There are some things in life that are a definite given: The sun will rise, the sky will once again be blue, the moon will wax and wane. But on a much less poetic note, there are certain things that you should never expect from a relationship, no matter what happens. Even if the sky falls, you cannot accept certain dynamics and behaviors.
I spoke with relationship experts about just what those things are, and how to identify them if they are present in your own partnership. Of course, everyone knows that hot-button issues, such as abuse, are completely unacceptable in any circumstance, but it's good to be reminded of such truths, especially since physical, mental and emotional abuse is sadly present in many relationships. The signs you're being emotionally abused can be somewhat difficult to pick up on at first, but once they become clear, they are virtually impossible to avoid or sweep under the proverbial carpet. The experts detailed 12 things that you should never find in a healthy, happy, productive and long-lasting relationship — and if any of these are part of your partnership, be sure to either find a solution or end things, depending on the severity of the situation. But first, check out the latest episode of Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast "I Want It That Way":
"I am a firm believer in making no excuses for abuse," relationship coach and psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships , tells Bustle. "Love and relationships are meant to bring us happiness, joy and peace." If your partner is abusing you, there is no way they can also bring you tranquility. Relationships are never supposed to bring us undue pain, she says. "If your relationship has turned abusive," Sansone-Braff doesn't mince her words: "It's time to get out." Especially if you think it's your responsibility to stick around. "Stop thinking that it's your job to save this person," she says. "Save yourself and seek a partner who makes you feel safe and secure."
Indeed, certified relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca tells Bustle. Even if you're tempted to justify your partner's behavior, it will backfire in the long run. "Never justify or rationalize abusive behavior," Sedacca says. "It's a symptom of a dangerous relationship with a partner who is not likely to change. Abusers seek out partners who accept, tolerate or believe they deserve their behavior — an unhealthy alignment that can lead to perpetuating a damaged relationship." If you're having trouble getting out, seek a support system, find a therapist or coach, and extricate yourself from any partner who doesn't treat you with reverence and respect," Sedacca says. And do so immediately — it's not safe to stay with an abusive partner.
"Deceit is the one thing you should never expect in your current relationship," relationship coach and psychic medium Melinda Carver tells Bustle. "Dishonesty of your partner's past relationships or children, their fabrications of the state of their career or finances, or their lies about their criminal record are all deceitful and can muddy the waters of your affection and devotion." Lies are not OK, in any form. "Various stories have made the news recently of new spouses hiding very important matters from their husband or wife," Carver says. Hint: Things never work out well in the end. "Never accept deceit in any form. It will impact you in ways you will not expect or want in your life," she says.
3. No Suffering
This one makes a lot of sense, actually: "I am a believer in suffering; we will suffer," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. So zen! "We should never expect to be without suffering. Even the best relationships have ups and downs." So hang in there when things aren't sparkly, as long as you and your partner have active and respectful communication. "The suffering is not to be avoided, but imagine that suffering like the grit that polishes the pearl. It is in your suffering that your relationship can transform into beauty." That's such a lovely vision!
"You should never expect to be attacked or belittled because your partner is upset with you," BetterHelp telehealth counselor and psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. Arguments are fine, but there has to be a mutual agreement to be kind, above all. "There is never an excuse for saying things in anger, for attacking the person's character to won an argument, or to make them feel like they are less than they are worth," Martinez says. "Relationships are built on mutual respect, and without that, you have no foundation."
Similarly, fights here and there are normal, but "to be degraded, criticized, put down or abused in any way" is not, Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences , tells Bustle. "Yelling is not a way to solve differences." If you find yourself in a screaming match with your mate on the regs, run.
6. That Your Partner In Charge Of Your Happiness
Never expect "that your partner should make you happy," psychologist, author and speaker Karin Anderson Abrell tells Bustle. "That's your job — always." If you're battling a tough period or have been feeling depressed, by all means, open up to your partner and be honest and vulnerable. And it's totally fine to lean on them and ask for support. But in terms of your personal happiness, you have to find your own way.
At least not in terms of old baggage. "You can never expect a relationship to be a magic eraser for any preexisting issues," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "The right relationship can absolutely be a boost in confidence, but it can't correct issues that you haven't worked on yourself first." If you need to figure out some old stuff, consider reaching out to a therapist or work on yourself in other ways. "Relationships are meant to enhance us — not fix us," she says. "Putting that pressure onto a partner usually ends in disappointment."
8. Your Needs To Be Ignored
"It is important that you never lose sight of your needs in a relationship," Salama Marine, psychologist and online dating expert for dating website EliteSingles, tells Bustle. "Your partner should always be considerate of your relationship expectations." So it's important to talk things out. "Every action taken or decision made directly affects the other partner, and it is therefore crucial to be considerate of the outcome and how it will affect them," Marine reminds. "That’s not to say that couples need to say yes to everything they ask of one another but it is important to show each request is taken into consideration." As long as you offer a listening ear, and your partner does as well, you've already won more than half of the battle.
"The one thing you should never expect in a relationship is change," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "When you decide to start dating someone, you do so at face value — that is, [you] go into it with a 'what you see is what you get' attitude." Or at least you should. If you don't, bad plan — it's a terrible idea to expect change. Changes do happen, but don't bet on them. "If you are already happy with that person, than any changes for the better will make the relationship stronger as well," he says. "If the changes are for the worse, well, that’s a whole different can of worms, and your thoughts might then 'change' to an exit strategy."
10. Marriage Or Kids To Transform A Relationship
"It's one thing to make compromises, it's another to expect someone to become a different person because you get married or you have kids," Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. "If you look at some of the celebrity breakups, like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Gardner, or Gwen Stefani and Galvin Rossdale, both of these cases were where the women wanted the men to change once they got married and had kids. Neither did," Safran says. Be clear on your partner's strengths — and don't get married in hopes of saving your relationship. Ever.
"Never expect a fairytale relationship," Rob Alex, who created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night with his wife, tells Bustle. "So many people think that once they get into a good relationship, it is all happily ever after." But this is just not so. "Relationships grow and evolve as they progress, and that means there are bumps and bruises along the way." Like Paiva, he says you must expect some suffering — the rainstorm before the rainbow, if you will. "To expect everything to be perfect is unrealistic and those that expect that are in for a real eye-opening experience," Alex adds. "The way your react to the bumps and bruises along the way are what really can make a strong relationship, so throw the fairlytale idea out the door and let's get real!" Preach.
12. Hookups To Lead To Something More
Of course they can, but it's not always going to be the case. "Don’t expect a hookup to lead to a committed, monogamous relationship," relationship expert April Masini tells Bustle. "No judgment on hookups, but just know what you’re doing and make conscious choices," she says. "Hookups are fine — but they’re not usually how committed, monogamous relationships begin — so don’t expect what probably won’t happen," she says. If you know you want something serious, speak up — don't clam up.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs help, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. It is open 24 hours a day.
Images: Fotolia; WiffleGif (12)