It should come as no surprise to anyone who has dated ever that sometimes, two people are way better off as friends than lovers. Often, we’re too blinded by surface compatibility to really notice that just because two people have things in common doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work together as a couple.
Being a gay man who used to date women throughout high school, I’m something of an expert on the subject, but straight couples can (and often do) end up in this kind of situation. So what does it look like when two people seem perfect for each other on the outside, but are actually a trainwreck when it comes to the actual romance?
I’ve compiled a list of the seven signs it’s time to give up on loving each other and settle for going out to Froyo with a group of friends. Sometimes, breakups don’t have to be messy; sometimes they’re for the best when two people who aren’t working need to cut their losses and salvage what is great in their relationship: just being pals.
#1. There’s No Sεxual Chemistry. I should note that this is very different than the frequency of sex in your relationship. Some couples only bone a few times every month, others can’t keep their hands off each other. Point being, you should not take stock of how much sεx you’re having, but how the sεx is when you do have it. If there is a total lack of interest in both parties, and you’d rather watch a Donald Trump debate than look at your boo nakεd after the shower, maybe the spark isn’t there and probably never will be.
#2. You’re Holding Each Other Back. Sometimes people who can seem so right for us are so wrong for us because our paths are too different. In life, making a relationship work is more about the logistics than it is about the desire to rip each other’s clothes off at a moment’s notice. If your significant other has a totally different life plan laid out for themselves, it may be beneficial to ask yourself if you can see yourself bending your plan for theirs. If you both can come to a compromise, maybe it is best to just stay friends. A friend can support your new job venture and move to Japan, but for a significant other it could be a lot harder.
#3. You Dread Date Nights Unless Friends Join. Are you constantly asking each other if you should invite mutual friends X, Y, Z on date night?. The key to knowing whether you would be better off as friends or not is if you both constantly are trying to pivot a date into a group hangout opportunity. Of course, even the best couples need double dates and time to hang out with other friends, but if it’s gotten to the point where you worry about being alone with each other, it’s probably time to pump the brakes.
#4. Your Eyes Constantly Wander. We’re humans, so I’m not suggesting that looking at someone else means that you and your significant other are better off as friends. The reality is we’re millennials and in the back of our minds were constantly wondering if a better romantic opportunity is going to come along. However, if you’re constantly day-dreaming about other people and what it would be like to be in a relationship with them instead of your partner, maybe it’s time you stop wondering what it would be like to date other people and just find out.
#5. You Don’t See A Future Together. Further than having different life paths, you can’t see beyond next week with this person. You’ve begun to take the relationship day by day, and often wonder if you’re going to be with them come Thanksgiving time. The sign of a strong relationship isn’t just having a future together, it is seeing one in your mind and striving to achieve that future together, things like moving in together or planning trips together. A friend doesn’t have to think about the next apartment you’re going to rent, while a significant other should definitely be involved in that conversation.
#6. You Play Down The Relationship. When you see your friends and they ask you how your significant other is doing, if you usually respond with “Oh, that? Yeah, it’s um, fine,” that’s a sign that something’s up. You’re try to downplay the relationship to other people because the reality is that said relationship is not going so great.
#7. You Feel Trapped By Each Other. Sometimes the biggest sign that two people aren’t meant for each other is a sense of worry or unease you feel when you lay down at night. If you’re constantly wondering what would be an “easy” way out of the relationship, surprise! There is none. The reality is, if you’re thinking of walking away then you should. You should before a friendship can’t be salvaged and the two of you resent each other deeply.
And as difficult as it may seem to be friends with someone, the truth is if you feel like the two of you would be better off as friends, they might just feel the same way. You’re not sparing anyone’s feelings by staying with them just because they’re nice, or they like the same movies as you, or even because you’re afraid of crushing them. Sometimes, choosing to be someone’s friend is the braver option, because you’re showing them that you respect them enough to value their time as more than just a romantic endeavour. Friendship should be easy; it’s all the other stuff that makes it complicated.
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