Early Indicators There’s Something Rotten in My Relationship


You know how when a piece of fruit starts going rotten you can barely detect it. Just a whiff here and there of something not quite right? Maybe Shakespeare’s Hamlet was smelling a similar foulness when he remarked, “There’s something rotten in Denmark.” He wasn’t talking about fruit.

Thank goodness for our sensitive noses and our instincts. If you’re alert from the get-go and don’t shut off the little voice in your head that says, “Something isn’t right,” you can save yourself a lot of heartaches. Like a food going bad, you need to watch for signs and decide if it needs to go.

Difficulty expressing emotions. Does your lover have trouble being open, vulnerable, sensitive? Does he seem emotionally disconnected? Does he have trouble expressing how they feel and leave you hanging as to what he’s thinking and feeling? Is he vague or moody when coaxed into expressing themselves, or does he decline to discuss at all?

Controlling, manipulative. Is your lover pressuring you into doing something you don’t want to do? Does he regularly want things to go his way and uses guilt and manipulation to encourage you to submit?

Jealous and possessive. Is he angry or upset when you deal with anyone considered by him to be a threat to the relationship? Does he accuse you of infidelity over innocent encounters or references?

Inconsiderate or oblivious to your feelings. It’s always about them. When it’s about you there are strings attached. This is a sign he isn’t happy with himself. He may have an underlying lack of self-worth and is using you as a way to inflate it.

Inconsistency, lack of commitment. Are there sharp breaks in contact. You started out seeing each other frequently. He messaged and phoned up a storm. Now you don’t hear from him for weeks. When he pops back in, it’s as if nothing is amiss. When you ask, his reason for the hiatus is, “I was busy.” Big alarm bell here. “He’s not interested” is what this probably means. He could be using you as a fill-in until he finds someone else.

Disrespectful behavior. Don’t be his punching bag when something ticks him off. How does he treat others?  How does he respond to annoying service agents, restaurant wait staff that get an order wrong, his friends and family in general? The way he treats others may be how he treats you some day.

Does more talking than listening. He isn’t interested in your opinion. He may be using you as a sounding board instead of having a genuine interest in getting to know you.

Fewer gestures of affection. He expresses less desire for physical contact, there’s less good morning text messages, less thoughtfulness, less kind words, fewer tokens of appreciation, less going out together. He is emotionally detached. Five-alarm fire bell.

Your friends don’t like him. Your friends are great relationship radar detectors. They may see warning signals you haven’t yet detected; if you have noticed, this is confirmation.


Don’t Be Afraid to Admit It

Don’t make excuses for him. Don’t think you’re imagining things. Don’t think your relationship will self-correct or that you can change him. The more you get emotionally entangled, the more difficult it is to cut the cord.

Examine your relationship –not frivolously, as you would if you were deciding whether to keep a food item you’re not sure about. Rather, notice the obvious and subtle imperfections. Use your intuition. Listen to your heart. Make a conscious decision to keep him or break it off.