If you want to be in a relationship, odds are you’re also looking for a partner who is (at minimum) kind, respectful, and a good fit for you, and to be in a relationship that builds you up and makes you happy. But you also can’t really plan who you’ll fall in love with, and sometimes, it’s hard to tell when someone you’re dating is being genuine. Unfortunately, that means that you might end up in a situation where you love someone who isn’t good for you. It’s not your fault, and we’ve all been there at some point or another.
Maybe you have your doubts, but if you’re not really sure if the person you’re dating or in love with is good for you or not, there are some things to look out for — and most of it is about how they make you feel.
“Someone isn’t good for you when you don’t feel like the best version of yourself in the relationship,” Samantha Burns, dating coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, tells Elite Daily. “Oftentimes, when you’re with the wrong person it will feel out of balance, with you giving more than you’re receiving. In a healthy relationship, there should be an equal effort invested by both partners. You can tell if someone isn’t good for you if you’re regularly feeling on edge, anxious, insecure, needy, argumentative, jealous, sad, or crying frequently.”
And perhaps unsurprisingly, being in a relationship with someone who isn’t good for you can have quite an impact on your life and your self-esteem. I asked Burns to weigh in on what happens when you’re in love with a person who isn’t good for you, and here’s what she had to share.
You might alienate yourself from your support system.
“When you’re in love with someone who isn’t good for you, your other relationships take the back burner, or you alienate yourself from your support system,” Burns explains. “When you’re first dating someone and falling in love, you go through that honeymoon phase where you’re obsessed with spending a lot of time with your new partner, but it takes an unhealthy turn where you stop investing time and energy into nurturing your other friendships.”
Sometimes, that happens just because you’re distracted by new love — and you can fix that by putting in the effort to reprioritize — but it can also be the result of a controlling partner.
“If your partner is controlling, they may ask or force you to stop going out with your friends, or talk poorly about your family, slowly and manipulatively isolating you from others,” Burns says.
If anyone you’re dating asks you to stop spending time with your other loved ones, that’s a major red flag.
It can make you feel needy all the time.
As Burns points out, we all have needs — and we all need things at different levels. All of that is totally normal, too.
“Everyone has needs, and some have more than others, which isn’t a bad thing and you shouldn’t let someone make you feel belittled or judged for wanting more,” Burns says.
If you’re feeling needy all the time, however, that can be a sign that you’re with someone who isn’t good for you.
“We tend to only feel needy when our partners aren’t meeting our emotional needs,” Burns says. “When you’re with the right partner, you’ll be able to openly talk about both of your needs and ways you can help meet each other’s.”
What you want to watch out for is a partner who doesn’t seem to understand or care about your needs.
“When you’re with the wrong person, they will ignore or refuse to help you or change their behavior. There’s an overwhelming sense of disconnection, and one or both of you don’t speak each other’s love language, which is the way in which you make each other feel most loved,” Burns explains.
It diminishes your self-worth.
Being in a relationship with someone who isn’t good for you — and thus, doesn’t make you feel good about yourself — can also pose a problem for your own self-esteem and make future relationships feel more difficult for you.
“Dating someone who isn’t good for you slowly diminishes your self-worth, and you begin to believe that you’re not worthy or deserving of a loving, fulfilling relationship,” Burns says. “You pick at your flaws and mentally beat yourself up.”
As a result, Burns says you might start to settle for less than you deserve. “You feel desperate for love and connection, so you lower your standards for anyone who shows you attention because you don’t think that you’re worth more,” she says.
Your partner might be emotionally abusive.
Something to keep in mind is that a partner who isn’t good for you may also be emotionally abusive, so it’s important to watch out for signs like gaslighting, too.
“Someone who isn’t good for you may also engage in a manipulative form of emotional abuse called gaslighting, in which they deny and invalidate your emotional experiences,” Burns explains.
Gaslighting can make you start to focus more on your partner’s feelings than your own, and make you feel like you’re always wrong even when you’re not.
“They don’t take accountability for their wrongdoing, blame you, and somehow even when you know you’re in the right, you wind up apologizing just to smooth things over because you’re uncomfortable with the tension,” Burns says. “You then start to tiptoe around conflict and worry more about their feelings than you’re own.”
If you feel like you can’t even bring up anything that’s bothering you because your partner will just blame you, that’s a major red flag.
So, how do you move on?
If you’re trying to move on from a relationship in which you were in love with someone who wasn’t good for you, Burns has some advice.
“Spend time rebuilding your self-concept and identity by working toward new goals in your personal and professional life,” she suggests. “Engage in new hobbies, whether it’s signing up for your first 5K, learning to play the guitar, or planning an international vacation, and surround yourself with quality friends who build you up.”
Along with finding new hobbies, cultivating your friendships, and building your identity back up again, it’s important to spend time learning to really value yourself.
“You need to reclaim your power and rebuild your worth,” Burns says. “A healthy, secure relationship develops when you value, respect, and love yourself first. The relationship you have with yourself impacts all other relationships in your life, so you need to get to a place where you know you’re a catch and someone will be lucky to have you.”
And remember, you can absolutely be in a healthy, fulfilling relationship while you’re still working on these things — as long as you’re taking care of yourself and putting yourself first. You deserve a partner who does the same — a partner who’s good for you — and you deserve to be in a supportive relationship where you can both grow together.
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