Lesbian Dating: 5 Red Flags That She’s Not The OneHow do we know the difference between normal relationship stuff and signs that she’s not the one for us?

I am sitting across the table over wine with friends as we discuss how to know when a relationship is over. We share stories of staying too long in relationships when we didn’t know how to know the difference between normal relationship problems and problems that indicate it’s over. I find myself joking, “Someone should write a book called, ‘Where the hell is the line?’ We all laugh.

Later, as my legs turn over on the treadmill, I think back on the relationships that I stayed in too long. As I consider commonalities in my stayed-too-long-at-the-party relationships, I note five things they all had in common.

1. Everything is hard.

By everything, I mean everything. In one of my more toxic relationships, we had deteriorated to the point where we literally could not talk about anything beyond the weather or TV without getting into an argument. I learned from that experience that while every relationship has stuff that comes up, the healthy ones allow us to work together to repair the stuff. Relationships that are really hard all the time just aren’t meant to be.

2. Someone’s deal-breaker has been broken.

In my experience, 100% of the time, when someone’s deal-breaker is broken like when there is some betrayal, the relationship is damaged beyond repair. For me, I have been on both sides of the deal breaker and the relationship soured and became even more hurtful following the deal breaker. It would have been healthier to cut our losses sooner.  

3. You don’t like who you’ve become.

Relationships should never cause us to lose things: friends, health, sleep, a sense of who we are. In my worst relationships, I found myself in a place where I didn’t like who I became; I almost didn’t recognise myself. In my most toxic relationship, I found myself getting angrier than I had ever felt in my life. I told myself the problem was me, and that was partly true. But there are also some relationships – some dynamics – that just brings out the worst in us.

4. There are too many ghosts of girlfriends past.

As queer women, exes are part of most of our lives; they just are. Yet, there are times when boundaries are not respected that indicating the ghosts are still inappropriately close. For example, she has pictures of her ex all over her house. Or she is too busy for you but drops everything for her ex. Or your girlfriend puts it on you to make nice, with little acknowledgment of her ex-girlfriend’s part.

5. Things are only good when everything is going well in life.

Dating is a lot like customer service. When you check into a hotel, for example, and there is an issue with your room, what really determines good customer service is not what happens when things go as planned, but how things are handled when something goes wrong. Anyone can be kind and consistent when life is easy. But what you really want to know is how she’ll be when she’s had a bad day. Or you’ve had a bad day. Or when one of you has a major life change of some kind. These are the moments that reveal our character, not the moments when everything is great. 

Whether it’s a big break in the relationship or a minor one, it’s never easy to know for certain when it’s time to break up. I know for sure that when I have gotten lost in a relationship, it’s time to reconsider if it’s the right one for me.