Love is a journey. But like many road trips, it sometimes takes us down paths marked "Dead End." Some relationships are toxic to your self-growth and happiness. Other relationships simply won't grow into a long-term connection due to significant personality differences. If you notice the warning signs, have the courage to look closer and potentially bring the relationship to a close.
See the Warning Signs
During the first few weeks or months of flirting and dating, the excitement of new love can blind you to character traits in your significant other, warns Susan Heitler, a clinical psychologist, writing for Psychology Today. As time progresses, warning signs should alert you to traits in your romantic partner that point to long-term relationship problems. For example, chronic anger, malicious narcissism, excessive controlling behavior and similar personality problems may signal that your relationship is not headed down a positive path.
Get Off the Seesaw
A relationship that feels like a roller coaster — progressing to great highs one day, then falling back into depths the next — is going nowhere, despite how much you think you've progressed. For example, some couples break up and get back together constantly. Relationship counselor Bonnie Kaye tells Happen magazine that couple breakups may be acceptable in a healthy, growing relationship, but after the third breakup, it is time to end the dead-end connection.
The Label Says "Toxic"
Sometimes, people date toxic individuals. Ask yourself how your romantic partner makes you feel on a long-term basis. Toxic individuals hold onto anger and resentment, instantly attack whenever there's a conflict, keep score and chronically point out your faults. These types of relationships create toxic energy that can bring your self-growth and happiness to a screeching halt and leave you feeling that you are always at fault. If the relationship is going anywhere, it's downhill.
Your Gameplans Differ
Everyone has different priorities and goals. That is what makes many relationships so exciting. But problems arise when you and your significant other have priorities or goals that actually pull you apart and have no overlap. It could be as simple as geographic preferences — you love the city you're living in, but your partner has a nonnegotiable plan to move to Europe. It could be that you both have strong passions for different political ideologies. Such differences are not necessarily deal breakers, but require both of you to commit to making each other a priority. If your different goals and priorities remain your chief focus -- with the romantic connection secondary -- this relationship will go nowhere.
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Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.