Signs A Relationship Might Not Work Out

My parents once told me, 'never date anyone you couldn't marry.' If you think about it, it's really good advice. You don't want to waste your time with a person or in a position that isn't good for you. Life is too short to be in an unhappy relationship. There have been so many times that I've stayed in relationships longer than I really should have because I couldn't admit to myself that it wasn't going to work out. I wasted a lot of time and energy this way! In the hopes that I can save you from doing the same thing, here are a few signs that a relationship isn't going to work out.

  • You and your partner are not at the same place and/or stage in your lives. This is where age can be a factor. Even if you are the same age, however, problems can crop up if you are at two totally different and conflicting places in your lives. For instance, someone still living at home while in school is probably in a different stage than an independently-living professional. A young, single person is usually in a different stage than someone who is divorced with kids. If you are working toward being in the same place in your lives, that's fine. However, things may not go anywhere if one of you is always playing 'catch-up'.
  • Your expectations don't line up. If one of you is hoping for marriage while the other just wants to date and have fun, that can be a problem. Expectations often change as the relationship develops, but you need to at least have an understanding of where things are headed. If not, you might find yourself stuck in a rut. You should at least be on the same page.
  • You find yourself constantly wanting to change the other person, or vice versa. It's one thing to try to get your boyfriend not to wear the bikini-girl shirt in front of your mother, but the two of you shouldn't be trying to make each other into something else entirely. While you may not love everything about each other, there needs to be an underlying respect and acceptance. Otherwise, why would you want to be in the relationship to begin with?
I'm not a therapist by any means, but these are a few things I've learned over the course of my life. I learned them the hard way, and I'm sharing them so that you may not have to. There's just one more thing I'll mention:

Above all, ask yourself if you are wiling to live the rest of your life in the same position you are in right now. Hopefully things will change for the better, but you should be prepared for the possibility they won't. The old adage of 'hope for the best, prepare for the worst' is very apt in this situation. It might very well be worth the effort needed to save a good relationship. However, if you're always trying to save it, chances are it's not a good relationship.


  1. Great advice!! I agree whole-heartedly! I learned from my first marriage-- don't marry him thinking he is going to be any different than he is right now; especially if he claims he will change or promises to. See the change first, then marry waaaaay later, just to make sure he's not putting on a front. Generally, their true colors take at least six months to come out after the supposed "change".

  2. Wendy you've given good advice too!
    Marriage is definitely not something to jump into, and it seems that so many people, young and old jump into it during that "lovey-dovey" stage.

    It's so important to wait til that's over, because often times it's impossible to see the warning signs when you're so "in love".

  3. 'Amen' to all of you!