6 Signs Your Relationship Isn’t Meant to Be

  • Copy by: Julia Dellitt

Contrary to popular opinion, love doesn’t conquer all. Relationships fall apart for various kinds of major and minor reasons, and it’s easy to rely on the perfect vision of hindsight to dissect what went wrong.

When I look back at my previous romances, I remember acknowledging warning signs along the way—when I wondered if things would work out or straight up knew they wouldn’t. Now, did I listen to these alarm bells? Of course not. I ignored red flags in real time and aimed for the happily-ever-after, only to be disillusioned down the road.

The silver lining is that I certainly learned from those mistakes, but I also wasted a ton of energy waiting around before calling it quits. And lest you make the same errors, here are some of the relationship warning signs to which I should have paid closer attention:

1. Your chemistry is mismatched.

One of my best friends from college had piles of curly brown hair, a winning smile, and wit for days. From the day we met, I wanted to talk to him nonstop and hang out with him constantly. I liked him so much, and he liked me too, only as more than a friend. I wanted to like him romantically because we seemed like such a great fit, except for one tiny thing…

I never wanted to kiss him. Like, ever. Late nights watching movies, evenings out drinking at parties, long walks on sunny afternoons—no matter the situation, I had no desire to make out with him. We could hug like there was no tomorrow with exactly zero twinge from my body parts in response to his affection.

Naturally, I very maturely told him that our chemistry lacked fire on my part and we went our separate ways.

Just kidding. That pseudo-relationship unfortunately dragged on for years. I meant well, but it was my fault; I desperately wanted to feel chemistry toward him, and I kept waiting for sparks to appear. I tried for a long time to make it happen, but you guys? It just wasn’t there, because you cannot fake or force chemistry. If it’s not there, it’s not gonna be.

You cannot fake or force chemistry. If it’s not there, it’s not gonna be.

That unique flicker of attraction you feel toward someone? That part should come easy. Save the effort for later, since the flames of real, lasting love takes years of work and attention to stay lit.

2. He or she is mean.

I used to have a serious penchant for bad boys—not the motorcycles and cigarettes sort, but the ones who were bad as in mean. I also, at the time, knew some couples who seemed to thrive on being rude to each other; they mocked one another, joked harshly, and spoke sarcastically. Frequently, this behavior was chalked up to being “real” or “honest” or “blunt,” and for a while, I accepted it. We all have sharp tongues every now and then, right? I told myself.

The thing is, meanness is not a trait that usually goes away. If anything, it deepens and evolves over the years, which is…not good, to say the least. If your significant other is regularly unkind, that’s not a personality flaw, it’s a signal to get the heck out of there. It doesn’t matter if he or she is a little mean, very mean, mean to waiters, mean to little kids, mean to old people, mean to total strangers, only mean to you, etc. Mean can easily lead to drama and abuse and low self-esteem and all kinds of other negative situations.

Or more simply: Life is too short to put up with mean people. You deserve better.

3. The timing is off.

Oh, the siren song of the on-again, off-again relationship. I spent years in this situation and you know what? It caused a great deal of pain for both of us.

Everyone has a story, though, of their sister’s brother’s niece’s coworker’s friend’s daughter who successfully navigated these waters and came out married. Guess what? That rarely happens. Waiting around for better timing, lamenting what “could be,” refusing to let go, dwelling on past connection and obsessing about future possibilities—none of it is real. It feels real, I know, but it’s not actually real. It’s just a time suck.

Or as my best friend puts it: “If you aren’t together, you’re not ‘meant to be together’ because you are Not. Literally. Together.” Slow clap.

Yes, maybe the timing will work out in the future, but that’s not where you are yet. If the timing constantly seems off with someone you love, it’s probably because you two aren’t aligned in the ways you need to be in order to move forward together. You may not ever get on the same page. It sucks, but it’s true.

4. You aren’t your best self.

Healthy relationships tend to bring out the best in you, so when that isn’t happening, pay attention. With one of my former significant others, I realized that I had stopped taking care of myself; I lost weight due to depression, distanced myself from family and became the most timid version of myself. It took me weeks and weeks to realize, oh wait, this is not who I am or want to be.

This one is tricky because there’s no one-size-fits-all. It can be drastically negative or related to a deal breaker issue that keeps coming up; for example, if you are constantly fighting about politics, religions, children, sex, or money, you’re probably not your best self. It can seem totally innocuous, like maybe you used to have hipster style and now you’re more preppy because your partner is into it and you’re trying to please him or her.

The point is, a relationship should allow you to grow into your best, unique, authentic self. Long-term relationships are meant to lift us up and help us evolve, not bring us down and keep us small.

A relationship should allow you to grow into your best, unique, authentic self. Long-term relationships are meant to lift us up and help us evolve, not bring us down and keep us small.

5. You feel pressure to stay…

One of my most serious partnerships lasted a long time for two reasons: First, I wanted to make everyone else happy, and second, I thought it was “too late” to call it quits.

If you discover that your thought process, when thinking about a life with your beloved, involves words like “should,” “must” and “ought”—pause. Yes, sometimes, we linger through the hard times with our partners to get to the other, brighter side, especially when marriage is involved. What I’m talking about is that dreadful sense of obligation and pressure to please others instead of yourself. I’m talking about the self-defeating inclination to make your life look good, or a certain way, even when it doesn’t feel good. I’m talking about being in a relationship solely to avoid being alone. Those thoughts and reasons are not likely to lead to an enduring partnership or long-term happiness.

6. …or you want to leave.

The flip side of this coin is when you seriously, repeatedly want to leave him or her, or vice versa. Cheryl Strayed writes in an incredible essay, “Wanting to leave is enough,” and it’s true. You may not always have a reason and you may not ever be able to put your finger on what’s missing, and the same goes for a partner who wants out.

It seems unfair to conclude a relationship based on a vague feeling alone, but tell me this: Do you want to be with someone who is half out the door? I doubt it; that can’t feel good. And likewise, why would you waste your time in a relationship that feels lackluster to you?

It’s not easy, but if one or both of you feels pressure to stay or interest in leaving, either figure out if there’s a problem at hand that can be solved or call it quits and move on to brighter and better connections.

  • Natalie

    This was a very helpful article! I am currently looking into purchasing my first place.

  • Samantha

    Thank you for providing such awesome information : )

  • Courtney

    I just went through this process in California where the buying market is insane right now. It was far more grueling and emotional than I ever expected. I wish I had read this about a year early it might have saved me a few headaches 🙂

    • Melissa

      Hi Courtney, i TOTALLY agree with you. I just bought my first place in
      San Diego and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Without the
      support of my family, I emotionally could not have done it. Congrats on
      your place! I can definitely say now it was worth the battle.

  • Laura

    I just wanted to add some helpful information regarding the section “finding a realtor” – not all real estate agents are REALTORS(r). REALTORS are members of the National Association of REALTORS who follow the strict code of ethics. If you would like to know what the code includes they can be found here: http://www.realtor.org/governance/governing-documents/the-code-of-ethics

  • disqus_l5Up4OTveq

    Another good piece of advice: buy a piece of property that you can afford in the best neighborhood (even if it is the ugliest house on the block). The value will always go up especially if you do renovations or improvements. Even if you don’t have children now, don’t forget to take into account the schools in the area for your future self or the next owners.
    Things like paint, carpet, and wallpaper can always be changed and the ugly furniture leaves with the previous owners but location is always the most important thing.

  • Angelica

    Thanks for making this article (and all articles) so easy to download. Just saved it as a pdf!! Lots of great info 🙂

  • Katie

    SO HELPFUL! Thank you so very much for providing this information in a clear and approachable way. My husband and I have begun considering the purchase of our very first home, and it seemed like such a murky landscape to traverse until now! It’ll still be a bit scary with so many things involved, but I really appreciate how this has been all laid out. 🙂

  • thecoronationjaipur

    Thank you for providing such incredible information.. this will definitely help those who are looking for a dream house.

  • Kathleen D.

    First time home buyers need many tips on buying a new home. It is easy
    to get distracted by all the wrong things, and miss the entire point.
    There are four things important to a home: foundation, floor, roof and
    walls. Nice blog!


  • sammiebreaux

    This is the best post for those who are planning of buying first home .. excellent piece of knowledge .. good job.

  • Michael Madrigal

    One very important subject that is unbelievable overlooked is the health, safety and operation costs for the homes air conditioning and heating system.
    Many people make the mistake by hiring a home inspector who for most of the time just turns the systems fan on and presents it as operational.

    This tells you nothing…………….except that the fan works

    1st Ask for previous electric bills for the Home in question: Cooling season ( late May- early mid Sept)
    also, electric and/or gas bills during Heating season ( Sept- Feb ).
    This will give you a good indication on what your bills may look like………
    ” I have personal seen electric bills from $ 250 to over $ 600.00 a month”
    Imagine having that added to your mortgage…..

    2nd have your air conditioning and heating system inspected by a professional.
    ” Not your standard air conditioning and heating company, but a Home Energy Rater”
    The H.E.R.S RATER Checks for Duct leakage into unconditioned space.
    This will tell you how much your system is leaking in percentages.

    They also checks if your system is generating the proper amount of CFMs (systems are to give you X amount of Cubic Feet of air per Minute by building design)
    Example: you buy a home that is 2000 sf with a 5Ton ac system but your air conditioning system is actually only producing 3.5 Tons of air….Inadequate for your home costing you comfort and dollars………..

    The H.E.R.S RATER also checks the charge of your air conditioning system
    ” There are way to many HVAC contractor who do not know how to use subcooling and super heat ( Proper charging methods)
    Here is an analogy: You are purchasing a car and the dealer says you will get 30 mile per gallon….So you buy the car but you only get 10 mile per gallon.

    H.E.RS RATERS check fan and watt draw and amp draw, cleanliness of system
    and much more


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  • As a Coldwell Banker Realtor, I can tell you that we will review any offer (even for sale by owner) for FREE! A second opinion doesn’t cost a thing and it can give you confidence and peace of mind when it comes to one of the largest decisions of your life! We can link you up with agents in over 50 countries and like I said, it doesn’t cost a thing! Email me and I can refer you to our “free second opinion” program. [email protected]

  • linnekens

    If you are buying property, you need to consider your water supply, particularly in areas, towns etc where excessive development has taken place. The affect on the local water supply and the additional sewage and waste disposal problems has, in many areas, been deplorable and will most likely, in the near future escalate the cost of providing quality drinking water. Before investing on property, ensure that your property will get quality drinking water throughout the year and that the civic body provides good sewage systems.

    Brian Linnekens

  • Thanks for the article! This is one of the most informative ones I’ve read yet.

  • Erin Bell

    So where’s the title company in all of this? Everyone forgets us.

  • This is very valuable article for those people who want to buy their First Time Home Buyer Programs So Thank for sharing this nice article.

  • Roger adam

    I want to buy my new house. When I found your blog about Buy Houses . I really like it. This article is very informative and valuable. Thanks
    for share it.

  • You provided nice points with precise information. It is very
    easy to understand and get a proper idea about buying a home. Thanks for your effort to put all these information together.

  • Marilee

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  • I just bought a house late last year and interestingly enough, the house I ended up with was nowhere close to my number one choice when I first started looking online. It was, however, the one in the very best condition and when I walked in the front door, I fell in love with it. If you have a friend or relative who knows something about diy, take them along.

  • Hopefully I can get that loan I want, thank you!

  • Gracy Pinto

    Great article! Before purchasing the house, have a look on various real
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  • Jhoell

    I totally agree with you. Just to add up, you have to consider your lifestyle and budget as well when purchasing a home. Don’t go beyond of what you can’t handle. Just consider things if this fits your lifestyle.


  • What a great take on a difficult subject! Especially #5 and #6…it only gets harder the longer you put off breaking up if you know deep down something isn’t right.

    • Julia

      Thank you so much for reading! Completely agree.

  • Harriet Berholtz

    Love this so much! It’s so spot on about bringing out the best in each other and also not being able to quite pinpoint what it is you are unsure about but that feeling of wanting to go is enough

    • Julia

      Even if you can’t articulate it, like you said, the feeling of wanting to go is enough. It really is! You don’t necessarily need “evidence.” And maybe the feeling is simply an invitation for further conversation; it doesn’t have to mean the immediate demise of a relationship. Thank you for this comment!

  • Ava

    I’ve been struggling with a relationship for the last month and after a particularly hard evening last, night waking up and reading this seemed a bit like synchronicity. Thank you for your wise words and insight. The universe works in mysterious ways.

    • Julia

      I’m honored that my words lifted you up <3 That means so much to me. The only reason I have any wise words is because I've been through some of the struggles — so know that you, too, will get to the other, lighter side eventually. You deserve peace and love!

  • Elissa

    Julia you did an absolutely flawless job of summing up exactly what happened with my previous 2 1/2 year relationship. 6 months later it still hurts to come to terms with so many of these things but seeing you spell it out so clearly and put a positive spin on what lies ahead has been extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing and confirming that it’s for the best and there are better and brighter connections out there – I hope!

    • Julia

      You are not alone – so many of us deal with these issues in relationships! I’m sorry that it still hurts. Time does help heal heart wounds, but damn, it often takes a while. You are very welcome, and thank you for the sweet comment. Wishing you the best going forward!

  • Great post! #3 is something I’ve seen happen over and over again, both to my friends and to myself. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Great article
    use a moving cost checklist before you start. that way you know what it will all cost. It is surprising how many people start the process and run out of money. If you are selling, buying property in the UK then you can compare online conveyancing costs from members of the Homebuyer Conveyancing panel. No personal details are required to compare conveyancing quotes online

  • Alvaro Lewis

    Thanks for giving the information. Your information is really useful for buying homes. I got cash offer from Corpus Christi texas real estate for buying my new home. They really help me to purchase my new home.

  • The birdlandgirl

    I love this quote you added: “wanting to leave is enough”
    And that’s just so true…
    Loved this post!


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  • daniel

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    This was a really good article! If you are looking for a great realtor/property manager in Corona CA, check out http://www.bmhmanagement.com/. He really helped me out when I bought my first home.

  • And The Truth Is

    Well this is what happens when many of us Good men keep meeting low life pathetic loser women all the time.