Is your partner letting you down? Here's why experts believe it might be time to move on
There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. You and your partner are expected to argue, disagree, and get on each other’s nerves, as that’s part of sharing your life with another human being. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay for your partner to let you down on a regular basis or to an extreme degree.
If they lie to you, belittle you, or engage in another one of your deal breakers, trust that sinking feeling in your gut, as it may be your body’s way of telling you the relationship isn’t quite right. “It’s important not to be overly demanding in relationships, yet it’s also vital to know the basics that allow you to feel safe, loved, and secure,” Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, tells HelloGiggles.
Disappointment shouldn’t be an ongoing trend. But if it is, start by finding time to talk about what’s got you down. “It’s important to let your partner know directly and honestly what’s not working,” Dr. Manly says. From there, you can both work on improving the relationship and making positive changes.
That said, if your partner refuses to listen, or if you notice any of the red flags listed below, it may be best to move on.
1They don’t help you during a crisis
A good partner will be there through life’s ups and downs and will look for ways to help when things go wrong. This might be the case if someone close to you passes away, if you lose your job, or if you get seriously ill, Dr. Marni Feuerman, an author and licensed psychotherapist, tells HelloGiggles. If your partner is nowhere to be found when you need a shoulder to cry on, chances are they aren’t fully committed and don’t have your best interests at heart.
Of course, it’s not great if your partner continuously lets you down in smaller ways, either. Maybe they don’t want to hear about your day, or they zone out when you’re talking about a problem at work. As Dr. Manly says, “When one partner doesn’t show consistent interest in the other’s emotional status and act in supportive ways, it’s a serious sign of being disconnected from the partner and the relationship.”
2You constantly catch them in a lie
If you catch your partner in a lie, it’ll be up to you to decide if it’s worth sticking around. What did they lie about? And why? Ask yourself these questions and have a conversation about why they didn’t tell the truth. But don’t hesitate to walk away, either, if that feels like the right choice.
“Lying can be so insidious, and it can damage trust so quickly,” Nicole Arzt, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says. “Most of us lie from time to time, but chronic lying about serious issues breaches the inherent trust needed in a secure relationship.”
3They never reach out
If you feel like you’re the one doing all the work to keep the relationship going, pause and consider whether or not it’s still worth it. “When this occurs on a chronic level, rather than just on occasion (such as in the midst of an intensely challenging time at work), the ignored partner can feel very let down and even rejected,” Dr. Manly says. You might, for instance, be really hurt by unanswered texts or a lack of check-ins from them if you’re feeling sick.
You can always chat about the problem with your partner and give them time to change. But, more often than not, a lack of effort means they just aren’t as invested in you or in the relationship as you’d like them to be.
4 They won’t talk about the future
Not everyone moves at the same pace in relationships, so while you may be excited to talk about the future, it’s okay if your partner isn’t quite there yet. As long as you both communicate about your expectations, it’s fine to move at slightly different speeds, giving the relationship time to develop.
That said, if you’re ready to take things to the next level, and your partner seems unfazed or completely indifferent, Arzt says it could be a red flag.
To find out if that’s the case, let your partner know what you hope to get out of the relationship, and see if they feel the same way. It is, after all, always best to be honest about what’s bothering you, and to learn more about their perspective, before jumping to conclusions.
5They’re never happy for you
Nothing feels worse than reaching out to a partner to share good news, only for them to brush it off or act like it isn’t a big deal. “In cases such as this, it’s possible that insecurity and competition are at work,” Dr. Manly says.
Again, you can always talk to your partner about their reaction, and let them know you were surprised they weren’t more excited for your success. That said: “When a partner feels the need to bring [you] down in order to feel good about themselves,” Dr. Manly says, “the dynamic can be very deflating.”
It may not be something you’ll want to deal with for very long, especially since a healthy relationship means being supportive and encouraging and viewing yourselves as a team — not as competition.
6They keep making the same mistakes
Patience is a big part of all healthy relationships, but you should be able to identify growth and forward progress, even if things don’t progress entirely linearly or someone stumbles along the way,” Dr. Logan Jones, a Manhattan-based psychologist, says.
It’s okay if your partner isn’t perfect, if you still have disagreements, or if you don’t see eye to eye, as long as you’re both making an effort to improve. Recurring problems, though, often mean that your partner isn’t learning from past mistakes.
“If that’s the case,” Dr. Jones says, “you may want to check in with yourself and make sure you’re in the same relationship and that the relationship can continue to evolve upward.” Otherwise, it’s only going to hold you back.
7They belittle you
There are ways to joke around with your partner and make fun of each other in a light-hearted way. But if it ever feels like your partner is putting you down or being disrespectful, consider it a red flag. “This type of behavior rarely changes, and you don’t want it to tear down your self-esteem,” Dr. Feuerman says. If you ever feel weird about the way your partner is treating you or talking to you, trust your gut.