When in love, we like to think that our partner is "the one," but in reality, often they are just one of the many people who will come and go, leaving you with a lesson and a broken heart.
"I thought he was the one." - My story and what I learned from it.
We never argued, and I felt like I knew him better than anyone else on earth. He was my best friend, my lover, and my confidante. It seemed that he had everything a girl could ever want in her man- until he left me for someone else.
With that being said, I would like to share my story with you and hopefully help someone else who may be in this situation.
Before getting into a relationship, it's important to know what to consider as a red flag in a man. Red flags will serve as warning signs to let you know that maybe he is not the One for you. Women are often blinded by love, and they don't see what's right in front of them. We will lay down our lives for a man who does us wrong because we can't imagine life without him- but it shouldn't be like this!
I thought I could pride myself by following this belief. Until I met him. He is my living red flag. He was such a beautiful stranger. The kind where you can't help but be drawn like a moth to a flame. I didn't think of anything else but him.
We talked, joked around, fell in love, cried, and got broken together. He made me feel alive, I thought he was the One, and it was an intoxicating feeling.
I got swept up in his spell because our relationship seemed perfect- I could understand why every other girl wanted him too! But then things started getting sour. He started acting cold, and I could see the cracks beginning to form in our relationship.
I was so scared that this would be my first heartbreak because he had become everything to me- but when it all came crashing down, I realized how foolish I had been for thinking he was "the one."
At first, I blamed him for ruining us. But I didn't realize I had also played a part in the break-up, and I had been blind to see his red flags. And blind to see my own.
We tend to idealize our partners because we want them to be "the one," but life does not work that way. You need to see every thought and action as it is. No more sugar coating. It's time to see the truth.
Related: Signs That Your Guy is the One
If you can relate to my story, I feel your pain. Let me share with you the lessons that I have learned from my first heartbreak.
Here are some telltale signs that will help you realize that the person you're with is not "the one."
You Feel Like You Are Always The One Who Has To Initiate Contact
You will know that he's not the One when you had always been the one who wanted to talk. You would text him first, and then he'd respond hours later. Isn't it frustrating? Even worse, sometimes your texts wouldn't get a response for days! You can't help but feel like he doesn't care about you or your relationship anymore.
This act is very selfish.
If you didn't feel like he cared, then it will only get worse as the days pass by and your feelings for each other fade away. Remember, a relationship only lasts if there is good communication and understanding.
He is not "the one" if he doesn't make an effort to keep in contact with you regularly! This is not you being needy for his attention. This is him not doing the bare minimum in your relationship.
Both partners must be equally invested in the relationship. If he is not reciprocating in the same way you are, it's time to move on. He will never make an effort because he does not care about your feelings or what matters to YOU.
You Only Show Him Your Best Side
Women, when in love, get anxious just about everything. As a result, we even hide a part of ourselves from them. We don't want our men to know our "unattractive side" after all. You can't help being afraid. You're afraid that if you let him see your flaws, he'll get bored and leave.
During the honeymoon phase of my relationship, I always tried to impress my ex-boyfriend. I only wore the best clothes, learned to apply the famous "no-makeup" makeup look (how does that even work?), and straightened my hair every day.
I feel like I should do everything to feel like we are equal. He's attractive and hot, so all the things I own that were considered ugly were all hidden.
Big-framed glasses, ugly (but super comfy) t-shirts, my collections of mangas, and my hoard of junk foods- all of them are thrown away. In their place were contact lenses, expensive clothes, fashion magazines, and a yoga mat.
But showing him all the best side of me was exhausting. Knowing that he only saw me as the perfect woman was scary and lonely. I wanted someone to know my flaws, be able to talk with me about them without feeling judged or stupid--someone who'll love me no matter what.
It was only after we broke up that I realized how I willingly restrained myself to suit him. And it wasn't his fault. It was no one's fault but my own.
So ladies, when you also find it hard to be yourself in front of someone you love, he's not the One.
You Can't See Him In Your Future
One of the most telling signs that he's not for you is when you can't see him in your future. I'm talking about looking ahead and seeing life with this person-their name included. If all you can envision is an empty future, it might be time to let go because there's nothing to look forward to without future goals.
Even if you insist and disregard the qualities you dislike about him in the name of love, will you be able to tolerate him forever?
The future is never set in stone, but you don't want to be stuck with someone who isn't a good fit for you for the rest of your life. It's important to recognize that there are many different types of relationships. Some can last only a short period of time, while others have more potential longevity. And some people just aren't meant to be.
So, if you can't see this person in your future and the present is not particularly blissful either, it's time for some self-reflection. What are you waiting for? There might be someone else better suited to fill those shoes as soon as they're open.
You Want To Change Him
You have a nagging feeling that if he were just a little different, you'd be in love. Again. But it doesn't change the fact that even though this person is right for you overall, there are one or two things about him that really bother you and make your stomach churn with dissatisfaction each time they happen.
If your problem resides with his beliefs and his 20 years-old habits, how do you change who he is?
This is the person you're in a relationship with, though. You can't change him- he has to change himself. And it's likely not going to happen on its own no matter how much you try and force it. The only thing that will change is your patience level waiting for him to change his ways- which may or may not happen.
You Feel More Alone When They're Around Than When They're Not
For some reason, you always feel alone when your boyfriend is around. It's almost like he can take up all of the space in a room and make you feel like there's no air left for you to breathe. He doesn't mean to, but you just feel alone.
When he's not around, you're alone too - but it feels different. You instantly have more space and a sense of freedom that was missing when you were with him. It makes no sense to your logical mind, but it's the truth, although this realization is a hard pill to swallow.
Your boyfriend doesn't mean to make you feel alone, but he does. And staying in this kind of relationship will become toxic to both of you.
Maybe it's a 'you' thing. You might love him now, but this suffocation will only get worse. Take a step back, and evaluate your relationship. You deserve someone who will make you feel free and comfortable in their presence.
You Don't Trust Him
You trust the person you're in a relationship with, don't you? You trust them enough to share your life and secrets, and there's no one else who knows you better than that special someone.
It feels like nothing can tear apart what binds two people together when trust is at the center of it all. But somehow over time, we begin to doubt. Doubt starts to creep in like a sneaky thief, slowly stealing trust away.
It's hard because trust is such an important factor in any relationship. But it can also be the One that causes them to fall apart when you don't have it anymore or if there's too much of it lost because of the lack of trust over time.
You start questioning him. He tells you he is with his friends, and your trust in him just plummets even more. You're never really sure if it's a lie or not - maybe he forgot to tell you something? Maybe there was an emergency? What if the phone died and it wasn't charged? But then again, maybe he just wanted to go out and have some fun.
Trust is so important in a relationship, but you can trust too much - or not enough. It's the difference between knowing your partner well and trusting them unconditionally. But at this point in your life, you feel like he's becoming more like a stranger, and trust is almost non-existent.
"I Thought He Was The One" - More signs to look for
Here are even more signs to watch out for. When you notice these signs in your boyfriend, then you know that he might not be right for you:
He doesn't listen to you.
Listening is an essential skill for any healthy relationship. A man who doesn't listen is disrespectful and inconsiderate.
He keeps secrets.
Secrets make people untrustworthy. When you start seeing these little lies coming out, it means that something isn't quite right.
He never apologize.
Apologies show respect and humility. Men who do not apologize are selfish and narcissistic.
He treats you poorly.
Treating someone well is very important. If you notice that he treats you poorly, it means that he cares less about you.
He always puts himself before you and others.
People who only focus on themselves cannot give 100% of themselves to someone else. In fact, they may even try to take advantage of you.
He talks bad about others behind their backs.
You know he is not a good person if he talks badly about another person behind their back. That shows immaturity and insecurity.
He acts jealous easily.
Jealousy is a sign of low self-esteem. Someone who acts jealous is insecure and lacks confidence.
He expects you to cater to his needs.
Caring about someone requires putting their interests above yours. If you notice that your partner expects you to cater to their wants instead of meeting theirs, it means that they aren't willing to compromise.
He lies about their past relationships.
If you find out that he has lied about previous girlfriends or exes, there is no telling what else he might lie about. This should set off alarm bells.
He plays games with you.
Playing mind games is immature. If you notice that they play games, it means that they lack maturity.
He gets angry quickly.
Anger comes from hurt feelings. Hurt feelings come from disrespect. Respectful men won't let anger control them. Instead, they'll seek ways to resolve conflicts peacefully.
He blames other people for problems.
Blaming other people makes you look weak. Weakness attracts negative energy. Negative energy leads to unhappiness. Unhappiness causes stress which leads to illness.
He thinks money defines love.
Money is just a tool. Love is unconditional. Don't fall into the trap of believing that material things define true love. True love transcends beyond monetary value.
He often criticizes you.
Criticism is destructive. Blaming someone robs them of self-respect. Self-respect is one of the most valuable assets in life. It's also one of the hardest to gain or lose.
He doesn't want to commit.
Without commitment, your relationship has no future Commitment is what keeps relationships strong over time.
He tries to change you.
Change should happen naturally when two individuals grow together. When two people become closer, they start changing each other.
He always put his friends before you.
When a guy do this, it means that he doesn't respect you, or he values friendship more than romance. Either way, it's a red flag.
He always puts his career first.
Career success isn't everything. Your happiness matters more than anything else.
He never compliments you.
Giving compliments builds self-esteem and intimacy between couples. Without it, there will be little chance of having a happy relationship.
So you thought he was the one, but now it's time to face reality. It can be hard when we think that someone is "the one" for us, and then they don't end up being our perfect match.
It's important to understand that there is someone out there for everyone and, no matter how much it hurts right now, we will find our perfect match.
One day, you'll be in love again, and this relationship will be nothing but a lesson learned.
Nicole Graham is a relationship expert at Womenio.com. She is helping women grow into their best selves so they can be confident and bring more love, passion, and purpose to their lives. Nicole enjoys studying the psychology of love and is passionate about writing on them. She offers helpful tips and advice to help overcome any relationship issue, whether you’re single or already in a relationship.