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Dead End Relationship: Signs You’re Stuck & What To Do About It

A dead end relationship is exactly what it implies. Make sure to spot these caution signs and make a u-turn before you waste too much time.

Dead End Relationship

Ever driven around a neighborhood where, no matter where you head, you end up in a cul-de-sac? That is what a dead end relationship is like. No matter how many times you twist and turn, you end up stuck in the middle of nowhere.

This is not always a bad thing. Sometimes people are just better off as friends, and if you just want to keep a good thing going that’s fine. Just make sure everyone is on the same page– until they’re not. Because the reality of the situation is that most of us want to progress in our relationships. Not necessarily tomorrow, but eventually. 

The problem with dead end relationships is that they can sneak up on you. You are completely unaware until we wake up one day. And then, we realize we wasted a whole lot of time and energy on a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere. Starting over from scratch is hard, but it’s a lot easier than staying in a relationship you hope to change and never will. 

7 signs you’re in a dead end relationship

How do you know if you are in a dead end relationship? Well, there is no specific sign that blinks “dead end.” But there are subtle things along the way that you spot if you know what to look for.

Dead end relationships are difficult because you have to find your way out of them, even though no one is technically “wrong.” It’s just that one of you wants to move forward and the other…doesn’t. Its the kind of situation you can’t compromise on.

These signs will let you know when it’s time to find the end of the dead end relationship.

1. They don’t say I love you.

Saying “I love you” is probably one of the most exhilarating, yet terrifying, phrases that you say in a relationship. To some it may seem trivial– the “it’s just words” argument. But to others this kind of statement shows that you are willing to be vulnerable– and that’s a beautiful thing. 

If you’ve put yourself out there and made your feelings of love known, and they won’t return the phrase, then there is a hang up. Either they really don’t love you, or they aren’t emotionally mature enough to tell you that they do. 

I mean, if you told someone that you were in love with them within moments of meeting them, it might be fair that they don’t say it back. But if you’ve been together for a while and they’re still hesitant on the l word, even after you’ve said it….well, it’s kind of cruel for your partner to dig their heels in on something that clearly matters to you. 

Those are signs that say “warning.” If they aren’t there yet, it might not be a matter of time. You just might see the sign of a dead end relationship ahead. [Read: Why saying ‘I love you’ too soon sucks]

2. They don’t seem interested in whats going on in your life

If your boyfriend glazes over when you tell him about your day, or your girlfriend refuses to even fein interest when you talk about your hobbies, are they really your partner? Sure, everyone needs a break from your story about how awesome your funko pops are *they are awesome*, but someone who truly did not care about what’s going on with you is not a good partner. 

Above all else, kindness is what sets the tone of your relationship. If your partner is blowing you off and refusing to listen to what you have to say, that’s not very kind. Time to ditch this dead end relationship.

3. They ignore your boundaries

Provided that your boundaries are reasonable, a sign of a dead end relationship is a person who refuses to acknowledge your boundaries. If you put your foot down and they couldn’t care less, continuing about their life as if you said nothing. 

Someone unintimidated by losing you doesn’t really care if they have you to begin with, which is a road to nowhere. If in a relationship for a time and they seemingly don’t care if you stay or go, then you are most likely in a dead end relationship that isn’t going to change. [Read: How to let go of someone you love]

4. They can’t get over their ex

This is a huge, red, blinking sign that you are in a dead end relationship. If you are in a relationship with someone who can’t seem to get past their ex, then you aren’t really in a relationship. You can be affectionate toward two people, but for a partnership to happen, there can only be two of you.

Not being able to let go of their past relationship is a signal that there is something missing in their current one. Let’s face it, if they had everything that they wanted with you, then the old one would fade away. Being in love with someone in love with someone else is a dead end for sure. [Read: 10 signs that prove your partner is still attached to their ex]

5. They want different things out of life

Buddies are great, but to be true partners you need to want the same things in life. When we fall in love, we tend to discount the things that are critical to a relationship’s success, and overlook differences in goals. 

But as the dust settles, these differences become glaring. There are some things in life you just cannot compromise on. You can’t kind-of have a family, or follow the same political ideology. You can try to stick it out, but wishing for things doesn’t make them true. No matter which way your relationship goes, either they end up sacrificing what they want or you are.

And that isn’t going to make anyone happy. If you want different things in life, then it is best to move along and find your way out of the dead end path you are on. [Read: 50 relationship questions to test your compatibility instantly]

6. You have cylical fights

Every couple fights. But if you fight about the same things over and over, then it isn’t going to change. There is a reason why you can’t seem to find resolution in your relationship. It is because you aren’t compatible or mature enough to compromise. If that’s the case, your relationship is a dead end. 

Regardless if it is you or them, things aren’t going to change if they haven’t by now. Unless you want to keep having the same fight forever, it might be time to throw in the towel. Not being able to make peace or communicate with one another is the biggest sign of a dead end relationship.

7. One of you has “Peter Pan” syndrome

Peter Pan Syndrome is the inability for a person to grow up. Everyone hopes for youthful optimism *and good looks*, but we all age some day. If your partner balks at any sign of moving forward in life or stability, they’re not going to be able to commit to a real relationship. 

You have two choices. Wait it out and hope that at some point they mature and grow up. Or you decide you deserve more and move on. If they won’t commit now, don’t make the mistake of thinking they will sometime in the future. [Read: 7 big clues to identify emotional immaturity]

8. They told you they don’t want a serious relationship

When someone tells you what they want, you should believe them. If someone tells you they don’t want a serious relationship, then you have to accept that you will not get that from them. If you can’t, you will find yourself stuck in a one-sided dead end relationship. 

Usually, if someone says that they don’t want to get married, guess what? They typically mean it. If someone tells you they don’t want a commitment, they intend to stay single forever, or aren’t into marriage, believe them. Take them at their word. [Read: 16 signs someone’s totally not ready for a real relationship right now]

9. You don’t enjoy spending time together

Maybe there was a time that you loved spending time together. But these days, you would rather hang out with friends or even be alone. If that’s the case, you are in a major dead end relationship. 

Don’t feel bad about it. Some relationships just run their course. But if you don’t enjoy spending time together, you really can’t say you are in a happy relationship 

10. You don’t have anything nice to say about each other

When someone asks you “how is your partner?” Is the first thing that comes to your mind a complaint, or a put-down? Everyone gets annoyed with their partner from time to time. But if you find that you cannot bring yourself to say nice things about each other, then it’s clearly a dead end relationship. 

End it, and give each other some space. Life is short, why date someone you don’t even like? [Read: How to break up with someone who loves you & not hurt them more]

What to do about a dead end relationship

You are the master of your own destiny. Some people choose to stay in dead end relationships and hope that things will change, while others call it quits. 

Only you know what’s right for your relationship. But as always, you have to ask yourself, how does your relationship make you feel? If being with your partner makes you feel lonely, rejected and sad– then why stay? 

It is hard to admit it when you are in a dead end relationship especially when you have strong feelings for someone. Just because we love someone doesn’t mean that they feel the same way or want the same things. 

[Read: 15 clear signs it’s time to cut them loose]

Staying in a dead end relationship until you hit the brick wall isn’t going to be any easier. You’ll just be farther in, wasted a whole lot of time, and probably acquired a lot more battle scars.

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Julie Keating
A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined in...
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