Relationships are hard work—especially once honeymoon period is over.
Both parties know that balancing the responsibilities in a relationship isn’t exactly 50-50. You give more on the good days and take more on the bad. While loving someone shouldn’t be a game of petty calculations, sometimes, you can’t help but wonder if your relationship dynamic is balanced.
When there are feelings involved, it can be difficult to see the situation clearly and set boundaries firmly. But how can you tell if your relationship is skewing to the side? For those unsure, here are 6 signs that might help put things into perspective.
1. They get disappointed by idealistic perceptions of love
They’re charming, romantic, and view love as an all-consuming fiery passion. As the relationship progressed, everything felt natural and in place. Within a month, they proclaimed you as ‘The One’, complete with a cheesy photo on Instagram.
But as time went by, fights inevitably happened. Though both of you always kissed and made up, every fight scratched at the rose-coloured glasses they used to look at you. For them, fighting meant incompatibility. Fighting meant that their partner had ‘changed’.
Their perception of love, based on lust and infatuation, was modelled after the movies. By comparing relationships and setting unrealistic expectations of how a partner should be, it bred disillusionment and discontentment.
While you believed that loving someone meant settling into a warm comfort, they believed that a ‘cooling’ relationship meant falling out of love. You realised they didn’t love you, they only loved who they wanted you to be.
2. When there’s a lack of mutual respect
Maybe you’ve always known that while your partner is a sweet person, they have a temper hotter than chilli padi. Most of the time, they’re a joy to be around, but their occasional flare ups are toxic and destructive.
When you try to bring this up, they’d counter with how you’re supposed to love them for who they are. Their anger issues make them, them, and if you cannot accept that, do you truly, wholly love them?
What they don’t realise is that while it’s normal to get angry, it’s not okay to vent your frustrations on someone else. Being in a relationship is to accept and love your partner’s flaws, but that’s no excuse for bad behaviour.
To expect your partner to deal with your emotional baggage, and to be the emotional anchor of the relationship, reveals a lack of mutual respect. It’s not right for them to expect you to be patient and kind when they get into one of their moods, but get irritable when you lose your cool. They create a dynamic where they expect you to let them get away with bad behaviour. Either way, you just can’t win.
3. They always siam the ‘BTO talk’
You’ve been dating someone who claims that they like to ‘live in the moment’, and is ‘spontaneous’. They probably have a ton of travelling pictures captioned #wanderlust. You were probably won over by their ‘zest for life’, and how they made you feel that they could whisk you along for adventures.
Fast-forward a few years. You’ve been on some amazing trips with them, and they’ve helped you grow so much as a person. But when you bring up applying for a BTO together, they give you indefinite replies and say that they’re “not willing to settle down just yet”.
Despite much trying and compromise, the fact that you want to marry and have kids doesn’t suit their want for a more nomadic lifestyle. Eventually, they go: “babe, I think it’s not working out, it’s me, not you”.
4. Your friends warn you about them
You ignore the red flags because you see the potential in them. You believe that with time and some tender loving care, their goodness will emerge, and they’d blossom into who they’re truly meant to be.
You excuse their bad behaviour as ‘mistakes’, and not a reflection of themselves. Despite your best friends telling you to walk away, you find yourself shrugging them off. After all, no one knows them like you do.
In your heart, you know that there’s an off-chance that you might be wrong, that you might be denying the truth. Still, you don’t give up on them. Maybe you’re afraid of being alone, or maybe you feel a responsibility toward them. Whatever it is, we sometimes choose to ignore what is inherently wrong in our relationships, as we let our emotions blindside us.
While we should never let outsiders dictate our lives, it’s good to take a step back to look at our relationships. Looking from the outside in may just be the perspective to help us see our relationships more clearly.
5. They bail on you at the last minute
Even when you’re already halfway out to Orchard Road, they can bail on you at the last minute. They’ll excuse themselves with an “OMG b, I’m so sorry but something cropped up last minute. Another time k? 🙂 love you”, and expect you to be fine with it.
Because you’re nice and not a complete dick, you’d usually suck it up with, “It’s okay, another time then <3”. But it’s not okay. It feels like they don’t value or respect your time.
They don’t see how you’ve turned down your friends, or re-arranged plans with your family, just so that you could hang out. They don’t see how you’ve worked extra hard during the week to free your workload so that your weekend is clear for them.
Maybe they see you as such an integral part of their lives, that they assume there’ll always be a next time. Or they may take for granted that because they’d do the same for you, you’d do the same for them. Whatever it is, they don’t see the effort that you’ve put in for them.
6. You get ‘blue ticked’ constantly
When the relationship was new, your phone was constantly buzzing with messages. But lately, you’ve started to notice a pattern. If you don’t text them first, both of you wouldn’t text the entire day. They’d ‘blue tick’ you on Whatsapp, sometimes forgetting to reply.
You’d open up your chat conversation, only to see their Whatsapp status flickering between ‘online’ and ‘last seen’. You know they’re talking to someone else, and it’s not you. You’re not their go-to person anymore when something’s happened in their lives.
You’ve mentioned that you feel ignored by them, and while they’ve tried to reply more frequently, their replies are curt. You can tell they’re not engaged in the conversation, replying for the sake of replying. More than once, they’ve responded with a one-liner to your multiple texts. It feels like you’re the only one trying to keep the conversation, and relationship, alive. You can’t help but feel, maybe you’re not so important to him anymore.
Knowing When To Leave
It can be difficult to get out of relationships that don’t make us happy. We tend to always hope for the best, and that our partners will change for the better.
But if the guy/girl you’re dating refuses to put in work despite claiming that he/she loves you, perhaps a puppy might be a better investment. Be brave, do the right thing, and set yourself free.