Your relationships are immensely important. The best things in life are found in relationships, and good relationships will strengthen you as a person and increase your chances of success. However, unhealthy relationships will weaken you, and they can even ruin your life. Here I want to share some telltale signs that a relationship needs to end.
A caveat before we continue: this blog is primarily for people who are in a committed relationship outside of marriage. If you’re married, then your situation is more complicated. The subject of divorce is tricky, and I don’t feel qualified to give advice on that. I will say that if you are being abused, then you should separate yourself from your spouse in order to get away from a harmful environment. If a crime has been committed, contact the authorities.
#1 The Relationship is Continually Exhausting
No relationship will ever be perfect in this world. Each will have its challenges, and the closer you get to someone, the more both of your weaknesses will be exposed. This will take energy to sort through, and that’s ok. However, if your relationship constantly feels draining to you, then something’s wrong.
Ultimately, a romantic relationship should energize you more than it leaves you dry. You should enjoy being together and look forward to seeing each other. If going on a date this weekend sounds like a chore, then there’s a chance you need to break up.
#2 You are Routinely Disrespected
I’ve been married for a number of years, and sometimes I still make my wife feel slighted. I don’t mean to do this, but it happens. Conversely, sometimes she does things (or doesn’t do things) that make me feel disrespected. This is pretty normal in most marriages, and we always work it out. In other words, when I say “routinely disrespected”, I don’t mean that your partner sometimes offends you. I mean a pattern of disregard for your feelings. This is one of the most important signs that a relationship needs to end.
To be clear, if your significant other is bothering you and you haven’t brought this to their attention, then it’s on you to go to them and express your feelings. However, if they are apathetic or argumentative every time you do this, that’s a red flag. If they always turn the issue around on you, that’s a redder one. And if they rarely or ever make attempts to work with you on these issues, then you probably need to break up.
#3 You Uncover Consistent Deception
Trust is maybe the most important part of any relationship. It’s amazing the differences that two people can resolve when there’s strong, mutual trust. In contrast, it’s impossible to have a stable relationship without trust. You need to know that your partner has your back and that you can depend on them to be honest with you. Life is hard, and you can’t win your battles if you’re worried about your most important ally stabbing you in the back.
What I’m saying is that it’s a very, very bad sign to catch your significant other in a lie. This is one of the key signs that a relationship needs to end. It’s especially true when the lie is about hard facts, like where they were last night and if they did something they said they did. Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend anyone enter into a long-term relationship with someone who they’ve caught in a lie more than once.
#4 You Give But Rarely Receive
If you feel like you’re the only one in your relationship making concessions, then you may have a big problem.
To find out, you’ll need to check your perception. You can do this by writing out specific examples of concessions you’ve made for your significant other. Then make a list of the concessions they’ve made for you. If the lists are lopsided, then you need to ask yourself if you’re being assertive enough with your opinions and feelings. If you consistently bring your concerns to your partner and you still end up with the short end of the stick the majority of the time, then you may be dealing with an unreasonable or manipulative person.
It’s also possible that you could be in codependency with your partner. Codependent relationships are marked by one person being the dominant driver and the other being the passive appeaser. If you find yourself scared to confront your partner about things that bother you and they routinely confront you with things that bother them, then there’s a chance this is you. Regardless, something needs to be done.
5. There’s No Intimacy or Connection Apart From Sex
For the record, I’m of the opinion that people shouldn’t have sexual relations with each other outside of marriage. One of the reasons I believe this is because sex increases your spiritual connection with someone. When this happens, you’re bonded to that person at a deep level. This is bad if the other person is someone you wouldn’t like unless they were hot.
No relationship can be successful or life-giving if it’s founded solely on sexual attraction. Sooner or later, there needs to be mutual understanding, acceptance, and emotional intimacy. Without these things, the relationship will fail.
6. You Are Being Harmed
If you’re with someone who has ever physically abused you, you need to get away from them. If they’re not your spouse, my recommendation is to not give them another chance. Even if they are, another chance could be a very bad idea.Emotional and mental abuse are more complicated and can be harder to identify and define, but I still strongly recommend distancing yourself from anyone you feel abused by. Chances are, you need to do so for good.
7. You Know You’re Settling
How do you know you’re settling? If you’re constantly rationalizing why you should want to be with this person, you may be settling. When everything looks good on paper but you aren’t excited, you might be settling. If you’re with someone because you’re afraid you may never find someone else, then there’s a solid chance you are settling.
Lack of enthusiasm isn’t one of the most obvious signs that a relationship needs to end, but it’s important nonetheless. Be sure to be honest with yourself. The fact that you’re reading this list may be a sign in and of itself that you’re not where you need to be. Don’t let fear keep you in a relationship that you don’t think is worth fighting for.
Master Your Life With the Journey Principles
Relationships are crucial to your success, but they’re only one of the 8 Pillars of Life. To master the others, you’ll need guidance. That’s where the Journey Principles Institute would like to help you. I founded this company because I believe people can change and that anyone can achieve the life of their dreams.
Life is mostly about relationships. If you can master them, you can master anything. Unfortunately relationships can be very complicated, and the more important they are, the more likely this is to be the case. That’s why it’s so important to follow rock solid principles in order to build healthy relationships. Here I’ll share 7 principles that I’ve used to build strong bridges with everyone from my spouse to my comptroller.
Choosing the Right Relationships
Before we go any further, I need to emphasize that some relationships aren’t worth investing in. In fact, there are people who you should stay away from. We tend to become the people we surround ourselves with, which means we need to take extra care who our influences are and avoid toxic relationships at all costs.
Toxic people tend to be:
Consistently negative and discontented
Focused on problems
Draining of your energy
If there are people around you who fit these descriptions, take a step back and assess if those relationships are really good for you. If they’re not, then you need to create boundaries and distance yourself from these people.
“Show me your five friends, and I’ll show you your future.”
– Keith Craft
The 7 Principles for a Healthy Relationship
My mentor Steve Myrick used to tell me that to have a healthy relationship, you have to “lean in.” What he meant by “lean in” was to express empathy and seek clarity on a continual basis.
Empathy is the most important step in building healthy relationships. It’s the ability to see through someone else’s perspective. It doesn’t mean you agree with them, but you must understand the rules they’re playing by. Empathy is crucial, because without it you can’t understand the person across from you. Without this understanding, there will always be a limit to your ability to enjoy one another and work together effectively. When you understand another person’s perspective, you build trust. Conversely, callousness towards another person’s perspective creates anger, which kills relationships.
Listen Before Speaking
The world is full of people who are dying to be heard. Most people don’t feel listened to, and they’re aching for their friends, coworkers, boss, and spouse to be interested in what they have to say. All people want to be seen, heard, and valued. When people feel heard, they feel valued.
Simply be one of those few who are more interested in listening than speaking, and you will stand out like a garden in the desert. You will be trusted and well-regarded by almost everyone around you.
Seek to Learn From Those Around You
One way to train yourself to listen before you speak is to actively try to learn from the person across from you. Everyone knows things that you don’t, and it’s better to assume that everybody has something to teach you. Nobody likes a know-it-all, but most love a genuinely open mind.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
– The Dalai Lama
Our team at JPI has a saying: build bridges, not ditches. When you respect those around you enough to try and learn from them, the respect becomes mutual. Mutual respect is key for healthy relationships and is a powerful bridge between individuals. Moreover, you’ll find that people will surprise you when you actually try to learn about them. Most of our first impressions about people are wrong, so we should train ourselves to be more curious about people. We will become wiser when we are.
Be Respectfully Honest
In my experience, dishonesty in a relationship never pays and always comes back to destroy it sooner or later. Obviously nothing kills trust like being caught in a lie, but this isn’t the only kind of dishonesty that’s toxic to healthy relationships. More commonly, we don’t express how we feel when someone offends us.
When we perceive that someone has wronged us, it can be tempting to say nothing in the name of keeping peace. However, if we can’t truly forgive the offense and put it behind us, resentment will build. Furthermore, a person is more likely to do that same thing again if you don’t address it with them, and if that happens, your anger will only grow.
Rather than tiptoe around an issue, it’s better to tackle it head on in the most respectful way we can. Communicate why that thing bothered you. Avoid assuming anything bad about their intentions or saying anything that’s presumptive. Express your perception by using the phrases, “it seems like” or “it feels like”. Above all else, be authentic and trust that the other person will be willing to hear you out and find a solution with you.
Keep Your Word, Even if Others Don’t
My grandfather was a Pearl Harbor survivor and businessman. One thing that made him stand out from everyone else was that his handshake was as good as a written contract. If he gave his word, he was determined to follow through whatever the cost.
The overwhelming majority don’t live this way. That is exactly why you must. Nothing will make you stand out more than if you keep your word. You will work with people who don’t keep their word to you, and you’ll be tempted to return the favor. Resist. Treat them better than they treat you in this regard, and it will pay off.
Embody the Leader You Most Admire
Consider the people in your life that you most admire. What would happen if you started mimicking them? If you smiled as often as your grandmother and complained as little as your colleague, what would happen?
Here’s the truth: this can be you. There’s really nothing keeping you from being just like these people except unhealthy beliefs, a few bad habits, and some missing principles. Commit to being the blessing to others that your heroes are to you, and you will be a hero.
When In Doubt, Just Be Authentic
Tribes are built on genuinity, not genius. In the end, people would rather follow someone they trust than someone with a high IQ and a lot of deeds to their name. You are so attractive when you’re fully yourself – when you’re being the best version of you in the most honest way. So be real, and don’t doubt your own perspective.
Master Your Relationships With The Journey Principles
We at the Journey Principles Institute want you to have the best life you can by becoming the best person you can be. We believe it’s possible with the right principles and the discipline to follow through. Our free E books have valuable insight and action steps to help you get started, and you can download them here.
The most important decisions in your life involve choosing who you do it with. Your relationships are a better predictor for your future than your IQ, EQ, genetics, or current net worth. Therefore, it’s critical that you choose your companions wisely. It’s not just CEOs who need an advisory board – everybody needs a trustworthy and capable inner circle. Whether it be friends, business partners, employers, mentors, or a spouse, these decisions shape your destiny and could make or break you.
To build a powerful inner circle, you need to understand the 7 Relationships for Success. These are positions around you that you need to fill in order to go from stuck to unstoppable. If you choose well, these people will expand your potential and help you achieve your transformation goals.
Challenge #1: Find People Different Than You
Before diving into these positions, there are two specific challenges in evaluating anybody for your 7 Relationships for Success. The first is finding compatible people who are also different from you.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
– The Book of Proverbs
The people who experience the highest levels of success find people who are strong where they’re weak. Birds of a feather may flock together, but if you only surround yourself with people just like you, your personal growth will be very limited. For people who are naturally assertive and confident, this point is especially important. You need self-awareness to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses, and openness to other perspectives is important in appreciating people who are sharp where you’re dull. High D personalities and those with high conscientiousness are less likely to be reflective and open-minded, so if you feel like you fit this description, make sure you’re being honest with yourself about your limitations and growing in respect for those with different perspectives and personalities than you.
Challenge #2: Identify and Avoid Toxic People
The second challenge is staying away from toxic people. The sad truth is that you’re going to encounter people who will try to take advantage of you. Not everyone is reasonable, emotionally healthy, or trustworthy, and you shouldn’t consider anyone for any position in your 7 Relationships for Success who doesn’t display these qualities. This point is especially for people high in agreeableness and openness. These traits make you more likely to give away your time and resources. If this describes you, it’s vital that you create boundaries around who you serve how you serve them. You and your gifts are priceless, and you owe it to yourself and others to conserve your energy rather than spend it on destructive people.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too can become great.”
– Mark Twain
The 7 Relationships for Success
The crucial roles you have to fill to maximize your potential are:
The Inner Voice
As we review each in detail below, keep in mind that one person can fill multiple roles in your life and that you can have more than one of each kind. The same person could even transition from one role to another as you progress (this is often a sign of healthy growth). The purpose of the 7 Relationships for Success isn’t to put anyone in a box. It’s to help you be intentional about your companions and fill the invisible positions around you that will accelerate you.
Guides are people who have lived through a wide variety of experiences. They’ve overcome many of the challenges you’re facing or will face on your journey and are significantly closer to wherever it is you’re looking to go. More than anything, guides offer wisdom and perspective. They help you zoom out from your circumstances so you can rise above them. Note that guides can be people you know or who you follow at a distance, such as authors or media sources. That said, make sure you have a guide in your life who gives you personal attention.
The difference between coaches and guides is that coaches are more for accountability. They are invested in your personal progress and hold you to your goals. Coaches can assist you in your journey on a broad scale or specialize in a specific Pillar of Life, such as finances or health. Coaches are sometimes not as far along in their journey as Guides, but they’re nevertheless experienced and tested in their own right. Mentors, pastors, advisory boards, therapists and parents are common forms of coaches.
Empowerers encourage you. These are optimistic people who will never fail to remind you of your best qualities and assure you that everything will be okay. They see the best in you and believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. Empowerers are essential for overcoming your negative beliefs about yourself and making it through those darkest moments that come just before dawn. While too much of anything is usually bad, these people are hard to come by. Make sure you have at least one close friend who fills this role for you in your 7 Relationships for Success.
Drivers challenge you to push past your limits. They’re competitive, direct, and black-and-white. Drivers don’t take “no” for an answer and believe that there is always room for improvement. They’re also the most likely to tell you what you don’t want to hear when you most need to hear it. While they’re not always right, it’s a mistake to dismiss drivers. Without them, most of us would quit before breaking through the barriers to true transformation. In choosing your driver, make sure that they’re respectful and willing to be challenged themselves. A driver who doesn’t fight just as hard as you to meet their own standards isn’t a driver at all – just a critic who should be avoided.
Educators are the most practical of the 7 Relationships for Success. They’re there to give you detailed feedback on your progress as you apply what you learn from your guides and coaches. This role may be less intimate than other roles because the educator’s job is focused on honing specific skills. For instance, they could be personal trainers or communication consultants. Regardless, these people are invaluable in identifying blind spots in whatever area or ability you want to master. It’s amazing how much faster you’ll progress with the actionable advice of educators.
Gatekeepers are the protective and intuitive people who watch your back. They’re good at identifying the people and situations that are toxic to you and will always seek to protect you. Gatekeepers aren’t necessarily confrontational people, but they’ll likely be alert and cautious by nature. Spouses can be great Gatekeepers, so if you’re not married, look for someone who will do this for you, particularly if you have a generous or empathetic personality. You can’t afford to bear the burdens of people who are only using you and draining you, and gatekeepers are crucial in helping you avoid this trap.
The Inner Voice
The most important voice in the 7 Relationships for Success is the one in your head.
In the end, how you talk to yourself can advance you to the next level or keep you from ever moving on. Your inner voice has a loud say in the 35,000 decisions you make every single day. It’s always with you, it never shuts up, and it’s always becoming more noble or more deceitful. If you’re honest and resolute in nurturing and challenging it, it could become your most powerful ally. Dismiss its development and it will be your greatest enemy. You feed your inner voice with who you listen to, what you read, what you focus on, and what you watch. The decisions you make also affect your thinking, so consider your choices carefully, particularly the ones you make when no one is watching.
Be Intentional and Take the Next Step
You are completely unique and here for a reason. Where you’re going you’ll need help, and the 7 Relationships for Success are crucial in getting you unstuck and advancing you to your destiny.
If you’d like to learn more about this principle and others that you’ll need to transform your life, you should considerTransform U Live, a 3-Day Live Immersive Conference that we designed to help accelerate you as quickly as possible.
At Transform U, you’ll get:
The opportunity to find committed people for your 7 Relationships for Success.
Secrets to maxing out your will power and unleashing your mind.
Guidelines for creating lasting, deep relationships.