Humans logo

6 Signs Your Partner Is Keeping A Back Up For Your Relationship

by Ellen "Jelly" McRae 22 days ago in dating / love / breakups
Report Story

Do you think you're the only one in your partner's life? Think again.

I hate being the one to put doubt into your mind about your partner's commitment to you. 

And I don't know them as you do. I could be way off base here, so feel free to ignore my warning.

If you want to live with your head in the sand, that is.

But I could be right. And your other half might be keeping their options open in case everything spectacularly blows up between you and them.

Perhaps worse than cheating, the relationship backup plan is the greatest insult to a relationship there is. 

You assume it's all going to crash and burn. 

And instead of putting effort into making sure that won't happen, the person in your life hedges their bets instead.

Despite the fact they already know this is a relationship and not a business or investment, they still keep their options open. For a rainy day and all that.


What a way to kill a relationship before it even begins.

And the bigger problem facing us? 

We have no idea our partner is keeping a rainy day relationship, option or opportunity waiting around. We believe we have the most loving and committed relationship when it turns out we have the opposite.

As I've already put the doubt in your mind, I won't keep the ways you know they are doing this all to myself. 

Here are the warning signs to look for.

1. Where is their little black book?

Everyone has had a little black book at some time in their life. 

It might not be a literal black book, in that you have a tiny notebook stuffed in the back of your underwear drawer. But you have had a way of keeping dating options available to you.

In their own way, your partner is doing the same. They have their little black book kept well away from you.

These could be any of the following:

  • Keeping phone numbers of past lovers or potential dates on their phone - And potentially disguised under other names. Unless you know every single person in their life by name, from their entire life, you won't know if they add an alias.
  • A separate phone - I mean, this is a dead giveaway. A second phone is a cliche on steroids. The problem is that there are many ways to hide a second phone that seem legit, or that you won't find. A work phone is a perfect cover, for example. A phone that stays at the office, locked in a drawer, is another great cover. Work iPads or computers also form great covers, especially if they're locked. And your partner doesn't use them around you.
  • Email addresses or secret email accounts - How do you know about an email address that you don't know about? It sounds like a silly question, but if you don't know their hiding email addresses, you don't know to ask about them. You can't see email addresses like a second phone.
  • Hidden or alias social media accounts - Again, a social media account under an alias is easily hidden if they aren't logged in. Or if they don't use a real photo and don't use any contact information you know about. It rules out any possibility of being able to find this account online.

Sometimes it could be just one of these options, sometimes it could be all. 

Every person keeps their black book in their own way.

2. Do you know about the secret bank account?

Financial commitment seems to be a point of contention within most relationships. 

I know many couples who think it's fine to sign a marriage certificate and make a legal commitment. But sharing finances? Oh no, that's a step too far.

It makes me wonder about what those people are hiding. Sure, it could be commitment phobia. This is even stranger to me, by the way, because a marriage certificate, in most circumstances, is sharing finances.

But we could see it as those who want to separate their finances, keep their money away from their partner, are keeping options open.

It's a financial escape plan.

And it's easier to break up with someone, move on, and keep your life running as normal when you don't have to worry about bank accounts with your ex. 

You have your money, now you can run.

3. The schedule that makes zero sense

When your partner is keeping a backup plan, they have to make time to maintain the plan. You can just set and forget with any interested parties. 

They need nurturing like plants. If neglected, these backup options will:

  • Find someone else to date and consequently become removes themselves from being a backup option
  • Forget they're interested in your partner
  • Forget your partner even exists
  • Delete your partner's contact details or become unreachable through a change in technology or social media

For you, this will feel like your partner isn't available when you feel like they should be. 

For some reason, they aren't ever available mid-week, or on a work night, even though they never have something on. 

Or they always work late, no matter what, during those times.

You know from your life, working schedule and past experiences with other people that this schedule is abnormally rigid. 

And what they do for work or their lack of hobbies doesn't justify their absent schedule.

4. The opposite sex best friend you don't know that well

I don't have a problem with opposite-sex best friends. My husband's best man was a woman. 

In truth, by the time we got married, she could have stood on either side of our bridal party.

But never have I felt worried about her interfering in our relationship. Or being a friend who has all these other friends to set my husband up with. 

It's just not like that.

But for some, it is. The opposite sex best friend is their connection to the dating world. With a couple of phone calls, this person can have one of their friends for a date, should they need it.

It's the only reason your partner stays friends with them, too. 

Or the only thing they have in common is their dating life.

A dead giveaway this is the case for you is that you don't socialise with his best friend, nor allowed to meet them. Heaven forbid the two of you grow close, right?

It's not a hard and fast rule that has to be the opposite sex or a specific gender. It's more about who that person is to your partner. 

This could also be a situation where they keep friends around who are the matchmakers in their life, for example.

5. Can't get rid of their ex? 

Whilst I don't always agree with this theory, some people believe the best backup relationship is with an ex. The reasoning is, according to my ex; if you've been there once before, you will go there again.

Yeah, he wasn't right, by the way.

Whilst I couldn't ever imagine in a million years being with my ex again, some people have that connection they can never shake. 

I don't get it, but I guess it's not for me to understand.

When your partner won't push their ex out of their life, for reasons that don't justify how steadfast they are, it's valid to feel concerned. 

If it's not because of extenuating and legitimate circumstances, what else could it be?

Everyone will have their reason, by the way. 

Only you can decide how valid this reasoning is. Co-parenting with an ex, sure. That's valid. Because they enjoy going shopping with them because that's what they used to do? Who's kidding who here?!

6. The division of friends

You have your friends, and they have their friends. It's a pretty simple division; the two sides of the relationship don't intermingle. 

You might get to meet their friends once or twice, but not enough for them to remember you, care about you, or get to know you. The same goes for your friends. 

The reason? Aside from the fact it's part of their backup relationship plan, intermingling friends means:

  • There are more people out there who can bust them as they maintain their backup
  • More people to disappoint and upset when the relationship ends
  • More people convoluted in the lie they're living, which means more people to appease to keep their back up maintained
  • More people to judge their actions and admonish them if the truth comes out

We need to remember this about secret keeping. The more people involved in a secret, the harder it is to keep it under wraps.

So what do you do?

You have your suspicions, but you don't know if your partner is doing any of the things on the list. You have all their wonderful excuses and careful disguises throwing you off. I get it.

What it comes down to is trust. How much do you trust your partner? How much do they make you feel like they can trust you?

Those are two separate questions. Don't get them confused as if they are the same idea. 

Some partners are trustworthy. They aren't doing anything behind your back. But they continue to wave all the red flags to make you wonder.

Either way, it's exhausting. 

Trusting someone shouldn't feel like hard work. It should be the least of your relationship issues.

And if trust is all-consuming? You might just have your answer there.


About the author

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

Writes about romanceships (romance + relationships) | Loves to talk about behind the scenes of being a solopreneur on The Frolics | Writes 1 Lovelock Drive | Discover everything I do and share here:

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.