Having doubts in a relationship is not unusual – how can you ever be completely certain you’re with the right person?
If you believe in monogamy and being with one person for life, it can be hard to be 100 per cent certain you’ve found “the one.”
But if it’s hard to know someone is right for you, there are ways to work out if someone is wrong, according to Professor Berit Brogaard from the University of Miami.
No one can give you a definitive answer when it comes to your partner, but there are warning signs you sometimes don’t see when in the relationship yourself.
So if you’re unsure whether it’s time to move on or not, take a step back and try and assess your relationship from the perspective of an outsider.
Here are the five signs your partner may not be right for you:
1. You have different core values
Core values are your non-negotiables. It could be a desire to have children, get married or move to Paris, but if it’s something you definitely want to do and won’t change your mind about, you’re heading for trouble if your partner doesn’t feel the same.
Prof Brogaard points out that it is possible for you to change your core values. But, she says, “changes of this kind shouldn’t be the result of pressure or suggestions from a romantic partner. They should be the result of personal growth.”
2. They take you for granted
If your partner calls all the shots in your relationship, it’s not well-balanced. And according to a 2013 study, the point when the average couple starts taking each other for granted is three years and six months into their marriage.
Does he or she always decide what you’re having for dinner, which film you watch and how you spend your Saturday nights without even asking you? That could be cause for concern, according to Brogaard.
Your partner is taking your submissive behaviour for granted, which is a red flag.
3. They don’t respect you
Relationships call for mutual respect between equals. But lack of respect can manifest itself in various ways, including verbal or emotional abuse, and being passive-aggressive.
Brogaard says these can be so subtle they’re hard to notice, but other ways are more blatant, such as outright calling you derogatory names, making you feel bad about your appearance and never apologising. Often these are ways to maintain control over a partner.
According to psychologist Dr Peter Gray, love alone in a relationship is not enough – there must be respect too.
4. They don’t care about your emotional or sexual needs
If your partner expects you to drop everything and compromise to suit him or her, they’re not giving any thought to your own needs.
“If you think really hard about it, you may come to the conclusion that you can count on one hand the number of times he has given your needs even a single thought or the number of times he has understood your needs and actually satisfied them (however minuscule they have been),” Brogaard says.
5. They take, rather than give, care
This is one you often don’t realise for a while but once it hits you, you won’t be able to forget it. You may be constantly thinking about your partner, what they’re up to and how they’re feeling, but do they ever express any interest in your welfare?
If your relationship has descended into this balance, it probably resembles more parent-child than romantic partners, where one person is the care-giver and the other is the care-taker. And that’s not the right basis for a relationship.