Brittany Wong is the “Divorce Editor” for the Huffington Post. I find that interesting, in that HuffPost not only has an entire section devoted to divorce, but that they also have a full time editor for content about divorce, instead of, say, “relationships.” But labels aside, Ms. Wong publishes insightful thoughts about relationships. I couldn’t agree more with her premise that “your partner should bring out the best in you, inspire you to grow and make you laugh like nobody’s business. If that’s not happening, you’re probably with the wrong person.”
Recently, she polled nine relationship experts on some of the warning signs that you might be with the wrong person. Here’s what they said (note that Ms. Wong attempts to be gender-neutral. Substitue “he” and “she” as is necessary to your situation).
“1. She doesn’t see your potential.
The right partner sees your worth and won’t make you feel anxious about where you are in life, said Washington D.C-based psychologist Alicia H. Clark. And she certainly won’t suggest you change to fit her idea of the perfect partner.
‘As simple as it sounds, there is much value built into feeling comfortable — safe, accepted, valued, supported, understood and wanted — in a relationship,’ she said. ‘A good partner helps you feel more like yourself, not less so.’
2. He doesn’t share your sense of humor.
The two of you should be like the romantic version of Key and Peele: Comedic peas in a pod who can make each other laugh, said Alexandra H. Solomon, a psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University. If not, the hard times you’ll inevitably face together are going to be a lot harder.
‘As you travel through life with a partner, there are so many bumps in the road; being able to find levity even in dark and difficult moments makes the tough stuff so much more bearable,’ Solomon said.
3. She doesn’t fight fair.
You’re bound to disagree but the right woman will try her damnedest to avoid name-calling and a knock-down, drag-out war of words, said Marina Sbrochi, a dating coach and the author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life.
‘How you fight determines if the relationship grows or rots,’ she said. ‘A great catch is mature enough to disagree and work through things like a mature adult. No name-calling, raging, dirty tricks and never anything physical.’
4. He’s not your bestie.
Your partner should be your ride-or-die, the Jay to your Beyoncé and the one person you *might* be able to forgive for giving you the flu. If he’s not, well, you’re probably the with the wrong guy, said Boston-based wellness coach Jennifer Barrows.
‘If you’re not good friends, then it may be time to reassess,’ she said. ‘If your friendship is strong, your relationship will be built on a foundation that can handle both everyday stresses like getting the kids to school and household chores as well as crisis situations.’
5. She’s untrustworthy.
Honesty is imperative, said Barrows. If you can’t trust your partner, you have no foundation for a relationship.
‘Expecting honesty from your partner shows that you have respect for yourself,’ she said. ‘Of course, this is a two-way street: If you find that both you and your partner are being blatantly dishonest with each other, you owe yourself some major introspection.’
6. He’s not willing to help out around the house.
Ain’t nobody got time for tired gender roles in a modern-day relationship. The right guy (or gal) isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty in the kitchen and clean up around the house, Sbrochi said.
‘If he has problems with gender expectations, he’s not the one,’ she said. ‘Gone are the days of the man being the sole breadwinner and the wife being at home, cooking and cleaning. It’s an equal opportunity world now and he should see you as an equal partner.’
7. She’s oblivious to mistakes she made in past relationships.
We’re creatures of habit: How we behaved in earlier relationships has bearing on our future relationships. Your partner should be up to the task of evaluating what went wrong last time around to avoid making the same mistakes again, Solomon said.
‘Curiosity about the self is a key ingredient for a healthy, intimate relationship,’ she explained. ‘Every relationship has problems and relationship problems are alwaysmade up of ‘your stuff,’ ‘my stuff’ and ‘our stuff.’ In order to successfully navigate relationship challenges, you need to be with someone who is willing to look at their part of the ‘dance.”
8 He doesn’t take responsibility for his actions.
The right partner will own his mistakes wholesale. No empty apologies or finger-wagging, just the healthy, grown-up ability to admit he was wrong so you two can move on, Clark said.
‘It’s not so much that your partner never makes mistakes — that’s impossible.’ she said. ‘Mistakes are how we learn in life and in love. Being able to recognize and learn from them is what keeps us and our relationships healthy.’
9. She doesn’t bring out the best in you.
In moments when you’re being hyper-critical or doubting yourself, your S.O. should be quick to come in with moral support, reminding you of your worth and that your latest personal crisis is sure to blow over.
‘One of the markers of a successful and healthy relationship is a capacity to see the positives in a situation and not dwell too much on the negative,’ said Clark. ‘[A partner] who has the capacity to focus on the positive will help you maintain your connection over the long-term.'”
What do you think? What could you add to this list? Let me know with a comment below.
(Image: CSA/Printstock for Huffington Post)