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.
On the subject of cheating, is it just another cheap thrill?
Written by Therese Quiao, senior, public communication, American University
“It only takes one drink to for your boyfriend to cheat on you,” said a nurse at the West Virginia University student health center. As funny as that sounds, infidelity is the age-old plague that kills most relationships and marriages. According to an iVillage survey, approximately 1 in 5 adults have cheated on their partner.
There has always been a stigma towards cheating, but why does it happen?
Is cheating a part of biological instinct? Or is it just an impetuous cheap thrill that happens in the moment? Are some people genetically predisposed to cheat?
In his human sexual behavior class, Professor McCarthy teaches his students that men associate sex with competency and masculinity, while women coincide intimacy with an emotional bond. The drive to fulfill this sexual need can influence infidelity.
A freshman at American University was kind enough to share her story. When Alexis James* met Nick Raymond*, she was quickly swept away by his charm and good looks. He was older, and well-traveled. Rather than meeting him at a sloppy fraternity party, Nick met Alexis while waiting on a line at Starbucks. He was so smooth that he offered to pay for her latte. Alexis was blindsided and was absolutely thrilled when he asked for her number.
After a few dates, Alexis and Nick were “officially” together. They were so happy, and he had even taken her to see the Washington Ballet. She thought that Nick was different from the other boys she’s met so far who only wanted to hook-up.
Out of nowhere, Nick suddenly changed. He began ignoring Alexis’ phone calls and text messages. What was wrong with him? He even blocked her on Facebook, which proved to be a passive aggressive, and hurtful action.
The next morning, Alexis discovered from a friend that Nick was actually in a long-term relationship with another girl who went to a neighboring college. Alexis was completely unaware that she was the other woman. She trusted Nick, and he had taken advantage of her.
Currently, there are many psychological studies detailing why men (like Nick) have flings. “Men are more likely to look for sexual novelty. They might be looking for a sexual outlet without the expectation of continuity,” says Sandra Leiblum, director of the Center for Sexual and Relational Health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J.
However, girls are just as likely to cheat. The problem with infidelity is that each situation is different, and there is no single archetype for a “cheater.” Some cheat for a thrill, while some cheat because they are lonely. Either way, hearts are breaking everyday.
*Names changed to protect privacy.
10 more reasons to break up with your boo
Written by Mia Perlman
Whether a pair finds themselves engaging in toxic behavior, or simply drifting apart, sometimes it’s just best to bring a failing relationship to its end.
However, the question still remains, what constitutes the reasons for ending a relationship?
11. They Isolate You From Your Friends
When you enter a relationship, you might find yourself spending more time with your significant other than your friends. While this is fine, remember to keep your friends around, too. If your significant other tells you that you should only spend time with him/her, or threatens to end the relationship if you spend time with friends, something is definitely wrong. Losing friends is a part of life, but if you are being forced away from your friends by your partner, this could indicate an abusive relationship. If you find yourself thinking your relationship is one that is abusive, you should try to end things with that person as soon as you feel you can.
12. You Feel Drawn to Someone Else
Being interested in someone other than your partner should be an obvious sign that maybe you and your partner should call it quits. If you feel drawn to that boy from your econ lecture or flirting with the girl two doors down, listen to your heart. Why stay with someone that doesn’t make you happy and hurt them in the process? It might sound harsh, but it’s best to break up with somebody if your feelings change. You might be afraid of hurting their feelings, but you’ll only hurt them more the longer you wait to end it.
13. You Start Losing Track of Who You Are
While being in a relationship can be all fun and games, sometimes you can lose track of yourself while being with someone else. When you spend hours upon hours with another person, their mannerisms are bound to rub off on you. However, there is a stark difference between getting close with someone else while picking up some of their traits and losing your sense of self. If you notice that your family and friends hint at the fact that you haven’t been yourself, it might be time to take some time to have a talk with your significant other.
14. You Always Fight
Every couple has their issues, but if the amount of fighting—or the severity of the fights—gets overbearing, something might be wrong. If you find yourself bickering with your partner over the same sole issues time and time again, take caution and think about how to proceed. If you and your partner are only concerned about your individual needs and not the needs pertaining to your relationship, it most definitely won’t work out in the long term. A healthy relationship consists of two people who want to better each other. If you can’t budge past repetitive issues, call it quits.
15. The Bad Things Outweigh The Good Things
When you go into a healthy, loving relationship, you know that you and your significant other are on an equal playing field. But, unfortunately, over time the tables can turn and the bad things in your relationship might outweigh the good. You should look forward to the time you spend together, not dread it. If issues from your last relationship project into your current relationship or you feel your partner radiating toxic energy, consider moving on.
16. Your Relationship Lacks Communication
No matter what the situation might be, communication is key to any healthy relationship. If you don’t communicate your thoughts, feelings and emotions, you won’t able to set healthy boundaries. Plus, you have to actually talk to make sure you’re on the same page. “If someone starts not texting as much or not hanging out as much without any valid reason it means something’s off with the communication or general strength of the relationship,” said Purdue University freshman Laura Lopez. Without communication, a relationship can’t reach its potential and could be a sign of its demise.
17. You Genuinely Don’t Feel Happy
This one should be a no brainer, but constantly gets overlooked. In this day and age, most people put their partner’s happiness above their own, when in reality they should be focusing on what makes them happy. Your partner should add to your happiness, not overshadow it. Follow your gut and do what makes you happy. While nothing in the relationship may be wrong, if you feel yourself growing unhappy, it may be time to call it quits.
18. You Both Have Become Dependent On Each Other
When it comes to relationships, being dependent on your partner is okay, but becoming too dependent on your partner can become toxic, and can ultimately end your relationship. Your partner can provide you with things such as love, affection, financial stability and more. But they shouldn’t be the only thing you prioritize and vice versa. You should tell your partner that you love them because you want to, not because you feel the need to say it to keep them around or because they need to hear it to stay in the relationship.
19. Distance Persists Between You And Your Partner
Spending 24/7 with your SO isn’t healthy, but creating too much distance—mental or physical—also signals trouble. When you and your partner spend time physically apart, your phone can make it feel like you’re (almost) in the same room. On the other hand, when you and your partner have mental or emotional distance, you might have none of the feelings needed for a healthy, flowing relationship. If you two only spend time together scrolling through Twitter and only speak when you ask each other to “pass the charger,” there might be a problem there.
20. Your Relationship Lacks Security
A key value of relationships that is constantly overlooked? Security. You need to feel secure in the relationship. Knowing all of the characteristics that make your relationship special and unique to you is essential to feeling secure. You can connect with one another on a different level while still understanding each other, and you can even see a future together. If both parties have this security of knowing the love is there, and they can see a future together, there is no need to worry. However, if any of those things are doubtful, the relationship may be treading water
*Article Updated July 26, 2017 by Therese Quiao to include “Cheating: Is it Just Another Cheap Thrill?”
*Article Updated September 12, 2019 by Mia Perlman to include “10 More Reasons to Break Up with Your Boo.”