At the beginning of any relationship, you’re on your best behavior. You want him to like you. He wants you to like him. You both put your best foot forward, but it’s not sustainable behavior and eventually, your true self emerges and so does his.

Marriage Counseling, Relaationships, Couples

You can save yourself a lot of time, energy, and heartbreak if you recognize early warning signs of a relationship that is bound to fail. Here are some things to look for:


  • Nice to you, but rude to the help. A nice person is nice to everyone. If he finds it necessary to snap at a waiter, maybe he isn’t really that nice after all. He may be insecure and want to prove he’s better than the other guy or he may be short-tempered. Either one isn’t good.
  • Once a cheater. . .not always a cheater, necessarily, but it’s not a good sign. If your significant other has cheated emotionally or physically early in the relationship, when he’s trying to impress you, chances are you’re in for unhappiness.
  • Pants on fire. Even the smallest lie is a betrayal that’s hard to get over. It means that the trust in your relationship has been breached and subsequent behavior is suspect until he proves, over time, that he can be trusted.
  • Control freak. If your partner is demanding or ignores your boundaries early on, he’s exhibiting signs of toxicity. That kind of behavior is the forerunner of possible abusiveness that will only get worse.
  • No chemistry. If your sexual life is less than stellar, you can work on it and maybe even improve it to become great over time. That takes good communication and possibly experimentation, even counseling. But if there’s absolutely no spark, sexual incompatibility in a long-term relationship is a long-term bummer.
  • Dirty fighter. Does he call you names or verbally hit below the belt? Does he bring up past grievances or hark back to old hurts? If he doesn’t fight fair, you don’t have a prayer of having constructive disagreements that can help you improve your relationship over time. If he goes for the jugular, you should go for the door.
  • No follow-through. Basically, if he doesn’t do what he says he’ll do, he’s leaving you in the lurch. What you want in a partner—what you deserve—is someone who is dependable. If he’s not, trust erodes, and you are left in the unenviable position of reminding (nagging?) an adult to do what he agreed to.


If your partner exhibits any of these signs early on, when he’s still in the throes of infatuation, the problems are likely to get worse. To save you time and heartbreak, run, don’t walk. The sooner you leave, the sooner you’ll be available for a happy, healthy relationship.



Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: