Sometimes it’s pretty obvious when you’re in a failing relationship – arguing constantly over the smallest things, for one, is never a good sign. Other times, though, it’s not so easy to spot. But if your significant other says she loves you way too fast, or she guards her phone with her life, then it might be time to worry. And if she exhibits any other of the following traits, then a heartfelt conversation could very well be in order, too.
20. You can’t predict her behavior
Is she planning elaborate vacations for the two of you one week, then seemingly doing everything she can to avoid you the next? Well, according to California-based marriage and family counselor Kurt Smith, that could be cause for concern. In fact, this kind of unpredictable and erratic behavior is a potential sign that she might not return your affections any longer.
19. She blames you for all of the relationship’s problems
You may have been scratching your head for a while, wondering how your partner manages to throw all your legitimate concerns about your life together right back at you. If your loved one somehow manages to find a way to blame you for absolutely everything, however, it might be time to look for a new, more healthy relationship. Plus, as Kurt Smith has noted, this way of behaving may be a clear indication that she wants to break up.
18. She’s always criticizing you
If she’s always ragging on your clothes, your work, your jokes or anything else under the sun, it could be time to get out of there. That’s according to University of Washington psychology professor John Gottman, who in his study of over 2,000 couples found four distinct things that will kill a relationship – his so-called “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” And you guessed it – criticism is one of them.
17. You’re the only one who’s working on the relationship
If she upsets or angers you on a regular basis but just downright refuses to change or adapt, perhaps you ought to cut her loose – if at least for your own sanity. And Kurt Smith has also suggested that if she’s completely unwilling to compromise or sort out problems, she may not be in love anymore.
16. She’s always bragging about your ‘happy’ relationship on Facebook
If you’re a human with a Facebook account, your feed is probably full of people humblebragging about their shiny, happy relationships. And if your girlfriend’s doing the same, it might be a reason to worry. After all, a 2014 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that these posts are often made by people trying to convince themselves that they’re in a loving partnership. It could be, though, that she just genuinely wants to tell the world how great you two are together, so don’t fret too much.
15. She’s a little too close to that coworker
As Jayson L. Dibble and Michelle Drouin’s delightfully named 2014 paper “Using Modern Technology to Keep in Touch with Back Burners” states, “People use computers to keep romantic prospects waiting in the wings.” So if your girl is sending flirty DMs to a guy at her work, that may be a major warning sign that she’s lining him up as a potential next boyfriend. Still, of course, it rather depends on exactly how flirty those messages are…
14. You always argue via WhatsApp
You know how it goes: an innocent WhatsApp chat suddenly leads to a passive-aggressive message about who didn’t do the dishes, and that in turn rapidly spirals into a full-blown argument. However, if that’s your chosen channel to fight, it may be more significant than you think. 2013 research from Brigham Young University, for example, discovered that pairs who bicker over text aren’t as content together as couples who sort out situations IRL.
13. You hardly ever have a serious argument
Then again, maybe you’re with a woman who never argues with you – like, ever. Sound good? Well, it isn’t necessarily the case – and science says so. Indeed, analysis carried out by a team at Florida State University concluded that it’s better to be “angry but honest” in your partnership. If there’s loads of stuff going unsaid, then, she could be filing it all away for the day she wants out.
12. She’s always talking about her divorced friends
So apparently if you’ve got divorced buddies, you’re way more likely to get divorced. Thanks for that super-bleak little tidbit, science. And that’s coming from Brown University’s Rose McDermott and her research colleagues, who looked at 30 years’ worth of data on marriage and divorce and in 2009 came to the alarming conclusion that divorce is totally contagious.
11. She always puts the kids before you
Are your selfish little rugrats taking up all her time with their soccer practices, swim meets and general need for food? Well, marriage therapist Andrew G. Marshall has suggested that if she’s spending literally all her energy on them all the time, and with none left over for you, it could be a sign she doesn’t want you. Or you know, that she’s just a good mom.
10. She doesn’t like hanging out with your friends
Is she making excuses not to go to your mom’s for lunch? Or suddenly remembering a work thing when it’s time to meet your buddies for beers? If she doesn’t enjoy hanging out with your friends and fam, it might be a sign that your relationship’s on the wain – at least, according to divorce counselor Terry Gaspard. But it’s worth talking it out at least to hear why.
9. She’s always talking about her ex
Do you feel like you know her ex-boyfriend better than you know your own brother at this point? Bringing him up in conversation constantly – and especially when it comes to comparisons between him and you – could be a sign she’s actually not over him. And if that turns out to be the case, then your relationship’s days may be numbered.
8. She says “I love you” way too fast
If she lays her cards out on the table quickly, it may be a good sign. On the other hand, telling you she loves you so soon may mean that she just wants to rush through the relationship at warp speed. And when you’ve actually really got to know each other, she might just have changed her mind.
7. She guards her phone with her life
If she protects her phone like a national security secret, you know something’s got to be up. And it may not be a good something, either. Take it from Psychology Today contributor Jen Kim, who has said that if your girlfriend’s hiding her cell, “[she’s] hiding something sketchy.” Probably best to confront her about it and not go snooping, mind.
6. She only shows you she loves you on Valentine’s Day
Back to the helpful but slightly depressing tips from marriage counselor Kurt Smith for this one. He’s said that if your girl’s really only showing you affection on occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day, then something could be wrong. If she really loved you, you’d know it through little run-of-the-mill gestures.
5. She picks fights about nothing
Does she fly off the handle if you don’t put your clothes away? Or start a massive fight if you forget to put the trash out? Blowing things way out of proportion, and starting big arguments about really small stuff, could be an ominous sign – after all, why would she bother if she actually wants to keep hold of the relationship?
4. You always take second place to her career and hobbies
Naturally, in a healthy, supportive relationship you should both make time for each other’s interests. You might even spend some time apart doing them. But if there’s literally never any time for you in the equation after the nine to five and her seemingly inexhaustible array of beginners’ classes, it might be time to have a serious discussion about your future together.
3. She’s super-defensive
Being constantly defensive is another one of John Gotmann’s “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” – in relationship terms, that is. So if she’s always grumbling, never taking responsibility and constantly jumping to her own defense, it could be curtains for the two of you unless you iron things out.
2. She stonewalls you
The third of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” meanwhile, is stonewalling. If she completely closes up when you try to talk about things, it could be a sign that your relationship is in trouble. And if she blanks you totally if difficult topics are being brought up, then perhaps she’s not worth the frustration that brings.
1. You’ve become a victim of the “pursuer-distancer pattern”
If you find yourself always chasing your girl and she’s avoiding you, that’s a really bad sign – although you probably don’t need science to tell you that. It’s what Terry Gaspard has called the “pursuer-distancer pattern,” and it’s been the cause of many a relationship’s downfall.