By · @kellyseal  ·  · 1.8K Shares

A friend of mine was devastated by a recent break-up. The man she was dating told her that he wanted to be with her forever – that she was the one for him.

While they had a rocky relationship from the beginning, she held on to this one promise he made – despite the red flags surrounding her.

Looking at things from an outside perspective, I saw how he was treating her, how disrespectful he could be, and how he became jealous and angry far too often. But then I also knew that each relationship has its own dynamic – that the people in it see parts of their partner that touch them deeply, that others don’t necessarily see. But I also saw that my friend focused on his good qualities to try and justify the bad behavior.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt that it could work out – that if he changed, just a little – that he would be your perfect match?

Chances are, you have. We all have at one time or another. We fall in love with someone who just isn’t right for us.

I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned about being in relationships that I really, really wanted to last – but they didn’t. If I’m being really honest, there were red flags along the way that I chose to ignore. These relationships weren’t right for me, but I didn’t want to believe it.

Following are some of those red flags to watch out for:

His Behavior Isn’t Consistent

Does he seem warm and affectionate some days, moody and distant on others?

Does he disappear” from time to time – not returning texts or calls?

He might not be ready for a serious relationship, or he could be hiding something from you. Whatever it is, if you feel instinctively that something is off or wrong – listen, because you’re probably right.

You Feel Like You’re Riding an Emotional Roller Coaster

Does he take you along with him when he’s incredibly happy, sad or angry?

It’s fantastic when he’s in a good mood, and you get swept up in adventure and romance, but when he’s in a bad mood it’s awful. If he gets easily frustrated, angry, impatient, or jealous – it’s a sign that he might be struggling with some unresolved issues that will hold him back in a relationship.

You Think You Can Change Him

The One for You? The Right Man? The Perfect Partner?Most of us are guilty of this – we like being the savior, the knight in shining armor helping to turn your love around. But a good relationship doesn’t need saviors – a good relationship requires two people who are capable of standing on their own two feet, willing to grow, and willing to rise to the challenge of building something together. If one of you isn’t up for the experience, it’s best to move on.

You Defend His Actions, to Yourself and Others

You see all the best parts of him – his kind heart, his intelligence, his charm, his willingness to try anything. But then you see his painful baggage, too – a stressful childhood, his temper, his jealousy. You want others to see him how you see him, so you defend him when he says something inappropriate, or condescending, or mean – even if it’s to you. If you find yourself defending him more often than enjoying his company, it’s not the right relationship for you.

You’re Afraid of Being Alone

It is a difficult thing to admit – the fact that you’re still with someone because you don’t want the alternative – being single and starting all over again. But sometimes, this is what is called for – you only grow as far as you’re willing to grow, and if you choose to remain in a relationship that isn’t serving you out of fear, then likely you’ll remain in that state of fear, and unhappy in your relationship. The pain of getting out of a situation that isn’t right is brutal, but always leads you to a better place. Just trust in the process.

Kelly Seal

Kelly Seal is an award-winning author whose writing can be found in The Huffington Post, Examiner, and Slate among others.

Get her book Date Expectations available in paperback, ebook and audio book formats, and visit her blog at

What Do You Think?

4 Comments | Join the discussion

  • Leila May 24, 2015 at 1:12 am

    You can’t tell when the right guy is going to come along. It could be when you’re young or when you’re older, however, when he does, as Kelly says, the things in her article won’t be an issue. So (Nebula) I would say – don’t let the guy go if at all possible. It sounds to me as though he could be the one for you 🙂

  • nebula May 22, 2015 at 7:03 am

    So I’ve had this intimate relation with this guy who is 10 yrs younger than me. He’s a Marine. We both decided to be Friends with Benefits or him be my Boy Toy. The guy to me has no red flags. To be honest he’s a pretty green flag guy. He’s respectful, honest, trustworthy, kind, caring, has a job, has a place of his own, is inteligent, and stable in his personal life with mental and family things, talks to me really a lot considering how busy he is being in the military. This situation out of all my relationships I’ve had feels the most natural, comfortable and effortless situation I’ve had with the opposite sex. Now I’ve always wanted someone like him to come into my life in the form of a relationship, but I have decided of late before we started talking that I don’t want to be in a relationship. I want to embrace and enjoy my single life and independence for once seeings I’m 32 yrs old and pretty well seasoned in the disasters of the dating world. So now I come across him and he as well doesn’t want to be in a relationship in his life because he’s really young and he should experience life first (I want him to). Because we are both mentally in the same place I find this to be fascinating, as I explained earlier this guy is the type of guy I always wanted to date, and have always hoped to have come into my life. So my question in this fascinating scenario is, Why is it now that I don’t want to be in a relationship is when the right guy comes a long, but not in the way I’ve always asked or hoped for? I am completely happy with the way it is now as we both get to talk and enjoy each others ideas, thoughts, ambitions and personal lives. He has become a really wonderful friend, I completely trust him and I’m not afraid of or feel vulnerable in trusting him. Which is a big deal and leap for me. I just would really like to hear your input on this type of situation. Because of my age and the things I’ve always wanted since being a little girl I do have that deep ingrained hope and mentality to want to be in a relationship and marriage so that does make this different to me. I’m also treating this situation and him differently than with my ex-boyfriends. I am keeping a level head and relaxed in the situation as I know what he’s doing where he is coming from and vice versa and there are no pressures.

    • tegan   nebula May 25, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Wow, you have taken the words right out of my mouth. Let me just tell you, you are not alone in this thinking. I’m 30 and I’m looking forward to having more free feeling relationships

  • Aleja May 21, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Kelly, you are bang on with this post. I just wish that there was a way to learn these things
    other than brutal experience, as in a required relationship class for all high school seniors.
    Even we retired college profs are still having to figure it out as we go along…a bit late!!!


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