Hold out for someone healthier.
First, it's important to remember that just because someone is emotionally unstable does not mean they are a bad person and there is no reason to demonize them. They are just incapable of being in a healthy relationship with another person at this point in time because their relationship with themselves is impaired.
They need to be solid in themselves before they can be there for you.
By devoting a significant amount of time and energy into themselves and their own healing (inspired by their own free will and strong desire), then and only then are they better able to withstand the rigors that intimacy requires.
1. They trust everyone but themselves.
Trusting everyone but oneself is often a symptom of trauma. Childhood trauma, in particular, can cause a person to abandon themselves and their own needs in order to survive.
As a consequence, they become an adult who gives their power to others, which eventually comes back to bite them and causes resentment.
Though it might feel good to be trusted by them, if that trust is based on a lack of confidence in themselves instead of intimacy developed with you over time, then the trust is not about you. It’s about their unhealed wound.
The reason why a lack of trust in themselves predicts future heartbreak for you is because they can be influenced any which way the wind blows. They cannot be trusted to stand strong in their own moral compass because they have not developed one. When a person is strong in themselves, they can be a reliable teammate for you.
2. They lack physical wellness.
3. They rely on substances.
This includes excessive food, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, caffeine, and prescription drugs. A person cannot be truly intimate while altered by a substance that creates an unauthentic mood.
Chemicals absolutely alter a person’s emotions, which is why people ingest them. The more they need, the less stable they are, emotionally. They also cannot give you the love and attention you deserve when they are preoccupied with getting their next "fix".
A person who abuses any kind of substance is not a fulfilling partner because they put the substance before you, before themselves, and before their higher power.
While plenty of couples exist wherein one or both partners abuse substances, emotional instability lies below the surface. Remember, just because someone is in a relationship does not mean it’s a healthy or satisfying one.
4. They remain in uninspiring and/or disrespectful relationships.
Examine the various relationships in a person’s life and you will discover how they feel about themselves (and about life). If they allow themselves to be disrespected, or in uninspiring relationships, then some part of them feels unworthy and inadequate.
The more unworthy a person feels, the more they rely on you to define their worth; a codependent relationship that leads to heartbreak.
An emotionally solid partner is one who has confidence. Humble yes, but they also know their worth and they don’t need someone to create it for them.
Think of someone in business who gives all of their goods or services away for free or for much lower than their worth, versus someone who charges for the value they know they offer.
The one who charges is clean and balanced mentally and emotionally, whereas the one who does not charge (or undercharges) makes others more important than their survival. It is a weakness that they need to shore up or else they will go broke!
The same is true in love relationships. Someone who does not value themselves likely has anxiety and depression, which can be a real heartbreaker for you.
5. They have a pessimistic attitude.
A pessimistic and faithless attitude means a person lacks spiritual wellbeing. Because the highest and truest reason for a relationship is to put you in touch with your own divinity, this one is a deal breaker.
If they do not see life through a divine lens, they will not see the divinity in you nor will they have faith in the relationship or its greater potential.
Emotional instability does not mean a person is bad or ill-fated. It just means they need to focus on their mental, physical, and spiritual health before they can contribute to a loving relationship. And one thing I know for sure is that you should never wait around for someone to change.
Heather Hans, LCSW, MBA is a public speaker, psychotherapist, and author of The Heart of Self-Love. She tackles serious human issues in creative and entertaining ways to guide people through pain and into joy. You can subscribe to her newsletter or watch her live streams on Twitter at @HeatherHansTV.