Have you ever felt frustrated or unsatisfied with someone you’re in a relationship with?
Perhaps it’s normal to feel discontent with your partner from time to time, because, let’s face it, no one’s perfect.
But if you’ve ever felt like your partner is stringing you along, isn’t putting in the same effort as you, going hot and cold, or making you feel taken for granted, maybe it’s worth thinking about trading up.
Read on to spot 10 signs you can do better than your current partner.
1) They don’t prioritize you
Let me tell you a true story. Once, I attended an 18th birthday party. As reaching 18 years old is a highly celebrated occasion (particularly where I’m from), the celebrator threw an elegant fete.
It was a special day for her, because it was the day she could finally become “official” with her boyfriend, before all her family and friends.
He was sat beside her in the center of the function hall, as though they were a newly married couple, instead of an escort to the beautiful birthday girl.
At the end of the night, when all her guests were dancing, he was asked by his friends to leave the party to go with them to a club instead…not to mention he never even got her a gift, not even a small one.
There are other ways to recognize when you’re not being valued, such as:
- Your plans with them are cancellable
- They break their promises to you
- It doesn’t bother them when you fight
There are many other examples, but the bottom line is —
When your person chooses other things and other people over you–especially when it matters most–you can bet it’s a sign you can do better than your current partner.
2) They don’t have plans for the future
Unpopular opinion or not, your partner’s plans for the future do say something about what kind of person they are.
Does your S.O. have a job? Being gainfully employed? Do they ever tell you about what they want their life to look like five years from now? Ten years from now? More to the point, are you in it?
When they don’t think about taking the next steps in the relationship, it’s a fairly sure sign you can do better than your current partner.
Don’t waste your time with someone you can’t build a life with.
3) They don’t get along with your friends and family
When you’re young, it’s not unheard of to rebel against your family through whoever you’re dating.
But when you’re in a serious relationship, you need your people’s seal of approval. Why? Because when your friends and family say that you deserve better, nine times out of 10, they’re right.
“If nobody in the community supports your relationship, that’s a red flag,” says New York-based relationship coach Lindsay Chrisler.
4) They push you away when things get real
One of the signs you can do better than your current partner is when they push you away whenever serious issues arise.
When the going gets tough, they get going. It can be something as normal as an argument between you two, a misunderstanding, a case of jealousy…it could be anything.
Just to drive the point further, let me use a movie. In Fifty Shades Freed, Ana tells Christian she is pregnant.
His immediate reaction is that of anger and disappointment, to the point of getting drunk and running off to his ex-mistress, “Mrs. Robinson”.
Understandably, Ana gets upset. I mean, wouldn’t you?
Among the signs you can do better than your current partner is when they constantly confide in others about your relationship, with no intention of patching up things with you.
Another is when topics of marriage, moving in together, or anything high-commitment come up, they become distant or make jokes, which show they don’t take it seriously.
5)They show signs of toxic relationship behavior
They send you flowers or gifts even on an ordinary day. They shower you with endless compliments and they make big proclamations of love for you.
They always talk about their future with you very early on.
This continuous volleying of expressions of love is usually followed by toxic behavior. They might try to control you, demand more of your time, and turn on you when you make plans without them.
You might also be a victim of gaslighting, another manipulation tactic where someone tricks you into thinking that what you believe happened didn’t really happen.
You’ll hear things like, “You’re being crazy”, “I don’t know what you’re talking about”, or “I’m sorry you feel that way” (as opposed to “I’m sorry I made you feel that way”).
What may look like a difference in views is actually the abuser gaining the advantage by making the victim become unsure of their thoughts and feelings.
6) They take you for granted
A relationship is a two-way street. Being taken for granted is definitely a sign you can do better than your current partner.
According to work/life expert and author of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction, Samantha Ettus, being taken for granted is when your partner expects you to be there for them, but shows no gratitude or appreciation.
In this two-way street, there’s a taker and a giver—and you’re the latter. Your partner, the taker, puts their own interests before anyone else’s including yours.
They can make efforts, but these take very little to do. You’re the MVP in this relationship.
7) You’re just staying with them for the sake of the relationship
Sometimes, bad behavior isn’t what causes a relationship to fizzle out.
Cliche as it sounds, maybe the spark just isn’t there. Perhaps you’ve outgrown them; maybe you’ve become bored.
And yet, you can’t move on.
You’ve been together forever, your families know one another and you have all the same friends, and the idea of starting fresh all over again makes you tired.
It would be a waste to just throw it all away, wouldn’t it?
This is called the “sunk-cost effect”, in which you have invested so much in one option–-in this case, your partner–even if it’s what’s best for you.
Assistant professor Christopher Oliviola at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, said: “The sunk cost effect is the general tendency for people to continue an endeavor, or continue consuming or pursuing an option, if they’ve invested time or money or some resource in it.”
It becomes a fallacy only when you’re left unhappy or shortchanged.
Oliviola said it best: “The longer you’ve been together, the harder it is to break up.”
8) You’re scared of “scaring off” your partner
You don’t need to be a genius to know that communication is essential in any relationship.
But when telling your partner your needs, innermost feelings, and thoughts, makes you hesitant, when you feel like it’s going to make them pull away, it’s a sign something’s not right.
It’s one of the clearest signs you can do better than your current partner.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you need and want. Don’t make “S.O.” stand for “scared off.”
9) They are verbally or physically abusive towards you
Physical, emotional, or verbal abuse is a blindingly red flag, if there ever was one.
You think this was a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. Some women still stay with their partners despite ongoing abuse.
A survey conducted by the US National Institute of Mental Health revealed that more than half of the women with abusive partners still found them “dependable” and “affectionate”.
If you are experiencing any form of abuse, I encourage you to seek help immediately.
10) You’re changing yourself for them
This last point comes from my own experience.
A few months before I met my husband, I was dating a guy a few years older than me.
He was funny, he was quirky, and I looked up to him because he seemed to know what he wanted out of life. He would get up early and hustle every day, whether at his interior design job or corporate training gig.
Meanwhile, I was in a rough place. I was living in an apartment away from home, with no stable job.
My then-boyfriend would note disapprovingly that I woke up close to noon, and did not have any concrete plans for the day.
I began to wake up each day filled with dread at being scolded by my partner.
There’s a difference between inspiring and motivating and shaming. My partner did the latter.
He would also make unkind remarks about my appearance, so much so that at one instance, I would ask him what I should wear to an event, and he answered: “Wear something I’d respect you in.”
Such was his critique of me that he even paid to have me change the color of my hair.
I should have known at the first signs that I was being disrespected and that I was changing who I was for them. And if that’s not one of the signs you can do better than your current partner, I don’t know what is.
The bottom line
Good relationships are built on mutual respect, communication, and a lot of hard work. However, hard work doesn’t necessarily entail pain and suffering.
It’s important that you know what you want in a life partner, and when enough is enough.
If you feel you can do better, chances are you really can.