8 Signs To Know That You Are In A Complicated Relationship

Look out for these indicators if you suspect your love life isn't as simple as it should be.

Reviewed by Dr Nancy B IrwinDr Nancy B Irwin, PsyD
By Shivani ChandelShivani Chandel, Certified Relationship Coach  • 

Our favorite rom-com always shows the build-up of a perfect romance between two people and then a happy ending. But, they never say what happens after the curtain call. If the filmmakers had to put down the story to screen after the end credits, it would very well turn into a drama! Often couples do find a happy ending indeed but, sometimes they also get stuck in a complicated relationship, and that is when things can get messy!

“Relationship status: It’s complicated!” This is no more just a Facebook status but a relationship choice that couples make these days. A relationship is a lot of work and requires two people to put in quite a bit of effort. But often, couples tend to merge in the greys of a relationship rather than keeping it light and simple. If a relationship full of endless complications is what you are in, read on to know how you can deal with it or avoid it altogether!

What Is A Complicated Relationship?

Ok, let’s go back to the basics! Nope, it’s not just a Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin movie. These kinds of relationships do exist. When either or both the participants in a relationship are not sure about what they are doing, about each other or their relationship, things tend to get tangled and pretty complicated. You would often hear them declare very coolly that their relationship status is complicated. But, we can tell you that there is nothing cool about romanticizing a relationship that is so difficult to maintain. On the contrary, it is emotionally taxing even if you pretend that everything is just fine.
Every relationship comes with its own set of problems like insecurities, jealousy, lies, and deception, and often there are ways to handle them all. Indeed, few relationships are simple; relationships are inherently complicated. But, when there is a recurring pattern of hurtful behavior, it could turn into a relationship that is borderline complicated.

Every relationship comes with its own set of problems like insecurities, jealousy, lies, and deception, and often there are ways to handle them all. But, when there is a recurring pattern of hurtful behavior, it could turn into a relationship that is borderline complicated.

Okay, so a complicated relationship definition? Well, if either or both partners have trouble staying committed, you can say that they are in a relationship that is called complicated. Suppose you ask them a fundamental question (not so personal) about their relationship, and the answer is not simple and does not flow out of them with ease. In that case, you could understand that there is trouble in paradise and that they have crossed over to the other side. And if you see a “but” coming in one of their sentences, you will know for sure.

Let us dive deep into these signs in the next section.

Eight Signs You Are In A Relationship That Is Complicated

When you are in a relationship, things can get hazy sometimes. You could start questioning yourself – “Am I too complicated for a relationship?” But, the wise way is not to question yourself or the other person but your relationship together.

If you have no idea how to understand if you are in this difficult relationship, we have broken down a few signs for you to figure out.

  • Casual Dating (No-strings Attached): This type of dating is a textbook definition of a messy relationship that you must, in any case, avoid. You might just be fooling around with no strings attached, but one or both persons are always bound to get hurt in this relationship. It is very rare for you to get out of it unscathed, and the friendship also goes down the drain.
  • A Secret Relationship: If both the partners want to keep their relationship a secret, it could be fun for a while, but after some time, you would want to stop. Some people become addicted to the secrecy, and when the relationship becomes public, it falls apart. The ability to show affection to your partner in society shows a lot of importance to validate a person in a relationship. If you are prey to your partner asking you to keep it a secret a while longer because it’s fun, girl, you need to start analyzing the relationship!
  • No Label Relationship: You can comfortably say, “My relationship is complicated,” even when you or your partner are not willing to label it after being with them for a long time. You do everything that a couple does, but if you are still not adequately confident to term it as a relationship, then you might as well go ahead and call this relationship a “complicationship”!
  • Going Back To The Ex: We would recommend you never retrace your steps. My pal, you can’t go back to the road that you abandoned and not for just a few moments of fun! What would you call a relationship like that? Complicated, in bold letters!
  • Not In A Relationship Just Yet: You started dating someone, you like them, like hanging out with them but have no idea where it is leading, and neither are you both talking about it. You are smart to wait and assess and see if this can blossom into a relationship. If this phase continues past 3-6 months, you might consider moving on. One or both of you are being passive or simply do not see a future and are “buying time.”
  • When There Is A ‘But’:

Analyze your complicated relationship


When they say, “l like you, but” or, “I love you, but,” you should know that that is your cue to analyze the relationship. The “but” or hesitancy means that they are not sure about you, or they like somebody else, or they do not want to commit. And all of them are big red flags that you should deal with.

  • Are We On Or Off? If you are in a relationship where you both are confused about whether to stay together or not to stay together, you need to make a firm decision to end the drama and move on or stick to it and solve the problems. You will be dealing in the grey area and googling “how to end a complicated relationship” if you are not sure about each other.
  • Not Being Exclusive: If you are in a serious relationship, exclusivity comes without much say. But, if the relationship is a complicated one, you would want to keep your options open and test the waters further. Best to be sure of each other or move on! You can’t just keep wondering what is complicated in a relationship when there is no exclusivity.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Complicated relationships have the potential to become toxic when one or both parties get obsessively attached with unresolved emotional baggage. It is a situation with many risks. Even casual relationships must have clearly communicated boundaries that lack here.

​​How To Deal With A Relationship That Is Complicated?

If you have figured out that you are in a relationship that is not as simple and happy as it feels, you need to know how to deal with it by reading on.

  • Don’t Give Up: Our first reflex is always to run away, escape and break up. But, if there is any hope in your relationship, you should find ways to stick it out with each other rather than part ways and being hurt.
  • Open Communications is key: If you want to know the best way to mend ways and get to the other side of a relationship that is complicated, you need to communicate with your partner. The best way out of the biggest of problems is to talk it out and understand each other’s emotions.
  • Set Up A Few Boundaries: If you want to know how to fix a complicated relationship, setting boundaries could be your answer. Every relationship comes in a package of its own set of limits depending on the couple. You could make your own by understanding your partner and their expectations from you.
  • Think Of The Good Times: When everything is blurry, just think of the good times that you have spent with your partner. It will not only make you feel good but also will help you gain some perspective if you want to be with the person at all. Remind yourself of what attracted you to this person in the first place.
  • Take Some Time Off: When everything gets messy, it’s best to call for time off. In this period of time, you can introspect about yourself and your relationship as the relationship you have with yourself is the most complicated at times. It would be great if you could try to better yourself as a person for yourself and for your partner too. It is an excellent time to think of why you are with the person and if you would want to go back to them, and it is always healthy to take some time off from each other to sort out your mind.
protip_icon Quick Tip
It is important to be self-assured about what you want from a relationship. If you are certain that a person is everything you need in a partner, then be brave and take the next steps.

It is possible to be stuck in a rut in a relationship. It happens quite often with many couples. However, if there is one caution you should take in matters related to the heart, it is to never fall into the trap of complicated relationships. Being with someone who only makes you question your self-worth and does not bother putting in the effort to offer reassurances will lead to a soul-crushing heartbreak. Despite your crumbling self-esteem, if you still wish to see what direction a complicated relationship takes, try being honest with yourself about your feelings and communicate the same to your partner. If they are on the same page, you can work on building a beautiful relationship together. If they dismiss your feelings, it is better to walk away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a complicated relationship work?

Yes, it can work as long as you put in the required additional effort. It is upto you to decide whether it is a healthy relationship worth your time and energy.

Are romantic relationships complicated?

No, not all romantic relationships are complicated. Open communication, mutual trust, and respect can help keep things simple and sorted for both the partners.

Key Takeaways

  • A relationship can be considered complicated if the partners want to keep it a secret.
  • Lack of commitment can make a relationship complicated in the long run.
  • It is important to establish open communication with your partner if the relationship begins to show signs of complications.

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