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11 thoughts on “6 Early Signs A Relationship Won’t Last”
Thank you for the information. I had one marriage that was filled with domestic violence & mental abuse. Then I started dating after being married to the guy for 17yrs. A lot people say why? I will tell you . A man like that makes you feel ashamed first. I was raised not to allow people to run over me. I couldn’t tell my family. Of course their is the physical abuse. The mental abuse is what gets you. He told me he knows 7 different ways to kill a person. I was scared to death. Of course he said he would break my legs or whatever. Of course their is the black eyes, busted lips. I have scars on my hands. They ruin your credit. They basically ruin everything. Well what is typical a person who has been abused so much. They reach a breaking point. I had mine. Put him in jail finally. Their was a tense moment but I won’t geet into that. Let me put it to you this way. I wasn’t going to take it anymore.
The dating landscape changed after 17yrs. I am a fish out of water. When I met my second husband. He was good to me. I lived with him. I didn’t want to repeat what I went through. Went against how I believed. 1yr. We got married after our daughter was born. These last 2yrs went down hill. I feel more like friends then husband & wife. No benefits either. Putting it nicely. I was willing to live like this until it happened. One he showed me he can be violent. Made me afraid of him. That is the end of this marriage. I won’t live that way again. No way! I learned from that mistake. Always learn from your relationships. He hasn’t hit me. I am going to end it before it goes that far.
I want to have real love. Thanks Mathew Coast. You are helping me to make right choices.
Can I ask a question? My husband of 14 years with a pretty healthy sex life for our age – he seems not interested anymore. I don’t get it. Says he loves me and is still attracted but has no explanation for the lack of intimacy and physical love. Any hope?
Following. I have the same question.
I found a very loving relationship with a man I thought was the one. Throughout our year long relationship, which was supposed to be exclusive, he continued to text and communicate with many different ex’s still interested in dating him and old crushes who sent selfies weekly. He would always respond. He would not see my perspective that this was harmful to my security in the relationship and responded in anger. I ended this relationship with the love of my life. We were oil and water. I’m wondering what others feel about keeping electronic contact with other women. He gaslit me hard, so now I think I did something wrong by acknowledging my true feelings. Thanks all!
I totally understand what you wrote here.
In my scenario , I also thought I found love of my life.
It’s a reversed roles to your case.
The difference here was , he was with woman who he claimed he isn’t sure of being with so doesn’t really know what to do. Red flag- keeping others on backburner..just in case..
Many previous girlfriends… second red flag
Instead of acknowledging all the flags, I naively thought he loves me too.. until I found out how much time he actually spends with her( full time) and intends to fill the gaps of his free time with me lol chatting, boosting his ego…
Exes,girlfriends/crashes….either you exclusive and working as a team or you both move on….Him entertaining polygamy and you to find a serious guy.
And always stay true to yourself.
I’ve been there, to the point thinking that I should’ve slept with him so he would get serious instead I waited for him to make his mind and decide what to do/ who he wants to be with…but not anymore.
And do stay away from people’s (ladies) pleaser too.
Warning _ it took great amount of heartbreak but at least it isnt wasted life constantly wondering what is he doing behind your back.
I really do love your insight and have found it so helpful.
I have been married twice. Once to a total narcissist for 20 years who totally abused me through gaslighting, etc. and I was left bankrupt and homeless and he even was able to turn my teenage children against me. I have been able to mend my relationships with the kids now that they are adults.
Second marriage was ten years and it was emotionally and verbally abusive.
But I am free and have grown from my mistakes. I know that I am a high value woman and I live my life that way.
Almost ten months ago, I started seeing a wonderful man that I really do love. He checks all the boxes, as does our relationship, according to everything you teach. We work so well together in so many ways. HOWEVER, his divorce is still not final. He told me when we met that he was divorced, as he had been going through it for almost a year and thought it would be over soon. Obviously not. His ex is super manipulative and is controlling the entire legal process. He is from a small town in the south where there is only one judge and things just keep getting put on hold. Meanwhile, he is paying for everything and living out of a small RV, while she lives in their big home. She is trying to take everything from him. I try to get him to be more aggressive and to make his attorney be more aggressive also, but he doesn’t. He just keeps letting her and her attorney control the process, and from the looks of it, it could go on for many more months or another year for that matter.
I am very, very uncomfortable with all of this. I do love him, but at this point, I am ready to tell him to @*#$ or get off the pot, so to speak. Not that I am looking for a commitment from him, I just don’t want to date a married man.
Got any suggestions?
Go with your gut instinct it will NEVER fail you. Reading all the above I believe you know you have already answered your own question. No amount of women telling you what they think you should do will make any difference. Read the Miriad of questions and responses here you are certainly not alone and I speak as one who had been there. You have to decide. The power of choice lies within you and you alone. It’s not easy but it does get so much easier. You deserve so much better you deserve to be happy not torn and anxious. I wish you strength and recovery and a happy future – you CAN do this
I stayed with a man for 32 years within those 32 years I allowed him to cheat on me several times and I kept taking him back then one day my eyes opened and I didn’t want to be here no more so I’ll follow him for divorce and left him he begged me and begged me to come back but three months after her divorce found out he was sick and he died from cancer I feel so guilty
Thanks, Matthew. Your article, really, is an eye-opener.
I have always wanted to be married, be in a loving and healthy relationship. However, I don’t go searching for a guy, it’s seems all the mentally disturbed, abusive, married and womanizing scum attract to me, but I want to understand why can’t I attract a good healthy guy, but the scum attract to me, the broken ones, I don’t want or need them. That’s why I am afraid to love again or look for love, because what seems good, turns into a nightmare. Plus I have 3 kids, 2 are married with kids, and one is not and is finding themselves. My first kid’s dad was abusive both physically and mentally and a cheater for 4 years I was with that creep, my second child I was raped by the sperm doner and the result was my kid, I did not know my attacker well. Then my last child’s dad, I was with for 14.5 years, he was mentally abusive, cheated on me with a gal from my church who was married with kids, but they ended it. He is a narcissistic bipolar weirdo.
I have never been married. Yes, my home life growing up, was not good, I was abused verbally, mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually. I have seen counselors over the years, and I had 2 great one, 1 moved away and 1 retired but the rest were quacks. I am working on loving myself and learning who I am, because I have spent my life doing for others and ignoring and hating myself and now I can’t do that anymore, I deserve better. But how do I do that, self love and self care? How do I discover who I am, I don’t want to defined by my past, I no longer live there. How do I let go of the pain and sins of the past and heal and move on?
You do know what you are talking about. I
Love it and thanks for your wisdom