If she name-drops her ex, disagrees with you about money, and has a way of always getting you down, it's probably time to cut bait.
Hilary Sheinbaum and Sarah Jacobsson Purewal 1 / 21
Romantic encounters can last until "death do you part"…or, alternatively, one night. But for lengths of time in between, your goal is to separate the girl who should stay from the rest who should go. To help you weed out the bad seeds, our experts break down the actions that signify she’s simply not worth your time. Wouldn’t you rather hit the gym or hang with the guys than put up with this BS? Yeah, us too.
You got a promotion (score!), and your lady wants to talk about the Kardashians. Sound familiar? When you’re excited about work or life goals, but she’s switching the subject to involve her interests, she doesn’t care about you. “This is a sure sign she is selfish,” says Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. “If this is the case then jump ship now, and save yourself the trouble of being involved with someone who isn't caring.” (Hint: If she gives a damn, she’ll ask follow-up questions).
Opposites attract, but not when it comes to values and world views. As a die-hard Yankees fan, overcoming her love for the Red Sox might be sports suicide. But other issues prove to be more problematic, like ”if you have different religions and this can't be reconciled, or if you have different ways of managing money and expenses,” says Alpert, who insists these dissimilarities can lead to complications.
Work can be demanding, family matters need attention, and errands must be run, but if the lady in your life is constantly MIA, it’s time to break it off. “When a woman is interested in a man, she makes time for him,” says Brooke Carsner, owner of Intuitive Matchmaking. “When there is always some other person, some event, some commitment that is taking up more of her time, that is a clear indication that you are not as high on her priority list.”
It’s bad enough to hear about one ex-file, but an entire encyclopedia worth of info? No thanks. “This means that she has not grieved him, and you are in danger of being the rebound boyfriend,” says Todd Creager, a licensed marriage and family therapist. “She is using you to escape her pain, rather than choosing you out of desire.” Getting a little history on her most recent relationship, to gauge if enough time has passed since her ex, is acceptable, as it’s important to ensure she’s had space to be alone.
Women appreciate men who make the first move, but if she’s legitimately interested, she will reach out in due time. “There should be a balance of communication initiation by both parties if there is truly attraction and mutual interest,” says Barbie Adler, founder and president of Selective Search, a professional matchmaking service. “Communication is a two-way street.”
Kind of like that overplayed Katy Perry song, but in real life. She’s nice and then not-so-much—and it’s always your fault. That’s not fun. “Some women have been socialized to believe that they have to torment a man before he’ll value her, says Judith A. Swack, a relationship specialist at the Boston Center for Adult Education. She explains the flawed thought process: “If he puts up with her and stays with her, it proves that he’s the right man.” Don’t put up with the games—unless you like to lose.
7. She's changed since you started dating
Oh, that awkward moment you realize your "hockey-loving" lady friend doesn’t know what a puck is. “Most people start out a relationship trying to be on their best behavior. If your girlfriend was putting on an act to get you to like her, she won’t be able to keep it up,” says Swack. “Eventually her true personality will come out. Don’t keep hoping that her act was the real her and wait for her to bring it back.”
If her habits make you want to scream, she points out your flaws, and she brings you down, she isn’t going to help you grow. “If you fight a lot and feel irritable, drained, defensive and never good enough, she’s not for you,” says Swack. The point is to be happy. “When the first thing out of her mouth is a complaint, [you] begin to dread what she has to say," adds Risky Listing realtor Jason Lewis.
9. The damsel in distress needs a savior
Feeling like Superman can be a rush, but it’s not your job to save her from her own problems. “If you meet someone who acts helpless, needy, and dependent or is wounded or mentally ill, she needs support and therapy,” says Swack. “As much as you may like the idea of being her hero, that kind of relationship is not really a partnership, and gets old really fast.”
Game over. Time to move on—ASAP. “There can be no love without trust. Biologically, human beings pair bond for life,” says Swack. “If she cheats on you, the trauma is so bad that it will break the connection.”
Your partner should build you up—not tear you down. You’re not being ‘too sensitive,’ says clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark. Contempt is the number one indicator of divorce in couples, Clark explains. If she makes fun of you constantly and is dismissive of your feelings, you don’t have her respect.
12. She doesn’t want to hang out with your friends
If you’re like most couples, she’s probably the one who manages your social calendar—and you’re probably fine with this. But you shouldn’t be giving up time with your friends for time with hers (or vice-versa). She might not love your buddies, but if she refuses to hang out with them or let you hang out with them, you’re the one who will suffer, Clark says.
Some jealousy is understandable—but that doesn’t make it cute. “Unless you’ve given her a reason to be worried, this is a very bad sign,” Clark says. Think about it: If you’re the perfect (relatively speaking) boyfriend and she’s already snooping through your phone…it’s not going to get better, it’s going to get worse.
She seems like an awesome girl: She loves football, beer, and video games. And she has a ton of guy friends—which is totally fine—but no girlfriends, because she “just doesn’t get along with girls,” or “girls think she’s a threat.” Give me a break. Who doesn’t get along with an entire gender? “A worthy partner has friends of both genders because she’s a good friend,” Clark says. “And, obviously, her ability to be a friend is a good indicator of her ability to be a partner.”
She doesn’t have to be after your money to be a ‘gold-digger,’ or someone who wants to take advantage of you, Clark says. “If you feel like there is some unspoken quota of gestures or behaviors you must meet to win her affection, she’s not really interested in you,” Clark explains. A relationship is a partnership, and nobody should be keeping score.
Sure, she’s nice to you, but she’s not very friendly to anyone else—her friends, your friends, or people in the service industry. “If she’s not nice to others, then someday she’ll treat you the same way,” Clark warns. It’s only a matter of time.
17. She wants to get married and you don’t (or vice-versa)
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married (or not) or wanting to have kids (or not), but if you know what you want then you should work on finding someone who wants the same thing—not trying to change the person you’re with. If she sees wedding bells in her future and you don’t, then stop wasting her (and your) time.
18. She’s obsessed with being the ‘perfect’ couple
Sharing some relationship milestones and happy moments with your social network is expected—and can even indicate a comfortable relationship—but if she’s more interested in looking perfect on Instagram than hanging out with you in real life, you have a problem. “Your partner should know you love them from how they feel when they’re with you—not what they see on Facebook,” Clark says.
You can say you’re sorry without admitting fault, but you’ve never heard her utter an apology. “This is a very subtle warning sign, but it’s still a warning sign,” Clark points out. “Relationships are built on mutual responsibility-taking, and nowhere is this more important than in navigating conflict.” If she can’t admit she’s not always right, she’s probably not mature enough to be in a relationship.
As your relationship matures, you should feel more secure with your partner—not less secure. So if you’re feeling insecure around her—because she points out your physical or behavioral flaws and bad habits—that’s a sign your relationship is rapidly going downhill. The silver lining, according to Clark, is that this probably has more to do with her than it does with you.