One of the things that keeps a relationship healthy is the ability of both partners to
ask for what they want. While you may be close, you can't expect to read each other's minds, or guess with 100 percent accuracy what might be wrong. So if you have a request, if something is bothering you, or if you'd like to make a change, it's completely OK to have a discussion about it.
It's only when you find yourself
asking your partner for the basics — such as loyalty and respect — that you may have a problem. Same goes for having to repeat yourself a million times if you've asked them to do something differently, and they don't bother to change. This may be a sign they aren't making the relationship a priority.
"If you find that your relationship is coming up short in any of [these] imperative areas, talk to your partner about your concerns,"
licensed psychotherapist Shirin Peykar, LMFT, tells Bustle. "Share how you feel and how it is affecting your relationship." Let them know what's on your mind, and come up with small changes you can both make to get back on track.
It might be an issue you're able to overcome. But if you find that you're always having to ask your partner for the things listed below, experts say you may want to
rethink your relationship — and even consider moving on to something healthier.
Once you decide that you're in a committed relationship, you really shouldn't have to keep asking your partner to act in a way that
shows they're loyal.
"Loyalty should be organically present in a healthy relationship," Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site
TruthFinder, tells Bustle. "If your partner downplays your relationship in public (like introducing you as a 'friend'), flirts with others, or has cheated on you in the past, loyalty may be an issue for them."
It's something you can work as on a couple, by agreeing on a
few healthy boundaries. But if it's still an issue, take note. "Unfortunately, it’s hard to fix a relationship with someone who is fundamentally disloyal," Graber says. "It’s always worth discussing your concerns with your partner before calling it quits, but if they don’t change their ways, it’s healthier to let a disloyal person go."
For a relationship to remain happy and healthy, you both need to
have compassion for each other — especially during tough times.
"Compassion is the
heart of relationships, and if someone doesn’t have any towards you, it’s questionable if they’re even your friend, let alone your partner," Graber says. "If someone is unconcerned when you’re sick, unavailable when you’re in crisis, and simply uninterested when you have a horrible day — it’s a big red flag."
Respect is another important
cornerstone of a healthy relationship, and thus not something you should ever have to beg for.
"Respect is non-negotiable," Graber says. "If anyone demeans, humiliates, or insults you — there isn’t room for second chances in that situation. Cruelty and disrespect should be the immediate
end of a relationship."
If a partner withholds respect, it can be
a sign of emotional abuse, and it may be time to ask for help in exiting the relationship.
Whether you want to travel, go back to school, or switch jobs, you should definitely let your partner know — especially for things that will impact your life as a couple. Taking each other into consideration is part of being in a healthy relationship.
But keep in mind that's not the same thing as asking for permission. "If you feel like you have to
ask permission from your partner to spend time with your loved ones, attend an event, or if you feel obliged to 'check in' with them via texts or phone calls whenever you’re out of eyesight, you may be in a controlling relationship," Graber says.
You can point this out to your partner, who may not even be aware they're giving off bad vibes. "But if your partner seems hostile or defensive," Graber says, "it may be best to go your separate ways."
The Benefit Of The Doubt
"A common pitfall that comes up in relationships is not 'assuming good intent' or giving your partner the benefit of the doubt," Sam Laliberte, co-author of
, tells Bustle. "If they forget to respond to a text, are late for a date, etc. [...] you want to adopt a mindset of assuming they had your best interests in mind and it's not malicious actions." The #LDR Activity Book
If your partner can't do this for you, and is always
jumping to the worst possible conclusions, have a conversation with them about it. It's possible they'll be able to work on themselves, and eventually look at things in a healthier light. If not, though, you may want to rethink your relationship. Impact Photography/Shutterstock
Communicating in a heathy way is something that can take a lot of practice in a relationship — and it may never be something you actually perfect. But as long as you're both working on it and getting better, then that's OK.
It's only a problem when poor
communication is an ongoing issue.
"You should always be able to communicate with your partner on matters concerning your relationship, especially when something bothers you or them," relationship expert and
spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Buste. "If your partner chooses to avoid you, shuts down, or closes you out — and has no desire to include you — you may not be able to fix your relationship."
As you go through the ups and downs of life, it shouldn't feel like you have to ask your partner for help, much less
"This should have been established at the onset of your relationship," Rappaport says. "Your partner should be willing and able to
support you emotionally and be there when you need them. They should be willing to step in and make sure that they have your back."
Take note, though, if it's an ongoing problem. "If they are willing to work toward
being more responsive and understanding, the relationship can improve over time," she says. But if not, it may be time to rethink.
"You should be with a partner who chooses to see you in a positive light and accepts you, flaws and all," therapist
Brandon Santan, PhD, LPC-MHSP, NCC, BC-TMH, CCMHC, tells Bustle. This is known as " unconditional positive regard," and it's another factor that keeps relationships healthy.
Of course, you can always encourage each other to grow and improve, but your partner should never take it upon themselves to
point out your flaws, or harshly call out mistakes.
"If you’re with a partner who is constantly
attacking and criticizing you," Dr. Santan says, "then it may be time to think about setting strong boundaries or leaving the relationship." This can also be a sign of emotional and verbal abuse, and you don't have to deal with it.
This should come without saying, but having to ask for kindness in a relationship is never a good sign.
"Your partner should be able to interact with you in ways that are gentle and kind
always," Dr. Santan says. "Volatility in a relationship is too risky [...] If there’s not an active attempt to always be kind, abuse may be just around the corner."
If you spot signs of impending emotional abuse, or are already in a toxic situation, you'll definitely want to
find a safe way to leave, ASAP.
partner in a small white lie may not be a big deal if it only happens once. But ongoing lies — and the trust issues that can form as a result — should be viewed as a major red flag.
"In a healthy relationship, you should never have to ask your partner if they are
telling you the truth," Rappaport says. "You should have open communication and know that neither of you will lie about anything that could harm your relationship."
Let them know any
form of dishonesty is not going to make for a healthy relationship, and go from there. "If the lie is a forgivable one, you need to decide if you want to forgive them, wipe the slate clean, and start over on a better note," Rappaport says. "However, you may not want to forgive them or they may deny it. It is up to you as to what you want to do from that point on." Flamingo Images/Shutterstock
While you can't expect your relationship to be fun and happy 24/7, it shouldn't feel like
you're the only one making an effort to make it that way, either.
"One of the things you should never have to ask for in a relationship is spontaneity,"
Irina Baechle, LCSW, relationship therapist and dating coach, tells Bustle. "The fun and humor are important parts of a healthy relationship." As well as the effort it takes to keep your initial spark alive.
If it seems like you're the only one who cares about keeping things going in a positive direction, it's definitely time to
talk to your partner, and find out what's up.
There may be ways you can work on these issues together, in order to
make your relationship healthier. But if they continue to let you down, or don't make an effort to change, you may want to consider moving on. Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.