Even if they're great, they may not be the one.
It finally happened for you (or so you think): You met someone who looks great on paper and works really well with you. But you have this nagging feeling that, in fact, he's not the one. Maybe it's just that the two of you don't seem to click as well as you'd like or as well as other couples. Maybe it's something even more intangible, like just a feeling you have (or don't have) when you're together. Though you can never be 100% sure when you’ve found your person, there are usually signs he’s not the one or she’s not the one, and keeping your eye out for them can save you from heartbreak.
The sad truth is that working well together on paper doesn't necessarily translate to working well together in real life, or having the chemistry needed to make a relationship work. Is it possible that you're just in love with love, or maybe even in love with the idea of love? If you've been feeling like there's something missing in your relationship that is making it feel not quite right, it may be because you're just in love with the fantasy of being in a relationship... rather than actually in love with your partner.
Here are seven red flags to look out for that could mean it's time to call it quits on your relationship and spend some time solo.
You Really Wanted To Be In A Relationship
Before you met this person, did you really, really, really want to be in a relationship? Did it feel like all of your friends and acquaintances were settling down and it was just time you did so as well? Did you feel any pressure to start looking for the one? If so, you may have just fallen in love with the idea of love because you saw it around you so much, rather than fallen in love with your partner.
Many people say that they found the one when they were least expecting it, but that doesn’t happen for everyone. And if you felt like you were desperate for a relationship before you linked up with your current partner (and you don't feel so hot about them now), it could be a sign you're in love with a fantasy. As Dr. LeslieBeth Wish — a licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of Training Your Love Intuition — previously told Elite Daily, “Being alone and lonely in the world is not only an uncomfortable feeling, but it can also be a scary feeling,” she said. “It’s not surprising that we tend to choose someone who’s ‘comfortable enough.’
You Daydream About A Future Wedding... But Not A Future With Them
If thoughts of wedded bliss or a big, beautiful wedding day are filling your head instead of thoughts of an actual future with your actual partner, this is a red flag that you're in love with the idea of a relationship, rather than with them. If you can't really see your partner clearly when you visualize your future, but instead see a big wedding or the idea of you as a "Mrs.," they may not be the one for you.
Before I met my husband, I didn't give a second thought to being married or having a big wedding (and ended up having a very small one!). It just wasn't something I cared a lot about. After I connected with him, this didn't change. What did change was that I thought a lot about a future with him and what a long-term relationship with him (married or not) would look like. According to Anita Chlipala, a licensed marriage and family therapist, “Marriage requires compromise and a balance of honoring both your needs and your spouse's,” and if getting married is more about your needs than a future with your potential spouse, then you may want to reconsider your priorities.
You Try To Change Them
Does your partner have little annoying traits that you are always trying to change? Do they frustrate you to no end when they do one of their weird, quirky personality things? Sure, none of us is perfect and we all have some strange habits. That said, when you truly meet the one, you'll love these habits of theirs just as you love the rest of them. I know it's hard to picture now, because you might have felt annoyed by certain habits in every relationship you've been in, but with the one, it'll feel easy to embrace these things because of how perfect they are for you.
Falling in love with the idea of someone means there’s a good chance you won’t just be irked by their flaws — you’ll want to actively change who they are. If you feel like you are constantly trying to mold your partner into someone else, then they probs aren't the one for you. “There are some parts of one’s personality that will be different than yours and you can still have a healthy relationship,” Chlipala previously told Elite Daily. "If you are wanting a major overhaul of your partner’s personality and frequently wishing they would behave differently, then that’s an indicator that you don’t truly accept them.”
You Worry Someone Better Is Out There
In a true partnership with your soulmate, you will never, ever worry that someone better is out there. You will just know, heart and soul, that you are with the perfect person for you. Even if your soulmate looks and acts totally different than you ever could have pictured, you'll just know deep down that they are it for you. Conversely, if you aren't with the one person meant for you, you'll wonder if someone better is out there. Sometimes you'll think about whether the two of you are a good fit or not, and you'll struggle with the idea that you could be missing out.
If this is how you feel, then you might just be in love with the fantasy and not in love with your partner. According to Dr. Wish, the main thing that separates real, authentic love from loving the idea of someone is how attached you feel to your current partner. "You might start 'looking around' for a new person in your mind," she explained. "For example, you might be out with your friends or other couples and think to yourself: 'I wish my partner was like theirs.'"
You Compete With Other Couples
Becky and John send each other funny GIFs all day. Jeff and Thomas are always doing the cutest PDA. Britt and Kim got married after just a few months together. When you're not with the one, you might find yourself constantly comparing yourself and your partner to other couples, seeing how you measure up. You might be trying to see how romantic other people are compared to the two of you, how happy they seem, or how well they're doing. This is a hallmark of being genuinely unhappy in your relationship. Instead of comparing, consider ending your relationship to focus on yourself and find a better fit for the long-term.
If you’re constantly seeking validation about your relationship from others, then you probably aren’t totally satisfied. As social worker and psychotherapist Amira Johnson, MSW, tells Elite Daily, “If you find yourself using social media as a mode of validation for your relationship — posting pictures and Stories of you and your partner often — yet you lack presence with your partner in the physical realm, it may be time to reevaluate your ability to truly connect, give, and receive love. We’ve been taught that love is an external experience between two individuals who decide to journey through life together. Therefore, in order to prove to ourselves and those outside of us that we are lovable, we commit to relationships that do not feed us on a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual level.”
You’re Not Sure They Fit Into Your Long-Term Plans
Do you want to move to Manhattan right after grad school to pursue your dream of acting? Are you worried your partner won't fit into your long-term plans? If so, they aren't the one for you. In a true partnership with your soulmate, you won't ever worry about them fitting into your long-term plans because you'll be making your long-term plans together. When you meet the person you are supposed to be with forever, everything will just sort of fit and work out naturally, and you won't have to worry about circumstances ending it.
If your current partner doesn't seem to fit into your long-term plans, they probably aren't for you. As behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva previously explained to Elite Daily, someone you love usually feels like your “ideal partner because you already know they will complement your goals and desires and assist in fulfilling your dreams.” And when you look to your future, you know they’ll be a part of it.
You Refuse To Let The Relationship Go
Despite all of these negative feelings you have about the relationship, are you unwilling to let it go? If so, this is a definite sign that you're in love with the idea of love, instead of with your actual partner. If things just feel off and you haven't been able to get in sync with your partner (not to mention if you constantly worry someone better is out there), but you still refuse to end the relationship, all you're doing is making yourself and your partner unhappy.
It's not fair to them for you to keep holding on, and it's not fair to you, either. And while only you can decide whether a relationship is worth the fight, Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles, previously said, “You know it is worth fighting for if you are compatible in at least 80% of the things that are important for each of you — including your values and your general outlook on life.” The truth is, if you are a believer in love, then someone who complements you perfectly will come along, but not if you keep a tight grip on something that isn't right.
If any of the above sound like you, then you are probably dreaming about a fantasy of a relationship, instead of finding actual happiness with an actual partner. The best thing to do is to give yourself a little bit time solo to figure out what you really want.
Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist
Amira Johnson, MSW, social worker and psychotherapist
Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist
Dr. Gary Brown, couples therapist
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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