5 Surefire Ways To Know When A Relationship Isn’t Right For You post image

5 Surefire Ways To Know When A Relationship Isn’t Right For You

One of the hardest relationship skills to master is recognizing when a relationship isn’t right and walking away. In theory this is easy, but in reality it can feel almost impossible. You know something is off, that this isn’t what you want, but you can’t quite pull the plug because … what if you’re wrong? What if you’re being overly dramatic? What if you never find better? No one’s perfect, and maybe your expectations are unrealistic.

You can stay stuck in the wrong relationship for months, even years, sitting on the fence, unable to move in one direction or the other. People act as though being alone is the worst possible thing, but I beg to differ. Being stuck in the wrong relationship is a much worse fate, a worse kind of being alone.

I believe the amount of heartbreak you experience when it inevitably ends is in direct proportion to how long you allowed things to drag on. Breakups are hard enough already, but when you add the element of mourning the loss of all the time you wasted, time you can never get back, then getting over a breakup can be unbearable. To help save you time and heartache, here is how to know when a relationship isn’t right for you.

Your relationship isn’t right for you if …

1. Something just feels off—you feel it in your body


Feelings have a very real function; they let us know when something isn’t right and we should change course. When you are in the wrong relationship, you will feel it. It can manifest as a physical ailment, or maybe you’ll feel it deep in your gut.

Physical ailments are often emotionally rooted. Insomnia, stomach pain, hives, feeling drained, all of these are your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Our gut can also be a powerful guide. The problem is that most people don’t trust themselves and end up ignoring what their body is trying so hard to tell them.

If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you already suspect something is off in your relationship. If you are experiencing any of the ailments or the sense deep in your gut I described, don’t ignore it. Listen to what your body is telling you and try to uncover the source.

MORE: The Importance of Trusting Your Gut 

2. You don’t feel good around him

ways-know-relationship-isnt-right-2Relationships are a very unique experience in that we can be utterly miserable, yet stay voluntarily. In most other areas of our lives, we would just leave if something made us miserable, but not relationships.

A big sign you’re in the wrong relationship is you just don’t feel good around your partner. You don’t look forward to spending time with him and you don’t feel good about yourself or your life when you’re in his presence. You just have a feeling of not wanting to be there.

This is not what healthy relationships feel like. In a healthy relationship, you feel an overall sense of joy and calm. This doesn’t mean the relationship is always perfect or that there are never arguments or disagreements, but overall things just feel really good. You feel seen, respected, and appreciated, and you are inspired to be your best self. The vibe is good and you love spending time with your partner.

In a healthy relationship, you usually feel inspired and invigorated after spending time with your partner. In an unhealthy relationship, you usually feel drained and depleted. Again, listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel.

I do want to point out that sometimes we can be addicted to being with someone even if that person makes us feel terrible. You might think about him constantly and literally ache for him, and because he rouses these feelings you think he is the guy for you. Don’t get tripped up by this, because we can crave all kinds of things that are terrible for us, like cigarettes and Krispy Kreme donuts, for example. When you have this intense craving for a person, it is usually coming from an unhealthy place, such as a place of wanting to feed your ego and win his approval because that will make you feel worthy.

I call it a form of emotional masochism. It’s a concept I know all too well because I used to be like this! I was drawn to the wrong men and became addicted to them even though I felt horrible about myself in their presence. They didn’t lift me up; instead, I felt needy, insecure, and helpless. These kinds of feelings are usually a sign that you’re entangled in a toxic relationship, so be sure to read this article: 5 Warning Signs You’re In a Toxic Relationship.

3. Your friends and family express concern

This is where things get tricky and where you run the risk of alienating the people closest to you. When we are in the wrong relationship, the people closest to us can usually tell right away. You, however, may not want to hear it so you ignore them and distance yourself from them. You may get angry with them for butting in. But the truth it, they have more objectivity than you do and can probably see the situation for what it is.

I remember having no friends anymore when I was dating one particularly toxic guy. My friends had all immediately seen the situation for what it was and tried to intervene and get me out of it. I thought they were all just jealous and I stayed with him. Fast forward a year, and I found myself single, heartbroken, friendless, and trying to reclaim any fraction of self-worth I could find. It was bad.

Don’t ignore your friends and family when they express concerns. I’m not saying they are always right, but their feelings probably aren’t stemming from nowhere so at least take what they have to say into consideration.

Another big red flag is if you know you can’t speak to them freely about your relationships, or maybe you omit key pieces of the story when asking for advice.

A friend of mine was in a situation like this not long ago. She was dating a man and things started out amazingly, but then they started to turn bad. It was only after their devastating breakup that she confessed how emotionally abusive he had been throughout the relationship. She didn’t tell anybody what was really going on, not her best friends and not her family, because she really wanted it to work and didn’t want to poison them against him (even though they all already disliked him because, like I said, people on the outside can see these things way more clearly!) Instead, she cut herself off from those closest to her because she knew the truth, she just didn’t want to hear it from other people.

QUIZ: Are You in a Toxic Relationship? 

4. He isn’t committed to making it work


The most essential quality a man can possess is being committed to making it work. If he is selfish and lax in the relationship, prioritizing his own needs over everything else and getting angry with you for expressing any needs of your own, then this is not someone you can form a lifelong partnership with.

If he has no interest in working on things, and instead says that if you’re unhappy it’s your problem, not his, that is a major red flag.

A relationship is a partnership, a unit, a team. It’s about two people working together to form a meaningful and lasting connection. It is not about one person getting all needs met while the other suffers in silence.

Simply put, if a man isn’t committed to working with you to make the relationship better and to ensuring that both of you are happy and emotionally fulfilled, then this is not the right relationship for you.

5. You’re fundamentally incompatible

No amount of chemistry can compensate for a lack of fundamental compatibility. If you and he are on different pages, be it in your goals, your values, the way you want to live your lives, or how you process and experience the world, then this isn’t the right relationship.

Sometimes certain things can be worked out through compromise. For example, spending habits or religion or geography. But some things can’t be fixed. One example is if you are unable to fulfill each other’s emotional needs.

For example, I have a friend who was in a long-term relationship with a guy who wasn’t the warmest person.

… (continued – Click to keep reading 5 Surefire Ways To Know When A Relationship Isn’t Right For You)

Written by Sabrina Alexis

I’m Sabrina Alexis, the co-founder, and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing relatable, insightful articles that help people understand relationship dynamics and how to get the love they want. I have a degree in psychology and have spent the last 10 years interviewing countless men and reading and studying as much as I can to better understand human psychology and how men operate. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

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This is strange but as I read this article it made me more sure about my relationship than ever. He and I have a not-so-healthy relationship because we’ve only seen each other in person a few times and we’ve been talking over text for more than 2 years. So it’s basically having a long-distance relationship. This can cause many problems to arise about my certainty because it can make me feel nervous and overthink things because I can’t always tell what he means through text. But I do trust him around other girls and I don’t worry about him leaving me. I just take a really long time to get comfortable with someone and I can’t seem to do that yet in person. We’ve only hung together for about an hour at the longest since we started dating. It’s really sad to think about and I just wish I could see him way more often to get rid of this anxiety I seem to have around him. I would love it if others would share their opinion on this and tell me if I should just wait it out until we have seen each other in person and I can finally tell if he’s the right one for me.

Reply October 27, 2020, 3:23 pm


Hi Everyone,

I have been dating a guy I have met off the internet for about 3 months now. He is going through a divorce. In the start he would tell me everything and I would listen and offer advice if I had any. Now it seems that is all we talk about. I have asked if he wants to reconcile his marriage and he was a firm no to that. He is not wanting to rush right into a relationship which I understand however I am not really sure if he likes me or not and I suppose would like a bit of advice.

When we are together he is holds my hand and has introduced me as his girlfriend however everything seems to revolve around us talking about his ex. I do really like him but I am confused as to if he actually likes me or if I am only in his life to fill the emotional gap he needs for this moment.

Please help!!!!!!! I am very new to dating again myself.

Thanks :)

Reply April 12, 2017, 12:42 am


I went to a NYE party 1:30 hr away with long distance friends and unintentionally hooked up with the host. There was amazing chemistry, (and I don’t do things like that! I had ten yr relationship that ended last summer and hadn’t dated anyone else. )

It turned into a two night stand. I knew going there he was a very hard worker and alone for a long time. He was a sweetheart. We talked a lot. He’s shy until he drinks. .. it was obviously awkward the next day! But he ended up being just as sweet the next day.

We texted over next few weeks, had text sex… few pictures.
We agree it was too long for me to see him again at super bowl so I came up and spent weekend with just him. He was still a sweet heart. Very attentive, we talked and have so much fun together. He holds my hand and opens the doors. He’s very loving. Holds me all night long. He works a lot and still finds time to text me.

My question is, we were texting about my gf that is interested in having sex with a woman. (He never met her) I had admitted I was with a girl once. But didn’t like it. (First time we hung out)
He asked if I wanted her. I said no. But I said you want a threesome huh? And he said yes.
I’ve been very open with him. After ten year relationship I’m not rushing anything but must say it hurt because I do like him so much. I just said it’s not for me. I don’t want that, I want a best friend and partner. But I could understand the fantasy.

I can see how he might think I’m more open to that kind of thing…we’ve had amazing sex! & I had sex with him right away. But I’m really not into sharing. He’s not my bf but I won’t even consider seeing anyone else. He said he isn’t seeing anyone else either.
He texted me late last night and I was sleeping. He’d been drinking, I knew that.

Didn’t text me today. I know he’s busy but…

I’m so confused. I’m Suppose to spend this coming weekend with him.

Am I over thinking him throwing that out there? I know I rock his world alone, why add someone else in. The way he treats me is so good but the threesome comment made me feel dirty. Help!!!

Reply January 29, 2017, 10:49 pm



My Bf (28/m) and I (24/f) have been in a relationship for 8 months now (long distance 4 months), we started out as a fling but it soon became more serious (he hasn’t had a gf before). He is a qualified academic and quit his unsatisfying job 3 months ago and since then has been struggling to fulfill his lifelong dream of starting a career in research. At the beginning of this period he was quite hopeful and he asked me to come with him wherever life/job will take him, but for the last weeks his attitude changed completely (also towards me) and it seems that he lost joy of life and the trust in people (including me). He told me that he thinks that I might be more in love with him than he is with me, that he needs space and that we should slow things down.
I love him and this is really hard on me, because I can’t help him. I’m also afraid that he falls back into depression (friends told me that he had problems with that before). I don’t know what to do? Should I just leave him alone? He isn’t really communicative and I haven’t heard from him for a few days now, I don’t want to be clingy or pushy.

Thanks for your help!

Reply December 18, 2016, 5:19 pm


Hi! I met a guy from a online site since December 2014, we started talking everyday day and night since september 2015. But i was too afraid to commit since we never met. I broke up and dated someone else, but we r still talking everyday even when I had new bf. I broke up with my new bf after 1.5 mos dating, thinking that the prev guy was the one that i really love, but i didnt tel him bc i felt guilty of what ive done. We said i missed u and I love you, till one day he started to text me less, and mentioned a girl name, I knew he has someone. I decided to let him be happy and sit back, since i hurt him first. He lied saying he didnt date the girl, but it was obvious he did. After a month after i stopped chasing him, he texted me he broke up and he still loved me, yet the next day he left me and disappeared, he went back to his gf. I tried dating few guys after that but none worked. One day my friend was talking ab him and i told her i missed him. She told him the message and texted me that day. Turned out he broke up with his gf. He told me the reason he left bc he knew he still had feelings for his gf and he didnt wanna play me. I accepted his apologies bc deep down i know i still care and loved him so much. We talked for few days and now he didnt read my text again but upload something few hours ago. What should I do? Is he playing me?

Reply November 7, 2016, 1:22 am


I’ll try to put this to good use imeiematdly.

Reply November 5, 2016, 9:14 pm


I need some advice. I met someone on an online dating site that I really like. He has called me every day for the last 10 days. We talk for 30 to 45 minutes, and he often mentions getting together sometime. He lives about 45 minutes away from me, and mentioned meeting me some day at a sports bar about 5 minutes from his house. But he still hasn’t mentioned any specific day. What should I do?

Reply November 1, 2016, 7:41 pm

Sharon Renyard

Be careful with online dating – I know there are good guys out there somewhere but from my own experience there are a lot on these sites who are just after an ego boost cos they’re bored at home with their partner & want some extra attention. You could try suggesting a day to meet & see what he says – if he still won’t commit to that or have an alternative, then move on. Trust your gut instinct too – that’s the best advice I’d have for anyone. Good luck

Reply November 3, 2016, 9:59 am


My husband passed away 3 years ago and i’m now in a new relationship of about 2 years. He is a great guy, younger than me of 12 years. Here’s the problem. He seems to always have money problems so we don’t do much activities that involve money. Cuz I feel obliged to pay and I don’t feel like I should. I don’t have a problem paying for me but he should pay for himself. Then there’s the sex or lack of it. He rarely comes or runs out of breath leaving me frustrated. There have been other issues that I tried to work out and succeeded on my end but I sometimes feel like he wants me around for the money. then there’s the sex problem. how come he can’t come? I never had this situation before. I’m confused seeing that this is my second relationship and not sure what is going on.

Reply October 19, 2016, 8:37 am


I have been in a long distance relationship with a wonderful guy who lives in the opposite side of the country. We have seen each other about 5 times a year for the last year and a half.
The time we spend together is wonderful. But we both have fairly big commitments in our respective cities and there doesn’t seem to be a solution for us living in the same province even for the next 10 years.
My fear is that we will wait so long for each other that one of us will find someone else and this whole thing will be a total waste of time. I can’t rationalize how much time and energy I should be putting into this.
Also, he will never say that he loves me. He only says that he loves “us”. He feels that saying you love someone, rather than loving the relationship you have is too possessive. Should this be a warning sign to me?

Reply October 18, 2016, 3:38 pm


I don’t have anything to add to this very well-written article. But to Sabrina, thank you for all of the information you provide to help us women “back away from the ledge”.

I know you write a lot from your own personal experiences, and I am sorry you had to go through those learning phases, so thank you very, very much for your willingness to share your pain and your growth with us.

I totally love and adore you!! :)


Reply October 11, 2016, 9:52 am

Sharon Renyard

I’m 46 & have been on my own (by choice) since my marriage ended 4 years ago. After my holiday back in the summer I realised I needed more in my life & decided to get back in the saddle, so to speak. Met a guy through friends of friends couple months ago & he awakened feelings in me I hadn’t felt for ages. He’d bombard me with text messages most days & admit I enjoyed the attention. I had a feeling in my gut that he was a player but I went with the flow & enjoyed our time together. Few days ago I decided to do some digging on social media & there he is in all his glory with his fiancée!! Photos of them at their engagement in July & on holiday in August – 7 weeks after he got engaged he started seeing me! I felt sick to the pit of my stomach but didn’t do anything hasty. I just text him the following morning to say I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near him if I’d known he had a gf, let alone a fiancée he’s only been engaged to since July – disgusting!! As soon as the message was delivered I blocked his number cos I didn’t want to hear his reply & later that day he’d set his fb page to private. It took a lot for me to go out with someone after 4 years of being on my own & I’m swinging between being upset, angry & just downright miserable – really don’t want this crap at my age but wonder how I’m ever going to trust anyone again & why on earth he’d do that when he’s only recently engaged!!

Reply October 5, 2016, 7:14 am


Need some advice. Been seeing a guy for 8 months. Just recently he has been acting strangely, we’ll I think so anyway please tell me if I’m over reacting. We planned to go out last month, I txted him to see if we still were goingg out. I didnt hear back from him a week later. He told me he had to go and see his mum because she was stressed out and that he was on his way back home now. This has happened 3 times now. Am I wrong to think that it would have been nice to hear from him to let me know he was going away and to hear from him while he was away? I seem to think I am the only one that is interested in what we have and always am the one to be the first to find out if we still have plans. He got back to me the other day to see if I was ok as he didnt recieve my message about going out which I did say I would love to. I said that he should have got in contact with me to see if we were still going out (i do) didn’t get a reply back. Do I send a message to him to say are you not talking to me or leave him alone? I need answers not silence!

Reply September 4, 2016, 9:44 pm


I have a crush on a coworker. We’ve been friends for 4 years, and although different, we have a lot in common. We hang out lots, but he won’t have sex with me, but let’s me give him oral. I just realized that he hides things from me, and probably has other women. I’m so hurt because I’ve done so much for him. I recently asked him if he’s sleeping with anyone, and his answer was, what does that have to do with you? I’m heartbroken, and I’ve blocked his number. How do I get over being used. I truly cared about him, and we are still coworkers. Please help me. I don’t know how to stop this hurt.

Reply September 4, 2016, 8:32 pm


You need to respect yourself. He’s treating you horribly. It sounds like he’s just using you. I’m sorry , but there are good guys out there.
Sabrina gives the best advice. Go out with friends, laugh and have fun. Time helps too.
Good luck

Reply January 29, 2017, 10:54 pm


I agree wih the one girl’s point. Now I get a sick stomach often around my person because I’m sick with worry. Yeah I love her like hell but she’s so very sick and it makes me worried that she will not get better. Especially when they went about it all the wrong way almost killing her the first time. I mean yeah she tells me she will get better but meh

Reply August 26, 2016, 5:02 pm


Family is NOT a good determining factor. Families often have other motives than your personal happiness.
. My boyfriend’s family intentionally tries to cause us problems. Not because we aren’t a match. For reasons like, dad being emotionally close to me brings up mourning their mom to the surface. His kids are all adults. As one of his kids says, they’re not here enough to have an opinion. They haven’t bothered to get to know me.
. It’s not me, it’s not him. We are happy together. We are loving, good to each other, respectful, appreciative, enjoy each other, work things out – that’s our relationship.
I definitely don’t cause problems or do anything to make any of this worse. Yet members of his family continue to escalate.
. Being with someone else would not solve this problem for him since it’s centered around them and not truly about me, him, or us. He’s not allowed to be happy because it makes them miss mom. That makes me sick.
. It’s ok to miss mom and mourn her. It’s ok to talk about it. It’s not ok to denigrate an innocent person.
. I have also heard of friends knocking someone else’s relationship for bad reasons. Like I want to hang out with you alone and instead of saying so I’ll make you feel bad about your man. Or I don’t have a romance so I don’t want anyone else to either.
Some people can’t stand other people being happy. Or want to be the only cause of your happiness. It’s not healthy or good. But many people don’t recognize that because they aren’t that way themselves.
If a person is surrounded by people that love them in a healthy way, your advice is good. If someone has family and/or friends that are self centered and/or selfish the advice is bad.
. Given that we don’t pick our family, many people have family that loves them in unhealthy ways.
Please edit the family and friends portion of your advice.

Reply August 25, 2016, 1:17 pm


How can I get my boyfriend to chill out from his phone plus hedose not work

Reply August 25, 2016, 6:21 am

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