When you're in the middle of a relationship, it can be tricky to gauge how stable it truly is. Did you snap at them this morning because of a normal dip? Or was today's bickering triggered by an underlying deal-breaker? Sometimes it's so difficult to distinguish between the two that you become the last of your friends to anticipate the breakup. Luckily, there are a few key warning signs that signal an impending expiration date on your relationship. Here's what to look for:
Lots of Lows and Few Highs
Passion and drama are two different animals, the latter being a sign of instability. In a recent study, researchers gathered information from participants that identified with four types of commitment patterns—dramatic, conflict-ridden, socially involved, and partner-focused. According to their findings, those who reported frequent, dramatic ups and downs also experienced more fluctuations in long-term commitment levels. Unsurprisingly, conflict-ridden relationships didn't fare well in the longevity department either. Ask yourself if you think you can ride the histrionics together or if you're ready to ditch the drama jar once and for all.
You've Lost Those Rose-Colored Glasses
As William Faulkner so brilliantly noted, "You don't love despite; you love because." In other words, your partner's quirks, flaws, and mistakes shouldn't significantly lower your opinion of them. Studies show that having idealized perceptions, or "positive illusions," of your mate is a good indication of higher commitment levels. A solid way to test this out is to see if you rate your partner better than they rate themselves across multiple categories, like intelligence and physical attractiveness.
Someone Has a Superiority Complex
If you feel like you're settling, you probably are. But there's a distinction between thinking you're too good for someone and simply feeling distant. The Gottman Institute researched relationship stability by tracking the various attitudes that most often precede breakups. Its team found that if you catch yourself resenting or criticizing your partner without cause, then it's time to reevaluate. Catching ourselves in the act can be tricky, so watch out for things like passive aggression and unwarranted, defensive comments. This built-up contempt can look like a superiority complex, but the conflict is typically because you're staying with someone you know isn't right for you.
For more insight or advice on how to move on and heal a broken heart, show yourself some love with these science-backed tips.