11 Signs Love May Not Be Enough For You To Stay Together
It may sound cheesy, but it's true that love can sometimes be enough to see a couple through tough times. So even though you and your partner have issues in your relationship, and even though you're wondering if you'll make it through, definitely hold onto hope that things will be OK.
Let's say you're currently worrying about the future of your relationship, or you're dealing with trust issues, or navigating through a rough bout of arguments — if you want to get through it, you certainly can.
"Despite these obstacles, a relationship could work with healthy boundaries, the help of a therapist, and constant communication about what each of you needs," licensed marriage and family therapist, Racine R. Henry, PhD, tells Bustle. "These and other things are only deal breakers if you both allow them to be. Have honest conversations about your limits and dislikes so that you’re both on the same page about the kind of relationship you want to have and be in."
It's only when you can't see eye-to-eye on certain core aspects of your relationship — and one of you doesn't want to make a change — that love alone might not be enough to save the relationship. If you're constantly concerned about any of these issues below, experts say it may be time to reevaluate your relationship.
1. You Worry About The Stability Of Your Relationship
It's not a great sign if you catch yourself constantly worrying about the stability of your relationship — whether a fight will end it all, whether your partner will suddenly move on, etc.
As Henry says, "In long-term relationships, there’s a foundation established based on trust, understanding, and a desire to be together despite the hard times. If one or both of you is unsure about wanting to be in the relationship or you find that you have frequent break ups, this could be a sign of a temporary relationship."
To figure out what's up, go ahead and ask your partner. Are they committed? Do they see this thing lasting long-term? Once you've talked about it and gotten on the same page regarding what you want, you should be able to kick back and enjoy a sense of security. But if not, it may be that the relationship just wasn't meant to last.
2. You're Afraid Your Partner Will Cheat
Again, establishing a foundation of trust is everything when it comes to creating a relationship that'll last long-term. And no, that doesn't include constantly worrying 24/7 about whether or not your partner will cheat.
"You shouldn’t have to be a detective to be sure that your partner will be faithful," Henry says. "If you find yourself having to verify your partner’s whereabouts or going through their phone/social media account just to be sure, this is a sign of an unhealthy and short-lived relationship."
While a lack of trust doesn't necessarily bode well for the future of the relationship, it is something that can be worked on. "If you’re unable to trust, seek therapy to work on your insecurities," Henry says. "If you feel your partner doesn’t deserve your trust," it may be time to reconsider the relationship.
3. They Don't Like When You Spend Time Alone
There's no rule saying you have to spend all of your waking hours with your partner. Healthy couples establish boundaries, and figure out how much time they'll spend together, and how much time they'll spend doing things individually.
So it's not a great sign if you can't come to an understanding in that area. "If you’re trying to always find 'alone time' and 'space' away from your partner and [they get] upset about this need, the issue isn’t likely to go away," Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and co-founder of Double Trust Dating and Relationships, tells Bustle. "Extreme extroverts and extreme introverts might not be able to find a compromise and splitting can be the only option."
4. You Can't Agree On Commitment
Being in love is great, but for a relationship to truly last, you and your partner will need to be on the same page in terms of your commitment to one another.
If it's becoming a concern for you, take note. "If you fear that your partner is going to pressure you into greater commitment, then it’s a giant red flag that the relationship doesn’t have long-term potential," Bennett says. "If your partner has to 'pressure' you into moving the relationship forward, it indicates a lack of compatibility of goals." And the same is true vice versa.
5. You Aren't Communicating About Sex
"If you're in love with the person but not in love with the sex, that's a problem," Lisa Concepcion, a dating and relationship expert and founder Of LoveQuest Coaching, tells Bustle. "Usually if the communication is superficial and avoidant of key issues, sex will be just another issue that neither partner feels safe to discuss openly."
It's perfectly fine to go through a rough patch in your sex life. This usually happens as you transition out of the honeymoon phase, and into more "everyday" sex. If you cant't talk about it, though, or you feel like your partner isn't willing to meet your needs, it may be better to go your separate ways.
6. You Don't Feel The Same About Money & Success
While love can certainly make it easier to navigate a relationship where two people have different values, it doesn't necessarily guarantee things will work out.
"If one person is abundant-minded [and] always looking for ways to level up and the other person is always complaining about how expensive things are and how they can't afford this and that, that's a major red flag," Concepcion says. "It is so important we choose partners who are engines, not anchors to our success. If you're with someone who complains that you work too much or your goals are too big, you'll have to play small. No relationship is worth that."
7. You Worry Their Ex Might Come Back
If you love your partner and want things to work out, then you probably won't feel too great if their ex is still in the picture. "If you get the sense there's 'unfinished business' with an ex, pay attention," Concepcion says. "Just because people split up or divorce doesn't mean they don't still carry a torch of 'maybe someday' for that person. If there's really no need for them to remain in touch; no children, and they remain friends, explore this."
This is something you should be able to talk about with the person you love, and arrive at a satisfying answer. But if it seems like your partner is hiding the fact they talk to their ex, or seems unwilling to move on, it may be best for you to reconsider your relationship.
8. There's A Lack Of Respect
One thing love can't conquer? A lack of respect. "Your partner may be nice, kind, and caring to you, but if they talk to you in a way that makes you feel like they don’t respect your intelligence, abilities, skills, or even wishes and desires, the relationship won't last," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "When a couple does not see each other as equals they can still love each other, but the respect and honor are not where they need to be, and the relationship is not on even ground. "
9. You Have Different Visions For Your Life
If you love someone, you can definitely bend for each other slightly, and make allowances in order to stay together. But if you have wildly different priorities, it isn't likely to work.
"They want to work for a non-profit and you want to make a difference in a corporate setting. They want to live in a small town and have many kids; you are looking for a career in a big city, etc." Dr. Klapow says. "You can love them with all of your soul but if your souls are on competing paths, it won’t work."
10. You Don't Agree On Whether Or Not You'll Have A Baby
It's pretty darn difficult to find a middle ground when one partner desperately wants to be a parent, and the other one desperately doesn't. So if you two can't reach an agreement in this area, love might not going to keep you together.
"Depending on the age of the people in the couple this could become a major issue," Alexis Germany, a relationship expert and lifestyle strategist, tells Bustle. "For very young couples the compromise can be to wait another couple of years, but for slightly older couples ... waiting might not feel like an option."
In situations like these, it'll be necessary to share your concerns ASAP. "It’s important to have discussions like these fairly early on in the relationship to make sure both parties are on the same page," Germany says.
11. You Have Mismatched Love Languages
Everyone shows their love in different ways. And it's more than fine to be with someone who doesn't share your same love language. You shouldn't, however, have to constantly remind your partner how you like to be loved.
"Obviously we all have different love languages and as your relationship grows your partner should be showing you love and affection in a love language that works for you and vice versa," Germany says. "If you constantly have to tell your partner what to say or do in order for you to feel loved and the partner doesn’t try to meet you in the middle [the relationship may not work]. No one wants to have to tell their partner the same thing over and over again and no one wants to hear that they have failed over and over again."
When a couple is in love, most issues can be improved, because they're both willing to make an effort and figure out ways to stay together. As Bennett says, "Any relationship can work with enough effort, compromise, and even therapy. But, if you and your partner have core differences that result in consistent anxiety on your part and constant fighting, is it really worth it in the end?" If not, it's OK to admit that love isn't enough to save the relationship, and move on.