Loyalty is a trait that doesn’t get enough credit — but it really, really should. It’s not as flashy as dizzying good looks or sparkling chemistry, but loyalty is one of those important relationship traits that’s going to get you through the long haul. Naturally, there are going to be times where your relationship just isn’t as exciting and you become bored — or even tempted by someone else. “Even if you’re deeply in love with your partner, it’s perfectly normal to occasionally question your relationship,” Jonathan Bennett, Dating/Relationship Coach and Owner of The Popular Man, tells Bustle. “Everyone has doubts from time to time, whether it’s about the future of the relationship or if your partner truly is ‘The One.’ As long as the doubts aren’t lingering and constant, they’re normal and even healthy.” And when you have those doubts, loyalty is one of those things that will remind you why you love that person.
So how can you tell if someone will be loyal or not to you? It’s not always about whether they’re faithful or not — your partner can be disloyal and never have cheated on you. It’s easy to over-simplify, to think that you can tell the “bad person” in the leather jacket who obviously treats people like crap from a “good person” in a letterman’s sweater who will treat you well. But it’s just not that simple. Haven’t you seen Grease? Life is complicated.
So how can you tell if your partner will be loyal? Here are some hints that your partner isn’t loyal to you, even if they haven’t cheated, according to relationship experts.
1. They Undermine You
As Van Hochman says, loyalty and respect go hand in hand. So if they don’t have respect for you, they might not be very loyal. “There’s a common misconception that respect between romantic partners means control, meeting demands or subjugation,” life coach Jined Lamata tells Bustle. “Respect is synonymous with admiration for one another and the ability to understand that they see life differently than you. Seeing them for who they are and what their beliefs are rather than trying to mould them into what we think they should be. Respect is celebrating each other’s differences and each other’s potential for growth without imposing our own beliefs. I always say, when you choose a partner, you’re gaining a new set of eyes to see the world. Having respect in a relationship is the ability to understand that perspective!” And if you don’t have that respect, they may not be invested enough to stay loyal.
2. They Won’t Think Long-Term
If they’re not considering or talking about the future with you, they might not be all that invested in the present either. “Someone who doesn’t take you into consideration for the long-term wants to take each day as it comes rather than focus on a future with you,” Danielle Sepulveres, sex educator and author of Losing It: The Semi-Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin, tells Bustle. When someone views a relationship as temporary, it’s a sign they may not be loyal. Because if it’s only fleeting, the relationship may not really matter to them.
3. They’ve Cheated In The Past & Haven’t Addressed The Issue
Cheating in a prior relationship doesn’t necessarily mean they will cheat on you too — but it might. “Our past shapes us but it doesn’t define us,” couples therapist Theresa Herring, LMFT tells Bustle. “So your partner cheating in a past relationship doesn’t necessarily mean that they will cheat on you… No matter what the root cause, you want to see that they are addressing the issue so it doesn’t happen again.” If they haven’t addressed the root cause, however, they might have loyalty issues.
4. They Treat Your Relationship Like A Chore
If they seem fed up with the relationship — or the relationship seems like it’s stalling — it’s going to feel like crap. “They are not putting energy into the relationship, and you simply date when it’s convenient,” zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. “Relationships should progress, not stay stagnant.” But more than feeling crappy, it may be a sign that they’re not going to be loyal, because they’re just not taking the relationship seriously.
5.They Flirt With Others A Lot
A little banter never hurt anyone (probably) but there’s a point where it crosses a line into disloyal flirting. “Being flirtatious with the intent to ‘feel the situation out’,” relationship coach and founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. “When someone is talking to someone and throwing little hints out in order to see if there’s a chance that they can get with them; that’s disloyal — even if nothing physical actually happened.”
6. They Downplay Your Relationship
There are a lot of ways — obvious and subtle — someone can hide the fact that they’re in a relationship around someone they’re attracted to. “Taking their wedding or engagement ring off to appear single,” Armstrong says. “This is clearly disloyal since the intent is to appear as though somebody has no loyalty or commitment to anyone else.” But there are also more subtle ways of doing it that might surprise you. Not mentioning you or your relationship, implying that they’re single or looking, even introducing you to someone without mentioning that you’re their partner. It may not be cheating, but it’s not OK.
It’s not always easy to spot a partner who’s not loyal — and it may be impossible to know for sure. But if they’re not respecting you and not acknowledging the relationship, it may be time to look closer.
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