These 10 Subtle Signs Will Tell You If You're In A Dead-End Relationship

by Lisa Feng
Universal Pictures

Many couples stay in relationships that have passed their expiration date. I was in one.

There were many reasons why I didn't end it. There was the fear of being alone, embarrassment about a potential breakup and stress about the plans that I had already made. And those were only the big issues.  In my heart, I knew he wasn't the one and that I was settling for someone.

I should have been strong and told him there was nothing left for us, but instead I talked to other guys online, flirted with single guys I knew and (because the relationship was long distance) pretended I was still single.

We broke up when he realized that we had come to an end -- by reading text messages I had sent to another guy about how lame the sex was and how I didn't love him anymore.

I was in a dead-end relationship for over a year before eventually letting go to find someone I truly love. Here are some signs I ignored in my doomed relationship, before finally picking up and moving on.

1. You know you can do better.

If you feel you can do better than the person you're with, chances are you can.

Toward the end of my relationship, I had reactivated my dating apps, was texting guys that I had previously brushed off and was even picturing an imaginary hot guy in my head when we had sex.

When your partner is the one, you won't feel you can do better than what you have. The right person will make you believe you've found the best you could possibly get.

2. One of you is completely bored.

You spend more time playing on your phone than spending quality time with your partner.

Even in bed together, instead of having pillow-talk, I was checking out the Facebook statuses on my news feed. I was completely bored with him. He would watch TV in the living room and I would go to the bedroom to check out social media.

3. You don't foster their ambitions (and they don't foster yours). 

When moving up in the world and accomplishing your goals, you'll realize the person you're with is dead weight.

After that relationship ended, I focused on my goals that I had procrastinated on, everything from personal to professional successes.

If one of you is a sinking ship, the other needs to grab a life jacket and jump off.

4. A part of you can't stand them. 

Everything about them irritates you. The way they breathe. The way they chew. The way they fold their towels after the laundry is done. Everything.


You're critical and insulting of everything that they do. Nothing they do can please you, because the fact is, they're just not the one.

You know it, but you just don't know how to end it, so you subconsciously sabotage your own relationship.

5. Cheating of any sort is going on.

Do I really need to explain this one? Maybe I do. Most of the time physical cheating starts with "emotional cheating."

If you're in a committed relationship you're unhappy with, and you start talking to someone else — do I really need to finish this sentence?

6. The sex is lame.


I literally told him the sex was lame. If you're doing it just to do it, save yourself the stress and just buy some sex toys.

Maybe the sex was enjoyable when you first started dating, but now it feels as obligatory as taking off your makeup or running the dishwasher.

7. The idea of marrying them makes you nauseous.

You don't see yourself marrying this person. I was planning my divorce in my head while I was engaged to the guy.

8. They're not pulling their own (dead) weight.

Are you the one that's taking care of the both of you? While there is usually one person who makes more than the other in a relationship, think of this — if you lost your job, do you have confidence that your partner would be able to take care of the bills until you find a new one?

If you do more for them than for yourself, it's time to kick their leeching butt to the curb. You need to spot the dead weight fast.

Once you're married, you can work out all the financial details, but keep in mind that your partner isn't likely to change for the better once you're married. If they're solely depending on your personal success for both of your futures, I suggest a shoebox hidden with money saved to make your exit.

9. Your lives are completely (and happily) separate.

You go out, they go out. He tells you he's going to spend the night in Vegas, you tell him to have fun and stay an extra day.


She tries to make you jealous with that guy at the gym, and you buy her a one-year membership to the gym instead.

Neither one of you cares what the other is doing. Go ahead and flirt with someone else, just get out of my hair.

10. You're searching for answers you already know.

If you're online searching for relationship advice, chances are your doubts are serious enough to start making an exit plan. Breakups are hard, especially for the one who is on the receiving end. No matter how miserable the both of you are, neither one wants to be the one that walked away or the one that got left.

Many people stay in dead-end relationships for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it's financial— how can you leave if you still have six months on your lease with this person?

Other times it's because you hold on to a pipe-dream that things will get better. You don't want to accept that you've wasted all that time, money and energy into a relationship that ended.

While it might be hard to start over again, especially if you're living together, engaged or have been together for a long time, each day with the wrong person is another day that you're not with the right one.