As of March this year, my days of heartbreak are over.
I may have dated guys since Train Guy #4 but not one has left me devastated – I knew they weren’t keepers. Not everyone I date has to have husband potential (so few do) BUT if I am going to date someone, even for a little bit, I want them to be fun and to feel good about myself when I’m around them.
Despite these seemingly basic prerequisites, there have been so many times when I have stayed in a relationship that blatantly wasn’t working. I made excuses:
I’m not entirely sure things aren’t working! They might work! Give it a bit more time!
If you’re seeing someone at the moment and you don’t know if you should still be seeing them next week, here are some clear signs that you should break up and move on:
1. You can’t understand each other (literally)
There is constant confusion between you. Ongoing need to clarify what one of you meant. It’s not that either of you are bad communicators (although I am a professional communicator so you form your own conclusions…), it’s that you’re speaking two different languages. This can take the form of:
Sorry not sorry to be a total snob here. But when you have to constantly modify your language to ensure your date knows what you are saying, it’s a drainer.
When neither of you can muster more than a mild ‘haha’ at each other’s jokes, get out now.
You don’t get where they were “coming from” with certain behaviour. Or maybe you do get it, but you really don’t like it. Call it a lack of compatibility or a lack of empathy – either way they are not your person.
2. You have different core beliefs
I believe women are as capable as men. When a guy feels a need to tell me that “You drive really good… for a girl” it’s not a great sign. But when we discuss this and I point out that I just drive well for a human – gender irrelevant* – and he still insists on injecting casual sexism into all his comments, I know we are irrevocably different.
3. You don’t know if they like you
Majority of people make it pretty apparent when they like you. I don’t date shy guys but I hear that even they will do some of the following:
Remember details from your conversations. Like, I don’t know, your job. Or your favourite chocolate.
Want to spend time with you and make it happen, regardless of busy schedules
Call/text regularly. Because you’re on their mind.
Find excuses to touch you/ are physically affectionate
TELL you that they like you!
Be on their best behaviour (they brush their teeth before they meet up with you, they ask you if you want the booth seat, hold the door open for you etc)
Want to know more about you. Statements frequently end with, “What about you?”
Similarly, they want to hear about the subjects you’re interested in, purely because you’re interested in them
They do not call you “mate”, “dude”, “bud” or any other completely platonic nickname
If you’re left feeling unsure about someone’s feelings after every interaction, then you have your answer: They don’t like you that much! As my brilliant friend said, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” You deserve a hell yes.
4. Conversation is awkward or silent
Six months in to a relationship, you might have long comfortable silences. But if you’re on the first few dates and you’ve already run out of conversation… keep running. Discussion flows when you’re with the right person. You don’t have to keep brainstorming potential topics. You don’t have to go into great detail about the food you are eating or the weather. It just works.
In some circumstances, both parties will put in equal effort, yet you will both still struggle to maintain a basic conversation. This is likely because you do not have enough in common, both in terms of interests and personality. Like attracts like. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
5. You can’t be yourself
If you feel like you need to amp it up or tone it down, instead of just being yourself, you’re probably with the wrong person. Trying hard not to be yourself is exhausting. And so stupid. Someone is going to love you immensely for you just being you. Hold out for that person.
I am a very positive and enthusiastic person. When I meet people like me, I can bounce off them. I feel alive and happy. Being with the wrong person saps my energy levels and my self-esteem. I start questioning my behaviour. Compromising on my values.
In my defence, it’s hard not to!
When I really like someone, I want to chameleon my way into their heart. They’re vegetarian? I can be vegetarian! They like Game of Thrones? I’ll watch Game of Thrones!
Unfortunately, changing who you are is both unsustainable and ineffective. People respect authenticity. If you’re not a match, allow each other the freedom to find the people that are.
6. You’re looking for something better
When you find someone deeply interesting and attractive and they feel likewise, everyone else starts to look a bit… bleh.
Similarly, when you subconsciously know that your relationship has an expiry date, you can’t help contemplating every single human that enters the bar. They could be your future soul mate. Because it’s sure as hell not the guy sitting across from you.
If nearly every other person you encounter seems way more interesting and attractive than the person you are dating… you know what I’m going to say. Do it.
(On occasion, people develop a “grass is greener” mentality, even when their own grass is great. If you’re not sure if you have a keeper, see points 1-5).
7. You just know
You mightn’t be able to articulate exactly what it is about someone that frustrates or irritates you so much. But the relationship isn’t working and you know it. Don’t let fear of being alone prevent you from making a hasty exit. Firstly, you are closed off to new opportunities while you’re on the couch with Mr. Totally Wrong. And also, being alone is a great time to focus on the things you love, to up your self-development and…
Basically read my Loneliness post here. I spent a minute on it.
When you know, you really do know. And in my experience (echoed by a lot of friends), you tend to know pretty quickly. The first date is good, the second date is better. You’re thinking about them, you want to spend time with them, when you see something random you want to text them about it.
Don’t prolong the inevitable. Even short-term, it’s bad for the soul. Be on your merry way.
What’s a clear sign for you that it’s over? Let me know in the comments below
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