Are you with the wrong partner? Here's 6 signs to look out for
Before you start congratulating yourself on being happily coupled up this Valentine's Day - don't deny it, those of us who are paired off come February 14th can't help but feel a smug sense of superiority over those poor single people who have to (gasp) spend Valentine's day alone - stop and think for a second. "What could be worse than having nobody on the most romantic day of the year?" you're probably thinking. But hold it right there. Just because you're in a relationship, doesn't necessarily mean that you're happy - or that you're with the right partner. If you're harbouring some doubts about your less-than-perfect partnership, we've got 6 signs to look out for that could indicate you're with the wrong person. Just don't be the dick who breaks up with somebody on Valentine's Day, promise?
#1. Your partner doesn't show empathy or compassion - you feel they don't accept you
It's one thing to inspire positive change in your partner and motivate them to achieve their goals, but if your other half is overly critical or you find you can't be yourself around him or her, this is a huge red flag. Lacking empathy should be viewed with caution - somebody who loves you always has your best interests at heart, so when you've had a bad day, they'll want to hug you and make it better, not tell you you're overreacting and storm off for a night out with their mates. Lack of empathy is a sign of narcissism - not a desirable quality in a partner!
#2. You're not feeling the 'spark' of attraction
So you two have heaps in common - you laugh at each other's jokes, love all the same films and both have an unhealthy addiction to Thai food (hey, us too!) - and that's great! But if there's no chemistry, it's sad to say but it's unlikely this will work out. If you don't feel a physical attraction to the person you're dating within the first 6 months, it's highly unlikely that a spark will develop. It might be best to admit it - you two are more like best friends than lovers. Breaking up is going to suck; but you can still be friends!
#3. They always have to be right - and they have to win, no matter what
There's a difference between actually being right, some of the time, and always thinking you're right and that your views are the only ones which matter. Somebody who always has to win is not open to learning - about themselves, life, or you - or to admitting when they've made a mistake, which doesn't bode well for your relationship. In a healthy relationship, communication is so important - you both need to respect each other's views and opinions, and accept that you may not always be right (we know it's hard!). Trusting your partner means relinquishing some of the control for once and compromising.
#4. You don't have any common interests
He loves football, the pub with his mates and hitting the gym, whilst you're a tee-total, photography-loving theatre fan. Can your relationship work? Well, if it's going to be about anything more than just casual sex, it's important that you can find things you like to do together - outside of the bedroom. You don't need to be joined at the hip, in fact having separate interests can make your life as a couple more exciting, but if there's nothing the two of you like to do together, it's unlikely that your relationship will go the distance.
#5. You don't share the same values
Whilst it's true that you could end up happily married to somebody of a different religion or a person with differing political views to your own, it's up to you to decide which values matter the most to you. Sharing core values is important for a healthy relationship - for example, how you want to bring up your children, your spending habits, and your work ethic are all thing that you should (generally) agree on. Dating somebody who is perpetually late, when you're obsessively punctual, or seeing somebody whose flat is a tip when you're a compulsively organised neat-freak is probably not going to lead to wedded bliss. Life is definitely easier when you share the same values.
#6. They're not open to learning
Being in a healthy, committed, loving relationship means being open to learning about yourself, and others. Looking at how your partner handles conflict can tell you a lot about them as a person and how open they are. Many people appear affectionate and loving on the surface, but don't handle conflict well, becoming stubborn, angry or even violent when arguments happen - or they may lean in the opposite direction and become emotional and withdrawn. If your partner takes out their anger on you with emotional or physical abuse, you already know what we're going to say. Get out of the relationship; this isn't the right partner for you. You should never feel afraid to discuss anything with your partner, from the trivial to the serious - and if you feel like you're walking on eggshells constantly for fear of upsetting them or making them angry, bear in mind that's not a healthy way to live your life.
Remember that if you feel like you're with the wrong partner, even if you're married, there is nothing to stop you making a clean break and moving on with your life. Just because it's Valentine's weekend, doesn't mean you should ignore your relationship problems and pretend everything is fine!