13 Signs You're Worried About Your Relationship For No Reason & Everything Is Actually OK
When you're really happy with someone, it can be tough not to worry about a problem cropping up in your relationship, or a scenario where something might go horribly wrong. This is simply a sign you'd like things to work out, and that you have a healthy eye out for any impending relationship troubles. But is it possible to go overboard to the point you worry about things that aren't even happening?
The answer is absolutely yes. This is especially true if you misinterpret normal changes in your relationship as a sign of a problem, or if you read way into everything your partner says and does. That's why the key is knowing how to recognize a true problem, and how to let everything else go.
If communication all but shuts down, that's a problem. If you don't have any shared goals, that's a problem. But if your partner suddenly needs a little space? Or if you're not texting as often? Not necessarily a problem.
"Trying to understand how you may be misinterpreting your partner’s behavior, and whether the problem is real or based on distorted thinking, can be helpful to determine what you may need to work on in ... the relationship," relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder of the online relationship community Relationup, tells Bustle. Read on for signs these changes are a-OK, even if they feel a little bit different, as well as how to make them work.
1. You Both Just Need A Little Space
While giving each other more space can feel weird at first, doing so doesn't mean things are falling apart. In fact, it can indicate your relationship is healthy, solid, and made up of two people who know how to ask for what they want and need.
"This has nothing to do with your partner moving away from you. They just want space to ... cultivate their own sense of self," Milrad says. So do your own thing, without worrying or clinging on. "Give them some space to pursue their own thing and they can stay close, connected to you, and even share this part of their life with you."
2. You Have Different Love Languages
If you can't seem to agree on a proper way to show love in your relationship, it can cause problems at first. That is, until you both recognize how the other wants to be treated. Do you want your SO to text back right away? Or do you prefer some space? How about intimacy? Do you need to be held and hugged, or do you prefer a more hands-off approach?
"Part of the solution is to continue to educate [yourselves] about what you need," Milrad says. "It may be a different language, but it still says love!"
3. You Realize You Like Different Things
If you and your partner like different things, or have separate hobbies, you might think your relationship is doomed. But that's just not the case. "The truth is that each of us grows and changes over time, and our joint 'personality' as a couple grows and changes, too," says Chicago-based psychotherapist Jennifer Avila, LCSW. So really, what you like or don't like doesn't make much of a difference.
There are things you can do, however, to have more in common, if it's really bothering you. "For example, you might each agree to try out one another's interests in small ways and one or both of you may realize that you are actually very interested in the new activity. Or you might focus on the interests that you do share and really seize the opportunities that you have to do these together." See? NBD.
4. Work Has Been Getting In The Way
If your partner is suddenly logging a few extra hours at work, you might assume something's up — especially if you've been burned in the past. But spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport suggests slowing down and taking a moment to look at things for what they really are.
It's totally normal for couples to leave that honeymoon phase and get back into the swing of things. So if you partner is out more often, save yourself the drama, and don't assume the worst.
5. You've Been Arguing About The Same Thing Over And Over Again
It's perfectly normal to worry about the future of your relationship if you two keep rehashing the same issue, over and over again. But guess what? This is also totally normal. "John and Julie Gottman (foremost relationship researchers) call this 'perpetual conflict' and they say that 69 percent of conflict in relationships is actually of this type," Avila says. "So if you're fighting about the same things over and over again, you are in the majority of relationship conflicts."
6. You're Always Talking About Money
Money sure can be a big issue for couples, and is often a leading cause of divorce. That said, it doesn't have to be a deal breaker, if you're willing to listen to each other. "See if your partner can hear your underlying values once you have identified what they are," Avila says. "Eventually you may come to the discovery that there is a solution that reflects each of your underlying values, such as prioritizing new experiences in a more frugal manner. Sometimes it takes doing some digging to get to the real values behind what seem like petty conflicts."
7. There Are Issues Outside Your Relationship
If outside issues are pulling you away from one another, it can definitely be stressful. But since this is a normal part of relationships — and life in general — it's important to keep a level head.
"Sometimes your partner’s family may need more attention or assistance from them," Rappaport says. "While you may feel neglected, they may have a strong obligation to help their family." And that's perfectly OK.
8. They've Been Keeping A Few Secrets
Nothing can shake you to the core quite like finding out your SO has a secret or two. But, assuming it's nothing detrimental to your relationship, it's smart to talk it out and get to the bottom of why they kept it from you — instead of arguing about it.
"Your partner may not wish to be an open book that has to share everything with you," Milrad says. "Understand that your partner wants to have a little independence and a life outside of you, and that this is perfectly normal. People become resentful and feel smothered if they are controlled or accused about innocent behavior."
9. You've Fallen Into A Rut
Once that initial, fun honeymoon phase fizzles out, you might find yourselves relaxing into a relationship that feels less than romantic. And while that can come as a shock, it's another stage of any healthy relationship that's really nothing to worry about. That said, you should spice things up, whenever possible. Here's a couple of ways to do just that.
10. You've Let Your Communication Fall By The Wayside
In the same vein, it's pretty normal for communication to become less intense as the months and years go by. As Rappaport tells me, you might realize that you aren't talking every waking moment of the day, or that you're saying "I love you" a little less often.
"What may be happening is that you both may have fallen into a routine where you are so busy with work and other things that you need to make time to just talk to each other about your day, family matters, and other relationship concerns." Once you do that, things should quickly get back on track.
11. You're Getting A Little Too Comfortable
Again, once you've settled into a routine, you might find yourself texting a little less, going on fewer dates, etc. But instead of assuming your relationship is ending, Rappaport suggests letting your partner know that you're feeling a bit neglected. Do you need an afternoon text? Or a few more dates? If so, they should be able to make that happen. NBD.
12. You Didn't Resolve That Last Argument
It'd be nice if all problems in life tied up in a neat little bow. But that's rarely the case. "Sometimes you may have an argument with your partner and there is no resolution," Rappaport says. "You may be left angry and frustrated, as may be your partner. What you can do is to agree to disagree or reach a compromise. It is OK to say, 'let’s just drop it and move on.'"
13. They Don't Say "I Love You" As Often
All of the above can be happening, and it can leave you feeling worried AF. But as long as your partner shows the love — even if they don't say it as often — things are likely going to be OK. "In some cases, you may need to tell them you love them," Rappaport says. "If they smile or respond, there is no problem."
So go ahead and enjoy your partnership, worry-free.
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