7 Disagreements That Are OK 6 Months Into A Relationship, But Not A Year In
Relationships look a lot different as they progress. Despite this, you may still feel that having serious arguments only six months in could be a relationship kiss of death. To the contrary, relationship experts agree that certain disagreements in a relationship are perfectly valid six months in — but they just shouldn't still be coming up by your first anniversary.
Six months in, you and your partner are likely still getting to know each other, and establishing how your relationship will work and what the expectations will be. "Early on, a couple may still be trying to create boundaries, express wishes, and figure out the rules [and] values of their relationships," licensed marriage and family therapist Sabrina Bowen, tells Bustle. "Generally speaking, disagreements are part of any relationship and can happen throughout the relationship." So if you and your partner haven't figured everything out in the first handful of months, that's OK.
These issues should, however, work themselves out as you two continue to see each other. "I think it's expected that a relationship will mature as it progresses," David Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Initial fights are often about working things out and becoming comfortable with one another. If this is still happening after a year, then it may be the relationship just isn't healthy or compatible." Paying attention to what disagreements you have — and when — may help keep you more in tune with the progress of your relationship.
Here are seven disagreements that are OK six months into a relationship, but not a year in, according to experts.
1. Where The Relationship Is Headed
When a couple is only six months in, it's likely no big deal if they can't yet agree on what their future might entail. You don't have to know the answer yet at that point. By a year, however, these questions can take on a more serious tone.
"If you still can't agree on the future of the relationship after a year (marriage? kids? open?) then I would be concerned where it is heading," Bennett says. "This is a key area that should be sorted out by a year." If you're still struggling with this issue a year in, you may want to consider counseling or another strategy to resolve the conflict.
2. How Much Alone Time You Need
Couples don't need to have the same needs — but you and your partner should be able to ask for what you want and deliver on it when you've been together for a year. Six months in, however, couples may still be figuring things out like how much alone time the two of you need.
"Usually after a year couples have worked out issues of alone time and personal space," Bennett. "If you're still upset that they are too needy, or not needy enough, after a year, it may just be you aren't going to be on the same page on this issue." This issue is worth really paying attention to if it means the difference between having a partner who treats you the way you want, versus having one who doesn't.
3. Different Understandings Of Cheating
Cheating, despite the cut-and-dry way it's so often talked about, is actually a nuanced issue. Different people tend to have different ideas about what constitutes cheating. If you and your partner are still trying to come to an understanding, that's OK. At a year, it may not be.
"After a year you should have boundaries established to know what is considered cheating and what isn't," Bennett says. "If your partner still thinks emotional cheating is fine, but it drives you crazy every time it happens, then after a year, you're likely not simply establishing boundaries; you likely have different ones." You may decide not to continue in the relationship if you two have two completely different perspectives on this.
4. Keeping A Secret
Since you're still finding out a lot about each other when you're only six months in, it may be less of a big deal to uncover "secrets" about one another. You may still disagree, but these disagreements will likely take on a much less serious tone before your first anniversary.
"One argument that is OK six months into a relationship but not one year is [is] fighting about your partner's secrets," licensed marriage and family therapist Katie Ziskind, tells Bustle. If you two cannot be open with each other a year in, you may have more serious issues to address either together, or with the help of a relationship professional.
5. Repeated Arguments
Sometimes, the issue with a couple's disagreement has less to do with the disagreement itself, and more to do with how often it occurs. If you've had the same argument a couple times six months in, that may not be a red flag, but if that same argument persists for a year, you may have a deeper issue in the relationship.
"Another sign of trouble is if couples are having a similar argument over and over again and feeling worse after talking about it," Bowen says. "In this situation they are likely to get more frustrated over time so the argument will feel worse as time progresses." Couples counseling may help you learn to communicate more effectively, and perhaps get to the root cause of your disagreement.
6. Defining The Relationship
Among other things you may still be figuring out, defining the relationship is still perfectly natural around six months in. Maybe you've already decided to be a couple, but there are a lot of different factors that define what that entails. By a year, however, this conversation could be happening a bit too late.
"A sign of trouble would be if at 12 months couples are still fighting regarding type of relationship (monogamous, open, etc), fidelity (if in a monogamous relationship), availability of their partner, accessibility to their partner," Bowen says. "At six months some relationships may still be being defined so disagreements at this stage around defining the relationship are more common." If you and your partner cannot agree on the terms of a relationship by a year, then perhaps it is not the right relationship for you.
7. Disagreeing About Money
When you're only six months into a relationship, it makes sense that the topic of money is only just being discussed. This difficult conversation may lead to some disagreements. If, however, it's still causing a lot of conflict a year in, that may be a more serious issue.
"I think that in the first six months or so you're seeing how you and your partner view money, and spending it or saving it," Bennett says. "If you're still having this argument after a year, it's very possible you just have extremely different views of what to do with your money." You may want to take into account how these differing views will affect your relationship in the long-run.
While there are no cut-and-dry rules for what arguments make or break a relationship, there is definitely a different context for certain arguments when a couple is six months versus a year into a relationship. You and your partner can decide how you want to address more serious conflict, but it's important to be aware of what disagreements may spell trouble in your future.