Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and whether you’re celebrating with friends or a significant other, this day is all about love. However, not all relationships are quite loving, and it can be difficult to determine when to walk away. Sometimes, no matter how much your loved ones care about you, they may not always express it in healthy ways. February is also Teen Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in a month that cherishes love, it’s important to ensure that you are receiving the love you deserve.
So, when exactly should you walk away from a friendship or relationship? It’s a good idea to end the relationship when you have experienced one or more of the following:
1. They are hot and cold with you.
One minute they’re happy, the next they’re furious. One moment they’re lavishing praise on you, and the next they’re calling you dumb, childish, or horrid. It’s one thing to get upset, or not like everything about your partner, but it’s another to turn on them for seemingly no reason. Consistency is key.
2. They don’t try to communicate with you.
Communication is more than just talking every day; it’s actually addressing the things that matter without skirting around them. If they avoid discussing something that you really want to talk about (like beliefs, behaviors, etc.), and it’s not for a valid reason, then this is not a good sign. This behavior is even more objectionable when they don’t bother communicating with you, but they relay all the details of your relationship and conflicts to other people. (Note: This does not mean you should be the only one who your partner approaches with issues. Sometimes an external perspective is necessary.)
3. They cross your boundaries.
They make another joke about something you’ve asked them not to joke about. They butt into conversations, relationships, and scenarios that you’ve explicitly asked them not to get involved in. They physically, or sexually, abuse you. They stalk you on social media or follow you home. Violating another person’s boundaries is a major sign that this person is not respectful and not worth maintaining a relationship with.
4. They mock or criticize your decisions and what you believe in.
Sure, not everyone is religious. Not everyone believes in astrology or superstition. Yet, your friends or significant other should not make fun of your beliefs to the point that you feel hesitant to share them. You also shouldn’t feel the need to defend minor decisions, like changing your mind about something or even the type of cell phone you own.
5. They try to control you.
Does your friend or partner try to tell you what to wear? Do they overreact when you prioritize someone else over them or forbid you from speaking to certain people? Do they hold gifts or favors over your head? This person is looking to control you, and the behavior will likely continue as long as they believe they can get away with it.
6. They use you for personal gain.
Does your friend only hit you up for homework answers or a ride somewhere? Do they only ask you for money, or even steal from you? Does your partner only contact you to vent, but never listens to you (this also goes back to #2)? This is a sign that the person is only there for what you can give them, not what they can give you. A non-reciprocal relationship is not a happy one.
7. They have harmful views on marginalized groups.
Regardless of what identity you claim for yourself, if your friend or partner holds harmful opinions about women, LGBT people, ethnic minorities, or religious minorities, this is not a good sign. If you identify with a marginalized group, you may be at risk of harm from this person, especially if you are in a romantic relationship. Even if you are not a member of a marginalized group, or you agree with this person’s views, you still may not be safe: in many cases, white supremacy and homophobia, among other forms of discrimination, have been linked to domestic violence.
8. They never apologize sincerely.
This is a tough one to identify, since some people may struggle with apologizing in a way that communicates their emotions effectively while still acknowledging the other person. However, if the person consistently apologizes in a way that indicates they’re just doing it to get it over with, or they don’t apologize at all, this shows that they have no intention of taking responsibility for their actions.
9. You are unhappy with the relationship or friendship.
Do you feel like you don’t recognize the person you’re speaking to anymore? Do they not meet your needs, and do you feel like you’re not meeting theirs? This is a major sign that things need to end, and holding onto the relationship any longer will likely hurt both of you.
10. Their behavior implies that they no longer want to be associated with you, or they outright tell you that they don’t want to continue contact.
So many movies and TV shows encourage the idea of waiting for people to change their minds, chasing them down and getting them to see what they are missing. In most cases, this doesn’t happen in real life. If someone doesn’t want anything to do with you, you have to let it go. If you continue to try to reach out to them, it could cross into dangerous territory, whether for you or the other person. If someone doesn’t want you, all you can do is move on, focus on developing yourself, and find someone better suited to your needs.
Regardless of how cliche it may sound, there truly are more fish in the sea. You deserve a friend or partner who wants to work things out with you in the long run.
Photo via Project Inspired