11 Early Relationship Problems That Are Most Likely To Get Worse Over Time
It's often tough to spot potential relationship problems when you're in the throes of a new love. Heck, you might even see a red flag or two, but not care one bit because woo this is so much fun! I totally get it, and yet that doesn't mean you should ignore early relationship problems, since many have of a way of getting worse with time.
So, if you notice something that seems a bit off — maybe your partner is controlling, or you two always argue over money — don't ignore it forever. "Everyone is usually on their best behavior in the beginning of a relationship. Whatever red flags or differences appear early on, remember they will only get worse," California-based relationship expert Dr. Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT tells Bustle. "Whatever behaviors might be an issue for you, try to imagine them heightened down the line, and ask if you can live with that."
You can give your new partner the benefit of the doubt, and take some time to work on things. "Perhaps they can control the negative behavior," Bash says. "But, in cases where ... there are some incompatibilities from the beginning, it's probably best to fold and move on, because that is not going to get better." Here are some issues that'll only get worse with time.
1. A Lack Of Sexual Chemistry
If you two aren't the most sexually compatible, you can definitely work on it by communicating and experimenting. But do know this issue doesn't always work itself out. "The beginning of a relationship, when a couple is in the honeymoon stage, is the time when fireworks should be going off every time they are together," Bash says. "If that chemistry is not there from the beginning, it usually will only go downhill from there."
2. Having Nothing In Common
While you two don't have to be twins, it's not a good idea to force a relationship with someone who's your total opposite. "If there is just no common ground, it will likely lead to the couple eventually having separate lives," Bash says. If you're an extrovert and they're an introvert, for example, or if you like to hike and they won't even step outside, such differences can get more and more frustrating with time.
3. A Controlling And Demanding Personality
Since people are normally on their best behavior in the early days of a relationship, take note of any hints that they might be controlling or demanding. As Bash says, "These will not only get worse, but could also ... foreshadow a potentially abusive partner." And that's obviously someone you want to run far away from.
4. Different Spending Habits
Money is one of the top things couples fight about, so don't be surprised if this becomes your go-to argument. Or if it gets worse as the years go by. "Since it's such a crucial aspect in day-to-day life ... understanding how both you and your [partner] relates to it is important," says speaker and life coach Jaya Jaya Myra. "Don't wreck a relationship just because you are stressed about money and don't like or respect the way your partner handles it." Instead, talk about it — before it gets out of hand.
5. Issues From The Past
Any fights about family members or ex partners will likely only get more heated, so nip those in the bud ASAP. As relationship expert Stef Safran says, "If you notice early on that you feel that you are not on the same page when dealing with things from the past, you need to find early on if you can make an agreement." What's OK to talk about and what isn't? And how do you plan to deal with this issue the next time it comes up?
6. Boundary Issues
Unclear relationship boundaries almost always lead to resentment, which can truly get worse with time — for you and your partner. "While we all want to love others 'no matter what,' we must first love ourselves and establishing healthy boundaries and standards is the best thing we can do," dating expert Lisa Concepcion, founder of LoveQuestCoaching, tells Bustle. Once you do that (and your partner does the same) you'll have a better shot a healthy relationship.
7. An Inability To Communicate
Open and honest communication is something you'll have to work on throughout your entire relationship. That said, if it doesn't feel at least relatively easy right out of the gate, things will probably only get worse. "Poor communication habits eventually harm the relationship," says Concepcion. If you two can't fight in a healthy way, or compromise during problems, a breakup is incredibly likely.
8. Disrespect And Dishonesty
Again, if someone can't be respectful on the first date, imagine how they'll act on the 100th. "If you notice a wandering eye or words and actions not matching up and your gut simply says this doesn't feel right, pay close attention," Concepcion says. They're probably not the most trustworthy person ever, and that can lead to a lot of hurt down the road.
A wandering eye is one thing. But if you think your partner might cheat, or if they're giving off signs that they already are, run far away and save yourself. "Infidelity is typically the most destructive problem in a relationship and signals major problems," psychologist and radio host Dr. Joshua Klapow tells Bustle. Not just the cheating itself, but it's rooted in all sorts of trust and respect issues. And that's not something you'll want to deal with.
9. Financial Secrets
It might seem like a good idea to downplay your financial issues in the first few months of dating. And sure, you might not want to share too much info on the first date. But that doesn't mean you should keep secrets forever, especially since they will be discovered. "These issues always surface at some point, "coach Todd Burkhalter tells Bustle. "The trust that is lost spills over into distrust in other areas." Which leads me to...
10. Trust Issues
Once the trust is broken, it's really really hard to get it back. "Trust is the foundation of all relationships, so a minor trust argument can be seen as a minor crack in the foundation of the relationship," Klapow says. "It can grow and spread over time. At some point, it may mean the end of the relationship."
11. Ineffectual Arguing
As I said above, communication issues can get more annoying as time goes on. And the same is true for ineffectual arguing styles. "Couples need good communication skills, and this is especially true during conflict," says relationship expert Rhond Milrad, founder of Relationup.com. "If you don’t do it well during the early stages of your relationship, it will continue to be a problem during the course of your relationship as life gets more complicated and challenging."
That's why you want to keep an eye out for the types of issues that get worse with time. Of course you can work on things and reach agreements. But some issues are so engrained, and so difficult to overcome, you might just want to spare yourself the drama.
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