A lot of kids in college feel trapped in their relationships. Those of us in relationships usually look for much more than just someone to hit up late at night—it’s about having someone who is truly your best friend. This sounds simple, but it’s not. Now, I don’t pretend to know everything about every type of relationship dynamic out there, however, a line exists between “Everyone makes mistakes” and “Maybe I should reconsider this.” If something on this list bothers you or if you can just simply say, “Yeah, I relate,” then sit down and reflect on your relationship. Or just finally break up with him.
Any of these signs feel familiar? Maybe it’s time to break up with him or her.
1. You don’t feel physically safe.
Hitting and violence is in no way, shape or form acceptable in any relationship, no matter the unique dynamic or type of relationship you have. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, both women and men get victimized, but only half of domestic violence incidents get reported. Guys, you need to make sure you feel safe in your relationship. The number one way to make sure you never feel safe again involves ignoring it and staying with the person who attacked you. The abuser may say he or she still loves you and that it will never happen again, but you have to be brave enough to say bye.
That is 100 percent not love—it’s something else much darker and scarier. It’s hard to let go when something like this happens from someone you never expected. Especially if you’ve both made great memories and every other aspect of your relationship seemed great. Remind yourself that you can never do anything bad enough to deserve that kind of treatment.
*If you have or do find yourself in a situation like this, please call the domestic violence hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). They accept calls 24/7.
2. You don’t feel emotionally safe.
Does your significant other play games with you all the time? Do you feel manipulated? If you find yourself having a tough time answering these questions with certainty, ask yourself these questions instead: Do you ever feel lesser after having conversations with your girlfriend or boyfriend? Do you find yourself getting guilt tripped into doing things that you find genuinely uncomfortable? Do you feel like you have to change parts of yourself that you and those closest to you love?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions then you need to evaluate whether the person you’re with plays a healthy role in your life. Sometimes people slip up. But if it’s a reoccurring thing then you need to talk about it. See how they react—usually when people don’t notice what they’re doing, they’ll understand fully and apologize. If they turn what you say around to make it sound like you have the problem, consider other options.
3. Your S.O. cheated on you.
“I would never deal with a cheater,” Florida International University junior Erika Infiesta said. “I just don’t see the point in staying with someone who obviously doesn’t see you as someone he’s lucky and happy to be with.” Many college kids have to deal with cheating thanks to all the late-nights filled with beer and poor decisions. Cheating can fall into two categories: Emotional and physical. After you find out what happened, you ask yourself, “Am I not good enough?” or “What could I have done differently?” Remember that the incentive behind doing it always lies within the person who did it, never you.
Even if they say, “You haven’t been giving me enough attention,” it might be them who didn’t let you know that anything bothered them. Whatever you consider as cheating remains up to you and your significant other. But if they do cross that line that you established as partners, then the trust definitely disappears.
4. They don’t get you.
If they don’t love you for who you are, then why are they even with you? “Your significant other should embrace every quality about you,” said School of the Art Institute in Chicago junior Nicole Garcia. “It’s cliché, but being able to be yourself is one of the most important things in a relationship.” Healthy relationships involve the ability to fix the parts of each other that may need fixing. Someone looking out for you and being stubborn as a result of that differs completely from someone who maliciously brings you down through judgment and cruelty. Don’t change the way you dress, the music you listen to, the way you think or your friends. Especially if those things are truly healthy aspects of your life. But if they expect you to turn into someone else completely—then consider it time to bring up the break up.
5. One of you is just not ready yet.
We face so much pressure to find “the one” or at least stop hooking up with random people during their college experience. This results in a lot of people rushing into things that they’re not ready for emotionally. So many reasons exist for someone to feel unsure about whether they truly want a relationship. “In my experience, I broke up with him because I hadn’t come out to my family yet, and I thought he was really immature and a lot to handle,” said Penn State junior Lucas Vigil. “I was only a freshman in college at the time, I still had so much maturing to do and I wasn’t ready for a long distance relationship.” A lot of work goes into making sure that relationships keep thriving and staying healthy. If you feel like your relationship isn’t going anywhere then honesty with yourself and your S.O. helps figure out if either of you want a relationship.
6. Your relationship has zero understanding.
Many college students have never had a relationship before. They might learn the ropes about maturity and understanding while in a relationship with you. But at this point, getting mad about not receiving a text back or talking to other girls is a huge, absolute no. “I think part of a relationship is growing together, it’s more important to be understanding and constructive when slip-ups happen as opposed to bashing,” said University of Florida freshman John Concepcion. You know in your heart what’s okay and what isn’t in your relationship. You need to learn to swallow your pride sometimes. Just remember that you should believe the act you forgive is something you could’ve done accidentally if roles were reversed.
7. Your future goals don’t line up.
Do you want to get married but not have kids? Do you want to live in New York and not in a suburb far from any type of big city? Goals can vary even with the slightest details. These things matter, and the closer we get to these goals becoming reality, the more important it is to talk to your S.O. about it. “I would feel like ending my relationship if I don’t see that his future plans align with my mentality and hopes for the future,” FIU junior Gaby Batista said. When goals don’t line up, you will probably respectfully part ways.
8. They don’t respect you.
Calling each other names, speaking badly about each other, not caring about what the other person says and always fighting means you don’t actually enjoy the other person’s company or care about how your words make them feel. Respecting their wishes as long as it’s rational is also really important. “I wouldn’t like if I had asked my boyfriend not to text girls he’s been with in the past and he did it anyway,” said UF junior Cristina Del Castillo. “I think that request is something that is common in a lot of relationships. If they’re not friends then his intentions are clearly bad and I think it would just make me look expendable at the end of the day. It’s a huge sign of no respect in the relationship.”
9. Trust doesn’t exist in your relationship.
“Number one for me is trust,” said University of Miami junior Amanda Fuentes, “I feel like that’s something that should be established from day one. If there’s no trust, there’s nothing.” Trusting your S.O. feels like going to a concert and posting the whole thing on Snapchat—if you don’t, then what’s the point of going at all? Trust plays such a huge role in everything that transpires with your S.O. You need to trust them when they give you advice, when they go out with their friends and when you talk to them about things that happen in your life.
10. You don’t consider them a best friend.
Your homie, day one, partner in crime and overall BFF should be your significant other. You will have other best friends, but a partner should have all of those same qualities. You can trust them to have your back and understand when you mess up. True friendships come with respect, trust, acceptance and safety. They’re the people you go crying to when something terrible happens, the ones that listen to you vent about the people you hate, the ones that tolerate you and treat you with love even when you’re acting annoying AF and the ones to give the best advice because they know you inside and out. I know I’m lucky enough to call my boyfriend my best friend. I hope everyone gets to experience that happiness one day. If this doesn’t ring true for you or isn’t on its way to feeling familiar, rethink that relationship.