7 Red Flags In A Relationship That Mean Your Partner Will Never Put You First
My ex was one of the emotionally selfish people I've ever met. Sure, when we were together, they put up a good front by seeming to be present in the moment, and lulling me into a false sense of security. Despite the act, I still felt a growing sense of unease and unhappiness I couldn't put my finger on. I finally realized I was in a relationship with someone who had no real interest in my needs and wouldn't ever see me as an equal in the relationship. Once the fog lifted and I could see the red flags in a relationship that had been waving in my face for months, I cut the toxicity out of my life for good.
I am not the only one who has been in this situation. Maybe right now, you suspect you're in a relationship like this, but you aren't totally sure. I get it. While it's easy to look back in retrospect and see what was happening in the past, it can be a lot harder to spot a partner who doesn't see you as a priority when you're in the midst of a relationship. That's parly because, in the early stages of the relationship, when it's still relatively easy to cut ties and you're on high alert for red flags, those behaviors can sneak under the radar by masking themselves behind benign explanations, like your partner keeping it casual or taking things slowly. You think, "Of course they aren't including me in important decisions or celebrating special occasions with me. The relationship is new. That will come with time." And you're right, it should. The problem is when the relationship evolves, the behaviors stay the same.
So, if you want to avoid being with someone who will never put you first, here's what the experts say to look out for.
1. Your Needs Are Constantly Overlooked And Unfulfilled
In a truly healthy relationship, both partners’ needs and desires are treated with the same level of importance and priority. But if you feel like all you’re doing is giving and getting little in return, it’s time to take a closer look at how seriously your needs are being treated by your partner. NYC relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter says that what you might learn, if you’re dealing with a selfish partner, is that “they're so busy getting their needs met that factoring in what you want is simply too tiresome.”
2. They Don’t Listen To Your Point Of View
Any partner who is going to put you first is going to want to loop you in on any big decisions. They value your input and want to consider your point of view. If this isn’t happening at all, you may have a problem. What that likely means, according to Winter, is that, to them, “the only view that counts is theirs.” Not only is this hurtful, but it can also indicate that “you have no voice and no weight in decisions made within the relationship,” Winter says.
3. They Have Control Issues
Relationships should be about give and take, and no one person should have all the control. Each partner should take into consideration the happiness and needs of the other, and from that comes a willingness to compromise. However, if you’re with someone who always has to have their way, either explicitly or just by not even considering your feelings, Winter says it's because, to your partner, “the relationship is all about them.”
4. They Cancel Plans Regularly
When you have plans with you partner, is there a little part of you that’s nervous because you know at any minute they may cancel on you, especially because they’ve done it several times before? Relationship expert and matchmaker Alessandra Conti, of Matchmakers In The City, says that’s a big ol’ red flag. “I always ask… is a certain behavior a fluke or a flaw? A fluke is something that happens rarely, while a flaw is a repeated behavior,” she says. “If a person is consistently canceling plans with you because of work, family, or friends, even if they have a good excuse for the cancellations, you are clearly not their priority.”
5. They Only Hang Out With You Last Minute
Maybe the issue isn’t that they cancel plans with you at the last minute but instead they wait until the last minute to make plans with you to begin with. Are you only getting late-night calls? Are you constantly scrambling to get ready at the last minute when they want to hang out? Do you find yourself putting your life on hold so you can be available when they do want to hang out?
That’s no way to live. If they are waiting until the last minute to make plans with you, it means they are making sure there isn’t something better to do than spend time with you. You deserve so much better than the leftovers of their time.
6. They Don’t Follow Through On Promises
Talking about the future is an important part of any relationship, since you need to know you’re on the same path and have the same priorities. However, Conti warns, “If you are dating someone who talks about the future, makes exciting plans with you, and then doesn't follow through to actually put those plans into action, [they have] other priorities that are taking their attention away from you. When a person values you as a partner, they will invest into the relationship with their time, affections, and through following through.”
7. They Don’t Celebrate Special Occasions With You
Are you a part of their holiday plans? Do they want to make a big deal out of anniversaries? Are they excited to be a part of celebrations of moments that are important to you? If you partner isn’t including you in their big moments, excited to be a part of yours, or celebrating the milestones you share together, they do not really value you in the way that would make you a priority to them.
So, what should you do if you realize you’re in a relationship with someone who isn’t treating you like a priority? If want to try and fix the relationship, Conti says the first step is to have an honest conversation with your partner about how you are feeling. Then, it’s up to them to want to and try to change. “If a person is committed to continuing a relationship with you, they should want to make you happy, make sure that you are feeling satisfied, and that your needs are being met in a relationship,” Conti says. “If you express that you are feeling neglected in any way, a person who wants to be in a relationship with you will hear you out and attempt to make changes in their behavior that will help to eliminate that feeling.” If they are willing to work on changing the behavior there is hope for the relationship.
However, not all relationships can be salvaged, and Winter says if they aren’t willing to hear how you’re feeling or change their behavior, it’s better to just let them go. “It's impossible to make someone realize that you count when they don't believe you do,” she explains. “The self-obsessed and self-preoccupied partner will find it an impossible task to shift the attention from their concerns to your concerns.” It may hurt to let someone go in the moment, but stay strong and never settle for someone’s love crumbs. You deserve so much more.
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