When you think about what can damage — and even end — an otherwise healthy relationship, you might imagine things like lying, cheating, arguing about money, and other major problems. But these aren't the only reasons why couples break up. Sometimes it's the smaller issues that take the biggest toll.
"These issues, among others, may seem small and petty, but once they come up a few times, you get to a point where you tell yourself that enough is enough," Jeannie Assimos, chief of advice at eharmony, tells Bustle. Emotions get involved, and before you know it you're breaking up over something seemingly insignificant.
"The best way to keep these minor issues under control [...] is to address the issue," Assimos says. "Open communication is truly the biggest key to any relationship." So if you feel yourselves getting riled up and frustrated, or on the verge of a break up, set aside time to talk.
Communication should be a top priority. But it can also help to remember the good parts of your relationship, Michelle Terry, MA, LMHC, tells Bustle, and the reasons you got together in the first place. With that in mind, read on for some things that can lead to a break up, according to experts, if you and your partner don't address them.
Your Sleeping Situation
"If one person likes a firm mattress and the other person likes a pillow top, one or both may suffer from sleep deprivation," Julia McCurley, professional matchmaker and founder of Something More, tells Bustle. And that can lead to emotional issues that are far bigger than your bed.
The solution, many times, can be as simple as upgrading your sleeping situation, especially if you live together. McCurley suggests doing your research and looking for a mattress made of memory foam, which can adjust to each of you. It seems insignificant, but can make the biggest difference for your relationship.
If one of you is always hot while the other is always cold, setting the thermostat to one person's preference is bound to cause problems. After all, "temperature sensitivity can affect a lot of things such as headaches, moods, and even the ability to perform certain tasks," McCurley says. "If one person isn't willing to compromise on temperature [...] this can lead to resentment and anger," which can tear you apart.
Not Responding To Texts
Texting may not seem like a big deal. But it can certainly lead to relationship problems, due to all the feelings involved. For example, "if someone does not respond within a timely manner, according to the sender, it can convey disinterest and can spark fears of vulnerability and abandonment," licensed psychologist Dr. Angel Montfort, tells Bustle.
So it's important to get on the same page when it comes to texting, while also being as understanding as possible. If you or your partner jump to conclusions or argue over texts, a "great strategy is to consider all possible alternatives for the delay before acting on your [emotions]," Dr. Montfort says. "This allows you to consider all potential avenues before proceeding mindfully."
Not everyone prioritizes texts in the same way. And keeping that in mind can save your relationship.
While vacations are supposed to be fun, relaxing, and exciting, they can also be a huge letdown — especially if you and your partner go into them with different expectations.
"We’re presented with far more decisions when traveling than we are in real life," McCurley says, including where to eat, how to navigate your way through a new location, what to do, and so on.
The best way to avoid conflicts on vacation, she says, is to prepare ahead of time by knowing the issues you might face so you don't fight.
Sending a few texts while your partner is talking, or checking emails while you're at dinner, may not seem like a big deal. But the lack of attention, as you try to multitask, can take a toll.
It can be frustrating to talk about your day with someone who isn't fully present. And, as Maria Sullivan, VP and relationship expert at Dating.com, tells Bustle, multitasking can send the message to your partner that you don't care about what they have to say.
While you both need to get things done, setting aside time to fully focus on each other — without any outside distractions — can make your relationship a lot healthier.
Cuddling Less Often
"While finding less time for intimacy during a long-term relationship is common, especially when you start to get used to each other’s presence, it can lead to a lack of romantic connection and feelings of a completely lost spark," Sullivan says.
This might take the form of less frequent sex, but can include smaller things, such as not cuddling after work, holding hands, or even watching TV together. "Make sure you and your partner make time for weekly intimate moments," Sullivan says, "to keep the romance alive."
Forgetting To Compliment Each Other
This may not seem like a big deal at all. But taking each other for granted — and forgetting to compliment each other — can lead to a break up.
"While it can be natural to get used to spending time with your [partner], it’s important to remind them about how you feel about them — even if it seems repetitive," Sullivan says. Add in a few compliments, and other loving moments throughout your day, and the relationship will feel so much healthier.
Falling Into A Routine
It's perfectly fine to create a routine that works for you, and to follow it most of the time. But in order to keep the relationship moving forward, you and your partner will need to occasionally step outside the box, Sullivan says, and do new things.
This will help prevent the relationship from going stale, she says, which is something that can lead to a break up. And it's also a lot more fun.
You might want to try new restaurants, head out of town for the weekend, or surprise each other more often. It not only keeps your relationship fresh, but shows you're both still invested.
Social media shouldn't have the power to ruin a relationship. But with the time and energy many people put into it, the comparisons that can crop up, and even feelings of jealousy, it's actually more common than you might think, Assimos says.
To prevent social media from creating a rift in your relationship, Assimos suggests talking about it often. How do you use social media? And how do you want to portray your relationship online? It can also help to set up a few boundaries, in terms of how you use it and when, so it doesn't negatively impact your relationship.
Feeling Too Happy
"Believe it or not, some people choose to end relationships because the relationship is going too well, in their opinion," Terry says. And while that may sound surprising, it makes sense once you break it down.
If you're used to relationships that have had a lot of conflict, for example, and then find yourself in a healthy one, Terry says you'll likely be on the lookout for something to go wrong. You may even start to think you're missing a red flag, or that you "don't deserve" to be happy, and decide to end it.
It can be tough to accept a healthy relationship, especially if you've had bad experiences. But this is one hangup that's possible to move past, perhaps by chatting with a therapist.
Even though they seem small, surprising, and insignificant, situations like these can lead to a break up. Of course, it's always up to you to decide if a relationship is worth it, but it's important to note why these situations can get out of hand, as well as what you can do to keep your relationship healthy.