12 signs a potential partner isn’t good for you, according to psychology

Having a good and reliable partner means having someone who’s there for you through thick and thin.

Ideally, you should share common ground, dreams, and values, making the journey together feel more meaningful.

That’s why it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff when you’re dating. You need to find a partner who’s good for you. 

So, let’s see what signs show your potential partner isn’t good for you, according to psychology.

1) They constantly criticize you or put you down

Research highlights the damaging effects of criticism on self-esteem and relationship satisfaction.

If you have a partner who tells you you’re wrong or lacking all the time, they’ll quickly erode your self-confidence, and you’ll develop resentment towards them.

I once dated someone who constantly criticized everything I did. It felt like I couldn’t do anything right, and it really took a toll on my self-esteem. 

No one should have to constantly feel like they’re not good enough for their partner.

2) They try to manipulate you

Psychology identifies manipulation as a form of control that can undermine trust and create power imbalances in relationships.

Manipulation can be subtle, but it’s incredibly damaging. Whether it’s guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or playing mind games, being with someone who tries to manipulate you can erode your sense of self and make you confused and insecure.

Just imagine you confront your partner about something they did that hurt you, and they respond by denying it ever happened or accusing you of being too sensitive.

Or they ignore you or give you the cold shoulder until you apologize or give in to their demands, creating a power imbalance where they hold the emotional upper hand.

3) They’re unreliable or inconsistent

Psychologists also stress the importance of reliability and consistency in relationships. I mean, that’s just common sense, right? 

You want a partner you can count on because dealing with someone unreliable is frustrating and exhausting. 

From constantly canceling plans and showing up late to breaking promises, it’s hard to trust and feel secure in the relationship when you can’t rely on your companion.

And let me tell you, reliability is important in all types of relationships, not just romantic ones. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like dealing with unreliable friends, family members, or colleagues. 

4) They don’t respect your boundaries

I’ve been in relationships where my partner didn’t seem to understand or respect my boundaries. 

Whether it was invading my personal space or pressuring me into doing things I wasn’t comfortable with, it always ended up causing tension and discomfort.

I often found myself feeling suffocated and unable to express my needs without fear of upsetting my partner. 

For instance, if I wanted alone time to recharge, they’d insist on being constantly together, ignoring my need for space.

It took a while, but I realized that having boundaries is super important in any relationship. 

After all, we all need our own space and comfort zones, and a good partner gets that without making you feel guilty about it.

5) They’re emotionally unavailable or distant

Emotional availability is yet another thing psychologists say is crucial for intimacy and connection in relationships. 

One of the toughest things I’ve dealt with is being with someone emotionally unavailable. It felt like hitting a wall every time I tried to connect on a deeper level, and it made me feel lonely and misunderstood.

You start feeling like you’re in a one-sided relationship and that they’re just a placeholder or an ornament in the relationship. 

6) They lack empathy or compassion

In a past relationship, I also noticed a lack of empathy from my partner towards others. She’d make these snide remarks about people or brush off their problems like they didn’t matter at all. All she could think of was Numero Uno—herself.  

Needless to say, It made me wonder if she could ever really understand what other people were going through. And that was, honestly, keeping me awake at night. 

It’s not the kind of vibe you want in a relationship, right?

7) They have a history of unhealthy relationships

feel trapped in a relationship 12 signs a potential partner isn’t good for you, according to psychology

Look, I never liked digging around any of my partners’ pasts. There’s just nothing good that can come out of it.

However, psychologists are all about recognizing patterns, especially when it comes to unhealthy relationships. They’ve seen it all and know that certain behaviors can spell trouble down the road. 

That’s why discovering that a potential partner has a history of unhealthy relationships can be a major red flag. It suggests patterns of behavior that aren’t helping to a healthy, long-term relationship.

8) They don’t take responsibility for their actions

Being with someone who constantly deflects blame and refuses to take responsibility for their actions is yet another frustrating thing that’s detrimental to the relationship’s health. 

It often results in unresolved conflicts and a lack of accountability.

Instead of working through issues together and finding solutions, you’re stuck in this loop of blame-shifting and finger-pointing.

Without that accountability, there’s no trust or sense of security. It’s just not a healthy or sustainable way to be in a relationship.

9) They show signs of narcissism or egocentrism

Psychologists identify narcissism as a personality trait marked by grandiosity, entitlement, and a lack of compassion. Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be emotionally draining and damaging.

I dated someone who always needed to be the center of attention, whether we were at a party or just hanging out with friends. 

It was as if they couldn’t stand not being in the spotlight, and if the attention shifted away from them, they’d find a way to redirect it back to themselves.

No matter how much praise or validation I gave them, it was never enough. They always needed more.

10) They have addictive behaviors or substance abuse issues

Needless to say, substance abuse or other addictive behaviors can significantly impact a relationship.

I’ve been in a relationship where substance abuse was a big issue, and let me tell you, it really took a toll on us. 

My partner struggled with alcohol addiction, and I could never know when the next drinking binge would happen or what kind of mood she’d be in.

It wasn’t just about the alcohol itself. It was the trust issues that came with it. I never knew if I could rely on her to be there for me when I needed her or if she’d be too drunk to even remember our conversations.

11) They’re too jealous or suspicious without reason

And then we have jealousy. While a little jealousy is expected in any relationship, undue jealousy is (too) often a warning sign of deeper insecurities and trust issues. 

Constant suspicion and accusations without valid reasons quickly deteriorate trust and breed resentment.

In some of my relationships, jealousy was a big issue. It’s like no matter what I did or said, my partner always seemed to think I was up to something. 

They’d constantly question me about where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing, even when there was no reason for them to be suspicious.

It was exhausting trying to reassure them and prove my loyalty over and over again. And even when I did, it never seemed to be enough to ease their doubts. 

It felt like they were always looking for reasons to be jealous or suspicious, even when everything was fine between us.

12) They refuse to compromise or collaborate

Relationships are a two-way street. They require both partners to be willing to compromise and work together to find solutions that benefit the relationship as a whole. 

If one person consistently refuses to compromise or prioritize the needs of the relationship, it’s a surefire way to imbalance and resentment over time.

It creates an unhealthy dynamic where one person’s needs always come before the other’s.

Final thoughts

Dating is often referred to as a minefield. And although dating is far, far in my past, I still vividly remember all the different partners I had. 

As you can see, there are many signs showing that a partner isn’t a good fit for you. If you want to find out what signs show you are compatible, read this article

And for signs you’ve found the right person, go here

Picture of Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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